HR Champion Awards 2019: Here’s Why CoreHR Was Named Joint Winner of the Employer Branding Programme Award

CoreHR, a leading provider of cloud-based human capital management and payroll solutions, and Vodafone Ireland were named joint winners of the Employer Branding Programme Award, sponsored by Atomic DNA, at the 2019 HR Champion Awards on March 22.

Atomic DNA sat down with Barbara Dunlea, CoreHR’s Human Resources Manager, to discuss the win and learn why the company chose to update its employer brand and internal communications strategy.


What sparked CoreHR’s decision to freshen up its employer brand?

There were various reasons. Firstly, CoreHR has been a successful business for over 30 years, with the strong heritage and culture one would expect to find in a family-owned and -managed organisation. In 2016, CoreHR received a strategic investment from a U.S.-based private equity firm and started a new journey. A new CEO was appointed, along with new executive and HR teams. So, as one might imagine, as a business undergoing significant growth in a short period of time, the change curve was pretty steep and did drive some opportunities to develop our employer branding and challenge us to grow.


What did you do to pinpoint the issue?

Initially, we focused on diagnosing and re-establishing our culture and values. We surveyed every single employee across the business, not only to get their perspective on how they felt about our legacy culture but also to empower them to shape the future of our company and the DNA that would make up our corporate family. We asked:

  • What exists in the legacy culture that will no longer serve us well in our new journey?
  • What exists in the legacy culture that will serve as an accelerant to our new journey?
  • What has never existed in the legacy culture and can never be allowed to creep into our new culture if we are to be successful in this new journey?

The answers we received to these three questions led to our understanding of the obstacles we needed to overcome and how they could impact our employer brand if we failed to address them with tangible actions.


Talk us through your next steps.

Trusting that our employer branding could only come from within, we passed the baton to our employees. A team of “cultural ambassadors” from every corner of the business were nominated to interpret the survey results and propose a new set of cultural statements, anchored by associated values and behaviours, that would rally people from all levels of the business. They have been endorsed by senior leaders internally and have since become the cornerstone around which we assess performance, recognise excellence, build leadership competence and move forward together as we continue our journey.


How have these values and behaviours helped the business?

We completed this project 18 months ago and the level of pride in the new culture is evident every day. Our employee engagement levels are up, attrition is down and internal career mobility ensures that our people get the opportunities they deserve. We also rolled out an employee engagement platform, using our own technology, where we post all of our company updates. By looking inward and directly involving our people in developing our culture and values, we improved not only the employee experience but also our ability to attract and retain talent.

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