Want to weather the Great Resignation? Create an internal brand employ

Two years into the COVID period, many people are uninterested in dwelling by way of uncertainty. A technique we’re coping with that’s by rethinking and redefining our work lives. This has led to the so-called Great Resignation: a phrase coined to describe the record high charges of workers who left their job throughout the fall of 2021. Because of this, we’re witnessing one among the greatest cross-industry expertise shortages in a minimum of a decade.

Shifting into 2022, enterprise leaders could also be tempted to hope that the worst has come and gone. However our relationship with work has basically modified, and it’s onerous to see issues going again to how they had been earlier than. Actually, as anxieties round the pandemic proceed to wane, it’s doubtless that much more individuals will begin to reexamine their relationship with their employer.

This leaves companies with a stark query to reply. How do they change into the “winners” of the Great Resignation—the type of group individuals select to persist with, as an alternative of abandoning?


There are, in fact, sensible solutions to this query. Your attractiveness as an employer will rely in your workplace location, the individuals in your workforce, how a lot you pay, how versatile your parental go away is, and so forth. However above and round this sits your internal brand: the story you inform workers, or future workers, about the work they’ll do at your organization.

Why does it matter? How will the work they do with you differ from the work they’d do elsewhere? What’s the firm’s tradition, and the way does that manifest day-to-day? An internal brand ought to reply all of those questions.

Employers are used to enthusiastic about how to interact and retain their prospects by way of their exterior brand. However internal manufacturers are sometimes both uncared for solely, or lowered to a listing of perks and advantages.

Now’s the time to do issues in a different way.

Reminding individuals why they’re right here

Increasingly more of our purchasers are asking us to assist them construct an internal brand. A decade in the past, internal branding was usually a cynical train. Leaders would sit in a workshop for a day, debating a listing of values like “trustworthy” and “curious,” after which blow these phrases up on the partitions.

However efficient internal branding isn’t about itemizing off phrases, or making a pithy manifesto summarizing “why we’re right here.” As an alternative, an excellent internal brand does one thing way more highly effective: it tells each worker “why you’re right here.”


British retailer John Lewis & Companions is a superb instance of this, with a clearly articulated story about why their employee ownership mannequin makes life higher for workers. That is arguably why the firm boasts such a excessive employees retention charge: 80% of employees keep for greater than a 12 months—far greater than most high-street rivals.

That is such a powerful story that it filters out into the firm’s exterior brand. John Lewis’ 2018 TV marketing campaign completed with the tagline, “While you’re a part of it, you set your coronary heart into it.” At the identical time, the firm added “& Companions” again into their brand identify.

Give individuals a mission to advocate for

Defining and articulating your internal brand takes time and funding, and the work required will fluctuate from firm to firm. However this must be measured towards the prices of not constructing a powerful internal brand. Employers typically spend a third of an employee’s annual salary filling a job, which makes worker churn terribly costly. A narrative that encourages individuals to stick round can subsequently be extraordinarily helpful.

And keep in mind that a powerful internal brand doesn’t simply assist with retention: it may possibly enable you entice the finest candidates, and cut back the time, cash, and power spent on recruitment. Contemplate the way autonomous vehicle company Zoox talks to potential employees on their Careers page, main with a transparent narrative about why their job at Zoox can be totally different. It’s a much more compelling place to begin than “Here’s a checklist of perks.”

Finally, this helps Zoox assemble a workforce that believes in and advocates for his or her mission. It’s a key a part of how they compete in the red-hot Bay Space tech expertise market.

Your buyer is your worker

So how do you begin constructing a stronger internal brand? You speak to the “prospects”—that’s, your workers. Ask new hires why they joined: should you and your rivals provided the identical job, why would they select your organization? Then, flip the query round: Why do you need individuals to select your organization? If there’s a niche, don’t ignore it—work to cut back it. The crux of a profitable internal brand is a “why” that unites you together with your workers.

Zappos is a superb instance of an organization that’s carried out this sometimes-challenging work. The brand’s devoted checklist of deeply actionable internal values had been codeveloped with workers, galvanizing and empowering them. And the retailer takes concrete steps to construct a dedicated workforce: When new hires full their coaching, they’re provided a $2,000 early-exit fee in the event that they resolve they don’t need to work at the firm. This ensures that those that keep on really need to be there.

A brand that lives on

Even with the strongest internal brand, some workers will select to go away your organization. However your brand continues to repay even then. With a transparent narrative about the work you do, ex-employees change into ambassadors to your group: people who find themselves proud to have labored for you, and blissful to discuss it.

This underscores the multifaceted advantages of a powerful internal brand: Identical to your exterior brand, it’s a thread that runs by way of every part. It motivates individuals day-to-day. It places totally different groups on the identical web page. It helps you discover new hires who will add to the tradition of your group, and provides recruiters a method to promote you to the easiest candidates. And it turns ex-employees into alumni: individuals who at all times carry a chunk of your group with them.

Sam Pollen is artistic director at Reed Words, a world verbal branding company, the place he works with purchasers starting from the Nationwide Theatre to Heinz to Microsoft.