Last year, a quarter of the workforce looked for a new job. That’s 1 in 4 employees intending to quit.

How has your organization fared during this Great Resignation? If you’re like many, you likely have some important seats to fill — and that’s no easy feat currently. But rather than focusing so much on attracting new talent, what if you got more proactive about keeping the employees you have by building brand loyalty and creating a more attractive culture?

To keep your people from leaving, you need to create such a winning work environment and engaging team experience that your people wouldn’t dare dream of leaving. That’s where employee branding comes in. But first, why are droves of people quitting?

It Probably Isn’t About Pay

A high quit rate isn’t a pay problem; it’s a culture problem. Pay is just one factor of the job satisfaction equation. Thanks to the pandemic, people are thinking differently about their employment. They crave the flexibility they found during lockdowns (how’s that for irony?). And more employees are willing to take a pay cut if it means they can enjoy a healthier work-life balance. According to a 2021 FlexJobs survey of 4,600 workers, nearly 70% said they’d consider changing their careers to find a job that offers more work-life balance.

Workers are also making career moves based on how valued they feel in their role, how meaningful the work is and whether they’ve got opportunities to learn and advance. In other words, people want to work for an authentic brand with a culture that values its employees and empowers them to pursue meaningful work. That type of culture is what I call “Marquee Culture.”

A Culture That Shows Off Your Best

A Marquee Culture showcases your brand in the same way a big, brightly lit theater marquee advertises what’s playing inside. No matter how enticing the messaging is on the outside, if the show fails to deliver the promised value, the audience leaves disappointed and word spreads that it’s a dud.

Organizations with a Marquee Culture win their people over. They give employees so much value that there’s little allure to leave — which is exactly the type of culture that attracts and retains top talent.

Invest Where It Counts Through Employee Branding

Employee branding is about creating a meaningful, engaging experience for your internal stakeholders — the people who matter most to your organization’s success.

The goal is to pour so much value into your employees’ experience that they become your brand’s biggest advocates. As a result, they better align with your culture and strengthen your brand in everything they do. That translates to higher staff retention, outstanding performance and powerful brand loyalty.

Here are three employee branding tips to build a Marquee Culture:

1. Hire the right people.

How does hiring ensure your current team stays? Think of your team as a collection of art. The finest collections are well planned and expertly curated to tell a cohesive story. Each object has value and meaning in its own right. And as part of a curated collection, it contributes to a larger narrative. View potential new hires like pieces of art that add value and bring clarity to your brand.

A well-curated team will align with your mission and embody your brand values. These powerhouse teams are often passionate about their work and do more for your brand than you can imagine. That adds up to employees who are less likely to seek work elsewhere.

Take a look at your current team and ask these questions: 

• Is your team a well-curated collection of people who fit your culture? 

• Which employees bring the most value?

• What are you willing to give to hold on to these priceless pieces?

Identify which employees don’t add value. Is it time to let these people go? This might seem counterintuitive, but retaining employees who don’t measure up drains resources, drags down performance and is often a reason your best people leave.

2. Support your employees’ growth.

According to Deloitte research, the two of the top reasons people start looking for work elsewhere are lack of career progress and lack of challenge. To keep your employees invested in your organization, support their career goals and aspirations. Don’t wait for your staff to request additional training. Be proactive by offering frequent opportunities to learn new strategies and expand their skills. The good news is you don’t have to go over the top.

My team at Historic Agency is small, so our development and training offerings look different from what you might find at a larger agency. We provide free, unlimited training through several online learning platforms that employees can take at any time.

By supporting your employees’ growth and development, you create an environment loaded with value. It also communicates how much you believe in the value they bring to the organization. In return, you’ll find that your people will rise to new challenges and do more to give your organization their best.

3. Give your people the freedom to take risks.

Give your well-curated team the freedom to take risks and contribute their best to the brand. It’s not enough to pay lip service to risk-taking and innovation. Create a culture that champions risk-taking by building the systems and structures that truly support it.

And, yes. There are sure to be some failures. Freedom often produces incredible innovations, but it can also lead to epic breakdowns. One way to get comfortable with failure is to plan for it. Develop a project that isn’t critical to success but still extends the mission. Then let your employees experiment and push the boundaries of their abilities on that project. If it succeeds, everyone wins. If it fails, the organization will still go on, and your team can evaluate, learn and move forward. 

All of this can seem like a big undertaking, but it’s okay to start small. Each strategic step will lead to an engaging Marquee Culture that helps your employees love their work and invest in your brand’s success.