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Sheffield Hallam University 

Employer Branding 

It is becoming more common for Universities to define and build their employer brands. These institutions recognise the importance of attracting and retaining high performing talent, whose contributions will enable the University to deliver the right service experience to their students. When we first met with Sheffield Hallam University, they were at the start of their journey in understanding their employer brand. They were looking to identify their employer brand pillars which would become the foundations for the later development and communication of their brand. 

Our role was to gather insights from their employees and other stakeholders in order to establish these brand pillars. So, we spent time with a range of Sheffield Hallam employees.  Recent hires, well established staff members and even those who had chosen to leave the organisation. We listened to the reasons why they joined the University and the reasons why they stayed; we heard the different perspectives of academic, professional, administrative and manual employees.

Gradually, we built up a picture of what it really means to be employed by the University. We were able to establish five distinct brand pillars, each supported by evidence from our research. From this, we were able to identify the key communication messages, those brand values which were shared with the corporate brand and highlight the small number of instances where applicant or employee experience had the potential to conflict with those brand pillars. We were able to make recommendations for the communication of their employer brand proposition, across a number of different areas including their recruitment website, the mechanics of the application process and their employee induction programme. As a result, the University moved into the second phase of their employer branding journey – implementing the key messages and ensuring their employer brand was consistently applied across behaviours as well as print and digital communications.


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