Employer Branding Is a Collective Mission at CGI
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Every employee at a company contributes to its employer brand. Whether as a recruiter, strategist or ambassador, each individual and department has a role to play in creating, driving and reinforcing their employer’s identity.
Everybody should care about their company’s employer brand because ultimately, a great brand attracts great talent. And the better your people, the better the service, success and opportunities within your company. Win-win!
To that end, we think CGI has really nailed it. Their employer brand is inspiring, authentic and compelling, and the company’s strong ownership culture – everyone owns a stake in the business from day one – makes every single member a significant partner in its employer brand goals. We asked some of their leaders to share how they do it.
Everyone! Employer branding is not a tool or tactic; it is about change management strategy. This strategy includes being vocal on being a “great place to work with” for the business and “a great place to work for” for candidates and employees – and you need people from every area of the business to contribute to delivering on that strategy.
We started building relationships and trust with various partners across CGI, from scratch, when my role was created three years ago. Before anything else, it was important to understand how the business functioned, what our mutual expectations were and what our common success would look like.
Locally in Canada, we set up a joint ownership model with identified sponsors (Leadership, HR, DE&I leader, our #CGIready employees who volunteered to be the voices and the faces of our campaigns) in order to share KPIs and success.
I am also a proud cousin to our Canadian Talent Acquisition team, where I have my seat at their weekly updates. It allows us to constantly adjust our talent acquisition marketing tactics based on the data we analyse and the business’ hiring goals.
I try to bring value to all my partners, and connect people internally here and now. For my TA partners I have an open office hour every two weeks to coach them on various marketing topics.
It’s also great to pause and have a look at what we are doing and why. We analyse not only the data on why people leave, but also why they stay! Sometimes it’s a matter of coaching – we equip people with toolkits and templates to support their growing hiring/retention activity.
On an aspirational level, I try to change the perception of employer branding internally so that it’s seen as retention and belonging as well as just recruitment.
James Ellis nicely summarised employer branding as having moved on from “underdog with a good idea to meaningful business function”, and as a result, our biggest ongoing employer brand project is fully supported by the business and leaders. Stay tuned!
As employer branding touches all areas of the business, everybody should care about it. This is true for all businesses but especially in our case as a professional services organisation. To put it bluntly, our ‘product’ is our people. The success or failure of employer branding has an impact on our service offerings to our customers because an engaged and happy workforce provides a great customer experience.
The employer brand isn’t just important to the EB team, just as a corporate brand isn’t just important to marketing. Yes, they own the plan and outputs, but its success or failure rests on every individual from; the leadership team who help create and drive the culture; HR who work on initiatives to improve employee experience; talent acquisition who help promote the brand to the external market; and every employee (or member in CGI’s case) who lives and breathes the employer brand on a day-to-day basis.
One of our 2021 goals was the promotion of our employer brand, which is fantastic. We want to let more people know about it, whether externally among our key talent segments or internally to remind our members about the great place they work.
We partner with members throughout the business for our employer advocacy program, who share their stories of working for CGI and help to promote our employer brand key messages.
In Australia in 2022, we plan to relaunch the employer advocacy program. We want all members to play their part in the promotion of CGI’s employer brand, whether through sharing their untold stories or being more active on social media and engaging with content to promote our key messages.
Employer branding should be the responsibility of everyone in a company. It's our business identity and what sets us apart as an employer of choice. So, we should all play a part in promoting our brand, getting the word out there about what we do and how great we are, and helping to tell everyone “why” they would want to work for us rather than another company!
In the case of CGI, as owners, every member should care about our employer brand, especially our leaders who play a big role in making CGI a great place to work.
We are a people business and our members are at the heart of everything we do. We need to attract and hire great talent, nourish our members’ careers and provide a great working environment to keep them satisfied, as that in turn will ensure they provide exceptional service to our customers.
Like with any program, it’s important to get buy-in from the leadership team from the onset. Back in 2019 when we worked on our local employer value proposition (EVP) and the definition of our employer brand, we went out to the business to research and gather information on what our EVP pillars for Australia would be. Then we consulted with the leadership team and key achievers program to see if they agreed.
We also shared it with our Australian members to ensure it resonated internally before it went out to the market. After all, there’s no point in promoting a vision of a brand that someone will find out doesn’t actually exist when they start their new role with you.
There can be a misconception that employer brand is just about talent acquisition – your external image to the talent market, or how candidates perceive you. At CGI, we are continuously reinforcing that every member has a role to play in it.
EB is key to strengthening a company's image and reputation. This involves several aspects, from recruitment, to employee engagement, to business relations. It is the company's responsibility to have a good image within its global ecosystem in order to maintain relationships with customers, prospects, partners and prospective candidates.
For our business to meet the needs of customers and partners, it’s essential to be able to count on committed employees, as well as to be able to recruit new resources, to convey an authentic vision of the company.
An efficient recruitment process, a well-welcomed person on arrival, quality missions, a good work environment: these all have an impact on the employee experience, productivity and long-term commitment, and ultimately, on the whole business.
Today, our organisation’s various stakeholders are aware of the necessity to work on our employer brand. We collaborate with many different departments: human resources, talent acquisition, business, etc. We regularly share our questions, priorities, problems and ideas, and brainstorm together, in order to be as close as possible to the realities on the ground and to respond to strategic issues.
I make a point of ensuring my work directly supports all of them. It's all about collaboration and clear communication – enabling input from all parties in the process to adapt, improve and consistently help to evolve and embrace new ideas.
Talent is what makes a company successful in terms of reputation and the bottom line. Employer brand brings both of these elements to the fore, allowing businesses to make the best and correct hires for the businesses future. It really can’t be underestimated.
CGI isn’t a household name in the UK and a lot of the brand-led marketing we do under the employer brand banner acts as an introduction to the company for candidates and clients alike. It’s the story of who we are and I believe it impacts every corner of the business.
Therefore, everyone should care about employer branding. It’s an outworking of our culture and an opportunity to have pride in the company you work for. I personally love working for a company that has such an impact on citizens’ lives. It really makes you feel as though you’re part of something and making a difference. Our employer brand strategy is centred on this pride and getting our members to share their stories. It’s quite simple but it wins every time in terms of inspiring both external candidates and existing members.
I need to be tactical with my partners! The recruitment team are my primary partners within the business and delivering value to them was my starting point. Supporting a transformation in their approach (storytelling, long burn attraction strategies, etc.) brought their buy-in and then we reached out more across the business to support specific areas and bring their ‘story’ to life.
This all came together under one holistic CGI member value proposition. It adds real authenticity and diversity to our employer brand whilst staying faithful to our core values and proposition.
My view is that we drive it stealthily by making sure we highlight, drive awareness and revel in what makes CGI a special place to work across the business. I believe CGI has inadvertently driven our employer brand over the years due to a strong management foundation and awareness of its culture via the CGI constitution.
It’s notable that our people are ‘members’ not ‘employees’ on account of CGI’s ownership model, and this is central to driving our employer brand. All of our people have a stake in our company via our share scheme, which is a compelling proposition!