Improving Employer Brand

Recruitment and retention can be an issue for many businesses. In fact we could probably say every business is considering these two elements in the current market. The truth is, it’s more than just bringing talent into the business and keeping them.

During my career, I’ve seen many instances of disengaged individuals and teams affecting the performance of the business. Yet instead of addressing this head-on there is often a tendency to look outwards, to blame others. In all but the most extenuating of circumstances, the problem is usually internal. You need to engage your employees before you think about anything else.

Below are statistics taken from the HR Grapevine:

  1. Low salary (35%)
  2. I’d been there a long time and needed a change (23%)
  3. The work was boring (22%)
  4. The job location/the length of the commute (20%)
  5. I didn’t approve of my boss/line manager (14%)
  6. Didn’t like the culture (14%)
  7. Poor benefits (13%)
  8. Wasn’t confident that the company was heading in the right direction (11%)
  9. Didn’t get on with my colleagues (9%)

Once you start to take responsibility for these factors, your ability to hire and retain the best staff will go through the roof.

Potential solutions

There’s probably many blogs that could be written about each one of these, but I wanted to highlight a few things to think about.


Have you benchmarked against competitors? What else do you offer? What exciting projects will they get involved with? How will they make a difference to people’s lives? Have you got amazing/unusual benefits?  Do you have a unique culture?

Need a change

Can you accommodate and support this change? Does an employee want to change of direction? Does the employee know why they want a change? Why risk losing their great knowledge? Encourage exposure to other departments. Can they spend 1 day a week with other teams?

Work was boring

Challenge them. Understand what drives them. Understand their strengths. If they’re considering leaving, now is not the time to focus on weaknesses.


Own it. Don’t talk about why it’s suboptimal, talk about all the awesome things you do have. If you have terrible parking, but you’re dead centre of town, sell the practical advantage of being able to do some chores at lunch and the ease of commuting by train. If you’re in an industrial area, sell the ease with which you can get there (and the likely amazing bacon buttie from the local van). If you’re in the middle of nowhere in the countryside, you’ll probably have free parking, a beautiful location, fresh air and less traffic.


Was it a clash of personalities? Is it a question of management capabilities? Whatever it is, it needs addressing. This could recur time and time again, costing you more pain in the long-term than having a difficult conversation now.


Understand what your employees think the culture is? Does that meet your expectations? What is unique about your workplace?


There’s a good chance your employees don’t know about all of your benefits, make sure that’s not the case. Most people focus on bonus, pension and holidays; Cycle to Work, childcare vouchers, free eye test and discounts on glasses, free tea and coffee often get forgotten about.

Business Direction

Communicate. Tell your employees why you’re making certain decisions. Ask for their advice and thoughts. Be visible to your workforce, be approachable.

Relationships with colleagues

Our colleagues just happen to be people we walk the same carpet with for 40+ hours a week. Usually we find some common ground and the relationships work. Sometimes you find a true friendship that extends beyond the office. Very occasionally some relationships fail. These are the ones that need addressing. It’s often a difficult conversation, but one that needs to be had. Failing relationships arent just about the parties directly involved, the surrounding team will notice when things are sour.

To summarise, own it. If you are open about your issues, but can show the positives and opportunities, candidates and current employees will respect that you are self-aware. This goes a long way to enhancing your Employer Brand.

The recurring theme through this whole blog is communication. Talk about all of the above. Talk to candidates about it; shout it out on social media. Encourage your staff to talk about it. Open your doors, let the outside world in, and don’t be scared.