Creating an inside-out employer brand for Cadent


Cadent was created in 2017, when the National Grid sold off its gas distribution arm and a brand-new, stand-alone business was born. It had a new vision, new values and new performance targets to meet. However, its purpose ‘to keep the energy flowing’ and, for the most part, its people pretty much remained the same.

Our challenge was to create a new employer brand

One that would enable Cadent to achieve their people vision of a dynamic, commercially focused, customer first organisation, by attracting highquality commercially-savvy talent. While at the same time engage with a heritage work-force, 70% of whom were field-based and for the most part quite cynical and uninterested in the new brand. We needed to get this population to care. To feel involved in, and part of, the future of this new organisation.

A culture change was needed

We could create the most compelling employer brand that the world had ever seen. It could attract talent to Cadent, left right and centre. But if, when this new talent started in their new roles they were met with uncaring, unmotivated and cynical colleagues, we knew they wouldn’t stay around for long!

Engagement was a priority

We needed to help the people who already worked at Cadent to understand why things were changing and what the changes would mean for them. To define, communicate and give relevance to the new values and employer brand and make sure that they could be lived and breathed effortlessly in everyone’s life at work.

Internal activation

We began with leadership workshops. These were attended by the recruitment team and management level colleagues across Cadent. People who were responsible for cascading information and modelling culture.

At each of these workshops we explained the process we’d been through and the people we’d engaged with, in the creation of the employer brand. And, how our findings had led to the outcome focused brand – Careers that power lives.

As well as communicating the theory, we provided these leaders with the practical stuff they needed, including a toolkit of assets and messages that could be used across the candidate lifecycle to attract, retain and engage all members of staff.

We created a strategic narrative

This is a fancy name for the story of Cadent. We’re all hard-wired to respond to stories, so this aimed to set the scene of who Cadent were, what they believed in and where they wanted to go. Its purpose was to give Cadent colleagues something to understand, identify with and believe in.

We made our story move

Not everyone responds to text. Not everyone will read a story. And, with a vast population of colleagues, the majority of whom were field-based, we needed to make sure that everyone heard what we had to say and felt engaged in the Cadent journey. So, we also created a short, simplified animation to bring the strategic narrative to life and ensure that everyone, everywhere could access it on their tablet or phone.

We worked with key stakeholders to future-proof the employer brand

To make sure that the employer brand continued to be prominent and embedded long after its launch, we also:

  • Ran a Talent Lifecycle workshop to explore how and where the employer brand could support and shine
  • Created a toolkit of practical assets, from internal email templates to external job board adverts
  • Held further workshops with key Cadent colleagues, to really explain the thought process and use of the employer brand, enabling them to bring it to life, with confidence and understanding on a day-to-day basis.

Embedding a brand

We know that embedding an employer brand and supporting cultural change within an organisation takes time. That’s why we stick around long after the brand creation to support our clients and partner with them as this gradual transition takes place. To help deliver on the practical things, ease any teething problems and identify any other areas where we can offer our support. It’s what makes us different. And we believe, its why our clients like working with us.