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How to… make your reputation great

27 July 2012
How to… make your reputation great

Pre-internet, employer reputation wasn't a big priority - who would know that what the job advert or interviewer promised wasn't actually the reality? Now, potential recruits can uncover a vast amount of information about your business with a click of a button. They can ask social networks and internet forums what it's really like to work for you, and if the answer isn't the shiny veneer it was painted to be, they'll pass you by.

This is why significant importance must be placed on the employee value proposition, or as we call it, the "people promise". Covering everything from the employee's experience, the vision and values, through to leadership, culture and benefits; this promise ensures that what you say you are and do as an employer matches the reality.

Most organisations are very good at spending time and resources making sure people know about a new product or service; helping to create a desire to buy. Relatively few, however, are experts at positioning themselves as a best place to work. We firmly believe though that as much thought should go into managing your reputation as an employer as it does marketing your products and services.

After all, if you place the same importance on creating and managing your reputation as an employer, the results will be very powerful - unsolicited CVs from talented individuals and motivated and engaged employees who want to work for you.
Emily Perry is head of marketing at Learnpurple

Three ways to make your reputation great

1 Define your "people promise" When delivered consistently, a clearly defined "people promise" will help an organisation attract, engage and retain the best talent. As a result, establishing this cannot be a low-level project; it must feed through the entire organisation, starting from the top. A simple way to define this is to ask:

â- What things are we OK at but could be better?
â- What do we do that we really, really, shouldn't?

Use the answers obtained to draw up a list of things to keep doing or do more of, things that should be stopped or reduced and things that should be started. It may begin to look daunting at this stage, however…

2 Break it down into manageable chunks Split your list into quick wins, things that are easy to do but may take a bit of time and resource, and then the tasks that are big, scary yet necessary and involve planning.

Once done, take three quick wins and make them happen. This will start off your achievement-focused culture and provide the momentum to carry on and tackle the remaining tasks. If you're struggling to make a difference, find a business you admire and ask someone there to mentor you, or you could pay some people like Learnpurple to come and support you. Whatever you choose, stop and get help; persisting on your own will only stop you from achieving your goals.

Measurement is also critical so you can witness progression. Do a before and after comparison at set points during the campaign. Seeing the value of focusing on your employer reputation will keep you motivated and persuade the doubters that this is the right thing to do.

3 Make it ongoing Defining the "people promise" is not a one-off exercise; it's a continuous work in progress, which should evolve as the business changes. It should be reviewed at least annually, asking: "Would we be comfortable with the way our business leads and deals with our people being reported on the front page of a newspaper or on a ‘back to the floor' reality show on TV?" If the answer is no, it's time to make some changes.

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