Caroline McAniff has over 18 years experience in the recruitment industry including agency, head hunting and in-house positions. She is the current Head of Recruitment at EY Ireland where she leads their talent attraction team, recruiting both experienced hires and recent graduates. She spoke to Jobbio on the necessity of employer branding and how EY are promoting themselves as employers of choice.
The evolution of the employer brand
I completed a thesis on employer branding in 2014 and it was impossible to find anything referring to it in a text book at that time. Since then employer branding has become one of the most important aspects of an organisation’s recruitment strategy. This is evidenced by the sheer volume of Employer Branding Specialists in large organisations – a role that simply didn’t exist 3 years ago! Your employer brand is what people say about your company when you’re not in the room and what your employees say about you to their friends and family. Having a strong employer brand is no longer optional for organisations. The competition in the marketplace is brutal as each company clambers to attract the best talent.
The pool of talent is getting smaller each year as the population of Millennials does not equate to the population of Baby Boomers leaving the marketplace. This has resulted in the so-called ‘war for talent’ which has really amplified the importance of the employer brand.
Employer brand in action – Get real
When I joined EY I had no idea of what it was really going to be like working here. I had perceptions which turned out to be completely wrong and it was a perfect example of an organisation that was not showcasing its employer brand. I set to work with my team to change that. This entailed building a new careers website, doing a huge amount of research to understand why people enjoy working here, building collateral in the form of video and launching a new blog page on our site. The main goal of the blog was to allow our employees a platform to talk about the real day-to-day working life at EY.
Once we had completed all of this work I had to ensure that people had access to it. To achieve this we targeted the platforms that we knew our audience were on, namely social channels. We really focused on pushing out our blogs and videos, building our presence on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and consistently drawing people back to our careers site to find out more about our business. The careers website is free of corporate jargon and the blogs are unedited. This helps to ensure that potential candidates get a real insight into life at EY and whether it’s the type of organisation they could imagine working in. We measured the success of this work through the massive interaction we have received on our website, engagement on our social channels and in the increase of great applications we have received for all of our open positions. For example – our grad programme attracted triple the number of applications compared to the previous year and the quality of candidates was significantly better.
Culture – The million dollar question
What’s the culture like where you work? This is a question that is asked a lot and is really important to talent today. However, it’s one that a lot of organisations really struggle with it. To describe the culture in EY is particularly difficult as there are so many different elements of the business under one banner.
Overall, we encourage flexible working and an inclusive environment where our people can bring their whole selves to work.
Our Assurance business is very different from our Advisory business and different again are our Support Services. Each has their own unique culture. However, there are three things that are constant. Firstly, fantastic people who are friendly, supportive and super hardworking. Secondly, a learning environment. We are a training firm at heart so we invest in our people with a continuous lens on how they can progress within the firm. Thirdly, an environment that supports disruption.
We are constantly looking for new ways to do things and the opportunity to change the status quo.
There is a lot of ambiguity in our world and when new people join us they need to be really comfortable with that. They need to be ok with giving their opinion if they think something can be done better. They also need to be hardworking and want to learn and progress in a friendly, supportive environment.
How do we portray this? Can we compact that into a nice paragraph that people can relate to? No, so instead we ask our people to tell their stories. No one story specifically speaks about our culture but each gives a little insight into life at EY. And that is what our culture is. Take a look here.
Learn more about building your employer brand here.
Check out the live roles at EY.