Improving employer branding is not about having a daycare centre

Arne Van Damme

COO at intuo

Here’s the bad news: You cannot become a place people will die to work for overnight. Creating a successful employer brand is not about having ping pong tables or even flexible working hours. It’s about creating a community, it’s about making people feel like they’re part of something unique and they should be thankful for being able to work there. So let’s go over how you can change your workplace into one that’s attractive.

How to create an attractive workplace

  1. Define a purpose

    The most obvious and easy to implement tool to create a community is a mutual goal, a mutual purpose. It’s been explained at length by Simon Sinek in his video. But even without watching the video, you can conclude intuitively that having a mutual goal bonds groups of people, just like having a mutual fear or enemy (the less optimal way of bonding). On top of that, in a global survey conducted by EY with almost 500 executives, results showed that at least 80% of business leaders believed purpose had a positive impact on employee engagement, product/service quality and customer engagement. So what are you waiting for?

  2. Mix employee and customer communities

    Without you knowing of it, there’s probably already some sort of customer gathering (even if only through word of mouth) around your products or services. Try to capture that through all of the available online channels, events, regular printed newsletters or even stickers. Make sure that whoever wants to like your company, gets all the tools possible to like it. But here comes the real clue, whatever you do in customer communities, involve the employees. Don’t make it about marketing. Make it about them. Have your employees write blog-posts or videos about their experience at the customer, not with the aim of building a better employer brand (that’s really un-authentic), but with the aim of building a stronger community. After all, the Harley Davidson owner club (something that saved the company more than 30 years ago from Japanese competitors) was built by employees of the company on their own initiative.

  3. Create exclusivity

    First of all, be sure to label it as a community. The whatever-your-product-is-called club. Think about it so it becomes something people will want to be a part of. Consider the fact that there are countless staffing/consulting companies out there. Why would they want to work for yours?After that, make it a little exclusive. BMW even has their own Yachting club, for example. Doesn’t that sound exclusive? Now make sure that employees feel like, just by working for your company, they feel like they’ve bypassed that exclusivity somehow.

  4. Create an alumni network

    Don’t just forget about people when they walk out the door. Keep on involving them by creating an alumni community (that involves employees as well). Create an air of beau-monde around it and have them show up at the bi-yearly events you organise. But don’t stop there, let them actually enjoy the network or status and give them something in return for showing up and keeping the network alive. Something like access to knowledge or access to your network.

  5. Fix your current culture

  6. If people are not happy working in your current culture I have bad news for you. They probably won’t be talking about how cool it is to work for your company. And like it or not, they are the most important leverage you have in the labour market. They are the ones that will create a buzz with like-minded people (they probably know a lot of people with similar skillsets through education, networking or previous work experiences) and when they are present at their customers. So if your current culture isn’t on point, that should be your first priority. Measure what’s wrong, and use other articles on this blog to improve step by step.

First published on Arne's Medium account.