Building your Employer Brand

What is the one thing that stops your business from growing faster? It does not matter what your answer is, if you keep peeling the reasons, finally it will boil down to not having more talented and committed people in critical roles.

Look at the world’s most valuable companies – whether Apple or Google – their valuation is not because of their physical assets, it is their people. Their founders, be it Steve Jobs or Larry Page and Sergey Brin,  did not settle for less than ordinary talent even during their rather ordinary beginnings.

In retrospect, these companies got their business model right, but so did many others. Remember Alta Vista, HotBot, Excite, Lycos, Netscape and a dozen others who had the same idea as Google and Yahoo? All of them received initial funding. The key difference was the quality of talent.

Founders of wildly successful organisations realise that once you get your business model right, the most important priority is to attract talent. Talent attracts talent since great people want to work with other great people. Research by Great Place to Work® Institute shows that positive perception of existing employees about their workplace increases dramatically once they see other talented people join the organization. Even if nothing else has changed!

How do you get talented people to join? You do so by building your employer brand. A few key questions you can ask are:

Why do good leaders fail to create a great workplace? Here are some of the reasons:

    1. Do you know your employee value proposition?Before you decide why people should join you, please find out from existing employees why they stay. Remember you are not trying to create a great workplace experience for anyone in the job market, only for the talent that is critical for your business. Have you done your talent segmentation? Which talent profiles impact your customer and/or your business results disproportionately? Sales and Marketing could be one, but so would specialised roles like actuaries in a life insurance company or designers in a fashion apparel company. You need to pay particular attention to why these sets of employees join and what will make them stay.
    2. Do your existing employees perceive your Company to be a great place to work?Research by Great Place to Work® Institute shows that majority of organizations fall short of being great workplaces on account of a few common factors: fair pay, impartiality, behaviour of managers, fair performance appraisals and equal opportunities for recognition.
    3. Do we have people practices that create great employee experience?Employees experience their organization primarily through their interactions with the managers and colleagues. Employees experience managers through the way they hire, speak, listen, inspire, develop, thank, celebrate, share (rewards) or demonstrate care. Smart organizations like Google do not leave it to individual managers. They train and support line managers with the practices that reinforce the desired employee experience. At some stage you will be tempted to hire a marketing firm to publicise your employer brand in the external talent market. If you haven’t explored the above three questions adequately, my advice will be don’t. Nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising. Make sure the experience of your existing employees is good before you build your employer brand with potential employees.

Prasenjit Bhattacharya isa Director at Great Place to Work Institute, Sri Lanka, as well as, the CEO of Great Place to Work® Institute, India. Views expressed are personal.To view this or other articles of Prasenjit visit  You can post your comments and join the discussion in Prasenjit’s blog in Linked in. Prasenjit can also be contacted at


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