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Is your employer brand capable of seizing tomorrow’s opportunity or in danger of seizing up?


The past weekend saw a number of examples of teams and individuals seizing the moment – seeing an opportunity, an opening, a moment in time and demonstrating daring, drive and initiative.

For Andy Murray, his team and the entire nation, Sunday in SW19 was an unalloyed triumph. Wonderfully well though he played, there was, however, an element of opportunism about his victory. Novak Djokovic, his opponent in the final, had played the longest ever semi final on the Friday evening just two days prior and even his massive wells of stamina were tested. As a result, Djokovic had to go for his shots sooner in rallies than he would have liked in order to conserve energy levels. Murray seized on this and played with heart and passion and took the opportunity served up to him (sorry…).

We saw something similar with the British and Irish Lions the day before. Faced with losing their fourth consecutive series, they were presented with an opportunity within the first 10 seconds of the game, Will Genia, the Wallabies usually peerless scrum half dropped the ball. 90 seconds later, the Lions were 7-0 to the good and the Aussies were forced to play catch up. With their opponent’s game plan out of the window, the Lions took advantage and put more than 40 points over the Australians.
Such courage and bravery clearly exists in the corporate world too. Two weeks ago saw a report published by the British Geological Survey on shale gas. The report puts estimates of reserves at 1,329trn cubic feet of gas. It certainly sounds like a lot and indeed equates to 47 years of UK gas consumption.

Institute of Directors suggests that shale gas could meet a third of the UK’s gas demand and lead to the creation of 74,000 jobs. And yet, there are objections from green campaigners who are concerned about the potential pollution of water supplies and the dangers of setting off earthquakes – this despite a review by the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society which concluded the risks were very low. The UK, therefore, with reserves of shale gas larger than any other nation in the world, has a huge opportunity – particularly when faced with potential blackouts, energy droughts and indebtedness to Russia and Middle East – to create real prosperity, energy independence as well as sizeable employment prospects. We can only hope that politicians show the sort of zeal, impetus and courage of a Murray chasing down a Djokovic drop shot.

And if the country, as well as its sports professionals have real opportunity in front of them, so too do our employers. A piece of research by Deloitte out this week confirms real optimism coursing through corporate UK. The survey, conducted via UK CFOs, indicated hiring, investment and spending intentions at their highest for more than two years. Interestingly, risk is now shedding its ‘dirty word’ tag, with 45% of CFOs suggesting that now is the right time to take risk onto the balance sheet – more than double that of the same survey 12 months ago. Ian Stewart, Deloitte’s chief economist concluded, ‘Business optimism has been improving for some time but our survey shows that CFOs are translating this confidence into action and planning for growth’. With the business climate and sentiment improving, key UK organisations sense that now is the time for expansion, development and risk. His use of the word ‘action’ is telling – I sense more opportunities being seized.

And at TMP too, we genuinely sense a change in momentum. There has rarely if ever been more enthusiasm for the development of employer branding solutions, across any number of industry sectors. More specifically, we detect an interest from organisations keen to understand the employer branding landscape. They have an EVP but one defined and articulated either pre-recession or during the last five years of pain and contraction – neither of which are likely to be the source of topical insights and the sort of aspirational employee and candidate message platform which will see some organisations able to seize the opportunity of a rising economic and employment tide.

Just as the Australians will be looking to hire some new front row talent, organisations will be keen to avoid taking several backward steps by seizing the opportunities presented by an employer brand designed for today and with an eye on tomorrow, rather than one disappearing into the distance in the rearview mirror.But if you’re not seizing the moment, you run the risk of others seizing your talent – “Lack of talent is turning out to be the ‘single biggest obstacle to growth’ with too few organisations adapting their talent identification systems to compete in the current business environment” from the newly re-branded EY earlier this year.

About the Author:

DSC03089Neil Harrison | Employer Branding Advantage

Neil is the Head of Employer Branding and Insight at TMP and has worked in this field for the past 20+ years. He has delivered employer branding solutions for organisations as diverse as Santander, Heineken, the University of Sheffield, Aircelle, HSBC, GCHQ and Unilever over the past few years.

Blog: Employer Branding