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How Does an Employer Brand Process Become a Unifying Project?

RH - Bien-être au travail | Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton

It’s not just a matter of image! An employer brand must be grounded in the day-to-day work of employees to keep them engaged.

In February 2024, the Ville de Magog unveiled its new employer brand: Magog, un employeur vrai de nature (Magog, an employer that truly cares). This slogan was inspired by the very words used by the city’s employees to describe their employer.

As Julie Jutras, Human Resources Manager at the Ville de Magog reminded attendees at the conference, the process was thorough and the focus was on employees. “They are our ambassadors,” she highlights. After all, they’re in the best position to describe their employer to potential future colleagues.

Survey, consultation, action plan

This extensive branding process was spread over a period of two years and prior to that, a survey was sent to employees in 2019 asking them to answer the following questions: How does the Ville de Magog stand out? What do its employees want? Why do they love their jobs?

An employer brand is so much more than a matter of image. It’s put into practice. This is why each Ville de Magog manager drafted an action plan for their team. As a result, the 400 or so city employees who work in the field or in an office are considered in a plan that’s based on their reality.

“We wanted the action plan to reflect not only our organizational culture, but also who we truly are,” explains Julie Jutras.

What exactly is an employer of choice?

“Naturally, competitive salaries are important, but this is only one element of what makes an employer a good employer,” clarifies the HR Manager. What else does it take? Among other things, she mentioned:

  • measures taken to facilitate work-life balance (in 2023, the city was awarded the Concilivi Seal in recognition for work-life balance practices);
  • the introduction of a daycare;
  • greater work schedule flexibility.

Another initiative undertaken by the city was modernizing the employee recognition program. For example, after a certain number of years, employees receive a gift in addition to a donation to plant a tree in their name.

However, the primary change that was much appreciated by employees was the introduction of knowledge transfer activities:

  • firefighters who train employees on a simplified version of CPR;
  • technicians who explain their roles and lead tours of the city’s water treatment plant;
  • And more.

“This really motivates people,” states the HR Manager. “Employees in different sectors get to know each other and better understand what’s involved in their roles. A sense of belonging is strengthened.”

An initiative that pays off

The city launched a visibility campaign in order to showcase its new employer brand. Furthermore, its hiring process was simplified and now focuses on potential candidates in particular. “We reviewed our practices,” states Julie. This can be seen in, among other things, shorter response times and consistently open communication.

To make this process a success, all stakeholders must be involved and bring the brand to life every day through the involvement of management, the city’s values and open communication channels.

Julie Jutras firmly believes that developing an employer brand must be a priority. If you’re unsure whether the effort, time and money invested in this process will bear fruit, you should know that high staff turnover is much more costly.

“Within two months of launching our new brand and improving our work procedures, we received six times more applications compared to the same period last year,” concludes Julie Jutras.

This article was inspired by the conference led by Julie Jutras, Human Resources Manager for the Ville de Magog, which took place on May 14 and 15 as part of the 2024 edition of Campus RH organized by Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton.

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