So just why should be develop an employer brand? Is it worth the time, effort and resources?With the ever increasing challenge to hire and retain great people, especially in professional services firms where your people are in fact the product you sell, it is critical that we put in place strategies to attract and retain great talent.The 2007 International Workplace Survey from Robert Half identified that the reasons organisations in the UK are developing and implementing an employer brand strategy included:- to support retention of their current employees (24%)- to maintain a positive reputation in their industry (19%)- to attract new people to their business (18%)- to connect employee commitment to organizational goals (17%).The survey was conducted with over 5000 HR and finance managers in 17 countries across Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan and the United States.Only 23% of companies surveyed with fewer than 50 members of staff had a formal employer branding strategy versus 69% of businesses employing more than 200 people. Yet both types of organisation are in the market for essentially the same talent.In the UK, 44% of the HR and finance managers survey stated that their company has a formal employer brand strategy in place compared to a worldwide average of just 32%.Globally 32% of companies have a formal employer branding policy, and the companies included in the research indicated that over the next 2 years:- 20% intend to implement such a strategy in the next two years- while 35% have no intention of developing an employer branding strategy.Developing a compelling and magnetic employer brand supports the building of your reputation as an employer of choice.Increasingly candidates not only take into account the salary and benefits you provide, but assess:1. the company’s culture (what is it like to work with you)2. the company’s reputation (what will their friends, family and colleagues say about them working with you and how will it look on their CV or resume)3. the company’s values (does the company have values that they can connect with and buy into).With 35% of companies not planning to pay attention to building their employer brand strategy, there is probably no better time to get to work on nurturing your employer brand so that you win the war for talent versus your competition.YOUR EMPLOYER BRAND ACTION STEPSAre you clear about how your employer brand is perceived by both candidates that you would like to attract to your business and your current employees?If you want to create a compelling employer brand here are three actions you can take to assess how your employer brand is currently perceived:1. Ask Recruiters – Connect with recruitment consultants and executive recruiters that you work with and ask for their insights to your employer brands strengths and weaknesses versus your competition.2. Ask Your Current Staff – Access insights from your current employees on why they choose to stay with you. I highly recommend doing this through focus groups with a trained employer branding facilitator so that you access the true perception of your employer brand. If you have a multi-generational workforce, it is important to segment your focus groups to ensure that you access insights from the different communities.3. Ask Potential Employees – Undertake focus groups with candidates who would be potential employees. Using ‘projective exercises’ you can access what they think of your company and your reputation and if you would be a company they would consider joining to further their career. Again, segmenting these groups by function, demographics and geography will unearth rich data on which you can take action.