The word on the street really does count and what your employees, past or present, say about you is crucial for your reputation and ability to recruit the rising stars of the future. There are a variety of private and public sector roles within the planning sector both with very different cultures and opportunities and with a vast array of openings, so it has never been more important to ensure your company stands out from the rest for the right reasons.
Audit what’s working
A good starting point is asking your current and existing employees about the business, its culture, and what is valued and what is not. What perceptions there are of fairness, opportunities and rewards as well as how diverse and inclusive the business is. Understanding where room for improvement is required and taking action is one key facet of moving your employer branding forward. It’s also vital to understand how those opinions are being filtered into the external environment. A Google search of your business and some insight on the comments received on social media can offer some valuable understanding.
Shape the content
Positive PR is the watchword. Your employer brand encompasses the whole and stories about how you fundraised for a local charity, the organisation’s philanthropic activities, the voice you have on political and social issues and your stance and contributions towards the environment, all build a picture of what your business stands for and therefore what it’s like to work with those value propositions. Added to this is the power of case studies, bite-sized videos and recruitment tweets showcasing the key tenets of your culture and what your employers live and breathe daily as an employee.
Stretch your talent pool
When your employer branding is strong, both internally and externally, that reputation infiltrates a wider talent pool that may previously have been inaccessible. The ability to leverage exemplary employees in turn helps raise motivation and boosts productivity and image. Accessing candidates that may ordinarily have been untouchable also brings the benefits of improved diversity and having a wider voice will put the business in a stronger position.
View your employees as a recruiting army
Utilise the amazing talent you have to prize open even more opportunities. Take opportunities for existing staff to showcase their expertise under your name in panels, keynote speeches, conference attendance and networking events. Ensure you have a robust PR offering which can turn around professional comments from your staff and put your name out there in the press. Planning media can be entangled with legal disputes and stories related to regulations and planning law. Ensuring your business or council has a voice that is credible on the stories that are current and expose your operation as an expert is a great way to establish your employer brand as a key player in the industry.
Evaluate your perks
It’s no secret that the pandemic has re-set working expectations for presenteeism in the office and many planning roles can be aptly conducted remotely or with a hybrid working pattern. Offering some flexibility on the where and when of how employees work is a key way to showcase yourself as an employer that listens to what employees want, that focuses on output rather than time spent at a desk and puts wellbeing and work/life balance at the forefront of their values. Senior leaders that can champion the cause help to set levels of acceptability.
Offer tangible opportunities
Career development and opportunities are vital whatever rung of the ladder you may be operating upon. Positioning the business as an employer that offers continuous professional development, technical up-skilling and the opportunity to be promoted or work on secondments in other departments is vital if candidates are going to view you as a business in which their career can flourish and where their aspirations can be met.
Reputation is everything and the good news is that you can craft this with positive impact. Employers that invest in building a positive culture of inclusivity, opportunity and success will in turn find that their employees spread the word of what a great place it is to work at and the power of this is unlimited.