Employer Branding - An Answer To Address The Issue Of Talent Management
Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 2359
, Published on 04 November 2012
I would like to commence my article by citing a quote by former Fortune 200 CEO David F Alessandro - “A business based on brand is, very simply, a business primed for success”. The term ‘Brand’ has been extensively used in marketing products which has rather has become a cliché. In 21st century where the quest for the best talent is on its rise, a new strategic tool is on its emergence – EMPLOYER BRANDING. Employer branding, as cited by Universum, in verbatim is “the strategy companies use to appeal to desired current and future ideal talent”.
It is an enigmatic concept which combines the concept of marketing with Human Resource Management.It is a powerful weapon in the war for talent!Companies are constantly vying for every iota of space and leaving no stone unturned to ensure their brand visibility. Gone are those days when the focus of organizations for gaining a competitive advantage had been mainly on tangible assets like capital, sophisticated machinery or infrastructure. With the advent of time, all these aspects have undergone a paradigm shift. Companies have shifted their focus from these to “Human resource.” Talent has become an intangible asset providing a company edge over others. With no dearth in availability of jobs in market, employer branding now becomes the competitive edge that will attract the best of the talent.To attract talent especially in the 21stcentury, the image of the company must be good, really good. The work environment must be top class, top management known for excellent conduct with best of the work systems and processes. In short, the company must be selling its name like any other consumer brand so that it is able to attract the best talent. Employer branding (EB) is the strategy that companies use to appeal to this talent. In other words, employer branding is to convey that ‘employees matter’, why an employer’s workplace is appealing and unique. The purpose is to make it easier for the employer to attract good workers, or even more importantly to get the top talent it needs from the job market.
In today’s Gen Y workforce atmosphere, the first probable question that one poses is “Why should I work for an XYZ company? What is in it for me?” It is just precisely this question that employer branding answers. As an answer to this question, it is imperative that an organization has a brand value to its prospective employees.The communication of an organisation’s culture as an employer in the market place – the core value proposition in the form of Employer Branding is paramount. Employer branding is a distinguished and relevant opportunity for a company to differentiate itself from the competition, creating its branded factor as its unique selling proposition for employee satisfaction and happiness resulting in retention, productivity and efficiency.
The Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is an important facet of employer branding. It essentially comprises a promise that an organization makes to current, future and potential employees. Companies like Infosys, Wipro and TCS have built enviable reputation on the strength of their unmatched ethical conduct, world class work culture and excellent work practices. The open and invigorating work environment keeps Microsoft on top, HCL Infosystems promotes itself an idea factory, Marriott hotel presents itself as a caring institute, Canon India adopts team work and team spirit as the basic theme to encourage employees; Mind Tree stands on honest communications with employees, Agilent technology sells fun as its distinguishing mark and Johnson & Johnson places employees ahead of other stakeholders in an attempt to retain talent. So most companies are aware of the compelling needs to position themselves in the mind of present as well as prospective employees as outstanding employers and they are not leaving any chance to keep themselves ahead of others in this race. And the role of HR in mediating this is inevitable.
On a recent employer branding project for HSBC, it was found that the central tenet of the organization was the investment in, and development of their employees. The organization invests hugely in its people; there are opportunities to work locally, nationally and internationally. Because of these reasons the EVP that was developed for HSBC was ‘Here you can'. Another classic example which is worth mentioning is that of Google. For instance, what does one associate with the word ‘Google?’ – “ exemplary search engine”, “Sergy Brin and Larry Page” and “A Great to place to work at.” It is this image of Google which helps it in attracting the best talent in the market to apply for jobs. To ensure that they have the best talent in their kitty, companies have to develop an image that says“it is the place to be.” Employer branding is a long term solution to the dearth of talent that we face in the present scenario. Human resource managers are trying to develop a distinctive image for their companies which reflect the culture, the career progression of the employees, its values and vision. Companies use various tools of marketing research, PR and advertising to communicate to people outside the company ‘what is it to work in the organization.’ Nike has invested millions of dollars to make its employees believe that their lives in the office are like “living in the Nike commercial”.
CLASSIC EB MODEL:Coca – Cola HBC
Employer Branding is not merely about attracting talent from outside the company. It is also entails managing and retaining the current employees of the company. An inward looking approach is imperative to keep them going. A perfect example to this would be L’Oreal. L’Oreal has wisely used the tool of empowerment of its employees to facilitate employee engagement. A famous saying in L’Oreal goes, “You can be a General at 28”. Employees are empowered to shoulder responsibilities at a young age. Ambitious employees can easily fast track their professional growth by connecting better with the corporate culture. This lucidly illustrates that internal employer branding is not only about employee engagement, but also involves building relationships of employees with the corporate culture.
One of the biggest advantages of internal branding is that companies can gauge the attributes which are likely to attract new talent to the business, ultimately allowing them to tailor their recruitment strategy to current market scenario. In their pursuit for the best talent, companies have entered social media marketing to strengthen their brand image and attract talent. Organizations have started developing their profiles on social networking sites like Linkedln and Facebook to develop personal relationships with their employees. Ernst and Young have more than 25,000 members in its Facebook community which gives them a simple cost effective method to promote their employer brand.
Agreed that the HR wing has a lion’s share in Employer branding but it is not an overnight process to be facilitated only by the HR department; rather it is a concerted effort by the entire management of the company to build the classy image of the company. Having realized its unparalleled potential of delivering a competitive edge for attracting talent;organizations are making a beeline towards employer branding.
I would like to conclude my article by making a reference to an adage which appositely underscores the importance of employer branding. “An unsatisfied customer tells ten people about his experience while an unsatisfied employee tells hundreds!”
Having the right resources in hand, doing the right things in the right way that creates the right framework, we can be rest assured that “Employer Branding is the one of best strategic tool for talent management”.
This article has been authored by Sowmiya.V from SDM Institute for Management Development.