Bringing the Love to the IHR Employer Branding Conference

18 July 2023

Employer branding with more love. 

This year, we at 106 brought the love to the IHR Employer Branding conference – and can we just say it was the perfect match. For the uninitiated, this conference is a gathering of Talent professionals and Employer Branding whizzes, all interested and invested in telling their organisation’s story to better attract and retain talent.  

What’s special about this conference is the format. Across the day there are three roundtable sessions which every delegate participates in. This is an opportunity for sharing (and a little commiserating) current challenges, to cross-pollinate ideas and workshop real-world activations. 106 Founder Henry and Talent Specialist Jayne caught all the action, so we’re going to take you through the latest trends and hot topics straight from the source. 

First, there was an audience poll. These are the top three challenges in talent attraction: 

  • Attracting diverse audiences
  • Lack of brand awareness 
  • Doing more with less [lack of budget and resource in teams]   

Attracting diverse audiences is a perennial struggle for certain industries. The lack of brand awareness was really interesting, a common complaint was that the brand got in the way of the perception of potential talent. Speaking to delegates some companies found that despite being a tech business, it was hard to appeal to engineers outside of the sector which the services land in. 


The importance of Employer Brand authenticity all the way through the candidate lifecycle….

In a talent market that favours the candidate, it can be easy to focus more on what we can give our candidates in exchange for their skills. In recent client work at 106, we’ve found great value in turning this around. Let’s define the organisation on its best day, the behavioural attributes that enable this, and use these behaviours to articulate the recruitment proposition more accurately and give substance to our values.  

Compare the Market case study 

A candid talk from Compare the Market offered brilliant insight into how an Employer Brand project really works, and the inevitable pain points along the way. The real take away was the power of internal testing. Develop your EVP, but make sure you build workshops and focus groups into the process – including the final iteration – as there might be significant cultural nuances to your language that need identifying and ironing out. 

Employee Advocacy 

There’s wide recognition that employee advocacy remains one of the most powerful tools in the Talent Acquisition toolbox.  But making it happen is not always so easy.  There are tools out there, but there was some cynicism amongst our roundtable that no matter what the tool, it’s still difficult to get colleagues to share.  As one of our group said, “go back to what makes people proud to work there”.  This way, there’s likely to be more advocacy.  But you’ve also got to make it easy – and as ever, if leaders lead the way on this, then colleagues are more likely to follow suit. 

Building the business case for Employer Branding work 

This was the hot topic around the tables. Many organisations are facing the challenge of being asked to deliver better quality candidates faster and cheaper, but are struggling to secure investment in the employer brand with leaders asking, ‘What is the ROI?’.  

Isolating the ROI of Employer Branding work is a challenge, as it is part of a wider matrix of activations that can impact attraction and retention. However, there are some helpful tools to help you build a business case. 

Five good indicators to measure your impact:  

  • Recruitment performance (data from application through to hiring) 
  • Employee engagement (survey, office walks) 
  • Employee advocacy (social listening) 
  • External audience sentiment (market testing) 
  • ED&I performance (consulting internal network, data from HR) 

And five good questions to reflect on, to articulate in the business case and action where necessary: 

  • How has Covid and changing working patterns changed the emotional contract your employees have with your organisation?
  • When was the last time your organisation stress tested your values? 
  • Do your target audiences identify with your values in the same way that your customers do? 
  • Do your values represent how you want your future employees to behave rather than playing back how they do today? 
  • At a turbulent time of change and uncertainty how is your organisation actively listening to your people? 


At 106, we understand that a good Employer Branding brings people together, holds a mirror up to lived experiences and articulates the strategic aspirations of an organisation.

We help organisations define their EVP through a process of insight-driven creativity. Because it’s not just about the snappy campaign. The EVP process is an opportunity for organisations to really understand who they are through the eyes of their people, with rich employee consultation and an invitation to participate. We work with clients to bring everyone on the journey, building advocacy, reputation and brand from the inside.  

Want to learn more? Reach out to Henry Davies or Jayne Cullen.

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