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Brand Who: How to use your employer brand to attract the right people


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A special edition of HR & Hospitality Bites looks at how hospitality organisations can develop a unique, authentic and solid employer brand to attract and retain the best talent.

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Brand Who: How to use your employer brand to attract the right people

  1. 1. Once a week insights, features and interviews for HR professionals in hospitality bites Brand who? How to use your employer brand to attract the right people EMPLOYER BRANDING SPECIAL EDITION!
  2. 2. EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT HR & HOSPITALITY BITES “ Recent research revealed that 35% of employees view a trusted employer brand as being more important than the numbers on their pay slip." EMPLOYER BRANDING 01 Last week DAM hosted the 'Brand who: How to use your employer brand to attract the right people' event in London, welcoming HR professionals from some of the UK's leading hotels and hospitality businesses to find out more about building an attractive (and authentic) employer brand. Thoughts and insights were shared by our panel of experts; Holly Glover - Director of Human Resources at Farncombe Estate, Zuleika Fennell - Managing Director at Corbin and King, Steve Rockey - People Director of Home Grown Hotels and Lime Wood Group and Sean Wheeler - Director of People Development, The Prinicpal Hotel Company. In this special edition of HR & Hospitality we explore how to develop an authentic, attractive employer brand and use this as a lever for attracting the best talent into your organisation. Perhaps the best place to start is the beginning! What is an employer brand? In fact, maybe we strip it back further and ask ‘What is a brand?’ There are numerous definitions to provide the answer to this but we’re going to go for the simple one.
  3. 3. So what’s an employer brand? The Chartered Institute of Personal Development sums it up brilliantly: “It's the way in which organisations differentiate themselves in the labour market, enabling them to recruit, retain and engage the right people. A strong employer brand helps businesses compete for the best talent and establish credibility. It should connect with an organisation’s values and must run consistently through its approach to people management." Every organisation has an employer brand no matter what size. It may have developed organically or strategically but it will be that organisation's unique employer brand nevertheless, and viewed in a certain way by employees, customers and people working within (and outwith) that organisation’s industry. Some organisations have powerful employer brands, some have absolutely shockingly bad ones and there is no doubt that if you want to attract (and retain) the best possible talent to your organisation, your employer brand needs to be in the first category. Gone are the days when people jump ship purely for salary. Nowadays, prospective employees are just as interested in who you are and what you represent as they are in the pounds you pay. Recent research revealed that 35% of employees view a trusted employer brand as being more important than the numbers on their pay slip. More than half (56%) of recruiters say employer branding is a top priority, and employers with a strong employee brand drive twice the amount of applicants per job compared to other companies. PAGE 10 HR & HOSPITALITY BITES EMPLOYER BRANDING 02 To develop a strong employer brand as one of your assets, the first stage is always going to be the reality check of some getting to know ‘the real you’ a bit better. You can’t construct the right image and brand without doing some deconstructing and reconstructing not only to get it right, but to be the authentic ‘you’, because that’s what people really buy into. One of the holes you can fall into when you develop your employer brand is ‘half listening with your eye on the prize’ ie not taking full account of the feedback you’re getting from your existing employees because you have a clear idea of the shiny new ‘you’ you want to present to the world. It’ll look great (for a while), but the reality for the people who join your organisation is likely to be somewhat different from the picture of hospitality nirvana you painted when you attracted them in the first place. Hartnett Holder & Co at Limewood Hotel, Hampshire
  4. 4. EMPLOYER BRANDINGHR & HOSPITALITY BITES 03 “Businesses must ensure the everyday reality of working for them matches their employer brand. We like to use Instagram to show customers and potential employees what we serve and how our business operates. This creates an image of what the company is like, and when someone walks through the door to start a job with us, there must not be a disconnect. If your employer brand is clear and honest, you will attract the kind of people that will fit in your business. During the session last week we came across some real golden nuggets of advice on developing your employer brand from our four panellists. Steve Rockey People Director Lime Wood Group and Home Grown Hotels “It’s very important to have a consistent tone when it comes to your employer brand. It’s no good having someone arrive on their first day and all the glitz and glamour falls away. We've found using pictures very helpful in getting our message across quickly.” A successful employer brand is made up of three components: HR, marketing and operations. HR makes sure it gets seen by the people you want to hire, Marketing makes it look pretty and Operations makes sure it works right. Those are the three main parts, and you need finance in the background working with it too." Holly Glover, Director of HR Farncombe Estate Read the Farncombe Estate Employer Branding Case Study on Page 10 In the next issue of HR & Hospitality, we'll be asking each of our panellists how they brought their employer brand values to life - coming next week!
  5. 5. EMPLOYER BRANDINGHR & HOSPITALITY BITES 04 “We used our employer brand to change historical perceptions of the Group, repositioning from what was perceived as mid-market conference and event venues to 4/5 star lifestyle hotels with strong local connections. Our aim was to reconnect with the local market for F & D and establish the group as one of the leading lifestyle brands in the UK. The starting point was for our senior team to spend two days establishing our mission, vision and values – what we want to be known for and stand for. From there we needed to create energy about the changes ahead to get people on board and signed up for everything that was going to change internally and externally. Sean Wheeler - Director of People Development, Principal Zuleika Fennell - Managing Director Corbin and King “We didn’t want our brand to be led centrally. When we were establishing our values, we spoke to everyone, from the leaders to the pot washers, to find out what we stood for. From that, we were able to work out the four pillars of our values that really represent us. We also wanted Corbin & King’s employer brand to change the perception of hospitality as a career.” Prior to the brand launch we had ‘Project 1898’ to encourage talent to stay and new talent to join, so the development work around the employer brand had actually started. We then created our people promises and appointed ‘Change Gurus’ internally to help the transition, set the tone, encouraging personalisation within the hotels. Our values are lived and breathed at every stage through our people promise – attraction, recruitment, on boarding, induction, reward, recognition, appraisal and guest engagement. There’s still lots to do – it’s like rewiring a house without ever turning off the lights but we constantly evaluate the impact of change through pulse surveys and we’re delighted to have achieved extremely positive results and feedback."
  6. 6. EMPLOYER BRANDING 3 3 HR & HOSPITALITY BITES 05 1. Social media at work No more staring at a blank Outlook message wondering how you can phrase ‘Can you please just send me the info right now?’ in a slightly less demanding way and proceeding to rattle off the usual email niceties… We’re talking speed, brevity and no more ‘Hope you had a lovely weekend’… Quick and easy exchanges, saving time, cutting down in email overload. Why wouldn't you? A great way to look at talent and make sure you’re not missing the ‘diamonds’ is to hold assessment days. Praise people for doing things right, rather than punish them for doing something wrong - those ‘on-brand’ moments of magic. An effective way to bring your employer brand to life is to find like- minded people on social media – sharing the visual stuff really works. Location can make it difficult to hire people, so it’s important to get out into the community as an employer brand Think about staff as individuals - also about 'attractors and retainers' - what aspects of working for your organisation work for and against keeping people? Remember, your employer brand is in your DNA – you can’t fake it! Employer Branding - Tips from our panel
  7. 7. EMPLOYER BRANDING 3 3 HR & HOSPITALITY BITES 06 1. Social media at work 2. Social media at work Ask yourself what your organisation means to people within and outside of your company. What are your attributes? What are your values? What are your flaws? What type of people do you attract and who do you want to attract? What do people actually think about your organisation and why would they want (or not want) to work there? Do you project an honest picture to future employees of your true brand personality and values or are things ‘glossed up a bit’ for recruitment purposes? Is the way you’re seen by the outside world an accurate depiction of who you really are? If you’re not attracting the best talent, or you do but they leave, you need to establish what the perceptions are of you as an employer from the people who work for you. Find out if these perceptions are at odds with who and what you’re trying to ‘be’ and get a true picture of the weaknesses in your employer brand. This is your research phase – your chance to really engage with your teams to find out what matters to them, what they like about you and what they dislike about you; how you really measure up to what they bought into when they came to work for you and if you meet their expectations. From there, you can then go on to define your objectives, as you’ll have a clear and honest picture of the current situation and what your challenges are. Guide to developing a strong employer brand 1. Who am I? 2. What do I need to do to attract the best talent? 3. How do I develop my Employer Value Proposition (EVP)? Using the data you’ve gathered, you can start to shape your EVP – your organisation’s heart and soul, behaviours, values and promises, which will then help you to frame the messages you want to communicate both internally and externally about your organisation. Since the data you’ve gathered will give you a dose of reality (may be great, may not be so great…) to inform your objectives, what develops at this stage will be an honest picture of ‘you’ as you are to your employees and your messages will therefore be true and ‘stand up’.
  8. 8. EMPLOYER BRANDING 3 3 HR & HOSPITALITY BITES 07 1. Social media at work 2. Social media at work Communication isn’t just about what you say, it’s the way you say it. Once you have defined your employer brand key messages, it’s time to focus on the look, feel and very importantly the sound of your communications to bring your messages to life in both your online and offline communications. What’s your tone of voice? What is your look and feel? What visual aspects make you sound and feel ‘you’? Also, what do you not want to look, feel and sound like. Authenticity is everything when to comes to the way you communicate. It is too easy to see through an organisation that is trying to look, sound like and feel like someone else. If you’re authentic, your existing employees will buy in to that as they will have helped to create your employer brand remember, so they know what you are and what you’re not! Guide to developing a strong employer brand 4. How do I communicate and express my employer brand? 5. Is my employer brand working for me? Set your baseline criteria for evaluation at the start once you’ve carried out your employer brand ‘audit’ and measure against your objectives on a continuous basis. You won’t be adjusting your employer brand once you’ve clearly defined it, however you may turn the volume up on certain types of communication that are working for you eg Instagram, LinkedIn and adjust your tactics on communications that work less well.
  9. 9. EMPLOYER BRANDING 3 3 HR & HOSPITALITY BITES 08 2. Social media at work We caught up with Holly Glover, HR Director at Farncombe Estate at last week's event to find out more about how Farncombe Estate successfully balances one employer brand across several unique properties. Employer Branding Case Study Farncombe Estate We started the employer branding process when I first joined the Estate in 2014. The business was in transition from being a private estate/security business headquarters to being a luxury integrated leisure resort. We first had to ask ourselves what we wanted to be as a business? What did we want to be known for and how did we want our team to feel about working here? The business is privately owned and the family feel is very important to the owners and the team. We use their family values as the basis for the values and behaviours for the business.
  10. 10. EMPLOYER BRANDING 3 3 HR & HOSPITALITY BITES 09 2. Social media at work Employer Branding Case Study Farncombe Estate The current team came together to create their version of the family values – based on the things that they liked most and felt most proud of. We have used the values and behaviours as the cornerstones of everything that we have done from there onwards – but have also worked really closely with the brand team – to ensure that the commercial brands for each of the hotels and the employer brand are closely aligned. We never wanted the team to feel that they were any less special than our guests. The three hotels on the estate each have a different and distinct brand identity commercially, but the framework of the employer brand works within each business, with enough flexibility to allow the teams ‘personality’ to be different. It’s about using the similarities but celebrating the differences. One of the challenges that we faced as a business, was to make the estate feel integrated for our guests whilst maintaining the differences in the hotels. This however worked in our favour for recruitment. Once we had fine- tuned exactly the type of person we were looking for to join the team on the estate, we found this made it easier to create career paths across the three hotels, so the team have the opportunity to progress either in the hotel they were recruited for – or they could choose to be promoted into one of the other two hotels just by adapting their service style.
  11. 11. EMPLOYER BRANDING 3 3 HR & HOSPITALITY BITES 10 2. Social media at work Employer Branding Case Study Farncombe Estate As we have grown so quickly as a business, it’s really important that the brand doesn’t get diluted – or that it becomes homogenised. The HR team recruit centrally for all three businesses. They have a great feel for the employer brand, and work side by side with the hiring managers, so that they are able to closely match which candidate would fit well with the team in each business. They are also great at spotting opportunities for ‘cross pollination’ where an internal candidate might be ready for a promotion into a different hotel. Getting the right team in place – people who share our values, behaviours, ethics and ethos is just the starting point. Establishing a really consistent tone of voice for all communications has also been extremely important. It’s the same internally and externally – our job adverts are written in the same tone as our HR policies, company induction, and internal communications. What's also really important is that the transition from prospective candidate to employee is seamless – who wants the shock of starting a new job and finding out the company you thought you were joining is, in reality, completely different to the perception you had before you joined?! The visual image is key to the employer brand too. We also use imagery whereever we can to give a feel of what Farncombe is like as a place to work. "Nearly 20% of our team were promoted internally in 2016, compared to single figure promotions in 2014"