In today’s competitive environment, the key to attract and retain top talent is to focus on employee branding. Focusing on company branding is always essential, but employee branding is most important to attract the talent you need for success. The employee brand tells the story both internally and externally of the experience employees can expect when working at your company.
There are several components to employee branding that position a company as an employer of choice. Culture, leadership and rewards — holistic benefits and pay practices — can be the foundation of building the brand you want. But all three of these areas must be authentic and alive for employees to feel a sense of belonging and pride to work for your organization. All three take consistent work and focus year-round.
Leverage Your Culture
When personal values match the organization’s, it creates a sense of belonging. This is a key factor in keeping employees engaged and will increase their desire to stay at the company long term.
Culture is shaped by stories of employees living out company values. It’s imperative to share those stories across the organization. At VASA Fitness, we recently had the opportunity to share these stories at our annual leadership conference. They were extremely touching and moved me and the 140 leaders in attendance. The stories reinforced who we are and how we support each other and our members. It was a great reminder of why we love working at VASA.
Share employee stories and testimonials on your career website. Infuse your job descriptions with the culture you have and want to create, and make sure you talk about values and culture during every interview. Everyone in your organization is responsible for keeping your culture alive — from front desk staff to your executive team. To benefit from the culture, they also have to contribute to it.
Leadership Must Walk the Talk
The leaders in the company are the ones who drive culture and ensure it comes to life within the organization. Leaders create the space where culture can thrive and are the catalyst in generating the employee brand experience.
Who do you want leaders in the organization to be for their employees, members and guests? If you were to define the type of leader you want to attract and develop in your organization, how would you describe their values, competencies and skill sets? Answers to these questions will help you attract and develop leaders within the organization to create a consistent employee experience.
One of the biggest challenges in growing a company is keeping the culture strong and ensuring it scales with your business. Focus on developing the leaders who are aligned with your values — this will help you create a consistent employee experience. Whether you focus on manager fundamentals like interviewing skills and managing performance, or going to the next level in developing leaders’ emotional intelligence and ability to meet employee’s development needs where they are, creating a consistent leadership development program is key to becoming an employer of choice.
Statistics show people don’t leave their company, they leave their manager. When you focus on leadership development, not only will you retain more employees, you will attract new people to your organization.
Increasingly, a total rewards strategy is vital to attracting and retaining employees in this competitive job market. A total rewards strategy includes base pay, incentive pay, health, dental and vision benefits, flexible time off, and other benefits that support employees in a holistic way.
Providing health benefits to employees has become a minimum expectation. However, with continued rising healthcare costs, it can be a challenge to offer affordable benefits. Being in the gym industry, leverage your negotiations by emphasizing your employees’ good health and low claims experience.
Candidates and employees are looking for more from their employer. One opportunity we saw at VASA was to support our employees’ mental health. While we have offered Employee Assistance programs to eligible employees in the past, we made the decision to ensure all our employees and their families have access to an Employee Assistance program. This new benefit provides free counseling sessions, financial counseling and many other useful resources.
At VASA, we began offering paid parental leave last year. We also recently expanded health benefits to employees working 20 or more hours per week. We recognized many of our employees are starting families and we wanted to create benefits and policies that supported this phase of life.
To ensure your benefits meet the needs of your employees, conduct an employee survey and find out what matters to them. Offering bagels and coffee on Fridays is nice, but if a flexible work schedule is more important to them but not offered, those bagels won’t matter much.
There are many avenues to creating a strong employee brand and culture. Bring your people to life by sharing their stories, spending time developing your leaders, and focusing on an overall total rewards strategy. You will be well on your way to healthy employee branding.