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Marketers are often, but not always, involved in employer marketing – that is, finding, employing and keeping brilliant people. We’ve worked with clients who have successfully applied Watertight Thinking and used our tools to help them build a robust marketing plan to recruit the right employees. Although it’s the HR team that lead, what the marketing team can bring to support them has been game-changing. In this blog, we look at the key things to consider in marketing to prospective and existing employees. ~ Rachael Wheatley | MD, Watertight Business Thinking  

Join our live roundtable discussion on 6th December

Come along to the next #WatertightWednesday live roundtable where we’ll be discussing this topic with senior marketers.

Without a doubt, the starting place for thinking about marketing to employees is vision, values and goals. It’s one of our Flow Foundations and it’s as important for employer marketing as it is for customer marketing. 

A number of research reports over the last few years show an increasing trend towards people wanting to work for a company with a clear purpose, vision and values. Ones that resonate with their own. Depending on which report you read, that varies between 70% and more than 80% of employees who seek this kind of connection. However, a much smaller proportion of organisations actually deliver on this – and they watch their staff leave. 

Not only is it important to be clear on your vision, values and milestones, there are two other things which are critical. Firstly, that these are translated into both numbers and a narrative which are meaningful in your employees’ working lives. 

See: Do you have a compelling narrative for your numbers 

Secondly, that they are also communicated clearly to your team and you regularly update them on progress (successes and challenges!). 

If what you say about, and how you run, your company doesn’t hold sway with existing employees, it’s never going to win over prospective staff. So, start with a compelling vision that is translated into a clear plan. 

The three key elements of employee marketing 

In considering what needs to be in your plan to attract, recruit and keep brilliant people, think about it as you would any marketing plan. 

  • Who’s your ideal employee? Defining what characterises your ideal employee is crucial. The culture fit is often the deal-breaker. You can train and develop someone who doesn’t have the experience you might need or want, but if their approach, attitude or attributes don’t fit, there’s no amount of training that will change this. This is your person spec – for a particular job and for the company as a whole. 
  • Build a plan that supports every step of the journey: Our definition of marketing is as a process of supporting someone through to a decision with which they remain happy. Applying this to your people is a recipe for finding, employing and keeping the right people – and ensuring they want to stay. There’s a journey people take to make a decision to accept a job offer and remain with the company for a while. And good marketing will support that decision from the time they’re first aware of your company and the role you’re advertising, through the interviews and their experience, to how well you on-board them and what you offer to ensure it continues to be a good place to work. 
  • Delight your employees: Of course, as with customers, saying ‘yes’ to you  is only the start. Make sure you meet their expectations. There’s nothing that will switch them off faster than finding out that what you say about the company is only skin deep. Think about how you welcome them and help them to settle in. What can you do to ensure they thrive? Whilst salary is important, employees increasingly see other things as reasons to stay: work-life balance, flexibility, benefits, commuting distance, career progression, people and culture and company reputation.  

Employing someone is a two-way process – it’s as much about them deciding if you’re the right place as it is about you deciding if they will fit the role and the company. Some companies with vacancies find it hard to fill them. That was certainly the case with one of our clients who used the Watertight approach to their recruitment challenges and engaged the support of their marketing team to help them. Two years on and they have a waiting list of people who want to work for them! 

Depending on the context, it can very much be a candidate’s market. I would argue that it’s useful to believe it always is. There can be skills gaps it’s hard to fill and so many jobs on offer the candidate can pick and choose. If, however, you have the mindset that you want the right employees to actively choose you – then you’re half way there to successful employer marketing. 

Next Watertight Wednesday: Marketing’s role in employee marketing. Come and be part of the conversation at our next senior marketers’ roundtable at midday on 6 December. We’d love to hear from you if you enjoy where you work and would like to share why that is or if you’re a marketer and want to improve your employer marketing. HR people also welcome!

You can find out more and register here. 

Rachael Wheatley

Rachael Wheatley

Managing Director, Watertight Thinking

Rachael brings over 30 years’ of marketing experience, with a particular focus on building and developing effective marketing teams that are able to act as a strategic driving force across an organisation. She has worked with Watertight since 2014 as a Master Practitioner and joined the business as MD in 2022.

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