People. The biggest tool in any business armoury.

Published on: 08/26/21 1:50 PM


The ONS announced last week that there were 953,000 job vacancies in the UK across a range of sectors, including hospitality and construction. This came as no surprise to us; we have been hearing this for many months now across a wide range of sectors that we work in, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any easier – so how do we tackle it and how do we rethink how we attract and retain great people?

Gone are the days of just showing the world that you have happy employees via a cool video, quirky office, extra day off for your birthday and beers on a Friday afternoon. In fact, for most of us, gone are the days of having a marketing team responsible for the external facing brand and a HR team in charge of the internal brand. Everybody has a brand role.

There has been a massive shift in demand and, even harder – demands. Yep, applicants have the upper hand, so the way that businesses position themselves and appeal has got to change to reflect this. Now traditionally we would have called this your employer brand – it sat with the HR team and was all about telling the external world about what it’s like to work for you; policies, benefits, mission statements and workplace culture.

However, the savvy applicant doesn’t just look at this anymore – they use every social channel possible, look at every customer review and get a real feel for what the employee experience is, before they put all their eggs in your basket.

The two go hand in hand. Blending the external and internal brand messaging can create a powerful brand and culture with a single purpose to create stunning brands that both your employees and customers love. And if you develop, motivate, and value people and provide them with a common purpose and an aligned set of goals that reflect what the consumers see every day, it can be one of the most powerful campaigns you run. Build the team, and in turn build the brand with the power of your people.

Don’t assume and definitely don’t underestimate how needs have changed.

So, ask yourself or rather ask your people these 3 questions– what is our purpose, what do you love about working here and what would you miss if you ever left?

Think about the future of the business and be brutally honest, because for the last 18 months we have all been very ‘gung-ho’ and ‘in this together’ – forgiving poor tech, delayed training, accepting poor internet connections. The question is, will this last longer term? How do your younger team members gain the exposure and experience of working and learning from peers? Are the leadership team equipped and skilled to work in a hybrid way long term? Is it still ‘ok’ to be working from home when you live in a studio flat working on the edge of your bed?

And finally – is your benefit package fit for purpose? Flexible working, free parking and an onsite gym does not have the same value as it used to. We are now talking WFH budgets, health and wellbeing apps, food benefits, enhanced communications, wellbeing and personal development programmes, temperate check apps, home leave days and even pet insurance discounts for all those lockdown puppies!

The answers to all these questions will help you to evolve your brand positioning, align the benefits and opportunities you offer, and attract and motivate people to love your brand and deliver it’s purpose every day. Are you really fit for purpose and ready to do battle?