HR directors: keep employer branding real

HR professionals have highlighted the danger of over-selling the employer brand to potential recruits.

Delegates at last week’s Personnel Today HR Directors Club workshop – sponsored by TMP Worldwide – warned employers not to send out mixed messages to potential job applicants in recruitment advertising.

Andy Doyle, HR director at support services firm Morrison, said: “The challenge you face is that you have got to be real, reflecting the real culture and values of the organisation. You can sell a glamorous picture of recruitment, but if it doesn’t match reality, the worker will up and leave after three months in the job.”

Adam Shay, business development director at TMP, highlighted the example of Sainsbury’s, which continued to push out a positive message about its employer brand despite its recent financial woes. “That created disillusionment internally,” he said.

Debbie Whitaker, group head for human capital management at Standard Chartered bank, said the employer brand was not simply about recruitment advertising.

“Unless you are building the brand from within, it won’t work,” she said. “You need the buy-in of your staff.”

It can be more effective not to push the employer brand too hard, to ensure only the most committed people apply for the job, said Ros Brayfield, director of HR at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

“Campaigns are expensive in terms of time and money, so you must ensure they are well targeted,” she said.

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