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Don’t Worry: Employer Brand Is Subjective

Working as an Employer Brander covers a lot of different areas of expertise, as we have described. Skills such as these we have already identified:

  • Curiosity
  • Listening
  • Understanding of Data
  • Communication
  • Creativity

need to be combined with business expertise in the domain you are working in and knowledge of your organisation, how it works, and who are the influencers.

When getting to grips with Employer Branding, and thinking about developing or enhancing your EVP, this can seem a lot, especially if you are new to the company or newly in an Employer Branding role.

Don’t worry, though. If you take a methodical approach to your EVP and Employer Branding work, it will pay dividends.

Always realise, however, one very important fact: Employer Branding is subjective. As Employer Branders we need to make certain that everything we do is based on data, but ultimately what people think about your company as an employer is a subjective feeling. That feeling can likely be traced back to some evidence at some point in time, but ultimately the sentiment is subjective.

What we try to do when we build an EVP is build a proof-based articulation of the company as an employer based on what it offers to employees and its culture. Whatever the outcome of your EVP development, its purpose is to influence the subjective sentiment that is your Employer Brand.

Also, one thing you’ll come to realise through your work in employer branding is that every company is different, every location in your company is different, and everyone working in the company is different. They will all have various opinions about the culture of the company, what the company offers (that is important to them) and about how things get done “‘round here”. 

This means that understanding what makes a company what it is involves a great deal of one particular skill in the suite of skills we have talked about already: listening.

As part of the company yourself, you will find that you have your own opinions about culture and how things are done. But always remember that your view is a microcosm of what is the reality of culture, so listening to what people say without applying your own filters or bias is very important.

These differences lead to another important point: that the way you come to an understanding of what your company culture is will be different than anyone else.

We will broadly lay out a process for how to define your Employer Value Proposition and how to manage your Employer Brand, but the way you do it will be uniquely your own. 

Remember, no-one is actually right when they talk about Employer Brand. Employer brand is alway a subjective topic and will continually fluctuate and change over time as internal activities and external events influence how people view your company.

Yes, we do like to deal with data to justify what we talk about, and that is always necessary when explaining your decisions and discoveries to stakeholders, but what we are really doing is applying a data-focused methodology to something subjective in order to make it appear objective.

This is fine as in doing so we do gain understanding of that nebulous entity, your Employer Brand, but it is always worth keeping the subjective nature of what you are doing in mind.

Ultimately, if what you discover feels right, it will be right, at least for a period of time until it changes again.

So Employer Branding is an ongoing process of understanding what your company culture is like, making its subjective nature as objective as possible, articulating it in a compelling way, and amplifying it so that all who are interested know about it, and then clarifying and amending it iteratively as things change over time.

Do you agree?