the brand: never more diffuse, never more important

June 30, 2017 Steven Brand

As we see a new sense of fluidity play out across HR practices and talent expectations, the importance of a strong and effective employer brand becomes ever greater. In our 2017 Talent Trends research, 52% of human capital leaders around the world said their biggest competitors for talent are those operating in the same industry; however, one-third reported that it could be any employer with a visible brand presence. With pockets of talent being sought in broadening pools and brought into the organization on ever differing terms, finding a means to communicate your company’s employment messages with a sense of consistency is more important than ever.

Given this dynamic, the specific offer to skill groups or role families has always required that your Employer Value Proposition (EVP) be flexible in order to remain meaningful. That flexibility is now being tested as never before ﹘ organizations must now consider the offer they can make to different generations, genders, geographies and many other groups, before even layering in the different types of worker that our agile workplace will now deploy.

Yet, engaging those pools of talent, especially the growing ranks of those individuals seeking freelance opportunities remains a struggle. According to Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report, more than half of the companies surveyed (53%) say they have weak capabilities around gig and talent economy resources. The ability to personalize the talent acquisition approach to these audiences is a start. Indeed, personalization is a growing expectation for online experiences ﹘ the most successful employers understand and apply this method.

Opportunities abound for crafting such an experience. But there can be a multitude of challenges as well:

As the freelancer marketplace becomes ever larger and more important, how can an employer position its brand effectively in the mind of potential talent driven by the work they do, not for whom they do it?

Now that diversity and inclusion are CEO-level and CEO-led issues, how can you deliver an authentic and transparent experience that resonates with hugely varied groups of people?

Even allowing for the fact that you are a business with plenty to offer on a project basis, how do you align that messaging for permanent staff members who are looking for appreciably different qualities?

With minimal time and traditionally less investment, how do you build a lasting relationship with skilled freelancers to ensure you are a first choice employer for them when new projects come up?

These questions require a new way of thinking about how the employer brand affects talent acquisition. Increasingly, the answer is an integrated talent approach encompassing all types of workers. Just consider the findings from our 2017 Talent Trends Report: 81% of companies say they definitely will or probably will adopt an integrated model in the next 12 months, and 94% of companies that already have this approach in place are extremely or very satisfied with it.

Where the brand experience for permanent and contingent staff would once have been appreciably different (reflective of its relative importance), that is now being eroded ﹘ if it hasn’t already vanished entirely.

About the Author

Steven Brand

Steven Brand is a leading authority on employer branding with Randstad Sourceright's Talent Innovation Center. He ensures clients and prospects have access to the very latest and most relevant thinking in employer brand practices, from compiling a compelling business case to writing strategy, driving delivery and reporting impact. Steven has more than 15 years' experience working in people marketing and employer branding, both in-house and with creative agencies for organizations as diverse as Deloitte, Carphone Warehouse, the MOD and RBS.

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