A fresh graduate was offered a job that seemed to check all the right boxes: the job was in a well-known MNC; had a decent pay package; and an assortment of staff perks including birthdays off, gym memberships, and even massage chairs in the office!

Yet, they ended up not taking the job. The catch? A poor employer brand.


Research by the Corporate Responsibility Magazine finds that 95% of candidates will reject a job offer from a company with a bad employer brand, even if they are unemployed.

Employer brand and company culture

A strong employer brand is crucial when it comes to talent attraction. And while staff benefits can contribute to a good employer brand, it might not always be so straightforward.

Take the hypothetical MNC mentioned earlier for example. Attractive staff benefits aside, a company can still have a poor employer brand if other factors are in play. For example, if employees are expected to constantly work overtime, if workplace practices are unethical, or if work superiors are excessively demanding.

So while staff benefits are definitely a plus, a strong employer brand boils down to having a strong and positive company culture.

What is company culture?

Indeed defines company culture as the “mission, objectives, expectations and values that guide its employees”.

Culture exists in every company, whether by default or design. Beyond motivational posters and coffee mugs, building a strong company culture entails communicating your desired values to your employees, and ensuring these values are acted upon.

How to build a positive company culture

The Harvard Business Review proposes six indicators employers can use as a guide to creating a strong and positive company culture:

1. Have a clear vision or mission statement

A vision or mission statement gives your company, and in turn your employees, purpose. It helps direct your team’s actions and gets everyone on the same page.

Nearly half of employees in the United States reported that the pandemic caused them to reconsider the kind of work they do. Nearly two-thirds said they started to reflect on their purpose in life.

Having a strong purpose as a company can bring employees together as they work towards a common goal.

2. Defining a set of core values

While a vision provides direction, a company’s values guide the journey. Defining a set of values helps your staff understand the how-to of achieving your company’s vision.

At Charterhouse, our core values are People, Equality, Intelligent Insight, and Agility. Our team members fall back on these in all areas of their work – in the way they serve clients and candidates, interact with colleagues, and carry themselves in a professional setting.

3. Practicing what you preach

This is an extension of a company’s values, where companies put in place practices to walk the talk.

For example, the Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES) in Singapore believes in creating a world “where animals are treated with compassion and respect”. Holding true to that vision, ACRES mandated that only vegan or vegetarian food is allowed to be consumed on their premises.

4. People

You can’t create a strong company culture without people who embody it. To build, maintain, or even reinforce the company culture, it’s important to hire people who share your company’s values.

There are also the same people who will carry your values out in the professional world and represent your brand. By creating and maintaining a positive company culture, they can become strong advocates of your company and boost your employer brand.

5.Create a narrative

Every company has a unique story. When this story is communicated to employees, it can help them feel like they are part of a larger purpose. This helps to draw the company together and reinforce the company’s culture.

6. Place

The workplace can also influence your company’s culture.

For example, if your company values collaboration and transparency, having an open concept office would be more suitable than cubicles. Meanwhile, a company looking to create a fun and vibrant culture can take reference from Google, who constructed slides in their offices.

Every company has a unique culture. Some are directed by its leaders, while others are built from the ground up by its people. Either way, creating a positive culture is fundamental to a good employer brand.