How many times have we heard professional services firms claim that 'our people are our greatest asset'. It is, of course, completely meaningless.
But it does raise an interesting discussion around the employer brand in the professional services space, and its role in attracting the right people.
Some firms - the big four accountancy firms, the magic circle legal firms - can credibly claim to have strong employer brands. They can take the pick of the bunch. Perhaps too the boutique firms with a particular focus.
But what of the mid-tier mass of firms that at first glance look the same. And the same too for those firms in the regions.
Many professional services firms - particularly law firms - are still a collection of very disparate practice areas. This makes the employee brand a greater challenge.
These top tips are enormously helpful. As too are exercises like The Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For.
- Internal research is critical. Companies need to understand what it’s really like to be an employee - a perception/reality gap will spell trouble. Employer brand is best communicated by those who embody the brand – an organisation’s people. They must be involved in the development of the brand proposition. - Good employer brand is communicated throughout the employee life cycle – from attracting prospects, through to the on-boarding process, training and career development and the employee exit process. - Measuring the effectiveness of employer brand typically includes cost per hire, number and quality of applications/hires and the attrition rate. But it can go further to assess engagement levels with both external and internal target audiences via independent surveys/research. - Employer brand should involve stakeholders across the business. It needs sponsorship at senior levels – ideally from the chief executive.