Start with Purpose
Attracting the right talent is essential for any company. In today’s employment market, those companies that can demonstrate a sense of belonging through shared purpose will draw in far more prospective candidates than those that cannot. Starting with purpose is critical because it can serve as a guiding star for the organisation, speaking to an employee’s heart and soul in a way the mission and vision never can. But to keep current employees motivated and engaged, you also need to make sure the employee experience is everything you’ve promised. This means reviewing each and every one of your values and practices and shifting where necessary.
Flagship’s approach to building a strong, attractive, employer brand takes a two-step approach:
1) Build around purpose; and
2) Optimise your employee experience
Build around purpose
Brands traditionally set out their stall by explaining their Mission, Vision, and Values. These are still important, but they can feel ephemeral. To drive real connection between brand and employees, many employer brands are now emphasising purpose.
US-based Lowe’s, for example, used to have “be the first choice in home improvement” as its Vision. It’s a good vision, but it’s not as relatable or engaging as the brand’s new purpose – “help people love where they live”. There’s a practical call to action embedded in that purpose, which rallies and unites people in a way that the old Vision never could.
How does working for you give your employees a sense of purpose?
Purpose is a fundamental component of a fulfilling life, and a fulfilling career should be no different. Purpose is about reminding each of us WHY we get up each day to work where we do. A common purpose gives employees a vital sense of belonging, and a lot of company loyalty.
Most organisations are already living their purpose – they just aren’t articulating it. So what is the process for getting there?
At Flagship, we begin with a workshop with the company’s senior executives to begin elucidating the essence of what the business does that makes people feel proud, connected and part of a greater endeavor. We conduct employee focus groups and review customer and supplier data. We synthesize all of this and develop recommendations. Once purpose is defined, we help clients introduce it to the organisation – and then the fun begins.
Because purpose isn’t a slogan or program; it’s how employees think and behave each day. That’s why in the months that follow, we help the first layers of management really embed purpose into the organisation by identifying purpose in action across the organisation, as well as its symbols. We examine policies and practices to help companies decide what is in keeping with their purpose and what may need to change to better reflect it. As purpose becomes part of management’s vernacular, it can be further embedded in the organisation until each employee knows just exactly why what their company does matter and why their own contribution is important.
Optimise your employee experience
With purpose in place, you’ll want to make sure that your employee experience really is everything you’ve promised. Building your brand around purpose means reviewing each one of your employment values and practices. This can be hard work, but it’s extremely important – and also very rewarding.
As is all too often the case with self-examination, understanding your own employee experience is a difficult task to undertake from an internal perspective. The benefit of distance lends a much needed clarity to truly understand how your brand cascades throughout your organisation.
Which is why Flagship offers a fully scalable audit of your employee experience. We will scrutinise your online presence (including online reviews), your social media presence, your branding, your corporate reputation. We will gain insights into your people’s employee experience, ask them about how they found your recruitment process, and encourage them to think about how purpose could improve their working life. We will review internal research or surveys (eg., engagement surveys) that may exist, as well as current team composition against key priorities.
Following this, we will have a clear picture of how your employees connect to your brand, enabling us to weave a new and effective Purpose message into your employer brand strategy. We will also develop your Employer Branding guidebook. This will serve as a detailed action plan and roadmap for enhancing the employee experience. Most importantly, we will tie your goals to specific activities and measurable outcomes.
Developing a strong employer brand is no longer a “nice to have”; it’s critical for growth. Those who are able to clearly articulate what they stand for and why employees should feel motivated to come to work will find their way to a satisfying future.
If you would like to talk to us more about building your employer brand, or our employee experience audit, please contact Courtney Ellul at Flagship Consulting.
This post was written in collaboration with Ann Barlow, partner and president Peppercomm West Coast.
Courtney Ellul (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a senior director at Flagship Consulting’s US partner company Peppercomm, and divides her time between London and New York. Ann Barlow (email@example.com) is a partner and president of Peppercomm’s West Coast operations. Both Ann and Courtney are passionate about internal communications and helping clients to be the voices of employees and facilitators for engagement – and lasting, positive change.