Thinking, problem solving and innovating has always been at the heart of our business. I remember spending hours and hours with Lisa and Jon trying to pinpoint what we wanted Chatter to be about. We’d worked at some great agencies before ending up together at Barkers, and we were used to being surrounded by amazing colleagues brimming with insight, ideas, creativity and enthusiasm. But all too often, those were the things that were squashed by bureaucracy, aversion to risk and the dreaded spreadsheets.
So from the very beginning, we wanted to take all the best from those sorts of agencies, and combine it with an obsessively client centric approach.
We believe that ALL PEOPLE HAVE TALENT. And yet so many organisations struggle to get those talented people working together in a joined up way to really drive success. It seems obvious these days to talk about looking after people first - the biggest priority that any business should have. But 10 years ago when we launched Chatter, employer brand was still about logos, fonts and colour palettes - predominantly applied to ad campaigns and careers sites.
Fast forward to 2021, and we’re working with a range of big brands, often directly supporting their board, to help translate their business and people strategy into a plan for their employer brand. Everything’s up for grabs as we chart the key points where the employer brand can show up, how it shows up and what we expect to achieve as a result across the entire employee lifecycle. We consider the links between the employer and customer proposition and how it can support and be supported by a variety of other initiatives, strategies, reports and business priorities. They might include CSR, ESG, Gender Pay Gap, transformation, upscaling, preparing for IPO, M&A, recruitment, retention, health and wellbeing, internal comms & engagement to name a few.
Integration is the key. Successful employer brands are often the ones that cease to have a beginning and an end. They’re the ones that become absorbed by the business as a whole. They influence behaviours, expectations and the way we each feel about the jobs we do and the businesses we work for.
The Netflix culture playbook, led by Patty Mccord, is still the most referred to success story that demonstrates how valuable culture and employee experience are to businesses that wish to stand out; to be extraordinary. But it’s a concept that’s now taking root in a growing number of businesses. So 10 years after launching Chatter, our briefs are often directed from CEO’s and CHRO’s who have put the people strategy at the very heart of their business planning.
That was the case with SkyBet whose customer proposition was all about the stand out experience they knew they offered to customers which they expressed as ‘Betting Better’. At the time we started to work with them, they were a 200 strong team. And over the next 2 years, we helped them grow to 1500. The employer brand challenge was always about retaining that special culture, the DNA of the business which had always delivered the unbeatable customer experience they’d become known for.
Making things better became a part of everything the business did. There needed to be an appetite for continuous development, with a thirst for improvement. How do we make this better – from reception to kitchen facilities to games to employee perks. Decision making was done in collaboration with team members, who in turn felt like they could have a real impact on important topics like remuneration. Weekly get togethers and knowledge shares were always hosted by the leadership team, who were readily accessible for a chat at any time.
This message needed to be communicated to potential new recruits – come and join us, we will help you grow, develop and improve, and you’ll have fun doing it. And as the company grew, we needed to find new ways to make sure everyone and everything felt connected and joined up.
The hard work and investment was made by each and every SkyBet employee. But the employer brand helped hold together that experience, and amplify the ‘Make It Better’ message as a rallying cry for the way the most mundane and complex of challenges alike were approached.
Today Skybet is regularly recognised as being one of the best places to work in terms of employee experience, featuring on Glassdoor’s best place to work list 3 times and picking up Best CEO in 2018.
Being part of the team at Chatter is one of my proudest achievements in life. I’m proud of who we are, what we do and how we do it. I’m proud of the people I work alongside and the passion, drive and enthusiasm we all share. And I’m proud that our mission as a team is to make employer brands work for everyone. For the people, for society and for the future. The last 10 years have not been without their challenges - setting up at the tail end of the “Great Recession” was something that stood us in good stead for everything that followed. But through all the highs and lows, I’m still driven to help clients find a way to balance the needs of their people with the needs of their business, and achieve extraordinary things as a result.