Spoon Academy interviews Shelley Hoppe, an employer branding expert and CEO at London-based agency Southerly, about building a credible employer ...

How to succeed with employer branding

Spoon Academy interviews Shelley Hoppe, an employer branding expert and CEO at London-based agency Southerly, a Spoon company about building a credible employer brand and attracting the right talent for your company. 

Two weeks ago, we interviewed Anna Dyhre on the importance of investing in your employer brand. A strong employer brand benefits both the business and its employees. Everybody wins.

In this article, Shelley Hoppe shares her tips and expertise from her many years of working with employer branding. She has for example worked with large global brands, such as Shell. In this interview, Shelley gives her perspective on the topic.

What exactly is employer branding and why does it matter?

“The challenge of finding the right employees is similar to finding the right customers. In both cases you have to communicate your brand values, personality and expertise to show why you’re worthy of their time and attention,” says Shelley Hoppe, CEO at Southerly.

She points out that the modern candidate is knowledgeable, savvy and looking for the right opportunity in an environment that supports their personal goals and ambitions. Employer branding is thus a powerful way for companies to demonstrate what they can offer employees.

Content obviously plays an essential role in building a credible employer brand.

“The right careers content can highlight your company culture, leverage employee engagement and create a positive impression among both active and passive candidates,” Shelley says.        

How do you share your employer brand with the world?

“We share our employer brand through our website, our social media channels and (unsurprisingly) through our people. Employees who are also brand ambassadors are the best way to show that you truly are a great place to work – as who is more believable than your current employees?” Shelley explains.

Furthermore, your consumer and employer brand need to be aligned with each other. Today’s consumers want to know where they buy their products and services from. A strong employer brand has a positive impact on the consumer brand as a whole, and it will likely lead to more sales.

What can you do to monitor and evaluate your employer brand?

Shelley recommends all the usual measurements – i.e., monitor website traffic to your careers pages and engagement with your careers messages on your social media channels.

In addition, there are detailed, targeted employer brand research reports you can buy from Universum, for example, and research companies like Ipsus Mori to see how you are perceived alongside other competitors in your industry.

“All of these supply valuable insights, but don’t underestimate the value in asking your existing staff why they love working for you, plus you can and should also ask your successful and unsuccessful candidates for feedback on the experience of interacting with your recruitment process,” Shelley says.

What are some of the most common mistakes when it comes to employer branding?

“In my opinion, the worst thing you can do is try to pretend you are something you are not. For example, if you offer a structured, target-driven environment, don’t pretend you’re a fun and creative place to work. You’ll attract the wrong people and you won’t be able to retain them,” Shelley warns.

Striving to increase the number of applicants you get in isn’t the answer to all your recruitment problems, either.

“More is not better – rather focus on quality and not quantity! It’s much better to have fewer applicants, but ones with the right skills who would thrive in your work environment,” she says.

Can you share a great example of employer branding done effectively?

“While I’m not much of a fast food eater, I really admire McDonald’s as an employer brand – they do an absolutely brilliant job of communicating really clearly what a career with them means and why it’s a great opportunity for the right people. They are honest, the messages are completely appropriate for the target audience and I think you really get a sense of who they are,” Shelley says.

Towards a successful employer brand

It’s becoming more important for companies to build strong and credible employer brands. Part of the reason is that internal and external communication are merging. Your employees are your greatest business asset. What would a strong employer brand mean for your company?

Download Spoon’s guide to employer branding