It’s the intern season and most of us rookies are taking the first steps out there in the real world and feeling the corporate wind on our faces, for some it blowing up in their faces, for some it’s a strong gale that they have to weather, for some it’s a gentle breeze that is soothing and some might just not feel anything.
And then there are the occasional few who comes back to our little gatherings boasting about their organization and how they enjoy working there. Now that’s peer to peer marketing and employer branding in progress.
Now technically employer branding is formed as a result of the application of the marketing principles to human resource management and thus helping organizations to differentiate themselves from their competitors to attract skilled employees. Especially since the skills and talents of people are at a shortage and every organization wants best people to work for them. For this, the organizations need strategies and ideas with which they can attract people to join/stay in their company itself. And brands are what that captures people’s attention and around which the strategies and ideas transpire.
Brands we use can be said to be identifying marks of our aspirations that when properly analyzed would give us an insight into the nature of the way we do things. And these days branding has become an integral element in our day to day lives. Choosing from what brand of car to buy to what drinks to be consumed, branding takes an important role. So similar effect is what comes when we choose a company for working too. And companies are now positioning their brands in such a way to attract employees to them.
Now for my third semester in college, I wrote this term paper trying to find some insight on employer branding and its key benefits, the power of brands and influence of corporate branding on the freshers. From what I learned the main reasons as to why employer branding became so important is due to the changing aspirations of employees and changing nature of workplaces.
In order to tackle the above-mentioned troubles, the companies these days uses/spends more time and resources in understanding the ambiance, value, support or any cause that an employee expects from an employer.
For this process to be easier the organizations need to identify the value and factors that make the current employees stay and attract new job seekers. Understanding these will help the managers in the recruitment to develop more effective job, advertisements and to further comprehend the perceptual difference of different job seekers.
Also as part of the term paper, I conducted a small survey among my friends that gave me some insights on what spurs them to go for a particular company. It showed that the operations domain job aspiring classmates of mine were more concerned more about the workplace being interesting and challenging to them and at the same time hoping that the work they do is meaningful and knowledgeable.
The marketing and HR domain students showed an interest in working in a fun place with talented people and great organizational culture. For them it’s the work they find meaningful, and the hope that the knowledge and skill they learned can be applied to the day to day work life that spurs them.
Meanwhile, the sales students were looking at companies with more opportunity for growth and career advancement and the finance domain was looking at the organization that rewards with great salaries, benefits, and perks.
Now for the record, my sample of people was not widespread and probably do not represent the wider spectrum and should be taken with a pinch of salt.
In the article “A great place to work!? Understanding crowd-sourced employer branding” crowd-sourcing has been employed by some organizations to collect and analyze employee opinion.
Collective employee opinion shape not only increases the loyalty engagement and retention of existing workers but also have improvement on how firms are seen publicly and how they attract new talents and so making it a necessity to understand the current pulse of employee collective.
The data collected using crowd-sourcing helped them to understand dimensions that represent organization attractiveness to employees which could provide structure to the decision-making the process of employees. Six factors like social value, market value, economic value, application value, cooperation value, workplace environment were identified as the dimensional values that employees look for in organizations.
The data found from the factor analysis shows female respondents attribute higher importance to social value, market value, application value and cooperation value dimensions compared to males. And as the job seekers get older, they slightly tend to be more attracted by employers who produce high quality and innovative products and services and are customer oriented. But the changes in cultural differences of the organizations have not been considered as a variable while above factor analysis was done and as a result, each of the factors could vary for organizations with a different culture.
Another reason employee branding has ridden to the forefront is due to the emergence of new technologies like internet and mobiles which have enabled the employees to spread their tale. And the option of anonymity has given employees more strength. The downside for the company is that it has given the people the option to give negative or fake stories to disparage the company.
To circumvent or prevent these unreliable and unrepresented data spread through online is unlikely and as a result, there is a need for the employer to create a good rapport among the current employees as the perception of employees inside the company will flow out and influence the perception of public as well.
An employer can create a good perception of the company in the mind of employees through the work environment of a company. A good work environment will leave a positive attitude towards the company. But great work environments do not emerge by happenstance, but rather as a result of deliberate and strategic initiatives aimed at attracting, engaging, and retaining employees
We can see employee branding as a long-term strategy that can be defined as a package of functional economic and psychological benefits to targeted employees provided by management to manage the awareness and perspective identified towards the employing company. It helps to communicate with the internal audience -the active employees and external audience -the public and potential employees .
Some of the propositions that the existing, potential and previous employees care about are social elements of work, interesting and challenging work tasks, the extent to which skills can be applied in meaningful ways, opportunities for professional development, economic issues tied to compensation, the role of management, and work/life balance.
The strength of a corporate/product brand has a huge and an immediate effect on the employer brand. From the previous survey that I conducted a majority of the students gave more priority to the brand name, the few exceptions were all interested in startups. As a result, an organization which has a weaker corporate base or product brand has to work or struggle twice to attract or retain the employee. Consider an example of Google. The product itself has a billion dollar brand which attracts people to work for it. Moreover, Google does more steps to increase employer branding by providing amazing work culture and environment. In simple terms, google creates value which attracts people towards its company for work.
For an employee – As an employee, it not only speaks about your employment or the post of designation but also the represents him/her itself as a company’s identity. So, as far as employer branding is concerned, it’s like providing assurance stamp in a potential and existing mind of employee that “It’s a great place to work for”.
As an HR manager – When employer branding of a company is high, then the HR manager who goes for recruiting will have minimal work of proving or convincing what the company is worth to a potential employee.
Consider a small company which provides a pay of Rs.7 Lakh per annum from Chennai and also consider Google providing same work for the same amount of salary. What would be people’s preference? Most would want to work for Google, let’s say 99 out of 100 would choose Google over Chennai based company. It is because of the brand that Google has. People would fall in line to apply for it whereas the Chennai Company has to prove or convince that it also provides such a service or about their value proposition.
So summing up, for an HR manager it’s a factor/strategy of how strongly you can attract people into your organization or how strongly you can improve your retention rate of employees.
The study “Getting the Right People on the Bus”: Recruitment, selection, and integration for the branded organization argues that person to person communication in relation to employer branding is much more effective than advertising because it is memorable and employees can use their personality to transfer the brand to customers. Also, peer to peer communication has a history of moving hearts much more than written words.
In the end employee branding is done as part of the organization to reduce the cost of employee acquisition, improve employee relations, increase employee retention and even offer lower salaries for comparable staff to firms with weaker employer brands.
In the end, the finding I have come to accept is that employer branding is an Omni-process required to work parallel to all other processes in an organization. There is a need for it to exist before and after recruitment, as a result, the process needs to be sustainable.
The end goal of employee branding and recruitment process is not to ensure quality in employer-employee relations, but rather to secure a quality in building and sustaining long-term brand-costumer relationships which arise from a good employer-employee relationship.
- Conceptualizing employer branding in sustainable organizations – Helle Kryger Aggerholm, Sophie Esmann Andersen and Christa Thomsen
- “Getting the Right People on the Bus”: Recruitment, selection and integration for the branded organization – Stephanie Russell , Matthew J. Brannan
- A great place to work!? Understanding crowdsourced employer branding – Amir Dabirian, , Jan Kietzmann, Hoda Diba
- Identifying Dimensions of Attractiveness in Employer Branding: Effects of Age, Gender, and Current Employment Status – Esra Alnıaçıka , Ümit Alnıaçıka
- Attracting Talented Employees to the Company: Do We Need Different Employer Branding Strategies in Different Cultures? – Esra Alnıaçıka , Ümit Alnıaçıka , Serhat Eratb , Kültigin Akçinb
- Employer branding dimensions – a discriminant analysis approach in campus recruitment – Dr. V. Samuel Rajkumar, V. Padmanand, Dr .P .Ganesan, Dr. Pulidindi Venugopal
- Employer branding: What constitutes “An Employer of choice?” – Ghadeer Mohamed Badr ElDin Aboul-Ela