B&CE carries off Employer Branding Award

B&CE
The B&CE team receives their prize at the Personnel Today Awards 2017.
Photo: Ed Telling

The Employer Branding Award recognises excellence in candidate and employee experience, an area that B&CE had been challenged in but had implemented highly effective solutions.

Winner

B&CE

A not-for-profit organisation supplying employee benefits products, B&CE had undergone a period of significant growth. Staff numbers had grown by 37% in 15 months and many staff were moved to new offices.

Judge: Employer Branding Award

Mervyn Dinnen, Two Heads Consulting

Rob Moss, Personnel Today

B&CE wanted to create a more cohesive workplace culture, so chose to focus on three core values of creating simplicity, keeping promises and showing compassion – a reminder to employees that members’ interests were at the heart of what they do.

These values are now embedded in the recruitment phase (they feature strongly in job ads), the induction phase when new people join the organisation, and in how employees are recognised – managers can give Value Vouchers to thank employees for demonstrating the values.

B&CE maintains these values throughout the employee lifecycle, through personal wellbeing initiatives and interaction with the local community. Communication is encouraged at the highest level, for example through the CEO’s ‘Bite-sized Briefings’ or employee feedback events.

The results of the branding exercise have been impressive: employee turnover remains low at 12.5%, 71% would recommend B&CE as a great place to work, and the organisation has won two local business awards. Judges commended B&CE for its “impressive commitment to retaining an identity and values-based culture”.

Runners-up

SAP UK

Enterprise software company SAP is, by its own admission, “not a consumer company with a recognised ‘sexy’ brand”. Yet it needs to attract and retain the same skills as well-known brands such as Google and Facebook, so embarked on a large-scale, global employer branding exercise.

Central to its new employer value proposition (EVP) were employee ‘life stories’ based on information gleaned from focus groups and other feedback mechanisms, which featured in a weekly cartoon series. The candidate experience has been revolutionised to include real-time candidate feedback assessments where applicants receive a report detailing if they are a good fit for SAP, while their future manager also receives suggestions for development areas or further interview questions.

SAP also created a Facebook assessment app to come up with a “perfect match”, providing candidates with a personality profile and role match in a few seconds. Candidates can also play a retro recruitment game across social media platforms and at career fairs, from which data is gathered on their suitability.

In terms of results, SAP won 159 employer and recruitment awards in 2016, and around 33,000 candidates conducted some sort of assessment with the company during that time. It achieved its hiring goal and increased its visibility as a brand – its Glassdoor rating moved from a mark of 3.7 (out of 5) in 2015 to 4.2 a year later, and recruiter workload went down by 39% based on the number of applicants screened.

Schneider Electric

A global specialist in energy management and automation, Schneider Electric’s employer brand reaches out to a varied audience, but it still wanted to present a clear, consistent and compelling proposition.

Its EVP needed to both reflect life at Schneider for around 144,000 existing employees and present an authentic image to potential candidates for a range of roles, across 100 countries and from factories to offices. With recruitment advertising agency Havas, the company embarked on an extensive research programme involving numerous employee interviews, focus groups and stakeholder conversations.

The resulting EVP, with the strapline ‘You’re On’, aimed to put real people at centre stage and included YouTube videos capturing stories from employees all over the world. Schneider also developed a series of e-learning modules and face-to-face training sessions to embed its refreshed values across the company. HR business partners are fully briefed on the new EVP and help to articulate it across the wider business.

Schneider has increased its brand awareness across social media thanks to videos and selfies taken by employees describing their life at the company. Direct hiring has increased by an average of 9 percentage points and visitor numbers to the careers site have more than doubled since its launched. Judges liked “the employee involvement in the campaign and the way authentic stories have been used”.

TrustFord

After a rebrand that brought seven brands under one umbrella, car retailer TrustFord needed to drive cultural change at the company and create a single sense of purpose. It wanted to change perceptions of what working in the automotive sector was like, and ensure that new colleagues felt an instant connection with the business and its core principles.

Working with branding agency CA3, TrustFord undertook interviews with the senior leadership team, focus groups with different departments across the business and visited sites across the country to identify its EVP. It was important to take on negative feedback as well as positive, and the information gathered was used to influence decisions about induction and future training programmes.

TrustFord now has a core purpose ‘To drive the standard in customer care’. It has also created a recruitment toolkit for hiring managers to ensure they are hiring talent with the right skills and attitude, regardless of background or gender. An ability test undertaken by around 200 staff showed that high achievers tended to be open communicators with strong verbal reasoning – and this research informs both recruitment and learning activities.

Thanks to its revised EVP, vacancies are being filled faster than ever before, with time to fill a role almost halved since 2015. The percentage of female apprentices has doubled and 20% of the company’s board and leadership team are now female. TrustFord appeared in the Sunday Times 25 best big companies to work for for the first time this year.

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