An employer brand is a vital component of any private equity transaction, merger, or acquisition.
The closing of a private equity deal often creates anxiety among employees:
- They worry about keeping their jobs.
- They worry that their positions will change.
- They worry about disruptions in business that will impact them negatively.
All too often, the very best people leave the company in the months up to and after a deal close. They take priceless company know-how and experience with them—often to competitors. The exits upset business relationships and create even more anxiety among those who stay. The impact can snowball and severely damage the business.
When you invest in a company, you invest in its people as much as anything. Put an effective employer brand strategy in place as early as possible—ideally at the announcement of a deal—to protect the value of your investment.
What is an employer brand?
An employer brand translates the corporate brand into messages that define the company mission and value. It conveys its aspirations to employees, job candidates, partners, and other stakeholders. Ideally, these audiences understand, internalize, and are motivated by it, with direct benefits to your limited partners’ investment. Effective employer brands align closely with the corporate brand, but translate it into a value proposition that is relevant to employees.
How an employer branding grows value in your investment
- Increases retention and loyalty
- Strengthens the ability to recruit top talent
- Turns every staff member into a brand ambassador who enhances company reputation
- Guides and motivates behaviors that deliver on the brand promise to customers
- Increases employee engagement, particularly in the digital world, to increase website and social media reach
- Directly contributes to growth and profitability
How to get started with employer branding
- Define your employer brand. Make the effort to formally translate the company brand positioning into internal-facing messaging. Extend it into branded visuals and graphics.
- Create a plan for internal brand communications as soon as the deal is announced through at least the first year, post-closing.
- Teach employees about the brand, why it is valuable to them, and how they can use it. Written materials, in-person interactive sessions, and ongoing reinforcement communications enhance clarity and buy-in. Set expectations and work with employees putting brand to use in their specific roles.
- Encourage feedback and open dialogue. Incorporate employee suggestions and maintain frequent communication. Informal, fun social activities are invaluable. Demonstrate corporate and investor commitment in the staff. Monitor employer rating websites like Glassdoor and Indeed.com. Employees often consult and contribute to them. Savvy customers also look at what your employees think. Respond and fix negatives quickly.
- Bring employer branding into HR and recruiting initiatives. Brand should be part of the onboarding process and annual reviews. Make sure the workplace experience matches the employer brand. Getting the environment right helps employees stay invested in the company’s success.
Invest in the people as much as you invest in a company, and you will see value grow. An employer brand initiative can really pay off.
Want to learn more. Read Straightline CEO Michael Watras’s article in the Harvard Business Review: “Why We Need to Rethink the ‘Employer Brand’”