Employer Branding

How to create an employee value proposition

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Chris Heron

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Good employers have always regarded their image and reputation as being important.  However, in recent times, there has been an increase in the recognition of recruiting and retaining  talent and the competition for good skills has seen major organisations taking an active interest in how they are perceived both internally and externally. There are a variety of elements which impact on an organisation’s reputation as an employer, below we discuss just a few of these

Common elements include:

  • The organisation’s history and emotional bonds

  • Ownership and management

  • What the company does#

  • Success and market position

  • Structure of the organisation

  • Location

  • Experience of customers and their perception of the company

  • The diversity of employees and their social interaction

  • Types of jobs/skills shortages

  • Working environment, systems and equipment

  • HR policies, innovations and the employment offer

  • Quality and effectiveness of communications


Getting to grips with all the above establishing an accurate blueprint of how the organisation is perceived by existing and potential employees is an essential basis for effective attraction of talent and retention of employees in key positions. Without an accurate and up-to-date understanding of employees’ perception of an organisation’s core employment proposition, it is difficult to promote the organisation truthfully and to its best advantage.  It also makes it difficult to identify and deal effectively with those areas where small changes or improvements could make a significant change.  It is therefore important to gain the cumulative views of employees, starting with the management team perspective and contrasting this with the perspective voiced by a cross section of employees..

Therefore, it is important to talk to a number of key members of the management team early in the proceedings.  This is usually done through a series of face to face interviews.

Topics for discussion can include:


  • Their perceptions of the organisation as an employer

  • Their definition of the culture of the organisation and their vision its progression

  • Any current or future skills issues and how this might impact on the strategy of the business

  • Their own reasons for joining/staying

  • Views on how the organisation attracts, recruits, inducts, and trains employees

  • Their perceptions of the key features of their organisation’s employment offer


Having established the perception of the senior team,  attention will then focus on a cross section of existing employees.  It is important to ensure that all business sectors, key roles and (if appropriate) different locations are included.

For this stage of the process group discussions are the most appropriate methodology.  Care needs to be taken when establishing the groups, that where possible, the levels of seniority is kept to a minimum and that there is an appropriate level of diversity, particularly in relation to age, gender and ethnic background.  It is also important that participants in the groups have been randomly selected rather than hand-picked.  Recent joiners of between 3 and 12 months service can prove a particularly rich source of information as they will have more recollection of the on-boarding process and their employment offer.

The optimum size for discussion groups is between 8 and 10, although groups of 6 are acceptable where participant numbers are difficult. In addition to the group exercise, we will capture individual participant views by asking them to complete a work book.  The groups will last around 2.5 hrs.  Confidentiality is stressed throughout the process.

Topics for discussion could include:


  • Perception of the organisation pre and post joining

  • Job-changing habits

  • Publications/websites/other sources used when considering a career move

  • How they became aware of the organisation

  • How they became aware of their job

  • Perceptions of the recruitment and induction process

  • What  was the deciding factor for them joining the company

  • What do they look for in an ideal employer

  • How their current employer compares to this ideal

  • Experiences/comparisons with previous employers

  • Likes/dislikes about their current role and any improvement s they would like to see

  • How would they describe the benefits of their current employer to potential employees

  • Views on internal and recruitment communications

  • Relevant messages and visual themes


Analysis and Initial Articulation

This research element will undoubtedly generate a considerable amount of information which needs to be organised and analysed to enable a presentation and report to be prepared. The distillation of the findings will result in identification of key elements, which make up the DNA of the organisation as an employer. Because these are based on the perceptions of the management and current employees they can be seen as an accurate definitions of the current situation. These key elements can then be developed and formed into attraction messages which will help the creation of successful, targeted recruitment and retention materials.

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