In retail, recruitment is becoming increasingly challenging. While some parts of the sector are shrinking, demand for retail staff elsewhere is booming, with average salaries growing (according to Glassdoor). In fact, according to the latest Hays Salary Guide, 47% of retail employers intend to increase their permanent staff levels in the next financial year.
“When it comes to Employer Branding, retailers have such a great opportunity. Many companies in this space are already attractive, well-known and / or cherished brands. Yet very few are translating this to talent marketing,” highlighted Mark Puncher (CEO at Employer Branding Australia) during the Retail Employer Branding workshops we hosted in partnership with JobAdder.
“For many, applicant volume overall is not a problem. It’s about quality of candidates, particularly for roles such as Assistant Store Managers. It’s also about ensuring candidates and hires are educated about the reality of the role, including any challenges that await them.”
A well-developed Employer Brand will help retail employers get and keep the right people in the right roles. It helps keep employees engaged. “Ultimately, you can’t sustain high team performance or a high cultural contribution if people don’t feel connected (to each other and to your brand). And it feeds back into talent attraction efforts too. When retailers connect with their people and create a positive employee experience, their teams will advocate for them and help them attract future talent,” Mark explained.
So, what exactly is an Employer Brand?
Mark starts with a definition by Barrow & Ambler:
“An Employer Brand is the package of functional, economic and psychological benefits provided by employment, and identified with the employer company.”
Then he laughs, says he has no idea who Barrow and Ambler are, and offers his own definition:
“Your employer brand is all about what makes people want to work for you and bring their best… or not.”
To put this definition into context, Mark invited Jaclyn Majarich, Employer Brand Manager at Optus, to share her Employer Brand building story. Jaclyn and her team developed an Employer Brand campaign that ultimately contributed to Optus being included on LinkedIn’s 2018 Top Companies list. Check out their great campaign here. Jaclyn contributed a large part of the campaign’s success to the development of an EVP.
Understanding the role of the EVP in Employer Branding success…
One critical part of a successful Employer Brand is developing and communicating your Employee Value Proposition – as this can form the bedrock on which the larger brand stories are built. Mark used the example of how Employer Branding Australia collaborated with Monique Glatter (People + Culture Business Partner) & Melissa Toa (Head of People + Culture) from Campos Coffee to develop their EVP, while also re-energising the company’s values and passing ownership of them to their people.
“Our goals were to reconnect the team with our values and ensure they reflected what our people stand for, and also position Campos Coffee to retain the right people with the right motivations and the right expectations.”
To achieve that, they followed a 5-step process which involved:
1) An Australia-wide employee engagement roadshow: ‘Campos Values – Live Them or Ditch Them?’, which yielded a fresh values articulation and which drove employee ownership and advocacy
2) An EVP research and engagement process, incorporating data analysis, employee interviews and discussion groups.
3) A creative EVP crafting process, to bring the key themes together and distill them into core EVP messaging.
4) An open, employee-centred playback process, to ensure that the EVP accurately reflects employee sentiment, and to drive further engagement with it
Following this process resulted in a powerful, authentic EVP (soon to be released!) and great employee stories, like these for Campos.
As well as articulating an EVP in a way that is easy to communicate, Mark recommends that you develop a strategy that cascades the message down across your assets and your ongoing conversation with talent – helping you ace your Employer Branding efforts.
At the end of the day, when this is done right, it can help you establish and nurture a bond with your existing team. Great people are so often motivated by your purpose and the contribution they can make to it, and Employer Branding can help showcase and celebrate those things. This helps your team feel like they belong, motivates them and develops loyalty. In turn, this should alleviate retention challenges, and help you shape a powerful culture and effective recruitment strategies.