What happens when your employer brand is actually the trailer for Prometheus?

In an increasingly competitive market, convincing candidates to join your company is incredibly challenging.  Convincing them to stay is equally challenging. As hiring companies recognise the difficulties of attracting talent, concepts that in the past may have been thought of as implied or natural such as your employer brand have now become more explicit and overt. Investments in tools, technologies, content, and strategies are now commonplace so that the reasons why someone should join your company can be heard above and through the noise and listened to.

Often, regrettably, hiring companies make the error of creating and communicating an employer brand that is not a reflection of the actual employee experience.  In a way it’s similar to the movie Prometheus – the trailer promised so much, yet the film for most was an epic disappointment.

And for companies that are looking to hire from a community with whom they have newly engaged, this can have unfortunate consequences from which it can be hard to recover.  If you engage with your new community on an employer branding platform that promises so much, your message is heard by the most active and vocal within the community, who in turn will offer positive support.  However, when a company has a gap between its employer brand and actual employee experience, the reputation of the company will be negatively impacted. And human behaviour is such that negative comments and bad impressions will be more strongly communicated and amplified within the community than positive ones. From a community standpoint, this means that your poor reputation will become known not only by the active and vocal community members but also to the passive member and all their networks.

A report by Weber Shandick on the impact of having a credibility gap between your employer brand and employee experience states that “A strong employer reputation is no small change. The reputation of your employer is worth its weight in gold, but only if it turns out to truly reflect what it is actually like to work there. In this age of mega-transparency and instantaneous online reviews, employers are now accountable to who they say they are, how they treat people and live their values, and how they make a difference. Employees are more than reputation spectators, they are shaping employer brands for better or for worse every day.”

From a recruitment perspective, employer branding is now crucial in order to attract candidates. But the employer brand must be an accurate extension of the reality of the employee experience. It’s fine to have an employee brand which is aspirational as long as the aspiration is achievable.  So, don’t get swept away by offering foosball and a barista when instead you only have a punctured football and instant coffee.  Far better to have people join you knowing actually what you offer than leaving you with a reputation that you can’t recover from