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Repel the many to compel the few - an Interview with Charlotte Marshall

Charlotte Marshall is the Global Employer Brand Lead at Danaher Corporation and has built and launched five different Fortune 500 employer brands. She is also the co-author with Bryan Adams of a new book, Give & Get Employer Branding, that redefines the concept of an employee value proposition entirely*. Read here an interview with her about this refreshing new approach and the role of Employer Branding in times of Covid-19.

What made you so involved in working with Employer Branding?

In my early days working in EB, I felt alone and like the underdog, battling politics that fly between HR and Marketing. Fast forward to present day, I have now lived a version of this experience six times. What I didn’t know then was that much of any EB role is defined by heavy change management.


As employer brand leaders, we face giants—the numerous obstacles that stand between us and the investment we need to do our jobs. And, at first glance, we are outmatched by the seniority of those we must influence and certainly by lack of budget, head count, and resources that accompany our roles. Most of us found our way into employer brand from traditional marketing or recruiting roles. You still can’t study employer branding in school, and most of us are junior in our career when we take our first employer branding roles.


It doesn’t take long, however, to discover that the people we must influence for budget, head count, and buy-in don’t often understand the value of employer brand simply because it’s so new. And then there is this one little word in our title that makes the people we need to partner most with uneasy—brand. If your title says some form of “employer brand” and you report into HR, you know what I am talking about. So yes, it can be hard at first, but if you remember only one thing, I’d like it to be this: employer brand is an essential ingredient to any business looking to scale, grow, and achieve significant accomplishment. Time and time again, I’ve seen the impact a strong employer brand can make on an organization. Yet, for that magic to occur, you must first learn how to navigate the politics at play within your organization.


After more than fifteen years of developing, launching, and driving employer brand and EVPs around the world, I am sharing a few tips to help you build and deploy your next employer brand in a simple, yet powerful, way. As a result, it is my hope that you apply the bits that resonate with you to define the employee experience of your organization in a way that inspires, moves, and resonates with the audiences you need to reach.


In the times of COVID-19 with so much business disruption and layoffs what is the role of Employer branding? 

Like many of you I am adjusting to working from home, homeschooling my 4 & 6 year old kids and trying my best to support my organization through a challenging time. And while I’ve seen and learned a lot about employer brand over the last 18 years working in this field, the truth is, there is no rule book for deploying employer brand tactics in an economic downturn in the middle of a pandemic. Many of us are operating at the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs right now, and that requires an entirely different playbook.


If I know one thing for sure, it’s that how we respond now, will impact our brand reputation for decades. It’s our role to help our organizations navigate these times. That guidance will look different depending on your circumstances. The job of an EB practitioner is to have an informed opinion, strategy and tactics ready to support whatever challenges your business is facing. That may mean turning your focus primarily internally, and using EB storytelling to re-recruit the workforce you have left. It may mean rethinking your EVP to ensure it’s still relevant when you do start hiring again. Dialing up aspects of stability, safety, agility and remote work will all become increasing valuable to the market. Your role has never mattered more.


What is your key message in your new book? 

I believe the most valuable use of EVP is to help your organization repel talent. As counterintuitive as it sounds, it’s true. We want you to think of your employer and EVP as a smart filter that sits between your recruitment marketing and your recruitment, helping to weed out people who are unsuitable. For the good of the organization and for the good of those people, too.


The true value of EVP lies in articulating the expectations, harsh realities, vulnerabilities, and challenges people must be willing to overcome to thrive at your organization. Pair those with the benefits they stand to receive in return, and you’ll be amazed what starts to happen to your recruiting funnel. If you do it right, this will turn most people away. As crazy as that might sound, I believe it’s essential to building a viable, productive, “happy” culture by design.


I believe in creating EVPs by using the premise that it’s not a one-way broadcast of strengths, benefits, and opportunities but a value exchange that clearly articulates what a company wants, needs, expects, and demands in return for the spoils on offer. It’s a two-way street. If you can communicate that message effectively by illustrating what it’s really like, how someone is likely to feel, and what they must be prepared for on any given day, people are far more equipped to make an informed decision as to whether they have what it takes to thrive there and whether they want to take on the challenge. We call this mutual value exchange the Give and the Get.


It’s important to articulate the give because it enables you to qualify applicants before they apply. Embracing the things that people need to be prepared to face, such as working lean or being ready to embrace a consensus-driven organization, enables you to repel anyone who isn’t up for working that way. If conventional employer brand is all about talent attraction, our methodology focuses on repelling the many to compel the few.


Welcome to a webinar with Charlotte Marshall, on Tuesday, June 02, 2020. A unique oportunity in Europe to learn from Charlotte how to shift your talent acquisition strategy to one that better serves you and the candidate.

Read more and register here



* Charlotte Marshall is the Global Employer Brand Lead at Danaher Corporation. As one of the early pioneers in recruitment marketing, Charlotte has built and launched five different Fortune 500 employer brands, including Thermo Fisher Scientific and Magellan Health. She is a thought leader on brand strategies to help companies attract, engage and retain top talent, and was named the 2019-2020 Employer Brand Leader of the Year.

Charlotte is the co-author with Bryan Adams of a new book, Give & Get Employer Branding, that redefines the concept of an employee value proposition entirely. Instead of a sales pitch aimed at seducing candidates with sizzle, this refreshing new approach harnesses the value to be found within the cultural realities and expectations of the company. 

Katarina Önell

Client Director

070-184 22 82

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