Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 2151
, Published on 25 June 2013
Jerry: “I aspire to get placed at XYZ Company. I would do anything to be there!”
Tom: “Why? What is so special about XYZ?”
Jerry: “Don’t you know? They have a wonderful workplace ambience. You can choose your cabin. Have fun in your work area. There are sofas to sit even in the smallest of cabins and you can sleep whenever you want to. You have just 5 working days in a week. They provide you commutation facilities and food. If you don’t feel like working you can do your own work in the office as well for some time. They have awesome pay structure and most importantly you get to flaunt that you are working with ‘XYZ’!!”
So has someone finally managed to trap Jerry into something that seems to be too good to be true? Is Jerry going to have a ‘gala’ time at XYZ eating cheese throughout the day? Well that is what seems to be the case right now. However everyone knows that no company will hire someone just to provide him/her with all the luxuries of life without getting the work done from them.
So why all this excitement among job-seekers to get the opportunity to work for a few selected organisations? The answer is – EMPLOYER BRANDING.
I am sure there would be many other companies which would be providing at least some of the aforesaid facilities. But the question here is how many of those companies can we name when asked out of the blue. Here comes the role of Employer Branding.
WHAT IS EMPLOYER BRANDING?
Employer Branding is the approach adopted by organisations to let the public in general and prospective employees in particular know about the culture and practices followed in the organisation. It is the sum total of all the efforts that an organisation makes to develop its image as seen through the eyes of its associates and potential hires.
Employer Branding in its holistic approach involves managing both the internal as well as the external stakeholders. The internal stakeholders would essentially be the current employees and the external stakeholders would majorly include the potential employees of the organisation.
SCOPE OF EMPLOYER BRANDING
There are various ways in which an organisation can brand itself. Many of the times organisations do resort to a few of these unknowingly as well. This is because almost all the activities that an organisation carries out has an impact on the perceptions people have about it.
However for a conscious employer who wishes to ‘brand’ itself in its desired way, following are the avenues to do so.
Recruitment: Employer’s can brand very effectively during the recruitment process. This is mainly because this is one time when an organisation reaches out to a large pool of prospective employees. The company can brand by giving out apt recruitment advertisements and adopting recruitment practices that it may feel brands itself in the best possible way.
An employer may show youth playing in the cafeteria in its recruitment advertisement if it wants to promote ‘fun @ work’ culture.
Selection: Even while selecting employees, subtle hints about the work culture and the processes in an organisation can be let out. When any person comes to an organisation to give an interview, he consciously or unconsciously forms an image about the company. Care should be taken that any potential employee is treated courteously by all the touch-points in the organisation. This is all the more important because perceptions and opinions are formed by these very small experiences that candidates have with the organisation.
It is also a good idea to courteously call and keep in loop even those candidates who do not get selected for any job role in the organisation. There have been instances when candidates have been impressed by the treatment given to them and they speak highly of an organisation even though they were not selected.
Training & Development: The scope of branding during training and development is majorly internal to the organisation. The current employees have a certain level of expectations from their employer. When proper training and development opportunities are provided to them, they think highly of the organisation. This results in a satisfied employee base which eventually spreads around the good word about their organisation.
Compensation & Benefits: Though this component seems to be a narrow one in the scope of branding, it is a very effective one. Most of the aspirers rate their overall compensation as one of the most important parameter in selecting an organisation. Few companies have been branded as very good paymasters as they have persistently worked towards developing such image.
A few innovations in the compensation structure can also help an organisation in building a unique brand for itself. Infosys was the first company in India to introduce ESOPs in the pay structure of its employees. It is till today remembered and revered for this initiative.
Performance Management: This is an aspect which is gaining prominence in branding as the new generation of employees are all the more concerned about enhancing their performance. Many high-achievers prefer an organisation where performance is valued over the organisations where it is given relatively less importance. The trick here is to establish and develop systems which are transparent and which encourage the overall improvement in the performance of an employee.
Work Culture: A very highly rated parameter in the candidates’ preference criteria for an organisation. This has to be developed over time. Some companies have earned a name for themselves with the highly unique and effective work culture that they have developed over a period of time. This again leads to highly satisfied employees who spread the positivity and vibrancy of the culture to other people.
A novel idea to create a positive image in the minds of the prospective employees is to communicate your brand values to them during internships. Internships are opportunities not only for the employees but also for the organisations to portray a good image about the company. These days, employees/ students coming for internships are highly networked. This can be used as a platform to promote your organisation as ‘the place to be’. Any experience, good or bad, will have far reaching effects in the job market.
BRIDGING THE GAP:
HR Branding is not all about letting the external parties know about the organisation. It also includes selling your organisation to the current employees of the company. When employees enter your organisation, they would have certain expectations in their minds about the environment, culture, processes and people at the workplace. If these expectations are not handled properly, resentment may arise among the employees.
What we talked about in the initial part of the article was essentially about creating the right expectation set among the potential employees. What we are looking at right now is to handle the expectation set among the current employees. Firstly their expectations have to be figured out and it should be checked whether some general expectations of the employees can be met with. If the expectations are not possible to be fulfilled by the organisation, proper shaping of their needs and expectations should be carried out by the management.
Training and development initiatives and OD activities can help in bringing about change in people’s mindsets.
A study conducted by The Economic Times and ‘www.greatplacetowork.in’ lists out the following companies as the top 10 India’s Best Companies to Work for 2012:
In each of the above mentioned companies you will find something unique which promotes the organisation. These companies have mastered the art of staying on top of the minds of the prospective employees by adopting the right practices.
Employer branding activities may seem too expensive and irrelevant at times. But they have a very long term effect on how the organisation is perceived as a whole in the society. It aids in generating the goodwill and recognition in the job market and helps in acquiring and retaining the right kind of talent in the company.
The article has been authored by Shivang Ganatra, IIM Ranchi