Product branding helps convey product benefits and creates an emotional connection with consumers so they make choices quickly.

The same goes for employer branding. An employer brand makes a clear and consistent employment promise in the market. People know what the organisation has to offer as an employer, even before joining it.

The power of branding is even more significant in today’s talent landscape. As the economy recovers from the recession, existing and potential employees are presented with more options. They no longer seek an employment relationship that will satisfy only their financial needs.

The Hewitt Best Employers in Singapore study shows that employees are increasingly looking for an employer with a good reputation, who will offer them a cultural fit through an alignment of values and expectations.

Once they find their preferred employer, they are more likely to join and stay with the organisation. This is evident in the case of the best employers discussed in the Hewitt study. They see higher success in filling positions and lower levels of turnover as they attract and retain key talents through their employer promises.

Employer branding is more than just a tagline or logo — it represents the promise and experience an organisation delivers to its target audience. Take note of these three essential steps:

1. Discover

Your employer brand is your promise to provide an experience that will motivate your employees’ commitment towards your organisation’s success. It has to be something that your organisation believes in and wants to deliver consistently to your employees.

Your brand has to be:

•  Authentic to your organisation’s values and mission;

•  Appealing to your targeted talent; and

•  Different from your competition.

More importantly, it must answer one fundamental question for your potential and existing employees: “What’s in it for me?” They must know what they can expect to receive for their contribution.

Case study: FedEx and the “Purple Promise” (Hewitt Best Employer 2009, 2005)

“The cornerstone of FedEx success has been our People-Service-Profit philosophy, which is based on the premise that if we take care of our people, they will deliver the best service, which will in turn take care of our profit,” says Mr Ramesh Kumar Singam, managing director of FedEx Express Singapore and Indonesia.

FedEx specifies clearly the behaviours it needs from employees to deliver its brand, and in turn provides an encompassing work environment for employees to do so. The Purple Promise articulates clearly the organisation’s promise to its employees, which is: “If you put our customers first, we put you before us.”

2. Diagnose

Once you have discovered and defined your employer promise, all elements of the organisation must be aligned to this promise.

Appropriate people practices and programs/systems that support your employer brand must be set up. This alignment is critical to ensure the delivery of the promised employee experience, and for your people to perform at the expected levels.

Case study: Singapore Prison Service – Captains of Lives (Hewitt Best Employer 2009, 2007)

From custodians of inmates to captains of lives, this shift in branding started from within for this best employer. Leaders were built and identified in alignment with the new values and employees were retrained to play their new roles well.

3. Deliver

From the Hewitt Best Employers study, it is clear that participating organisations do see the importance of having an employer promise.

The difference, however, lies in the execution of these promises. About 79 per cent of employees in the Best Employers study agree that their organisations deliver on the promises made to employees, compared to only 58 per cent in other organisations.

One key differentiator makes best employers the best — their focus and discipline in refining their human capital programmes so that all aspects align to their employer promise. Most organisations have practices and programmes in place, but the best employers outshine the rest by their implementation and execution.