Employer Branding and Employee Experience = The Winning Formula

September 13, 2021 • 4 min read

Employer Branding and Employee Experience = The Winning Formula

Employee Brandwagon Contributors

Employer Brandwagon Contributors

Thomas Reneau, Talent / Employer Brand Leader, Ritchie Bros.

Many people tend to view employer branding as externally focused: we’re telling a story about our company to make it attractive to potential employees. That’s the end goal…isn’t it?

Well, sure. But that’s just one goal of employer branding and does not capture its multifaceted nature. In reality, it’s just as important to make those stories from inside your business visible to everyone already within it, and leverage your employee experience to inspire your existing employees, as it is to use those stories to bring new talent into the organization. The goal becomes not only connecting potential and existing employees with the organization’s mission, vision, and values, but also providing opportunities for them to connect with one another by sharing their unique perspectives, stories, and experiences.

Yes, it’s important to focus on the people you’re hoping to pull in from outside. However, the experiences of those who are already a part of the organization – its most valuable asset (its employees) – validate a company’s culture and the messages being heard by candidates. Focusing on the promises you made to employees when they were candidates and delivering a positive experience for them leads to happier and more satisfied employees, who then become the most authentic advocates you have for your employer brand.

My colleague, Phillip Lipka, sums it up it very succinctly:

“It is important for employer branding and employee experience professionals to continuously collaborate with one another in order to not only highlight the key organizational values that can be expected when joining a company, but to also live up to those values once employees are brought on board.”

Through his focus on the employee experience, Phillip has driven our employer branding strategy at Ritchie Bros. to new heights. If you’re interested in a bite-sized insight into the symbiotic relationship between employer branding and employee experience, I recommend having a read through what he has to say below. In truth, the employee experience is something I believe all employer branding professionals should be well-versed in today, no matter who they’re working for or what kind of candidates they’re looking to attract.

Phillip Lipka, Employee Experience Program Manager, Ritchie Bros.

Phillip Lipka, Employee Experience Program Manager

“To me, employer branding and employee experience are true complements to one another: employer branding (EB) helps to create and communicate the message, and employee experience (EE) delivers on that message.

They form a circle with each feeding into the other in a never-ending loop—informing one another and learning and growing from one another to deliver on promises made to candidates and employees.

Throughout my career, and in the numerous articles I have read on the topic, it is usually emphasized that organizational culture must start from the top and trickle down. While it is important for senior leadership (and all leaders) at an organization to be bought into and to live up to an organization’s values and culture, I believe it is just as important to tap into one of the greatest strengths at any organization to help inform the culture – its employees. Employees embody the company’s values and help form the organizational culture narrative through their interactions with customers, clients, stakeholders, and potential candidates every day. And that’s why the employee experience is so important. It forms the culture that attracts the candidates, and then those candidates become employees and confirm that the culture that appealed to them is genuine.

These days, there’s a much more personal aspect to the employee experience. The pandemic has highlighted the need for flexibility and to acknowledge that our personal and work lives are much more interwoven than most organizations were willing to previously recognize. The employee experience is no longer just about what employees experience while they’re at work – it’s taking into consideration the moments that matter within their lives as a whole, too. Further, it’s supporting them in not only having an impact in the work they do every day, but in their communities and broader society as well.

The employee experience constantly feeds into employer branding because employee voices, to me, are the most powerful yet under-utilized components of an organization’s employer brand. These are the voices that speak most loudly to your audience (and potential candidates) and form a considerable portion of a branding message.

For example, we’ve created a podcast series at Ritchie Bros. that provides an outlet for our people to share their stories and emphasizes the importance of valuing and learning from experiences that are different from your own. It brings a more human aspect to the employee experience because it includes real experiences and impassioned talk that encourages people to engage in conversations that will broaden their own views and perspectives. The podcast is also impactful from an employer branding perspective because it brings our people and culture as a company to life.

Ultimately, everyone wants to feel their time is valued and well-spent, and that they are making a difference. At Ritchie Bros., we appreciate every candidate and employee for their unique perspectives and we provide everyone with the chance to learn and grow, make their voice heard, and engage in opportunities where they can have an impact. In our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) efforts, we’re working hard to ensure that everyone can be their authentic selves here because that’s when people are able to operate at their full potential. And that’s when they are most able to demonstrate and perpetuate the supportive culture of opportunity and growth for all that makes people want to work for Ritchie Bros.”

Well said, Phillip!

Every candidate and every employee is different and looking for different things in a job or company. Employer branding is so important because it tells candidates what they can expect from you and empowers your existing employees to share their stories.

At the same time, the employee experience emphasizes the value that employees bring to the organization so that resources continue to be dedicated to providing an exceptional experience for all. When it comes down to it, the fields of employer branding and employee experience both put employees front and center and both see the value that every individual brings to the table. But their ultimate power lies in the two of them working together – to amplify an organization’s vision and values, to meet and exceed candidate and employee (and, thus, customer and client) expectations, and to provide everyone with a voice.