Guest Article: Winning the War on Talent — Gillian Horan, The Pudding

Employment, Guest Feature | Mon 30 Jul | Author – Business & Finance
war on talent

Now more than ever is the time to re-evaluate your employee brand strategy. We are in a competitive commercial economy and spending time on your employer brand will increase the chances of winning the war on talent.

Study after study is statistically proving that having a strong employer brand can make a real difference in your business. Research by Job Vibe (2017) found that employee turnover can be reduced by 28% by investing in employer brand while the Brandon Hall Group (2015) found that organisations investing in employer brand are three times more likely to make a quality hire. 82% of respondents to a Deloitte study by Bersin (2016) believe that culture is a potential competitive advantage and fewer than 12% of companies in another study by Deloitte believe they truly understand their culture. These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to statistics and they are coming at us fast and thick. One thing is clear; these numbers cannot be ignored.

Three things you need to consider to win the war on talent include:

  1. Your employees are a key part your employer brand. Companies that have a unique and authentic employer brand are more likely to reflect reality. Reality is what the candidate wants to know about, what they want to experience. They are checking out the career website to get insight into the culture and what it is like to work there. When they on-board, they expect to genuinely experience what your organisation promised. So live up to your proposition, embrace it internally and drive participation. Employees soon realise if the employee value proposition is a tick the box exercise. And if this is the case, you will be in a worse scenario than before you started. If you want motivated employees who are not only happy but who are also natural brand ambassadors – then you need to deliver.
  2. Collaboration is key especially between HR and marketing. This is an interesting one and one that can cause controversy. It shouldn’t. The Human Resource Department have always owned the people function. Marketing own the marketing and branding elements of the business. However, this new business function that we now term Employer Branding is bridged between the two departments as both skill sets are needed. We need to attract talent, we need to communicate to them, we need to have a clear proposition so that we know what makes our company different. And we need to tell potential candidates all about this in a clear and exciting way. Then we need to think about retaining the great people we have just recruited. We need to interact, engage and involve them. They are our employer brand. My advice, the HR director needs to drive this function and Marketing need to bring in their expertise. We have always matched marketing to consumers, now we need to match it with our employees. We won’t have products and services to sell if it wasn’t for them.
  3. Build a business case and invest in it. So if HR and Marketing are aligned and are ready to rock their employer brand they may need to convince the CEO and/or the board to invest in building a strong employer brand. The best advice I can give here is build a business case. Know your numbers. Know the cost of recruitment per year and the percentages around staff turnover. Know what is happening on Glassdoor and if you want to go a step further do specific market research. Use the research that exists internationally this will help but the most impressive content for the board is what is happening with their resources and what people are saying about their company.

Gillian Horan is CEO of The Pudding. The Pudding is a commercial and creative brand agency which builds, re-positions and grows game-changing corporate and employer brands. More at or get in contact