As the competition to attract and retain the best talent grows, many organisations are investing millions to make theirs the most attractive and compelling workplaces. The centerpiece of this effort, for many organisations, is the employer value proposition, a unified proposition that encompasses all aspects of the employer brand. A clear EVP enables them to keep messaging consistent and maintain an attractive and compelling brand image at every level. At a time when it has become increasingly difficult for organisations to control their external image — thanks to the rise of digital technology, and social media in particular — this can provide a vital competitive edge, especially to those organisations where competition for talent is particularly fierce.

Another reason organisations are investing seriously in their employer brands is that, in many cases, prospective employees are also customers, and that negative employer brand experiences may damage more than just the employer brand. If someone has a bad candidate experience with a famous coffee house, for example, then chances are they will start buying their daily flat white elsewhere.

Creating synergies. Despite the acknowledged importance of employer branding, there is still very little, if any, effort being spent on engaging with the contingent workforce. This omission has always seemed misguided to me, as many people take on temporary roles with the hope of becoming permanent employees. More recently, it has begun to feel like a serious mistake.

Global economic uncertainty, technological advancements and increased competition all contribute to a growing trend toward the inclusion or expansion of contingent workforces. However, anyone designing a truly comprehensive employer brand strategy will face challenges that have rarely been tackled before. Most contingent workers, for example, are engaged primarily through third-party staffing agencies. Do these agencies fully understand their clients’ organisations and are they adequately portraying those organisations’ brands? These are just some of the questions that employer brand strategies will have to address.Some tips for getting it right:

1. Have a clear Employer Value Proposition. A clear proposition will help you to maintain consistency throughout brand messaging.

2. Be authentic. Your EVP must be grounded in the reality of what it is like to work for your organisation and your company culture, values and ethos.

3. Ensure employer branding efforts include the contingent worker population and alumni, not just the permanent workforce.

4. Maintain consistency of message and experience across all “touchpoints” in the recruitment experience, including those touchpoints managed by third parties such as staffing agencies — and don’t forget the onboarding experience!

5. Ensure everything is always ready for an employee’s first day. The first three months are critical, and a poor first-day impression does not fade easily. That first 90 days is also the prime time to elicit referrals from new hires.

6. Include all employees (permanent and temporary) in recognition and social events.

7. Implement supplier and candidate (permanent and contingent) satisfaction surveys to help identify potential weaknesses or areas for improvement.

8. Involve some element of giving back. A robust corporate social responsibility strategy is a great way to show that an organisation gives back to the community, and that it cares about bigger problems than itself.

Now that organisations realize their employee-facing communications deserve some of the investment and attention lavished on their consumer-facing ones, today’s innovators have their sights set on a new frontier at which contingent workers are offered the same quality of brand experience as employees. It is interesting to consider where this conversation could develop over the next five or 10 years’ time, and to speculate what the next phase of evolution might be in the life of the employer brand.