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Building blocks to create a strong employer brand

One of the biggest challenges to growth for UK fintechs is the ability to hire the right people at speed. And, in the current job market, with a high number of vacancies and increased competition for candidates, the pressure is on.

While the fintech sector is desirable for jobseekers, with good salaries, interesting and challenging roles, companies still have to go above and beyond to differentiate themselves.

Building a strong employer brand and positive reputation is a crucial differentiator and attractor. For PR teams, working on employer branding is an interesting challenge, with opportunities to try new tactics and ideas, as well as collaborating across the business.

In this article, we will take you through the building blocks for creating a great employer brand.

1. Create your Employer Value Proposition

An Employer Value Proposition (EVP) is the foundation for your employer brand. It should be a short document that encapsulates the value the business offers to its employees. It will be the basis for all of your messaging and future content.

To define the EVP you will need to work closely with your HR/People team, as well as gathering input from people across the company - make sure you consult people of varying levels of seniority and in a variety of departments for their input.

Ask yourself and others questions like: what are the employee benefits offered?; how would you define the business’s culture?; how do people collaborate and work together as a team?; how does the business support a healthy work-life balance?; what’s the company’s approach to flexible working?; how can people progress in their roles?; how are people challenged?; is the company contributing something positive to society?; are there opportunities to have a full career in the business?

Bring all this together to succinctly outline why your company is a great place to work and why others should join.

2. Define your key messages

Once you have your EVP you have a good basis for your key messages.

As with other messaging processes, building a message house is the best way to visualise what you want to say and ensure you have proof points for each message.

Your overarching message is really important here - this is your elevator pitch and something you will want your spokespeople to use in all their interactions.

It’s tempting to try to shoe-horn too many aspects of your EVP into the overarching message. You need to be succinct, so identify the one or two areas where you offer something different or superior than your competitors.

For example, your overarching message could be: [X company] is a pioneer in [x industry], making life easier for [x audience], while creating a workplace where employees can flourish in their personal and professional lives.

Keep in mind that when it comes to employer branding, you will likely be expanding your pool of spokespeople and asking people across the business to be advocates. Your messages need to be simple, succinct and easily repeatable.

3. Identify employee advocates

No one can talk more authentically about how brilliant it is to work for the company than the team itself.

An army of employee advocates across the business, who can be deployed to get your message out across multiple channels, will help give you authenticity, variety and access to new audiences.

Here are some pointers to help you gather a great group of advocates:

  • Find passionate people happy in their role and at the company

  • Understand which geographical and departmental areas you are struggling to hire in - people from these areas will help you access the right audience

  • Look for any influencers you may have - you might find you have people who are well connected in their area of expertise

  • Identify people who are comfortable with public speaking/being a face of the business

  • Make sure you represent the diversity of people you have within your business

When you have your pool of advocates, make sure you spend time with them to ensure they understand the messaging and that they tell you how they would like to help. You can then give them clear guidance on how you will utilise them in your employer branding strategy.

4. Encourage the adoption of bold or differentiating policies

An effective way to differentiate yourself as an employer is by having employee benefits, policies and initiatives that go above and beyond, and that are different and more appealing than those of your competitors.

This could be anything from offering unlimited holiday, time off to volunteer, an exchange programme to international offices or into different parts of the business, sabbatical leave, fitness and wellness programmes etc.

In addition to this, with a growing trend in employees wanting to work for a company that contributes positively to society and the world, publicly supporting causes that mean something to the business, and the team, is important in attracting new people.

Asking employees to suggest and vote on initiatives to support will help to ensure this is an authentic act. It could be anything from supporting a charity with donations and/or volunteering time and expertise, to undertaking sustainability initiatives.

While you may not be able to push through groundbreaking initiatives, giving some gentle encouragement and offering up ideas may eventually lead to some great initiatives.

5. Diversify your channel mix

Employer branding is a good opportunity to try different channels and tactics that you may not have previously. Don’t be afraid to be a little experimental, test different channels to understand which are the most effective.

Visual content, including video and image, as well as podcasts and filmed interviews that bring the company to life are really important, with face-to-face interactions with your employee advocates proving to be invaluable.

On top of video content that can be shared across your own channels, events are a key channel to explore for your employer branding. Events of varying sizes can help you to interact with, and make an impression on your key audiences. Selecting large conferences focussed on areas you’re specifically looking to hire in can help you to get in front of a large group of potential candidates, either as a sponsor or as a speaker.

A top tip for larger events is to have an army of employee advocates in attendance - it’s great for their development and they can spread the word that you are hiring and give first hand insights into the business.

You can also look at hosting your own, smaller events. Meetups that offer a talk from an expert speaker, plus free food and drink can really help you to make a connection with people. These work particularly well for the tech sector.

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