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Become an employer of choice with employer branding

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Oilfield Technology,

Twenty-two percent of employers surveyed for the sixth annual Hays Oil & Gas Salary Guide see the main issue facing the industry in the next six to twelve months as skills shortages.

If oil prices begin to rise, and companies begin hiring again, they could be right.  The report found that 72% of those who have been made redundant in the current downturn are currently looking for new positions outside the industry.

There is an additional risk of losing considerable skills and knowledge as older workers retire. The report found that 36% of employer respondents said a lack of succession planning for knowledge transfer and skills retention will be a major contributing factor in skills shortages going forward.

The survey suggests 41% of oil and gas professionals see a company’s reputation as the number one factor when evaluating a job offer. It is essential, therefore, that companies market their credentials to attract top talent in a diminishing pool. A key way to do this is by developing a clearly defined employer brand.

An employer brand is essentially a company’s reputation as an employer, as perceived by current and potential employees. Every organisation has an employer brand, whether one has been knowingly developed or not.

In tight recruitment markets, such as the oil and gas industry, where competition for the best talent is fierce, a good employer brand needs to contain elements that appeal to different groups of current and potential employees from different cultures, age groups and functions. This enables it to be communicated through the best channel for each segment. A segmented approach can help a company to stand out in a crowded market and provide compelling reasons to join it.

It’s important that your employer brand honestly reflects what’s real about your organisation. Be transparent and clear about what you can offer and what you can’t offer. If you are working towards implementing something you know candidates will find attractive, but it’s not ready yet, tell them that. In our experience 9 times out of 10 the candidate will find it exciting to be part of that journey. Your culture should be felt the minute a candidate walks through the door, because it is being lived and breathed every day.

Your employer brand experience should start the moment a candidate begins to interact with your company, and it should continue through the recruitment process, on-boarding and their entire employment experience, including exit and alumni.

How to develop your employer brand

1.  Start with clear objectives

Understand what you need your employer brand to do for you. For example, what are the main challenges you have right now? Who do you want to attract? Who do you need to retain? What does success look like to you? Be clear about who should be involved internally and involve them from the outset.

2.  Deconstruct your EVP

Understand the values, behaviours, and promises at the heart of your employee Value Proposition (EVP) that will inform your employer brand messages. Identify which might be more important to particular talent segments. The amount of research required at this stage depends on what data is available. If you’ve got little existing insight, then undertake an EVP diagnostic. This includes:

  • Data gathering - gather existing information such as your business strategy, employee opinion survey data, policies and processes, and any external trends affecting you now or that may affect you in the future.
  • Qualitative data analysis. Speak to people to really get a handle on your situation and understand what matters to your employees. 
  • Create the draft EVP. Using the data gathered and an expert’s knowledge of what motivates people at work, develop a draft for testing. 
  • Test the draft EVP. Employees and potential employees enjoy this part; it’s an engagement tool in itself! 
  • Create the final EVP. Create one EVP that will work across your employee segments; agree the segments — for example they can include talent group, business group, geography or gender; you will be clear if any segments require different things when it comes to implementation.

3. Define your ‘messages’ and ‘look and feel’

Develop a number of design options and test internally and externally.

4.  Communicate your employer brand

Once you’ve agreed the creative design of your employer brand, decide how to communicate your message to your target employees. This targeting strategy can include the relationships and networks — both academic and industry led — that you need to build. It will include how to use your best advocates — your current employees — to sell your brand, and, it will detail the suggested offline and online tools that are just right for you and your objectives.

5.  Measure and adjust

Agree your measurement criteria at the start of the project and put the tools in place to start tracking the effectiveness of your strategy from day one. It’s an on-going process with the goal of continuous improvement. Adjustments will be necessary, because what you need will change over time and you will want to continually improve what you do.

For more information about how to develop a compelling employee brand, and for a free report on attracting and retaining older workers, please visit the Talentsmoothie website at

Adapted by David Bizley

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