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Want to make your employer brand fly? Be more Bill… 

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Want to make your employer brand fly? Be more Bill… 

You know the story.

In 1962, during a visit to the NASA Space Center, President John F. Kennedy noticed a janitor carrying a broom (or was it a mop?). He interrupted his tour, walked over to the man and said, ‘Hi, I’m Jack Kennedy. What are you doing?’

‘Well, Mr. President,’ replied the janitor, ‘I’m helping put a man on the moon.’

Now, it’s unclear whether the name of that janitor was ever reported. So we’ll call him Bill.

Bill wasn’t just cleaning a building.

Bill was contributing to the fundamental purpose of his employer. He knew that NASA was his place to be.

Put yourself – or any one of the employees who work at your organisation – in Bill’s shoes. Can you honestly say the same thing…?

Engaging and motivating employees like Bill is where it all begins

We’d like to think that outside of work, Bill said good things about his employer, telling the people he met that he was proud to work at NASA. These days, Bill would be called a great brand advocate. It may have been nearly 50 years ago, but Bill’s experience of employment was clearly a positive one. It seems likely that NASA had taken at least some steps towards building a strong and positive employer brand, designed to attract committed and engaged people, just like Bill.

This is where you come in…

Along with marketing, HR and sales, your role as an internal communicator is a crucial one when it comes to building and supporting your own organisation’s employer brand. Because of the unique position you hold, you have the ability to harness the experiences of people like Bill and make sure those experiences are presented to the world.

To help build an exceptional employer brand, consider working on the following approaches:

Be clear about your organisation’s ‘reason for being’

Your organisation’s purpose is at the heart of everything it stands for. And it’s hugely important to promote the ‘why’, the ‘how’ and the ‘what’ of that purpose to those external to it. One statement worth remembering is from Simon Sinek’s much-viewed TED talk: ‘People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it’. So, make sure you communicate ‘why’ first, and follow it up with ‘how’ and ‘what’. Whether it’s encouraging collaboration, highlighting a silo-free work environment or empowerment through knowledge / skills sharing, you’ll be doing even more great work towards transparency, honesty and getting your organisation’s profile up in lights.

NASA states that, ‘Our work is more than just a profession—it’s a lifelong pursuit, a passion—and a chance to change the history of humanity.’

Bill was clearly on board with that ambition.

Bring your values to life

Safety, integrity, teamwork, excellence – they’re NASA’s core values and they’re evident in all that they do. What are yours? Do they feature highly enough to be remembered and respected by all? Make sure that your core values are weaved through communications at every opportunity – throughout recruitment and onboarding activities and through the campaigns you create. And ensure that employees are recognised and rewarded when those values are seen to be demonstrated.

Become a story hoarder

Imagine the stories that Bill could tell! There’s no better way to connect with others than through authentic, personal stories. As an internal communicator, you have conversations every day and this presents a ripe opportunity to gather rich and honest moments directly from employees.

Hoard these magical stories somewhere safe so they’re ready to be used when needed. Be the place they come when a human tale needs telling.

Promote your CSR and responsible business activities

Keep close to your ethics programmes and policies, role model quality standards and promote ethical behaviours. Make them part of everyday conversation and a priority for local managers to uphold, coaching them on the correct standards and values that present your organisation as a responsible, ethical and sustainable one, both inside and out.

Commit to a culture of continuous improvement

If you don’t look up every now and then, how do you know what’s really going on? Taking regular ‘pulse checks’ is one way of discovering real-time thoughts and opinions from across the organisation. It could be a quick two minute anonymous survey, or an open forum (you’ll know what works best for your organisation). Whichever way you construct it, it’s a great way of ensuring everyone has an opportunity to share their feelings. And the success of these pulse checks / forums will help towards a key part of any organisation’s healthy future: continuous improvement.

Implementing positive changes where needed is a signal to potential employees that their feedback will be listened to and considered. And that they would indeed be working for an organisation that doesn’t have complacency as part of its DNA…

Build brand advocacy

As well as thinking about your existing followers you should also be talking to the people who are yet to follow you and who are keeping an eye on what your organisation is doing from a distance.

So, make sure you celebrate and circulate ‘good news stories’, afford employees the freedom to shout about achievements as a business, welcome new joiners, promote your latest charity day and smile for the Instagram camera at colleague engagement events. You’ll come across as a friendly, welcoming and collaborative organisation while demonstrating that your employees are part of an ongoing conversation.

Bill might not have had Facebook at his fingertips, but he’d probably have something inspiring to share in his own way.

Keep your promises

There’s nothing worse in an organisation than broken trust, and one sure fire way to do this is by not delivering on your promises. Whether it’s weekly fruit deliveries or regularly scheduled meetings with your line manager, not doing what you said you would can create an air of mistrust. And that’s not good internally or externally.

Be more Bill

It’s important to remember that an organisation can’t just stop being attractive to an employee the minute they sit at their new desk, or that a recruitment ad stretches the truth for potential talent. Working for any organisation is a relationship; it requires consideration, honesty, and above all, good communication. And that’s the bit you’re best at.

Aspire to be at the top of your game. Be more Bill.

Talk to us

Making your employer brand game strong isn’t something that happens overnight. If you think you could benefit from advice or support with it, get in touch with us today. We’re more than happy to help get you on the right path and help make your organisation an even greater place to be.

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