Developing a distinct employer brand and recruitment marketing tools


Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is one of the largest NHS Trusts in England, providing healthcare services to a population of around two million people across North West London and delivering specialist services to patients nationally and internationally.

It provides acute services from five locations including St.Mary's Hospital, Charing Cross Hospital, Hammersmith Hospital, Queen Charlotte & Chelsea Hospital and Western Eye Hospital. The Trust employs approximately 10,000 people and treats almost 1.2 million patients each year.

There are a wide variety of roles at the Trust - from clinicians and consultants, through to nurses, allied health professionals and a diverse range of other professional/support staff.

Like many other Trusts, the organisation has gone through significant change and upheaval and faces budgetary constraints. In addition, the increasing buoyancy of the London job market was impacting on recruitment and retention across the Trust. The Trust felt that its world class people, achievements and facilities should attract a greater proportion of candidates than it was recruiting. It is after all the hospital where penicillin was discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming in 1928.


TMP Worldwide was appointed to support with the development of a Trust-wide employer brand and to subsequently develop a new Trust careers website and recruitment marketing materials.

Employer Brand development 

A steering group of Trust stakeholders was set up to guide the project and work closely with TMP staff. 

The project started with a diagnostic phase, which included analysis of existing staff surveys and workforce engagement data. This was supplemented by a series of research activities including:

  • senior stakeholder interviews in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the vision and  direction of the Trust, including the strategic  narrative;
  • extensive internal focus groups across all sites and job families to understand the  reality of working for the Trust, how the Trust enabled and  inspired its people and an authentic analysis of the  Trust's working reality;
  • External research - amongst medical professionals working elsewhere in London and key influencers in order to understand how Imperial was perceived as both an institution and a potential employer.

From this investment in research emerged a number of key themes and potential message platforms:

 -    It's a big world out there - with so much opportunity and exposure

 -    Much of work done at the Trust is exceptional

 -    There is real, substantial pride running through Imperial

 -    The possibilities are endless

 -    Change is a constant - pace, research and innovation

 -    Training, development and progression are part of the fabric of Imperial

 -    You are recognised, appreciated and valued

 -    You have a voice and it is listened to

 -    Despite Imperial's size, there is a spirit, a friendliness, a camaraderie

 -    Because of Imperial's size, your experience is accelerated.

From this an Employee Value Proposition was developed, which led to a positioning statement - anchored around the promise: ‘Inspiring Careers’. The rationale behind this played to the fact that Imperial went out of its way to make sure their investment in training, development and pathways inspired both their people and the patients and communities around them.  This EVP was tested extensively across the Trust to ensure its authenticity and relevance, before being launched.

Recruitment Marketing 

Once the EVP was agreed, distinctive people messaging was developed, which  could be applied across a wide range of HR communications -  from a new website with over 12 videos through to  advertising, posters, induction packs and internal  communications.


Whilst it is early to measure the impact of the new brand, the project has been well-received on a number of levels: 

  • The Employer Brand was endorsed by the Executive Committee, who felt it that it accurately represented the Trust's ambition and direction of travel.
  • Employees of the Trust have fed back extremely positively, via staff groups and the website.
  • The recruitment team has noticed an increase in the number of applications made to the Trust. As it is still early days after the launch of the site numbers are expected to increase particularly when a planned social media campaign launches.
  • A pilot social media campaign using Facebook and Google has proved effective with successful click through and conversion rates.

Jayne Mee, Director of People and Organisation Development at Imperial commented:

“..Imperial, like many other Trusts, is facing key skills shortages. The team at TMP Worldwide worked well with my team to provide some real insight and develop a distinctive employer brand, which is helping to differentiate us in the recruitment marketplace....”