As fashion business managers, we’re always focused on customers and markets. That’s ok, the fashion industry is very market-driven and as a result, we tend to focus most of our efforts on attracting and retaining customers.
However, if we are to analyze what branding is, in a wider perspective, we’d be able to see that our company brand is not only what our customers think our products and services, but more broadly a brand is a “gut feeling” that connected with whatever interaction happened between our firm and its environment.
This is why a branding manager should be well aware of the company’s image, as the distance and separation between “internal” and “external” stakeholders are now almost nonexistent. In other words, your brand is able to influence your customers, just like your employer brand will be able to influence potential talent wishing to work for your business.
For as much as we are focused on our consumer brand, our employer brand is every bit as important.
This is why in this post we’re going to focus on employer branding and why it matters for your fashion firm.
The Benefits of a Strong Employer Brand
The primary use of your employer brand is to attract talent.
As the fashion industry is aspirational, great talent looks at brands with the same scrutiny and dedication they would employ if they were to become full-time customers. Just like for your consumer brand, an employer brand will help you in achieving many goals which we’re going to address in detail.
As we set out on our analysis, it’s important to remember that aside from whatever salary we’re going to pay our employees, the process of recruitment is a costly process, and building a strong employer brand can help us reduce this cost.
Let’s now see how this can be done.
Attracting the most qualified candidates and the more motivated workers.
It is not only because of money that we are motivated to work. The benefits of a job are also connected to our social status, to our purpose as people, and to the influence, we want to exercise on those who are around us.
This is why only by building a strong employer brand we can attract candidates that see in our organization an effective means to acquire these benefits. Attracting high-profile candidates is expensive as they are very sought-after. International talent is sought after by major corporations, who can afford to spend thousands of euros just to have a chance at providing an opportunity. If your employer brand is based on the right set of values, these candidates will respond to you or will even reach out without any solicitation.
Reduce the cost of attracting, selecting, recruiting, and retaining talent.
As a result, we are likely to see that strong employer equity is likely to help us better manage our human resource management costs. Just like we see in consumer markets, if your employer brand is well-known it will be cheaper to attract interest from possible candidates, and any vacancy will be receiving spontaneous applications. There are at least four different stages in the recruitment process:
- Attracting. Making the job desirable and generate interest towards the company to the point that a candidate will be happy to apply to a vacancy post. It’s up to you to decide to what degree you want to attract new talent, and to what degree you want to pre-select candidates by showing the challenges of the job, but it’s in your power to tailor your company image to fit your strategic goals.
- Selecting. Screening applications and finding suitable candidates for the job. In the selection process, we also need to account for the cost of running interviews and in some cases, multiple ones.
- Recruiting. This is the stage where the company needs to make an offer to the selected candidate, and in some cases negotiate a deal that will make him or her accept the job.
- Retaining, In this stage, even though the candidate is already working for the company, the organization still needs to make sure he\she will not be leaving it for a better opportunity. All of the strategies and techniques adopted to avoid that talent leaves the company also entail a cost.
For all of these steps, again, a strong employer brand can add a valuable intangible that will make it easier for you to compete profitably in the job market.
Build a sense of belonging and pride for those already working for your company.
Building a strong brand image will also be important for those employees who are already working for your company. A recognized and popular brand will provide a strong sense of pride and belonging to those who already work for you. As we discussed a few paragraphs above, the social identity and social status we get from our work are one of the main reasons we look for job opportunities, and if the company we work for provides a strong sense of purpose and identity this helps build strong relationships within the company.
In this context, we see that those companies who go the extra mile and commit to pursuing a social or environmental cause as a critical component of their company mission are usually able to create committed teams and happy employees. Organizations who put their social and environmental goals ahead of their own profitability are called “impact-first” and we discuss them in this article: Five Business Model to Pursue Social and Environmental Goals.
In order to create an authentic connection with your audience, you may find that your fashion brand needs to engage with current social and environmental trends, by showing a commitment to values that go beyond simple profits. As demands from customers have risen to a new standard of corporate social responsibility, brands are required to give their contribution to relevant causes. We explore this topic in more detail in this article.
Increase long-term retention of your current employees.
As a result of what we’ve discussed, we can see that companies with strong employer brands are more likely to retain their employees in the long term.
There are various benefits connected to employees who stay in their jobs for longer, as their knowledge of the business grows as long as they stay with the company. Also, by retaining long-term employees you can avoid losing some of your most capable staff to your competition.
If your employees are feeling as if their company is a good employer, which pursues a vision and mission they share, the likelihood of them staying on will obviously increase, and just like in consumer markets, retaining an existing employee is cheaper than recruiting a new one.
There you have it. In this post, we discussed how your employer brand is capable of influencing your fashion business. Building a strong team by attracting, selecting, recruiting and retaining top talent is a very important element to your business strategy, and in our blog, you’ll find plenty more resources to help you build a company by investing in the right individuals.
Still at the startup stage? Here’s an article for you: How to Recruit Top Talent for Your Fashion Startup.
Looking for C-Suite Executives? Here’s something that can help: How to Hire C-Suite Executives for Your Retail Company.
In our blog you’ll find many more resources to help you build your team. Enjoy!