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JOHANNESBURG +27 11 217 0000
CAPE TOWN +27 21 468 7000

January 21, 2016
2:22 pm
by Hillary Myburgh

Measuring the Success of Your Employer Brand

Measuring the Success of Your Employer Brand January 2016 - Hillary Myburgh

By now, most companies have accepted that employer branding is of strategic importance, but many are still not sure how to measure something they often consider intangible and belonging to what was historically viewed as tactical rather than strategic. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), only 25% of companies have taken steps to measure the impact of their employer brand. Clearly, measurement (and thus the ability to demonstrate value) is integral to gaining internal support from senior executives and to the ultimate success of the initiative. Figuring out what to measure, however, is often the tricky part. There’s no one-size fits all and much depends on making sure you first have a well-developed strategy.

Certain results can be measured with a high degree of accuracy and according to the statistics found in Employer Branding International’s 2011 study there are several different possible metrics to use when considering the ROI of your employer branding:

  • Employee satisfaction: closely related to employer brand because organisations with better brands are perceived to be better places to work
  • Employee engagement: measured by length of service, turnover statistics and targeted surveys
  • Quality of hire: the matching of ability, education and credentials of the qualified applicants to a position
  • Time and cost per hire
  • Job acceptance rate of candidates
  • Number of applicants
  • Employee turnover: a leading indicator and measurement of employer brand. In general, an increase in employee turnover is indicative of a weaker brand
  • Increased level of employee referrals: clear evidence that employees believe the company is a good place to work
  • Decreased absenteeism

The study found that retention rate is the most common metric used to measure ROI of employer branding, followed by employee engagement, quality of hire, cost per hire and number of applicants.

Other less traditional measures include promotion readiness rating, external/internal hire ratio, performance ratings of newly promoted managers and manager/executive failure rate.

So which metric(s) should you use? This will depend on your business and recruiting objectives as well as where you are in the evolution of your employer branding strategy. Make sure you have understood your audience/s and that your chosen metrics are reliable and predictive. Your objectives will change as your company grows and changes, and will be impacted by many factors such as market conditions, product innovation or employee engagement. Brett Minchington says “The link between creating employer brand value and financial (e.g. cost per hire, profit per employee, staff turnover cost) and non-financial measures (e.g. employee engagement, employee loyalty, employer brand awareness) is variable and must be evaluated on a case by case basis and re-evaluated over time as the strategy evolves.”

He goes on to offer an action plan you can share and discuss amongst those responsible for your employer brand strategy to improve your measurement and ROI:

  1. Clearly define your employer branding objective(s). Conducting a strategic audit of your employer brand is a good place to start to define your objectives and identify where your resources are best invested.
  2. Understand the key drivers of achieving your objective. If you can identify the cause and effect of how you attract and retain the best talent, you can focus your efforts on these activities.
  3. Develop an employer brand scorecard. Your scorecard should identify the financial and non-financial measures that drive employer brand value. It should allow you to track and report on those measures most likely to impact on achieving your objectives.
  4. Allocate responsibility. The responsibility for reporting on the performance should rest with the employee(s) responsible for the employer branding activity, whether housed in a single or multiple departments. Ensure everyone is on the same page!
  5. Obtain baseline data on your workforce. Gather data on your current workforce to obtain a solid understanding of your target audience. Seek information on hobbies, commuting patterns, family situations, interests and behaviours. Go beyond demographics and search for patterns amongst subsets of employees. Your most talented young employees may all share an interest in gaming so use that to your advantage rather than send them to a full day of training on a topic unrelated to their interests!
  6. Dispel assumptions. Share the data with your leaders and dispel assumptions they have about the typical employee. Break down employee likes and dislikes. Share intuitive data about commonalities you found amongst ‘A level’ talent. Create new personas that are data-based and not assumption based.
  7. Listen closely to employee feedback and observe behaviours. Pay close attention to the channels your current employees use and map marketing strategies to their preferred channels. This will ensure you have tactics to allow for a deeper, richer perspective into how well your employer brand and EVP strategy is resonating with employees.
  8. Evaluate your progress. Business conditions aren’t static, nor should your measures be! They’re ever changing and more valuable when measured over time. Make comparisons and don’t be afraid to report failures. They’ll drive change and show you’re paying attention to your investment.

As always, if we can assist in any way, please get in touch.

Additional Resources

  1. How to Measure Your Employment Brand – Glassdoor
  2. Employer Branding ROI – There’s a Metric for That – Andrew Greenberg, Recruiting Division


November 16, 2015
3:08 pm
by Hillary Myburgh

Bring Your Talent Brand To Life

Bring Your Talent Brand To Life November 2015 - Hillary Myburgh


Separate from yet aligned with your corporate brand, your talent brand is the candidates’ perception and reputation of your overall employment offering. It’s what they feel or think about your company as a place to work. 56% of global talent leaders say it’s a top priority for their company. In a previous article I spoke of how to build your employer brand, now let’s talk about how to bring it to life.

Sunita Khatri of Oracle Human Capital Management says that the quickest way to jumpstart your talent brand is by developing a strategy to leverage ‘owned media’ – any communication channel you can control and is unique to your brand. Your corporate website, careers pages, company blog, landing pages, newsletters, Twitter handles, press releases etc. are all opportunities to deliver a smart employer brand message. In addition, anything that establishes value in your brand (such as ad buys, job postings etc.) can be considered owned and yours to re-imagine. Be creative with these channels; how and what you narrate is the “act of marketing” and how others respond determines the health of your talent brand. As marketers target prospective buyers, you will target job seekers.

Maura McElhone of Clinch recommends introducing employer branded content into those channels previously primarily associated with your corporate brand. By positioning your employer branded content in front of those who are already fans of, or at the very least, are familiar with your product/service, and assuming your employer brand is strong enough; you stand to convert a good portion of those fans into potential candidates.

The next best way to amplify your talent brand is to equip your employees to be brand ambassadors. If your corporate culture creates a desirable and motivational experience for your employees (and they understand and believe in your mission, vision and values), they will naturally want to share their experience of working for you. Empower them to do so through enabling the sharing of content, job opportunities, day-to-day experiences and more (on and offline). Make sure you develop and communicate social media guidelines and clear objectives. On a more administrative level, make sure current employees are aware of and happy with the following:

  • Compensation
  • Benefits
  • Opportunities for employee development and growth
  • Rewards & Recognition
  • Work/life balance

 Moving on to social media, don’t be afraid to experiment with different kinds of content on multiple different platforms to see what’s best received where. Make sure the content you create and share is authentic and reflects your company’s unique culture and values. It should inform, engage and entertain and be candidate-focused. Use created (press releases, blog posts, white papers, case studies and testimonials) or curated content, images, presentations, webinars, videos and infographics; mix it up. It’s a good idea to develop a content calendar in advance so you know what you are going to post where, and what the messaging will be. Showcase what makes your company unique, how you have fun, what matters to your company, spotlight events or feature teams working on cool stuff. It’s up to you.

As you go about bringing your talent brand to life, keep in mind these golden rules, from LinkedIn:

  1. Look in the mirror. Make sure that what you do (and don’t do) is what you’d like employees to emulate. Urge your immediate team to do the same.
  2. Inform your leadership. Use data to gain support, ease concerns, and help explain your choice of platforms. If they are skeptical, start small and build wins with individual executives.
  3. Target your messages. With attention spans so short online, you need to grab your candidates’ attention. The more relevant your message is to a particular audience, the greater its impact will be.
  4. Make your culture shine. It’s never just about jobs. Focus on your people; their stories and emotions; to create truly memorable employer brand moments.
  5. Go Viral. For amplified results, find creative ways to get more people talking about your company’s great culture. Your employees can be a great source of novel ideas.
  6. Be Visual. Dial up the ‘show’ in ‘show and tell’. Bold and colourful images, graphics, charts, and videos can really bring your brand to life.
  7. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Setting up a new page is one thing; maintaining it and being responsive to enquiries can be another. Show that your efforts are scalable and sustainable on one platform before moving on to another.

As always, if we can assist in any way, please get in touch.


October 9, 2015
8:25 am
by Hillary Myburgh

Building an Employer Brand

Building an Employer Brand October 2015 - Hillary Myburgh

Building an effective employer brand that helps your organisation create a competitive edge in recruitment and retention through demonstrating why you are a great place to work, requires careful thought and a strategic approach. It will communicate your organisational personality, culture and values, and should encompass every touchpoint (with exisitng and potential employees as well as external stakeholders) from attraction and recruitment through to training and development, support, career path development, benefits and incentives, right through to how an empoyee exits your company.

So how do you go about creating one?

Research and Insight. Ask questions (and conduct surveys) to reveal where you are now, what you would like your employer brand to be and how to get there, e.g.:

  • Are we clear about our culture, vision and values?
  • Do our current employees believe in and buy into the above?
  • How do we want to be perceived?
  • Do we need to do any work on amending our identity?
  • What makes us different to our competition?
  • What do our competitors offer?
  • How are we perceived by both current and potential employees?
  • What is most attractive and compelling about us to both current and potential employees?
  • What are the typical characteristics and attributes of current employees, and what are their aspirations?
  • Why do people stay with our company?
  • What roles are most critical to our success?
  • What kind of employees do we wish to attract?
  • What do they want from a job and an employer?

Gap Analysis. Compare the real company (based on the results of the questions and surveys) with what is desired. Clearly and succinctly define what reasonable steps need to be taken to equalise the actual perception with the desired perception.

Buy-in. It’s crucial that your senior management team as well as your marketing and HR departments all share the same vision for your employer brand and are committed to its execution. Equally important is that all current employees understand and believe in how you articluate your culture, visions, values and employee experience – and that you invest in them first. It’s no use promoting a culture of innovation and employee development if your existing employees experience micro-management and minimal training. An employer brand that lacks credibility is doomed from the outset.

Alignment. Your employer brand should have its roots firmly in your corporate brand as well as your business strategy and goals. An employer brand that does not extend your corporate brand can lead to brand confusion and end up hurting both.

Develop Your Employee Value Proposition (EVP). Often used synonymously, EVP and employer branding are distinct from one another. Your EVP is a summary of what you give your employees for their time and effort over and above a salary and benefits and is the foundation from which you will build your employer brand. It is well worth taking the time to accurately capture an authentic EVP through extensive research amongst your exisiting employees from every department and at every level. It often takes the form of a single statement followed by a series of key messages tailored to your different target audiences.

Proof. Provide evidence for each core message so that your employer brand is rooted in reality – your HR policies, reward structure and culture could all feature here. Test your statements with employees to make sure they resonate.

Creative Execution. Use your EVP and core messaging to arrive at a creative direction that truly represents who you are as an employer (remember to align this with your corporate brand). This will bring your employer brand to life.

Communications Plan. Articulate where and how you will communicate your employer brand. What platforms will you use to communicate it both internally and externally? What mediums? To engage as many people as possible use a mix of words, images and video. Take advantage of all possible platforms: company intranet and internal meetings/communications, company website, blogs, social media, paid media, job boards, microsites and anywhere else suitable talent may congregate. Hiring managers should also be educated on your brand, allowing them to share your story during the recruitment process.

Implement throughout the employee lifecycle (with thanks to Real Staffing). A well-rounded, compelling employer brand will consider all stages of the employee lifecyle:

  • Attracting new talent.  Consider every encounter a job seeker may have with your organisation – it’s crucial the information and experience you provide supports your core messages.
    • Promote culture and rewards
    • Show what success in your organisation looks like
    • Introduce current employees
    • Promote awards and accreditations
    • Demonstrate a commitment to CSR
    • Promote your commitment to career development and training
    • Remember to treat all applicants with respect and courtesy. Whether they are right for the role or not, they have invested time and interest in your brand, are potential brand advocates and their opinions should not be disregarded.
  • Interviewing and Onboarding. The interview process is a prime opportunity to reinforce your employer brand so make sure your interviewers live and breathe your brand values. Once you’ve found the right person, make sure the entire onboarding process equally reinforces your brand. Ignore this crucial part of the recruitment process and you could find yourself back at square one very quickly.
  • Retaining your Talent. A strong employer brand isn’t just for attracting new talent; it also provides a compelling reason for your current employees to stay with your organisation. Reinforce your employer brand regularly: employees need to be reminded of the qualities that first attracted them to the organisation. More importantly though, deliver on the brand promises you’ve made to those employees, whether through reward and recognition, training and development or a clearly defined career path. Brand reputation is built on perceptions that are matched by the actual experience of engaging with the brand.
  • Leaving on a good note. There will always be a level of churn within your organisation but just because you’re saying goodbye to a current employee doesn’t mean your relationship is over. With a strong connection to your brand, leavers can remain some of your best brand ambassadors – if their exit is dealt with well.

 Monitor and Analyse. Track and analyse all you have implemented to gauge its success. Your employer brand will and should change and develop over time in line with shifting perceptions, along with the shifting needs of your company and its workforce. Test the effectiveness of everything from content to interviewing and onboarding to make sure the story you share connects with your target audiences.

Remember that everyone in the organisation is responsible for your employer brand. Employer brands cannot be forced onto employees; they have to be true and accurate and reflect how your organisation treats its employees. Which means true employee engagement only happens if the brand is embedded into the culture of the organisation, is lived and breathed by everyone and underpinned by a leadership team that leads by example.

As always, if we can assist in any way, please get in touch.


  1. Building a compelling employer brand – Real Staffing
  2. Employer Brand Playbook – LinkedIn
  3. How to Create an Employer Brand in 7 Steps – Synergy
  4. A DIY Guide to Building Your Employer Brand – Jeff Nelson, AGS Ignite, as seen on Allegis Global Solutions
  5. Do You Know What Your Brand Stands For? Does It Keep Its Promise, Each Time, Every Time? – Marque
  6. How Can We Develop an Employer Brand Strategy? – HR in Asia


September 18, 2015
3:24 pm
by Hillary Myburgh

Align Your Consumer and Employer Brands

Align Your Consumer and Employer Brands - Hillary Myburgh

It’s become increasingly clear in recent years that a company’s corporate/consumer brand and its employer brand are indivisible. We can no longer assume that just because potential candidates may identify with a particular brand’s product or service, they will automatically think it will be a great company to work for.

Historically a company’s consumer brand has been the domain of marketing and its employer brand the domain of HR. However, current thinking is that collaboration is key; the same brand messaging that goes out to consumers’ needs to reach both current employees and the company’s talent target market. Companies need to tell one cohesive story. LinkedIn’s Josh Graff puts it this way: “It’s impossible to maintain a worthwhile talent brand unless the experience of actually working for your business matches the promise you put forward. Yet it’s equally impossible to create one without applying the marketing skillset to communicating the essence of your organisation.”

Recent research by LinkedIn and Lippincott shows that getting this right pays off. Utilising LinkedIn’s Talent Brand Index and Lippincott’s BrandView score, the study’s findings clearly show the benefits to a company of building a brand that resonates with both consumers and talent. Companies with strong marks in each showed a five-year cumulative growth in shareholder value of 36%. Companies deficient in both areas showed a decrease of 6% over the same period.

The top four key actions recommended as a result of this study are:

  1. Answer Key Questions. Consistent, inspirational messaging to customers, employees and prospective talent is a critical element of a sustainable brand strategy. Companies must routinely deliver powerful messages against such questions as:
  • Who are we?
  • What do we believe?
  • Why do we come to work every day?
  1. Synchronise Talent Acquisition and Marketing. Align prospect experience with overall brand strategy to ensure the brand is reinforced throughout the talent attraction, hiring and onboarding process.
  • Start at the Top: Your CEO and their team must get behind this consumer and talent brand alignment, and commit to helping promote it.
  • Bring partners to the table: Your talent brand is part HR, part marketing, part communications and it needs everyone’s support.
  • Establish a Brand Task Force: Leverage cross-functional expertise by including them in a brand task force.
  1. Turn Marketing Inward. Address the forgotten audience, employees, through communications and on-brand experiences to create long-term understanding, belief and action in support of your brand.
  • Ensure your executives are on board: Get C-suite support to drive widespread participation.
  • Encourage social participation: Share authentic stories and pictures across a variety of media so your employees (and followers) can repost and drive viral discussion.
  • Educate employees on your brand: The more connected they are to the brand, the better ambassadors they’ll be. Inspire with stories and emotion.
  1. Measure Your Talent Brand. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Track over time as you change your tactics, approach and messaging.
  • Diagnose: Evaluate where you stand relative to competitors and establish targets and objectives for the organisation.
  • Respond: Change strategy, increase investment and take the necessary action to create the talent and employee brand you desire.
  • Measure over time and optimise: Build a tracking system and overall approach to identify what’s working and what’s not.

When your employer and your consumer brand are closely aligned your company develops a more consistent mind-set, resulting in increased engagement. It also attracts talent that is a better culture fit resulting in increased retention.

As always, if we can assist in any way, please get in touch.


  1. The secret sauce of top companies: Aligning your consumer brand and your talent brand – John Marshall and Tim Cummingham, Lippincott; Elizabeth Rosenberg, LinkedIn Talent Solutions
  2. Consumer versus Employer Brand – Universum
  3. How to Tell if Your Employer Brand and Talent Brand Are One and the Same – Josh Tolan, ERE | Recruiting Intelligence
  4. Mission: Brand Alignment – Leif Kolfkat, HR Today


August 13, 2015
10:30 am
by Hillary Myburgh

What Makes a Successful Employer Brand?


Employer branding is relatively new territory: as a concept it only arose in the 1990’s. So, while it’s certainly a hot topic, companies are often confused as to what it means, what it entails and how it differs (or not) from corporate branding. In a nutshell employer branding is the implementation of a targeted, long-term strategy to manage the awareness levels and perceptions that employees, potential employees and related stakeholders have of a particular company. As Dr John Sullivan, an internationally known HR thought-leader, says: “It works by consistently putting forth an image surrounding management and business practices that make your organisation an attractive, ‘good place to work’. A successful employment brand management effort increases both the number and quality of applicants, reduces the turnover rate among top performers, and increases overall workforce productivity.”

The value of investing in your employer brand is clear. Studies by LinkedIn show that a company’s employer brand is twice as likely to drive candidates to consider a job compared to the company brand.

In 2014 Hudson RPO, in connection with HRO Today magazine, commissioned an interview-based survey with key executives at major corporations. This survey considered top talent recruitment and engagement brands in various ‘Best Places to Work’; to discover how they leverage their employment brands for recruiting and employee engagement purposes. They found that the following are the components of highly successful employer brands:

High-level Executive Buy-in. Top brand companies are significantly more likely to have the CEO or President as the most senior sponsor of employer branding activity, along with support and involvement from other key executives and department leaders, beyond the HR department. In order to get the CEO on board, they recommend making the business case for employer branding by talking cost-per-hire and time-to-fill, ensuring your arguments are supported by facts and data.

Defined Stakeholders and Roles. Nearly one-half of top brand companies have defined organisational responsibilities for their employer brands. Companies must be serious about developing and conveying an employer brand that captures the organisation’s value to potential hires. This is more than just an explanation of the company’s strategy, markets and products, although these are important. It’s a valid, thoughtful expression of the corporate culture and work environment. It is the reason why the candidate will want to engage with like-minded individuals in shared pursuits toward specific outcomes. If the organisation lacks an experienced strategist or influencer, it’s advisable to engage someone (internally or externally) who can bring these messages to fruition, as well as unite leaders from HR, talent acquisition, brand, marketing and internal communications (all of whom need to be involved in employer branding).

Defined Strategy and Investment. While eight in 10 organisations cite an employer brand as important, nearly one-half lack a documented employer brand strategy. A business plan can make a real difference. Twice as many top brand companies have a defined and documented strategy and an average budget of 52.1% more than other brands to support their employer brand initiatives.

A Developed Employee Value Proposition (EVP). An organisation’s EVP (the rewards and benefits employees receive in exchange for their performance) is critical to workplace culture, career management and retention. The research shows that top brands are more closely tied to their EVPs.

The Right Communication Channels. In nearly every case, top brand companies leverage their message across all available channels of communication including (but not limited to) the company website, intranet and company conferences; and of course social media (LinkedIn is the most commonly used, along with Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and Blogs). Don’t forget industry associations. 

Employee Brand Ambassadors. Forward-thinking employers ensure employees at all levels can communicate their employer brand; using the company intranet, employee events, email, CEO communications and presentations by senior leaders to promote the brand internally. Perhaps the easiest and most cost effective way to educate employees about the firm’s employee value proposition, is to put the actual EVP statement on the screen savers of all employees’ computers, keeping it top of mind. Another suggestion is to create a digital employer brand document that employees can download from the intranet, linking to employee testimonials and videos on the company website. Give this document to new hires to help get them engaged in their new roles.

Ongoing Measurement of Return on Investment. A troubling finding in the Hudson RPO survey was just how few companies measure ROI, including top brands. Many employer brand managers believe that measuring ROI is too difficult and therefore choose not to make it part of their strategy. Others don’t set targets and therefore don’t know what to measure. Admittedly, tracking true ROI on employer brand activities is difficult because other variables beyond employer brand programmes affect retention and hiring data. There are several ways to measure ROI: employee surveys, time-to-hire metrics, cost-per-hire metrics, and the number of applications per position. However, employer brand success is ultimately gauged by retention rates and how easy it is to put new talent into open positions.

In conclusion, as hiring continues to become more competitive, it will become increasingly crucial for employers to utilise all available tools and strategies to help them be recognised as an employer of choice. A strong employer brand is no longer a nice-to-have but a key factor in their ability to attract right-fit talent.

As always, if we can assist in any way, please get in touch.


  1. The 8 Elements of a Successful Employment Brand – By Dr John Sullivan, Ere Media
  2. Why Your Employer Brand Matters, LinkedIn Hiring Solutions
  3. How to Launch a Successful Employer Brand: Building on the Practices of Top Employer Brand, Hudson RPO


July 10, 2015
1:19 pm
by Hillary Myburgh

Why Employer Branding is More Important Now than Ever



Brand building has been part and parcel of the marketing process for years. However, the term ‘employer branding,’ with it’s focus on a company’s reputation as an employer as opposed to it’s more general corporate brand reputation, only made an appearance in the mid 1990’s. Between 2004 and 2008, in response to the growing war for talent, leading companies began to give just as much focus to employer branding as they did to corporate branding. As Richard Mosley says in CEOs Need to Pay Attention to Employer Branding; “This led to the development of an Employee Value Proposition, which defined the key benefits offered by the company as an employer, and the production of employer brand guidelines, which aimed to bring greater consistency to the company’s recruitment advertising. Employer branding was predominantly outward facing and advertising driven, and fell under Resourcing and HR.”

Not so anymore. Universum’s 2020 Outlook, the Future of Employer Branding found that a significant number of leaders now feel this responsibility lies with the CEO and Marketing, a strong indication that employer branding has gained strategic importance.

Despite almost a decade having passed since the ‘talent gap’, employers are still reporting talent shortages. In a 2015 PWC survey 73% of CEOs report being concerned about the availability of key skills. Long gone are the days of top talent beating a path to our door, nowadays the onus is on earning the best candidates’ attention. It’s clear that a focus on employer branding is more important now than ever before.

Research conducted by LinkedIn’s Hiring Solutions Insights team in March 2012 found that overall corporate brand impacts job consideration, though not as much as you might think. Merely having a good impression of a company’s brand might lead a candidate to think it’s a good place to work, but it does not necessarily translate to genuine job consideration.

A strong employer brand on the other hand, as indicated by an individual having a positive impression of your company as a place to work, is twice as likely to be linked to job consideration as opposed to a strong company brand. This provides a clear case for investment in employer brand, even for companies with well-known overall brands. A strong employer brand is especially critical for attracting more junior employees and candidates from younger demographics.

LinkedIn, in previous research conducted with corporate recruiters, also found that investment in employer brand drives savings in recruitment and retention. Overall, companies with a weaker employer brand report a cost per hire that is almost double that of companies with a strong employer brand. When it comes to attracting talent, a strong employer brand therefore not only increases consideration, it is also a smart business investment.

Additionally, if an organisation has a strong employer brand, especially one that resonates with current employees, it will have a signi­cantly lower turnover rate.

In summary, investing to strengthen your employer brand, if done right, should help increase consideration of your company, lower recruiting costs, and decrease voluntary turnover.

As always, if we can assist in any way, please get in touch.


  1. CEOs Need to Pay Attention to Employer Branding – Richard Mosley, Harvard Business Review
  2. 2020 Outlook, the Future of Employer Branding – Universum
  3. Why Your Employer Brand Matters – LinkedIn


June 9, 2015
10:47 am
by Hillary Myburgh

Talent Attraction: Appealing to Different Audiences


Companies operating globally or wanting to attract employees from different cultures, age groups and job functions need to move beyond a ‘one size fits all’ approach to their Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and their talent branding.

Before we delve deeper here’s a quick review of EVP, according to Brett Minchington, international employer brand strategist and author, ‘Its a set of functional and emotive associations and offerings (e.g. career development, salary, friendly working environment, etc.) provided by an organisation in return for the skills, capabilities and experiences an employee brings to the organisation.’

Whilst there’s been much focus over the past few years on companies developing a single EVP, the trend is towards organisations developing segmented (or subsets of the global EVP statement) EVP’s which are relevant to the various segments within the business. While you should leverage core messaging across all job types, it’s important to recognise that different candidates have different motivators. Just as marketers target different customers for different products, companies need to target different segments for different roles and will require different messaging for these segments. For example the EVP for a graduate hire may be focused on career development, friendly work environment and opportunities to grow with the business; whereas an experience hire may be seeking an employment experience which offers high salary, work flexibility and the opportunity to work with thought leaders. Engineers may want to hear about what they’re going to build, and the advanced technology they’ll learn about and use, while sales people may want to land big deals and earn large commissions.

A sound approach is to develop a set of core EVP statements and then, aligned with the needs of each target audience, define which should be stressed for each market. Create job-specific sourcing profiles that include the specific recruitment messaging that will appeal to your target candidates. This will help you get passive candidates interested by articulating “what’s in it for me?” in a more tailored way.

The key is gathering detailed candidate and employee insights through research. A sound EVP strategy must begin with understanding the needs of the different target groups. Market intelligence is critical and should be the foundation of your branding strategy. You need a deep understanding of what motivates workers in each of your markets and critical talent segments and insight into what competing employers are doing to win talent.

Lastly, to be successful the EVP must be credible which is why it must always be tested. The purpose of testing is to ensure that all categories of current and potential employees find it appealing. Testing also tells you which elements of the EVP need to be ‘turned up’ or ‘turned down’ to appeal to different groups. Testing should take place with both internal and external employees.

As always, if we can assist in any way, please get in touch.

Other articles in this series

Employee Value Proposition: the Backbone of Your Employer Brand

Your Employer Brand: Essential for Candidate Attraction

Aligning Talent Attraction to Business Objectives

Talent Attraction is More Important than Ever


Your most important employer brand asset – Your EVP! Brett Minchington


May 13, 2015
11:22 am
by Hillary Myburgh

Employee Value Proposition: the Backbone of Your Employer Brand


A strong employer brand that helps you create competitive advantage in the talent market begins with a well defined Employee Value Proposition (EVP). The two terms are often confused so let’s begin with a simple explanation for each:

  • Employer brand is the impression candidates have of a company and what it would be like to work for that company.
  • The employee value proposition defines the full array of elements a company delivers to employees in return for the contribution they make to the organisation. It’s a deliberate construct of the underlying “offer” on which the organisation’s employer brand is based.

According to research by the Corporate Leadership Council, a well thought through and executed EVP can:

  • Improve the commitment of new hires by up to 29%.
  • Reduce new hire compensation premiums by up to 50%.
  • Increase the likelihood of employees acting as advocates from an average of 24% to 47%.

However, the value of an EVP goes way beyond cost and time savings, it also:

  • Helps you attract and retain talent you might otherwise lose to organisations with more attractive EVPs;
  • Helps you appeal to people in different markets and tough-to-hire talent groups;
  • Helps you re-engage a disenchanted workforce;
  • Helps you understand what your HR priorities should be; and
  • Helps you gain a reputation as a great place to work.

The EVP encompasses both reward elements and intangible benefits, such as:

  • Various forms of pay and benefits;
  • Learning and development programmes;
  • Flexible work arrangements;
  • Wellness programmes;
  • The offer of challenging and meaningful work;
  • The opportunity for personal achievement;
  • An appealing organisational culture;
  • A sense of purpose; and
  • A pride-inducing set of workplace values.

Whether formally defined or not, all companies have an EVP, albeit often unconsciously. Organisations typically fall into one of four stages on a value proposition evolutionary scale:

Stage 1 – Tactical: Roughly one third of organisations have made little progress in defining the coherent set of factors that make up the value proposition to employees and candidates. They certainly provide rewards and have cultures, but employees are on their own to understand and interpret them.

Stage 2 – Integrated: These organisations have established a formal EVP and typically have stated objectives for each reward and talent management programmme with key connections amongst them (e.g., clear links between competencies, hiring processes, learning programmes, career paths and compensation bands).

Stage 3 – Communicating and Delivering: Third-stage organisations have gone further by cogently communicating the EVP to employees and delivering consistently on their EVP promises. In effect, they’ve established an internal brand.

Stage 4 – Segmenting and Differentiating: Stage 4 organisations have differentiated their EVPs from those of their talent market competitors and are more likely to measure the effectiveness of their rewards programmes. They view their employee brands as strong and, in some important way, uniquely attractive. This advantage comes from the way they respect the order of the phrase employee value proposition. They start by understanding the employee, then define and deliver rewards that have true value, and then convey a clear and compelling why-you-should-care proposition to the target audiences.

There are many ways an organisation can approach developing an EVP, but most fall into these four key steps:

Step 1. Review and dissect your data. This might include employee engagement, onboarding or exit surveys and recruitment and retention metrics. Analyse all data by key employee populations to identify trends and key themes. Remember to look beyond the top line numbers; the real insights come from the verbatim comments of employees that provide context to the numbers.

Step 2. Discover and dive deeper. This step should include interviews with key stakeholders including senior management, HR, marketing and most importantly existing and target employees. External customer value propositions are often based on a “tell” approach, where a brand will define what it wants to stand for and then use marketing channels to deliver this brand promise. However, an EVP is an employee-centric approach informed by existing employees.

Step 3. Develop your EVP. Based on the research and insights from steps one and two; craft your value proposition as a simple overarching statement. This will become the essence of your employee experience and employer brand commitment. Clarify key areas of focus to support your EVP, such as career development, work-life balance or CSR. Remember to keep these areas focused and don’t try to be all things to all people. Test your EVP against your HR strategy. If your EVP does not support your HR strategy you need to revise it.

Step 4. Deliver your message. Implement your EVP across the employee experience from your recruitment processes, through to onboarding, career development and even through the exit stage. Build in methods to measure the EVP, this will help you demonstrate the value of the EVP, return on investment and financial benefits to the organisation.

As always, if we can assist in any way, please get in touch.


  1. What’s the difference between the Employee Value Proposition and the Employment Brand? – Kennedy Communications Global
  2. Employee Value Proposition – Talent Smoothie
  3. Employer Branding – ICMA Group
  4. The 4 Stages of the Employee Value Proposition – TLNT


April 16, 2015
10:48 am
by Hillary Myburgh

Your Employer Brand: Essential for Candidate Attraction

HM-employer-branding-april-2015Your employer brand is the impression candidates have of your company and what it would be like to work for you. It’s generally considered an extension of your company culture, which has become a critical differentiating tool for attracting the best employees. A full 87% of respondents in a recent survey said they want to join a company that ‘truly cares about the well-being of its employees.’  Only 66% rated a high base salary as important.

There’s no question we all care about attracting quality candidates to work for our companies so why do we, all too often, spend so little time on employer branding? As leaders, we need to get as savvy about promoting our employer brand to attract top talent, as we are about positioning our corporate brand to attract new business.

Creating a great culture; and an employer brand as an extension of that; really matters. To start with, these are questions all leaders should know the answer to:

  1. Why would someone want to work for you?
  2. What roles within your company are most critical to your success and what do you need to do to attract and retain the best talent in these areas?
  3. What percentage of your managers have received training in how to deliver the brand experience?
  4. What is the perception employees and candidates have about your employer brand?
  5. What percentage of your employees would recommend your company as a great place to work?

Knowledge is power. If in answering the above questions you find areas of your culture that are less than desirable, address them. Go about creating a culture people will want to be part of. Universal characteristics of attractive brands include the following:

  • A culture that practices its values
  • A culture of appreciation and gratitude
  • A culture that is functional and communicative

Once you have a clear idea of what your culture really looks like, design your recruitment strategy to reflect it: fun and relaxed or serious, fast-paced and ambitious. Make sure your corporate website and social media pages do a fantastic job of representing your culture and that anyone who represents your brand to potential employees understands your culture and is a good ambassador for it.

Invest in your current employees. It’s crucial that all you claim as an employer brand is true and accurate; only then will all employees ‘live’ the brand, and demonstrate it’s desired behaviours, beliefs and culture. Everyone in the organisation is responsible for your employer brand, not just HR and marketing.

Try and see your company and all its touch-points (including your interviewing, hiring and onboarding processes) through the eyes of the applicant. Are you standing out head and shoulders above your competition as a great company to work for? This kind of strong employer brand offers significant benefits:

  • Improves application rates
  • Deepens and widens your talent pool
  • Keeps you top of mind (a great advantage in this age of fierce competition for talent)
  • Increased employee engagement and motivation leading to greater productivity and higher retention rates.

Ensure that the creation of a strong culture and a strong employment brand is an ongoing effort that is ingrained into how you do business.

As always, if we can assist in any way, please get in touch.


  1. Building a Compelling Employer Brand: Real Staffing
  2. Your Employer Brand Owns the Candidate Experience: Meghan M. Biro, Forbes Magazine
  3. How Does your Talent Brand Affect Talent Attraction? Laua-Jane Skarkodee, Find the Edge
  4. 15 Employer Branding Best Practices You Need to Know, Brett Minchington, ere.net
  5. What is Your Employer Brand Saying Behind Your Back? Darcy Jacobson, Globoforce


March 2, 2015
9:01 am
by Hillary Myburgh

Aligning Talent Attraction to Business Objectives

HM-aligning-talent-and-strategy-march-2015The most successful companies pinpoint critical success factors for their business and plan their workforce around these core objectives. Line managers identify how their department can contribute to achieving the larger corporate goals and then identify the roles and competencies required. This approach to talent management allows companies to identify which skills they need more of now, which they’re likely to need in the future, and how they address and rectify any gaps. It also allows organisations to plan adequately for talent attraction in a market where power is returning to the job seeker.

Once you have your business strategy locked down begin by looking at the key skills required to ensure business objectives are continuously met. Be sure to regularly review them – your company and industry will evolve and so will the skills required. You don’t want to be hiring ‘key’ people only to see their expertise become redundant within a matter of months. Next, do a skills gap analysis to show where you are exposed. Identifying those gaps early will help your talent acquisition team map the market to determine where that talent currently sits, how big a potential candidate pool there is and where the potential obstacles might arise, e.g. location. At the same time, develop an internal mobility and succession plan to ensure good people are being utilised optimally. Consider the current make up of your workforce: level, length of service, skill set, diversity metrics, potential, performance, ambition. This is not only a great motivator for existing key people but also acts as a retention tool. And then, plan for attrition. By forecasting future leavers it helps leaders plan accordingly for any skills gaps and back-fill appropriately, and in good time. 

These are some of the questions to ask during the alignment of talent development to strategic objectives:

  • What business goals and strategies are we pursuing?
  • What will these changes mean for our talent requirements?
  • What skills and competencies will be required to execute on our goals and strategies?
  • Are there any external changes likely to impact our organisation?
  • What are additional internal drivers (such as retirement, redundancies or skills shortages)?
  • Who do we currently have on board that fits this profile?
  • Can we grow some of our existing talent to support our strategy?
  • Do we need to recruit from outside?
  • What will the selected leaders collectively and individually need to support their growth and ongoing development?
  • Does every employee understand how their job function contributes to business success?
  • Do we continuously work to identify developmental opportunities for our staff?
  • Has our leadership team integrated workforce planning into their daily activities?
  • Do we link workforce planning strengths to the performance of individual managers?

Talent acquisition needs to be viewed as strategic rather than operational. It’s essential, therefore, that your talent acquisition team has strategic strength and really understands your business and your objectives. If they do, they can be creative in developing and implementing a variety of sourcing plans defined by the variable parameters that matter most, for example:

 Business critical needs

  • Candidate demand. To secure highly sought-after individuals takes a creative sourcing and attraction strategy and a winning ‘value proposition’.
  • Passive versus active candidates. Most companies still mistakenly see both groups as one and the same. Understanding the different hiring methods for each group is crucial.
  • Utilisation of relevant media channels. The use of media depends on who you are trying to attract.
  • Creating a winning value proposition. Interesting but challenging projects, merit-based career progression and flexible working are just some of the key criteria expected by candidates today.

As always, if we can assist in any way, please get in touch.


  1.  How to Design and Implement Talent Acquisition Strategies to Meet Corporate Goals – Tom Bradley and Christian Steele
  2. Talent Planning and Attraction – Adecco
  3. Do Your People Strategies Mirror Your Business Strategies? – Rick Brandt, Ph.D., President, TalentQuest Consulting Services
  4. How to Align Talent Management with Business Strategies – Dr. Anton Franckeiss (article as seen on hrzone.com)