Employer Brand



In this era of good corporate governance, the emerging role of human resource is delivering effective governance and social responsibility. In order to achieve this, Simon Barrow (1996), a Consultant, coined a concept called 'Employer Branding'.

Employer branding is about making sure that employees feel good about the place they work. Employees can then be ambassadors for the organization and that "feel good factor" can permeate out to others, notably customers and clients.

Employment branding is a strategic and marketing effort designed to make an organization appealing as a place to work. The targeted marketing effort attempts to shape the perceptions of potential employees, current employees and the public. Successful employment branding should reduce hiring costs and ease the hiring process.


The word 'Employer Branding' may be split up as;

Employer Branding = 'Employer’ + 'Branding’

'Employer' means a person or an institution that hires people.

'Branding' means a strategy that allows an organization to differentiate itself from competition and in the process, to bond with their customers to create loyalty. Thus, a position is created in the marketplace that is much more difficult from the competition to poach. A satisfied customer may leave, hut a loyal customer is much less likely to leave.

Just like any other brand, an Employer Brand has value and positioning. Employer branding is critical to build an image in the minds of potential employees and market the company as a 'great place to work'.

The objective of Employer Branding is quite simple. It is a strategy employed by an organisation to create an Employer Value Proposition ( EVP) that conveys to desired current and prospective employees why the organisation is unique, appealing and a fantastic place to work in.


Employer Branding gains tremendous importance in times when the talent pool is shrinking and is becoming increasingly difficult to attract and retain talent. It then becomes critical to position the organisation in the minds of the target audience to give it every possible advantage in attracting employees with superior skills and knowledge - a primary source of competitive advantage for any organisation.

Definitions

  • "Employer Branding can be defined as the package of functional, economic and psychological benefits provided by employment, and identified with the employing Company. (Simon Barrow: 1996)
  • "Employer Branding may be defined as an organic set of convictions an audience holds about a product, candidate idea or organization." (HP: 2002)
  • "Employer Branding establishes the identity of the firm as an employer. It encompasses the firm's values, systems, policies and behaviours toward the objectives of attracting, motivating, and retaining the firm's current and potential employees." (The Conference Board: 2001)

Key factors influencing  on Employer Brand Name

  • Salary of the employee paid by the employer.
  • Employee benefits given by employer.
  • Job security. 
  • Pleasant working atmosphere. 
  • Work-life balance. (Definite or fixed working hours in the job , but not irregular working hours)
  • Career progression opportunities. (Simply means growth in the job by way of promotion linked with increase in remuneration)
Any organisation for achieving employer brand name, should focus on above said factors. Employee salary plays a key role in gaining employer brand name by an organisation. Having strong employer brand name helps in not only attracting talented employees , but also helps in retaining talented employees in an organisation. Organisation need not struggle much for recruiting talented employees, if it has employer brand name in the market. Hence employer brand name definitely saves cost for searching talent and also its valuable time which is equal to cost.

According to Alan Price Human Resource Management, 4th edition Book:

"The basis of employer branding is the application of the same marketing and branding practices to a company's human resource activities (specifically, recruitment and retention) as it uses for consumer-targeted marketing and branding efforts. In other words, the business markets its brand image to its staff. And just as customers will cease buying a company's products or services when a promise is unfulfilled, its employees will also leave if the company fails to live up to its employer brand promises."

Some businesses use separate, dedicated employer branding efforts aimed at aligning employees with their organizations' vision and values whereas others pursue this goal as one element of broader corporate branding strategies.


"BMW, Apple and Google have all created brands that make it easier for these companies to recruit talented workers and to motivate their employees".


Google emerges world's most attractive employer: Survey
India: Google continues to be a hot favourite for career seekers as the company has emerged as the world's most attractive employer, for the fourth consecutive year, says a survey. According to global employer branding firm Universum's global talent attraction index "The World's Most Attractive Employers 2012", Google has retained the top position in both categories -- business and engineering -- for the fourth year in a row.

"The Google fever is still hot! Students are attracted by Google's relaxed and creative work environment, international atmosphere and innovative products. Google offers great benefits and opportunities that are hard for other companies to match," in the business category, Google has blocked the top rank, followed by KPMG in the second place and Procter & Gamble in the third position.

Besides these, the world's top 10 employers in the business category include

  • Microsoft India has been adjudged the ‘Most attractive employer' for the second year running, in a survey conducted by HR services company Randstad. The Randstad Award 2012 ranked Oracle and TCS second and third, respectively.
  • Deloitte
  • Ernst & Young
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) 
  • J P Morgan 
  • The Coca-Cola Company 
  • Goldman Sachs 

source:  the economic times

The 2011 Nielsen survey also showed that the top five dimensions students considered when it comes to seeking employment were high degree of independence at work, salary package, learning on the job, growth prospects and standing of the company in the market [Employer brand] respectively. 


From an analytical study of the above definitions, we may conclude that:

  • Employer branding requires alignment of management and HR practices that ensure an employee experience that matches the image portrayed.
  • Employer branding necessitates allowing the work environment and experiences to sell corporate image to human resources.
  • Employer branding is about effective and coherent talent management system - recruitment, orientation, training and development and performance management.

Thus, employer branding is a solid process based approach to discover and articulate the organization's unique identity, which is connected in compelling ways to the individual identities and aspirations of human resources, both current and potential.

According to human resource consultants Hewitt Associates, there are five steps to develop a strong employer brand:

1) Understand your organisation
2) Create a 'compelling brand promise' for employees that mirrors the brand promise for customers
3) Develop standards to measure the fulfillment of the brand promise
4) 'Ruthlessly align' all people practices to support and reinforce the brand promise
5) Execute and measure


Brand name valuable to most employees: Jobbuzz Survey TimesJobs.com Bureau
A large part of employees voted brand name and career growth opportunities as the top two reasons to work in an organization during the most recommended companies to work survey conducted by Jobbuzz, a premier product by TimesJobs.com to help employees make intelligent career decisions.
Almost 66% employees agreed that the brand's name matters the most while selecting a job offer. Growth opportunities and on-the-job learning & development come only next in the top reasons to work list. In the view of Indian employees, matters such as salary packages and work life balance are placed lower in their roll while selecting or recommending or work with an employer.

In the Indian Job Outlook Survey 2012 conducted by TJinsite, research and knowledge arm of TimesJobs.com, experts claimed that recruiters have to push boundaries to create brand attractiveness for making skilled talent consider their employment options.

Only about 32% companies consider the impact on business performance as a measure of Employer Branding (EB) process effectiveness. However, about 20-30% HR managers acknowledged higher retention rates, improved productivity and employee engagement as the key benefits of having a strong EB. In fact, during an UpperCrest Job Fair, an exclusive job fair by TimesJobs.com focused on recruitment of senior professionals, HR managers pointed that companies with strong employer brands are able to hire or retain experienced/senior professionals without worrying about their competitor's approach. 
Having an effective employer branding strategy is crucial, but if your strategy is not convincing enough for whom it is targeted to it is not going reap any results. TimesJobs.com survey shows that there exists a wide gap in how employers perceive their branding and how employees sees it

The Employer Take

Increasing popularity

The good news is that 64 per cent of the surveyed organisations claim to have a clear and well-designed employer branding strategy in place while 20 per cent plan to build one in the next six months.In 2012, our employer branding study showed that only 25 per cent employers had a clearly defined strategy in place. This is a big achievement for India Inc.Moreover, the need to have an employer branding strategy in place is not confined to large organisations. Small organisations too are embracing the practice and acknowledging its benefits.

Of all large companies (with 1,000 or more employees) that took part in the survey, nearly 60 per cent said they have a clear employer branding strategy.About 75 per cent mid-sized and 63 per cent small-sized companies also claimed to have a winning employer branding strategy in place, reveals the TimesJobs.com survey.

Employer branding works!

Nearly 74 per cent of the surveyed employers saw their employer branding practices as paying off results. They said it was leading to quality hires, better job acceptance and improved retention and engagement. Quality hires, in fact, are considered as the biggest advantage of a successful employer branding strategy by nearly 37 per cent of the surveyed oragnisations while 24 per cent consider better job acceptance and 23 per cent consider improvement in retention rates as the biggest advantage of the practice, shows the survey.

About 16 per cent employers feel effective employer branding helps improve engagement rates. Nearly 42 per cent large, 58 per cent mid and small-sized organisations consider their employer branding strategy is effective in engaging and retaining employees, finds the TimesJobs.com survey. Interestingly, an increasing number of small and mid-sized organisations found their employer branding strategy to be successful. About 55 per cent of the small and mid-sized organisations term their employer branding strategy successful, finds the study.

Newer metrics

The survey revealed that it’s not only numbers that organisation are relying on while calculating return on investment of their employer branding strategies, and most employers go for softer metrics to assess the long-term benefits of the practice.

Nearly 59 per cent organisations are looking at engagement rates and 47 per cent consider quality of hire while calculating return on investment on their employer branding strategy, finds the TimesJobs.com study.

Overcoming hurdles

According to over 70 per cent of the organisations, budget is no more a constraint for planning and implementing employer branding strategies. This was one of the key roadblocks in successful implementation of an employer branding plan in 2012, as told by nearly 40 per cent of surveyed organisations.However, what’s constant is the lack of vision and clarity which is seen as the primary challenge in realising the potential of proper employer branding.

Nearly 68 per cent of the organisations feel ambiguity related to vision and objective of the process were the main hurdles to successful implementation and completion of an employer branding plan. This was also the case three years ago, when TimesJobs.com conducted the first employer branding survey.

The Employee Take

While employers are gung-ho about their employer branding strategies and are even acknowledging success, is there a gap between what employers think and what employees feel about their employer’s brand? Is the intended message crossing over to what employees see and feel? Perhaps not, shows the TimesJobs survey.

While most organisations think they have a winning employer branding strategy at hand, nearly 67 per cent surveyed employees don’t feel so. These employees rate their organisation’s branding strategy as not much convincing. About 23 per cent rate it as convincing, while 10 per cent label it as poor, finds the TimesJobs.com study.

In fact, only 42 per cent of the surveyed employees said they will recommend their company to a friend.While 56 per cent employees from tier I and II cities find their employer branding successful, only 32 per cent employees from large organisations feel so.The current branding strategies appeal to experienced professionals but entry and mid-level candidates are not quite happy with them.