On the Outside Looking In … Creating a Successful Employer Brand

A coveted spot on Fortune’s annual list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For means a company has performed well measured against a stringent set of metrics about its business performance, culture, leadership and more. It is a well-regarded sign of excellence and a boost to both customer acquisition/retention and employee recruitment efforts for the company.

Employees who work for these companies almost universally report high levels of trust, belief that leadership is respectful and credible, pride in their work and a sense of camaraderie.  And importantly, they express that they experience a great workplace regardless of their role or level. In short, the winning companies universally enjoy what we call a strong Employer Brand.

What exactly is the Employer Brand?  We define it as the way a company communicates its mission, purpose, values and promise to its employees with the end result that employees understand, embrace and bring these ideas to life and convey them to customers and other external stakeholders.  The Employer Brand, which is aligned but not necessarily synonymous with the brand a company communicates to the marketplace, is key to attracting, retaining and engaging employees.

An Employer Brand is more than a mission statement, a recruitment campaign or human resources (HR) policy.  It …

  • Establishes a true and authentic relationship with employees
  • Enjoys a meaningful reputation among prospects and new recruits
  • Shares a defined purpose across the organization
  • Forms the foundation of all HR policies and actions
  • Fulfills the company brand promise


There are three key elements to building a successful Employer Brand – consistency, authenticity, and endurance.


The Employer Brand is an expression of the overall company brand.  And like the company brand, it is important to consistently express and reinforce the Employer Brand to make sure that everyone has the same understanding of what it is and how it is used.  The goal of effective Employer Brand communication is to convey – within the framework of your company brand – a credible, differentiating and aspirational message about the employee experience. It should always link back to the spirit and meaning of the company brand.


Employees will inevitably uncover any disingenuous behavior or less-than-upfront behaviors.  A strong Employer Brand must be authentic, meaningful and a source of motivation for both current employees and candidates.  The unique character and qualities of the Employer Brand help define what is appealing and authentic about the company as a place to work.  Leadership qualities should always reflect the spirit of your Employer Brand.


Finally, a successful Employer Brand is sustained over a long period of time, helping a company consistently attract and retain employees with an enduring and enthusiastic commitment to the company and its goals.  Ideally, the brand is used every day to build, promote and maintain a company’s values, culture and brand.  An enduring brand is one that can accommodate varying creative treatments as long as the core ideal remains the same.

Your Employer Brand can be one of the most powerful weapons in your identity arsenal. Having a strategy in place to help you build and share it will enable your company to demonstrate a clear brand position in the marketplace and deliver an exceptional brand experience to both customers and employees alike.

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