Employer Branding: A Strategic HR Tool

Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 2388 , Published on 07 March 2012

‘A product is made in a factory; a brand is bought by a customer.’ Everyone knows how a Brand can make or break a business. And everyone knows how vastly GEN Y is influenced by brands. One bad word can lead to the doom of a business.

Employer Branding

When one thinks of branding, the first thought that comes into our mind is that it is a marketing function. Very rarely does one associate Employer branding with an HR function. But more and more companies today are realizing the pivotal role played by the HR function in designing and crafting a successful image of any corporate in the minds of people.

In India, Employer branding is still an emerging concept. Whether in recession or a growing economy, successful talent management requires an effective employer brand. With competitive edges between companies increasing steadily, Employer branding can very well prove to be the deciding factor in the success of an organization. With globalization now opening a plethora of companies as choices for people to opt for, employer branding now becomes the differentiating factor that will attract employees to make their decisions.

The purpose of Employer branding is to create an “employee tunnel” as opposed to an employee funnel. Therefore if you communicate effectively about the company and its values, a “tunnel” of suitable people will be created who know about the company culture, what it stands for and consequently would love to do a job for you.

There are several key factors encouraging companies to push this task on HR.

To obtain positive results, employer branding must be in line with the corporate brand of the company. A misalignment between the employer and the corporate brand can cause confusion with employees, shareholders and customers attract the wrong candidates and keep the desired candidates away. In order to ensure alignment and coherence of brand messages, it is vital that HR steps in and takes the major onus of branding on it, working in conjunction with the marketing department to ensure effective communication reach.

During recession, what might just induce a bright talent to tip the scale in the company’s favor is the image it holds in the market.  Employer brand values in a company are particularly significant, as the global economic crises have brought to the fore the criticality of not just hiring but also retaining the correct employees.

Employer branding is also paramount in inspiring pride staff, building a sense of achievement to be working for such an esteemed employer. Employees who feel good about the synergy between the business model and brand values tend to stay longer and be more engaged, leading to higher productivity.

Employer branding encourages companies to take an overall look at their strengths and weaknesses and allows them to see how they compare to others in the industry. This introspection leads to various avenues that the company can take to improve themselves.

Another considerable challenge for the HR is to build the brand of an Indian MNC overseas, as the HR would now have to create a value proposition that the firm can offer overseas that is in sync with its values and communication within its home country, while keeping the culture and tradition of the foreign country in mind as well.

HR must hence lead the development of the employer brand, coaching top management and line managers in living and promoting the employer brand and ensuring that employees are consulted.

This article has been authored by Richa Banga from Welingkar Institute of Management.

Image: watcharakun / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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