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How to Ignite Your CEO's Passion for Employer Branding

3 min read.


Lois Payne Lois Payne



Employer Branding

When tough times force organisations to make cuts, employer brand leaders often find themselves in the firing line.

Any yet, we know their work is critical in solving key problems and supporting the strategic vision of a company. It’s in the tough times when employer branding can shine as a vital tool and an unfair competitive advantage.

The CEO of Ph.Creative, Bryan Adams, recently got together with Graeme Johnson, Group Director of Talent, Learning and Performance at Merlin Entertainment and Adrian Koehler, Founder of global executive coaching and training firm Take New Ground, to discuss the bulletproof case for employer branding and how employer brand professionals can convince leaders their work is indispensable.

If you want to learn:

- Strategies for getting CEOs actively involved, engaged and invested in Employer Brand
- The common obstacles to aligning Employer Brand with your CEO’s vision
- Tools to increase budget, headcount and your sphere of influence

... keep reading.

You can watch the full on demand webinar version for free. 

Here are the key takeaways from the session.

The ideal relationship between CEOs and Employer Brand leaders

- Being on personal terms with the CEO can be helpful, but it’s not essential. What is essential is gaining a reputation of being credible by showing the work you do has an impact on business performance.

- But it’s not just about the CEO. As the expression goes, “the lunatics run the asylum”, so it’s just as important to have relationships with others key figures in the business.

- Ultimately, you want the CEO to feel smarter and more connected to the ground after speaking with you. Be honest and optimistic. Represent the real issues.

Fixing the disconnect between CEOs and Employer Brand leaders

- Focus on the future. CEOs are looking forward, not in their rear-view mirror. Understand how you are going to help the future growth of the organisation, as well as what you’ve achieved already, and articulate this clearly.

- They may not like it in the moment, but CEOs need straight shooting. Be gutsy enough to tell leadership, “If you don’t make these decisions, here is how the company will suffer.”

- A common red herring is the idea your employer brand has to only provide a snapshot of the reality of today to be authentic. The CEO is paid to think beyond that. When you talk about the reality of today, there’s a good chance the CEO isn’t comfortable with the current status quo. Your employer brand should be a tangible bridge between the reality of today and aspiration of tomorrow.

- Get crystal clear with leadership’s major concerns and have a direct line between all your activities and what they care most about, which is profitability.

- Make recommendations to shape the reputation and culture in line with leadership’s priorities. Show the commerciality in your approach, and you will be listened to.

- Some Employer Brand leaders never get to meet the CEO. Determine if you don’t have access to the CEO because of structure, or because you haven’t asked for it. Be bold enough to request fifteen minutes of their time to show how you work will help them. Be clear what you want out of that time.

Getting your CEO to understand the value of Employer Branding

- The language you use and how directly you can correlate it to the ultimate goals of the organization is paramount. Think “culture and capability” rather than EVP, and “reputation” rather than employer brand strategy. These are words the CEO understands and cares about and will elevate your agenda to a very senior level.

- Equip managers with EVP as a tool to influence culture and capability.

- Establish your “from and to” story. What culture and reputation does your business have currently, and where are you trying to get them to? Distil the problem you’re going to solve so that leadership understand what you’re trying to achieve.

- EVP and employer brand are a team sport. Figure out who your team is and do a relationship map. Figure out who you need to know in the organisation and the strength of the relationship you need to have with those people.

- If you want credibility in an organisation, be the most accountable person in the room. Beat people to the punch about their concerns and address their judgments of you, your team or your initiative head on.

- At the start of your project, go around all the leaders and give them a good listening to. Along the way, if you show them their insights and opinions are featuring in the end solution, you’ll build an influential circle of advocates that feel like they've contributed to your work. And it will be activated and managed and defended for the sustainable future.

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