Practice what you preach they say. And so I’ve been listening to some of the HR podcasts we recently wrote about. One of them being the Employer Branding Podcast by Jörgen Sandberg, CEO of Link Humans.
And boy did I get lucky.
The very first episode I listened to was filled with plenty of useful information and insights. And while it’s called ‘How to Attract Top Talent by Creating Excellent Candidate Experiences’ I like to think of it as a mini-guide on ‘How to Get Started with Employer Branding and make an Employee Value Proposition (EVP).’
In this episode, host Jörgen Sandberg talks with Sophie Holmes, Head of Employer Brand Attraction at Sky and as such responsible for everything from employer brand to attracting great talent and the candidate experience across the entire recruitment process.
While listening to their conversation, I had ample time to take notes. In this article, I’ll share some of the key takeaways from Jörgen and Sophie’s chat in blog-form.
You can listen to the full podcast episode here:
Employer Branding and EVP: 3 Ways Sky Does it Right
#1. Employer Brand Strategy
For Sky, there were 3 core elements in terms of their Employer Brand Strategy:
1. Who are we as an employer?
This one is about how can you better articulate who you are as an employer. For Sky, it also was about how can we activate our group EVP. Their focus was on giving clarity about how the company is perceived externally.
Sky has a very visible consumer brand, but their Employer Brand wasn’t that visible. This is why they have put a lot of work into how to increase that – and into how they could change the perception that people already have of the company.
Because while being a (famous) consumer brand can be a bonus it can be a challenge too; people sometimes have assumptions about how it would be to work for Sky that aren’t always accurate. One way they decided to address certain misconceptions at Sky is via their group EVP.
2. How can we align closely with our consumer/corporate brand teams?
The second pillar is about how can you align closer with the consumer/corporate brand teams. At Sky, building those relationships and getting to a place where they are now much more aligned and share research, learnings, and knowledge – and as part of that their new Employer Brand – has taken a lot of work but today, it allows them to leverage a few things that are very distinctive to Sky.
3. How do you optimize the Candidate Experience?
And, by extension, how do you convert people that are in the consideration phase? This is where, at Sky, they’ve built personalized experiences around the platform, asking themselves how can we create branded experiences for people across different platforms? They are digitalizing that experience and as such, focusing on how they can get the message across throughout that journey by using technology in their favor
After a thorough preparation involving over 3000 people, both externally and internally, across focus groups, interviews and testing, an EVP was developed.
In one line, it can be summarized as ‘A job you love to talk about.’
There are two aspects to this: On the one hand, there are the ‘Only at Sky experiences’ – this can be anything from having a cinema in the office or bumping into some of the celebrities of the company’s shows to working on products that are used by millions of customers.
On the other hand, there is a strong feeling of pride among those who work for Sky. This is something that came through consistently in the research they’ve been doing at the company. When asked what do you do, for example, people said ‘I work for Sky’ before they’d follow up with what they’d actually do there.
In terms of creating an EVP, the challenge was two-fold:
- to create an EVP that was compelling and yet flexible enough to meet the range of roles they recruit for at Sky,
- but also one that would work across territories
Which is why they came up with 4 different drivers based on audience:
- We’re fans too
- Be brilliant
- Embrace pace
- Together we can
All four drivers being about how to give extra clarity to people about who Sky really is as an employer.
In this Learning Bite, we explain what the EVP is
and what the most relevant aspects are that you should be aware of.
#3. Activate your Employer Brand
There were three main elements to take into account when it comes to activating the new Employer Brand at Sky:
1. How do we embed this in our recruitment team?
Ultimately, the recruiters are the ones who face the candidates so it’s important to spend a lot of time embedding your employer brand with them.
At Sky, they did interactive training with over 100 recruiters and researchers, they shared weekly examples about how to use the messaging, they had quizzes and competitions to tap into the competitive spirit of their recruiters and, perhaps most importantly, they made sure they had the support there for them to feel confident in how to use the new brand.
2. The channels you use
For Sky – but probably for most organizations now, – in terms of the channels they use, social media is a key area.
Think about Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, Youtube, Glassdoor, etc. It’s about making sure to embed consistent messaging across the channels you use via structuring your content across your drivers and about being smart in terms of the language you use to really bring to live those drivers and describe what it is like to work for your organization.
Part of that is thinking of how you can benefit from employee advocacy.
At Sky, their people are their biggest advocates, so over the past few years, they have put a lot of effort into driving that within the company. This involved, among other things, successfully promoting #LiveAtSky knowing that the posts of their people are the most authentic things that candidate can see as apart of their research on Sky.
Your careers website(s)
Again, it’s about making sure that consistent storytelling flows not only through your channels but also through your careers website.
3. The broader touchpoint
This is a wide range of outlets. Think of job board company profiles, the job adverts itself, making sure candidate calls are consistent, your ambassadors going around to campuses, etc.
The central question here is around how can you make sure that the whole candidate journey is consistent and how can you support the main users of your employer brand, i.e. the recruiters, and make sure that they have a flexible toolkit to do that.
How to get started? (3 Tips)
At the end of the episode, Jörgen asks Sophie to share her three top tips for people to do something similar. Here’s what she said:
- Align with consumer and corporate brand teams – Educate them in terms of the values the employer brand brings, how it all fits together, etc. For us, the ‘in’ was working together on the articulation of our purpose and values that really gave us an opportunity to align all of our research and they were very close then to the employer brand development. So, find an in!
- Secondly: base what you do on insights – We find out through research and looking externally what the current perception of Sky is. This was extremely useful when it came down to think about how to better shape that perception going forward. Validation is crucial too, so for us testing our messaging in the market and internally was essential in making sure that what we were creating was both attractive and reflective of the current experience.
- Keep the user in mind – For us, that was about how do we keep it practical and how do we make sure that we have the right kind of support for our recruiters (we have easy to use toolkits and brand books as part of this).
Bonus tip: Across all of these things, the top tip is to make sure you partner with the right people to get that support. At Sky, for example, they worked with an employer brand agency that guided them through something that was quite new to them.
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