How We’re Shaking up the Misconceptions of Employer Brand in the Telco Industry

We’re an iconic Australian consumer brand in the telecommunications sector, but when it comes to having an employer brand, it simply didn’t exist until recently. Candidates often thought we only had retail roles and that most employees worked in the store.

Little did they know that our Sydney-based headquarters accommodates more than 6,500 employees and welcomes over 500 visitors a day. This makes us one of Australia’s largest corporate campuses. Our range of career opportunities are endless and we have some really cool jobs here at Optus; from Internet of Things, to Satellite, to Future of Work — we are at the forefront of innovation. However, we realized the external talent market didn’t see us this way — they saw us as a traditional telco who sold mobile phone plans. It was evident that we needed to define our EVP, change perceptions, and uncover what it’s really like to work at Optus.

Our project objective

We wanted to build an employer brand that attracts the best people, and keeps them — making them loyal advocates and champions for Optus.

The four-phase approach

After mapping out the overall plan, we broke the project down in four phases.

  • Phase 1 — Research
  • Phase 2 — Creative development
  • Phase 3 — Consultation
  • Phase 4 — Rollout

Phase 1 — Research

The biggest challenge in developing an employer brand is ensuring it is authentic and resonates with your employees. After all, you don’t want to go out with a campaign and have your own employees not believe in it. We did extensive research by interviewing a range of employees from different backgrounds, experience, tenure, skills, location, ages, ethnicities, and much more. During these sessions, we gathered insights to really break down how our people described life at Optus and what it’s really like to work here.

Phase 2 — Creative Development

During the research phase, we spotted three consistent trends in the feedback from our employees with regard to the overall employee experience.

The three key trends that came through were:

  • Future focused — Because we’re moving away from being a traditional telco, it means we’re innovators and have a strong focus on the future.
  • Collaboration — We foster a culture that embraces new ideas where we love to see our people grow and thrive.
  • Growth — Employees feel there are continuous opportunities at Optus.

Pulling the research together, we then developed a proposition called “Tomorrow is ours to create.”

Our proposition is all about progression, change, and a keen focus on the future through exciting opportunities with Optus.

Phase 3 — Consultation

Once we had the overall “Tomorrow is ours to create” concept (including rough creative ideas), we then conducted focus groups across Australia to sense-check the concept. We shared the concept with the original employees who were part of phase one to check if they felt it was true to Optus. We also tested it out with new employees (who knew nothing about the project) and external candidates in the market to ensure it resonated. From there, we compiled the feedback, made necessary tweaks to the concept, then began the final phase — rollout.

Phase 4 — Rollout

From photoshoots to copywriting, we did a full creative rollout to ensure that our new employer brand delivered across multiple ways candidates hear about us.

We particularly focused on the ways candidates research a company when they’re considering a new opportunity. As such, a refresh of our careers page was a major focus of this project.

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We also created a whole suite of content involving the stories of our people. The still image you see is one of our employees, Mitesh. Mitesh’s first job was at the checkout counter of a supermarket. He started at Optus 10 years ago as a Commercial Analyst. Ten years and seven roles later, he’s on the other side of the desk as Director of Commercial and Digital Transformation.

The idea of the creative execution is that on the left side of the image, things were fine, but nothing groundbreaking. When he moved to Optus, his career became exciting, bright, and future focused. Hence the messaging, from small change to big business.

Our employer brand campaign launched across many touchpoints — including our LinkedIn page and job ads. Plus, we launched a blog, called Inside Optus, which gives an insider’s view of what happens behind the scenes from our employees’ perspective.

Early returns are good. Traffic to our careers page increased 27 percent, comparing March 2017 with our launch month of 2018. Recently, we were listed as one of LinkedIn’s Top Companies to work list.

Check out our highlight video below.

Jaclyn Campbell

Jaclyn Campbell is an employer brand consultant who specializes in content creation, targeted recruitment campaigns, and digital recruitment strategy. She manages the Australian-wide employer brand strategy at Optus, the second-largest telecommunications company in Australia. She’s originally a Canadian native who now calls Australia home.