How are you measuring your client's employer brand?

Terms like EVP and Employer Brand have been around for quite some time, certainly long enough for most HR consultants to need no explanation about what they are.

However, there seems to be a number of varying opinions about whether these things are actually a thing.  A quick scan of social media and the issue seems to revolve around whether it is wise to create a specific Employer brand that is in some way separate from what customers see and experience.  Some say absolutely, some say it depends, and some are adamant that it is a bad idea.

So, which one is it?

Experience versus expectation

Most professionals in this area would readily acknowledge that creating expectations that are far removed from what an employee's actual experience might be is not a great idea.  It is one thing to sell an expectation to a potential employee, but it is incredibly difficult to mask actual experience.  If you didn't see the post on LinkedIn titled 'Best HR Joke Ever', you can read it here.

Regardless of your opinion about Employer Brands, there does seem to be a unanimous groundswell of support behind the idea of trying to understand what employees think it is, and whether this is different to what the Leadership Team says it is.

If we were dealing with robots and machines, it might be a little bit easier.  But we aren't.  We are dealing with employees who are humans (and hopefully this remains the case for some time to come!).  As humans, we sometimes have a problem telling the whole truth in all situations.  It is not that we are necessarily a bunch of liars (although sometimes we are), it's just that in the world of work, it sometimes isn't a great career move to go around sledging your boss.

The art of getting to the truth

Despite this fundamental and somewhat frustrating challenge, the need to understand what is really happening out there in employee land is an important one for any HR consultant. In fact, today's failure to understand the underlying norms that exist within a workplace is tomorrow's unpaid invoice.  Clients have a reasonable expectation of results these days.

Getting to the truth, or at least close to it, is the key.  The problem with truth is that it is a rubbery concept.  In a company of 100 people, there are around 100 unique truths.  And thanks to the principles of group-think and emotional contagion, possible even more depending on who you ask on any given day!

So rather than trying to aim for absolute truth, today's HR consultant realizes that this may not be possible - and instead the goal becomes to collect and synthesize the best possible information possible from the available budget.  

And now we are getting to the point of this article.  How does a Consultant, a person not officially an employee, get access to the truth they need when there is only a specific amount of time allocated to achieve such a feat?

Is it through a survey?  Is it a series of interviews with employees?  Is it a series of interviews with senior stakeholders?  Is it a review of the other data sources available?

It would seem that it is a combination of all of these options.  It certainly can't be achieved by only adopting one of these approaches.  By itself, data is simply a representation of what is happening.  Why the data and numbers are what they are can never be determined through data sources alone.  Even employee surveys that ask open-ended questions can only provide part of the story.

Therefore, the successful consultant of the future is the one that can get their hands on the best available information that is as close to reality as possible.  This is indeed an important skill.

Given that surveys are a necessary but incomplete part of the picture, it makes sense to ensure that survey processes are as time and cost efficient as possible.  Which is why our very clear suggestion to every consultant is to be wary of overcapitalising on survey-only approaches. Select the survey platform that minimises your efforts so that you can invest more time complementing this data with other activities and still remain within budget.

It is ok to be profitable.

Can Employee Life Consultant Edition help you to reduce your survey costs?  Learn more here.