Scottish tourism and employer branding
Updated: Aug 26
As the Scottish tourism industry musters to fight back against the government’s proposed immigration laws, is it also time for industry leaders to look at their employer brand strategy? In the face of a dwindling talent pool, it’s critical to ensure your organisation is able to attract and retain the right candidates to keep your business operating at a successful level.
Key to understanding your employer brand is to consider your candidate and employees as customers. Your employer brand works in a similar way to your corporate brand, so you need to have a clear idea of what it is, and how to improve and amplify it, just like you do in a marketing strategy that's aim is promote your brand and offer to potential customers.
In consumer marketing you often see the awareness, interest, consideration, purchase model used to illustrate a purchase journey. We can also use a similar model to help better understand how to attract candidates, and turn them into advocating employees.
Create awareness of your organisation with the right candidates
Have you profiled the perfect fit for your team? Do you know what drives those individuals? Where you can communicate with them? What type of company culture they aspire to be part of? Profiling your audience is hugely important as it will help you target the right people, so your communication efforts aren’t lost.
Be clear on your Employer Value Proposition (EVP)
What are you offering to potential employees that makes your organisation a desirable workplace? Is it the on-site benefits? The wellness programme? Or flexible-working? How do you define the culture, the work environment and the company values? What progression and personal development can you offer?
Use these key elements to create messaging that will resonate with job seekers, capturing their attention so they consider you as a potential employer. Give them good reason to submit an application!
Improve retention and turn employees into advocates
In the consumer world, returning customers and brand advocates are the ultimate goal. And it's the same for employees too. Acknowledging and measuring employee engagement helps you understand your organisation from the employee perspective. It gives you the insights you need, to take the right approach to improve your retention.
Gallup has identified a great 12 point framework for gauging employee engagement and it’s worth checking to see if you communicate with your teams in this way.
Nothing says ‘come work here’ more than engaged employees who are happy to share their positive work experiences with others, in formal surroundings like a testimonial video, or informally with their own personal and professional networks. Your employees are a powerful tool.
Organisational culture and reputation go hand in hand
Unsurprisingly, an organisation that cultivates a positive workplace will get the best performance from their employees, and will have a strong reputation that gives them the edge over their talent competitors.
Research shows that some of the key elements of a positive corporate culture include a transparent management style, a diverse workforce, understanding what drives your employees (ahem, that’s where the profiling comes in again), collaboration across teams/departments, recognition and reward, empathy and progression. Oh, and the old classic, work-life balance.
There are strong links between highly engaged employees and a strong reputation. One example from the American Psychological Association found that 89% of workers at companies that support well-being initiatives are more likely to recommend their company as a good place to work. Employer brand advocacy, employee retention and a reputation booster, all rolled into one.
Communicating your employer brand
How do you communicate your employer brand? Are you utilising channels that your employees and the wider talent pool will engage with? Getting the right messages about your employer brand out to the ‘market’ is crucial in acquiring the best talent. And it’s equally important to have clear channels of communication for your employees too (especially two-way communication).
Some examples of internal communication channels could include:
Meetings & workshops
Training & focus groups
1-2-1's (formal and informal)
Surveys & feedback mechanisms
Posters & flyers
Roadshows & events
Closed social media groups
External communication channels could include:
Public relations and media relations activity
Conferences & speaking opportunities
Trade shows & employment fairs
Sounds like a lot of work, right? Like another marketing communications plan? Well it is. If you can’t attract and retain good employees to run your business, then you may as well kiss that customer marketing plan goodbye, because the tourism industry can’t function without good people.
We’ll all be watching closely over the coming months to see what, as an industry, can be done to combat the impending immigration changes. If I were a tourism, hospitality or events employer, I’d be using this time to look closely at improving my employer brand. Contingency is better than the alternative.
Resources: https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/employers/resources/9-tips-for-building-a-strong-workplace-culture/ https://www.forbes.com/sites/nazbeheshti/2019/01/16/10-timely-statistics-about-the-connection-between-employee-engagement-and-wellness/ https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2016/06/workplace-well-being https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/blog/employer-brand/2018/employer-branding