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a better
MSL Building a better employer brand 02

How evolving your employer

brand will attract the best talent
and build employee loyalty
Brilliant businesses are built from to find the right formula with which
the inside out. Employees unlock to address their talent challenges,
commercial success, make or break both internal and external.
reputations and generate powerful MORE IMPORTANTLY,
advocacy, from the bottom of Building and evolving a strong PERHAPS, DO YOU
an organisation to the top. Yet, employer brand, rooted in a strong UNDERSTAND THEIR
attracting talent has never been culture, is essential for building MOTIVATIONS AND
more difficult. Digital, diversity, a strong organisation. Every THEIR VALUES?”
the rise of the gig economy, an employer is unique, but the issues
increased shift to contract work most are facing right now share
and a need to attract multi- some common threads.
generational audiences all make
for a highly challenging talent
attraction environment.

The landscape has changed

significantly in recent years. Soft
skills have become the new hard
skills and lifelong learning is crucial
for careers in a world dominated
by rapid, constant technological
disruption. Workers who have
stepped up to the challenge of
doing ‘more with less’ over the
last few years are craving greater
flexibility from their careers,
while demanding an inclusive
and authentic culture in which
to flourish. They are also seeking
reassurance that the purpose and
values of the organisations they
work for fit with their own. To
complicate matters further, the
regulatory environment in the UK
is fuelling confusion on matters The 2017 World Economic
ranging from the apprenticeship Forum Global Shapers Survey
found that over 40% of young
levy, our post-Brexit economic
people think sense of purpose/
direction and the future of impact on society is one of the
international recruitment. It’s no most important criteria when
wonder employers are struggling considering a career opportunity.
MSL Building a better employer brand 03

Five key steps for building

a stronger employer brand

DEFINE YOUR AUDIENCE face it, not everyone will want to

work for you – and that’s fine. You
Do you really know who you are don’t have to be all things to all
trying to reach? Do you know people. Try instead to celebrate
how they consume information, the positive elements of your
or what excites them? More culture, while taking on board
importantly, perhaps, do you feedback about how you can
understand their motivations and improve it, so that you can become
their values? All of these things a more attractive employer and
are critical for success in employer a better performing business.
branding, whether you are looking
at current or future employees. It’s important to take a considered
approach to defining your
The work we do at MSL is based company’s culture. Traditional
around detailed, scientific insight, face-to-face meetings and
in which we aim to define the surveys should be backed up with
personae of your employees and innovative and engaging digital
your future hires. It isn’t enough to forums and workshops, to build a
simply say “we want to hire more clear, quantitative and qualitative
contractors/females/ethnically picture of what your employees and
diverse candidates” – you need to external audiences think of your
have a clear view of who they really organisation’s culture - and where
are and how to build trust with they think it could be improved.
More Google than Gringotts them. For that, you need to know From this, you can start to build an
Lloyds Banking Group wanted to how to get a message to them, and employer brand roadmap, which
attract top digital talent to continue although traditional advertising starts with today, builds in your
transforming for success in a digital can support a wider campaign, aspirations about where you want
world. But how could a 250-year-
success in today’s world requires to get to and focuses the messages
old high street bank compete with
tech giants for the attention of this
laser-targeting the right people, on the defined audiences.
highly skilled and sought-after talent building a conversation with them
pool? MSL created an online hub and convincing them that your
to showcase the Group’s exciting organisation shares their values.
digital projects and the great
entrepreneurial culture within its CONCENTRATE
digital teams. We then built a robust,
targeted campaign to distribute and
amplify the content from the hub
All organisations have their own
across social media using paid and
influencer strategies. The campaign
distinct culture, and understanding
resulted in 23,000 visitors to the your own culture is the vital first
dedicated careers site, 5000 job step in building a great employer CULTURE IS SIMPLY
applications and 30% of applicants brand. This process demands A SHARED WAY OF
mentioning the content as part of honesty and openness. In an
their application.
age of Glassdoor, questionable WITH A PASSION.”
See how we transformed Lloyds
consumer review sites and fake
Banking Group’s employer brand here
news, authenticity is key. Let’s Brian Chesky,
Co-Founder, CEO, Airbnb
MSL Building a better employer brand 04

SHIFT FROM DIVERSITY new joiners a sense of culture,

Employees quitting their jobs TO INCLUSION and its alignment or misalignment
because of poor company culture with their values, is apparent
costs the UK economy £23.6 billion Diversity is an initiative; inclusion from day one, or even earlier.
per year, according to research by is cultural. Taking an audience-led
breatheHR. The Culture Economy
Effective employer branding
approach enables employers not enables organisations who have
report found that a third (34%) of
British employees have quit their just to attract people from diverse understood their audiences and
jobs as a result of dissatisfaction backgrounds, but crucially helps their individual cultures to identify
with their company’s culture. And them build the instinctively inclusive what needs to change in order
yet culture is still not seen as a pri- cultures that breed success in to achieve true inclusion, where
ority in many small businesses, with
our diverse world. Sometimes, people of every class, colour,
the report finding that more than
half (60%) of SME leaders feel a
the audiences you need to race, religion, sexual preference,
strong culture is a ‘nice to have’. target have limited recognition gender and ability are valued
of your brand, or even mistrust it. equally and have an equal voice.
The report also revealed the Nevertheless, if you want to be truly
benefits of positive workplace diverse, you need to begin with BUILD YOUR BRAND
cultures, including improved morale
and relationships (cited by 44% of
an understanding of the mindset FROM THE INSIDE-OUT
employees surveyed), better cus- and the culture of the people you
want to attract and engage. How do you bring all this together
tomer service and satisfaction (list-
ed by 43%), and reduced employee in a coherent way to inspire,
turnover (35% cited). Let’s not forget that culture informs engage and attract talent? It’s all
the way people think and behave, about using the most authentic
as a result of their values. It’s the voices to speak on your behalf.
same with organisations, and for That’s to say, your employees.
MSL Building a better employer brand 05

Sheryl Sandberg
COO, Facebook

Influencers are often used to

help with communicating with a
particular audience, but however
useful an influencer might be,
they seldom come close to the
impact your employees can have
on your audiences. These are
the people who live your culture
day-to-day, who know the good
– and the not-so-good – things
about working for you, and can
share real stories about their
experiences. It’s all about giving
your employees an authentic,
honest and at times quite raw voice,
in order to convince people that
they are actually hearing about
the reality of an organisation.

Values and behaviours – the hearts – along with clicks, likes and
building blocks of culture – are shares. We created a Little Stories,
Little Stories, Big Difference
crucial here, and the best way for Big Difference hub on the corporate
In an age where consumers find
your employees to demonstrate website, where people could watch
it hard to trust big corporations, their colleagues play a starring role.
these is through story-telling. Sainsbury’s wanted to demonstrate The success of the Little Stories
Essential to this is the sourcing of commitment to its corporate values campaign led Sainsbury’s to com-
insightful, genuinely interesting in a fun, approachable way. MSL’s mission MSL to create new ‘Cor-
and culturally representative challenge was to showcase how porate Responsibility Walls’, large
stories, told through the Sainsbury’s employees live and format in-store advertising telling
breathe the company’s ethos. We values stories direct to consumers
mouths of the employees who
created and directed 42 short films across the Sainsbury’s estate.
experienced them. No scripts, with Sainsbury’s staff as the stars
no prompts, no marketing spiel. and ambassadors of the five corpo-
Just the plain and simple truth. rate values. Every story captivated
MSL Building a better employer brand 06

GET THE MESSAGE We are already evolving the It is a fascinating and thrilling time
OUT THERE conversation between job-seekers, to be involved in the employer
employees and employers, and branding space, and we will
So, you know your audiences, delivering a new narrative of continue to be at the forefront
you’ve defined your culture reality, openness, humility and of what is possible, challenging
today and looked at where it needs vulnerability. In the not too distant our clients to be better, to look
to be tomorrow, you’re committed future we predict that people will inwards to find the extraordinary
to inclusion and your employees are crave safe digital spaces in which stories that represent their culture
happy to tell their stories. All you they can investigate and ask and to celebrate the values
need now is to get the message questions of an employer, testing and behaviours of their unique
seen and heard, both externally the values and behaviours of each people. If you’d like to know more,
for job seekers and internally for organisation in a more personal, please get in touch. You’ll see
those all important employees. interactive way. We see the battle we practice what we preach.
to engage the best talent being
The last of the five core
fought principally on culture –
components of building a
organisations that refuse to shift
strong employee brand is defining
from their traditional approaches
a channel strategy that touches
will rapidly become irrelevant.
all of your audiences, serving
them with content that stimulates
and engages them in a medium
which they trust and with which
they regularly interact. Cultural
insights help to determine which
channels will work best while a
deep analytics capability will enable
you to flex your campaigns, your
messaging and your content in real-
time to ensure that your approach
sparks a real conversation between
your audience and your brand.

OK, so we said five steps but the
reality is that employer branding is a
continuous process that will evolve
with your organisation. The need
for authenticity will only increase in
the coming years. As is so often the
case with human endeavour, while
social media was intended as a force
for connection and positivity, it has
also become a source of division
and mistrust. Utterly ubiquitous,
24/7 advertising is also proving
to be a turn-off for many people.
Frankly, we only have so much
capacity for being sold to, and
employer branding must become a
welcome and powerful alternative
in the short to medium term.
We’d love to talk
to you about your
employer branding.

Contact Claire Hutchings,

Head of Marketing at MSL
and join the conversation.
+44 (0)20 3219 8700