Lessons government can take from the best employer branding minds
In the past people tended to choose a career path in either the private or public sector – not both. But those lines are now blurred.

In an era where job opportunity and personal contribution has become more valued than job stability, employers cannot just rely on a good salary and benefits to attract and keep high performers.

According to the Australian Government’s latest State of the Service Report, 27 per cent of its new employees in 2015 came from the corporate world.

Changing labour demographics, the increased pace of technological change and effects of globalisation have all intensified the competition for talent and governments now, more than ever, need to recruit those who are flexible, adaptive and innovative.

The key, according to recruitment experts, lies in employer branding.

Employer branding is the promise made to those who come to work for them – the culture, the people, the personal development and what the company stands for.

Jobs For Values, Not For Life

Suzanne Chadwick is Head of Employer Branding at Hudson RPO. She says articulating the values of your organisation, and the satisfaction of the people who work in it, are very important when trying to create the workforce you want.

“The education sector, for example, might draw people into their management from the corporate sector because they are people who want to see Australian education flourish and develop,” says Chadwick.

“They may be prepared to take less of a salary because they are passionate about that cause.”

She says Medibank is one company successfully sending a clean, succinct message about what life would be like if you worked for them.

On Medibank blogs, employees can be seen taking part in marathons, trekking in Nepal, helping build community gardens and growing moustaches to raise funds for men’s health.

“Organisations need to put those stories out there – jobs are not just for the salaries and flexible hours, it is about being part something bigger. People want to enjoy what they do and know they are making a difference.”

Advantages of Employer Branding

Employer Brand International CEO, Brett Minchington, an employer brand strategist and author, says governments, like corporations, have a lot to gain from effective employer branding strategies. These include:

  • Ease of attracting candidates

  • Better employee engagement

  • Recognition as an employer of choice

  • Lower recruitment costs

  • Higher job acceptance rates.

He says The Warehouse in New Zealand has reduced its annual employee turnover by 50 per cent since putting a strategic focus on its employer brand in 2006.

“They have a strong employee ambassador program and staff speak actively about their workplace on social media,” says Minchington.

Chadwick says employer branding is about retention, as much as it is about recruitment.

Not only will it help you attract the best talent in the market, she says, but by increasing the employees who resonate with your values, you are hiring people more likely to have longevity in your business.

Be Authentic

The Global Head of Recruitment Marketing and Competency Development for technology giant Siemens, Teresa Collis, talks about crafting an effective employer brand on SEEK’s podcast with Hamish Coutts.

Social media, Collis says, is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to get your stories out about how your employees live.

“You don’t necessarily need fancy photography and expensive agencies, leverage your employees – get them to tell stories online. Post the team lunch on Instagram,” says Collis.

“These are the authentic stories people will see and connect with.”

But she warns it has to be real. This is not a time for spin.

“People are going to believe what is coming out of the mouths of employees much more than some swanky million dollar advertising campaign.”

Chadwick agrees social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can pay an important role in elevating an organisation’s employer branding , making your organisation accessible to a wide range of potential new recruits.

“There might be some really good talent that might be happy where they are and may not be looking on SEEK, so you need to talk about what your business does and the opportunities for them on platforms they are already on,” says Chadwick.

“Smart companies today take advantage of these platforms.”

Collis says although employer branding is not as big in Australia and New Zealand as it is in Europe, we do have the potential to be front runners in the game when we take it on.

“We’re authentic people. Our culture can spot spin a mile away and that is the future of employer branding, “ says Collis.