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ABSTRACT

Employer branding is the development and communication of an organization's culture as an employer in the marketplace. It conveys the organization's "value proposition" - the totality of the organization's culture, systems, attitudes, and employee relationship along with encouraging its people to embrace and share goals for success, productivity, and satisfaction both on personal and professional levels.

Employer branding represents a firm's efforts to promote, both within and outside the firm, a clear view of what makes it different and desirable as an employer. In recent years employer branding has gained popularity among practicing managers. The importance of managing employee perceptions has given rise to the contemporary notion of Employer Brand. This is essentially the brand the employer projects to existing and potential employees via the chain of communication touch points ranging from recruitment intermediaries through to line managers.

However one of the major issues in Employer Branding is how to measure an employer brand, what value does the employer brand have? Ultimately, a strong employer brand should contribute to the performance and success of the organization.

The workforce is the real driver of profits in today's business world. Employer Branding helps in recruitment and retention of the best of talents. It has it's impact in many areas of Human Resource Management like Employee Loyalty, Employee commitment, Employee retention and one of these areas which should get highly affected by this concept is Employee Performance. The strength of an organization's brand has a significant impact on the performance of its employees. A strong Employer Brand has a significant influence in the employee's performance and that a strong product brand can essentially support the development of the employment brand. These days companies make a lot of investments in this concept of Employer Branding, thus studying the extent of its impact on Employee's Performance in these organizations has become a vital need in today's scenario.

THE SCOPE/COMMERCIAL VIABILITY OF THE STUDY

  • To study the concept of Employer Branding and it's evolution over a period of time.
  • To study what it takes for an organization to build a magnetic Employer Brand.
  • To study the causes that lead organizations to focus more on this concept of Employer Branding.
  • To study the extent to which this process of Employer Branding helps the organizations to improve Employee Performance and what impact it has on other areas like Employee Loyalty and Employee Retention.
  • To study Employee's Brand Based Equity and its impact on Employee Performance.
  • To study the benefits gained by the organizations as well as the obstacles faced by the organizations in the development and implementation of this process of Employer Branding.
  • To study the ways by which the impact of Employer Branding Process can be measured with Employee Performance being a major area of focus.

METHODOLOGY

The conceptual study of the thesis will be done through literature reviews. Descriptive research design will be used to get an idea of the implementation of this concept. Also, Causal research design will be used to understand the relationship between the variables under study to reach reliable and valid conclusions. The method of Probability sampling will be used to carry out the required surveys. Hereby, the method of Stratified Random Sampling will be used. The use of these methods and Research Designs would make the study more concrete and reliable.

SOURCES OF INFORMATION

  • Secondary data collection will be done through websites, literature study, journals, magazines and articles.
  • Primary data collection will be done through interviews of professionals and subject experts. Also, the questionnaires will be used to carry out the surveys of internal employees.

Note:

The thesis has to be divided in three parts. The first part would talk about the following:

  • The meaning and background of Employer Branding, the dimensions of Employer Branding, etc.
  • The meaning and background of Employee Performance and how it is defined.
  • How are Employer Branding and Employee Performance related.

The second part would be of Industry research which would include study of various industries taking into consideration various units under various industries. It would include data analysis and data interpretation.

The third part would include the derivations of the study. It would include key findings and learning and suggestions.

Section 1:

Introduction to Branding

Defining a Brand

Branding has been around for centuries as a means to distinguish the goods of one producer from those of another. In fact, the word brand is derived from the Old Norse "word brandr, which means "to burn," as brands oure and still are the means by which owners of livestock mark their animals to identify them. According to the American Marketing Association (AMA) a brand is a "name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competition." Technically speaking, then, whenever a marketer creates a new name, logo, or symbol for a new product, he or she has created a brand.

Thus, the key to creating a brand, according to the AMA definition, is to be able to choose a name, logo, symbol, package design, or other attribute that identifies a prod­uct and distinguishes it from others. These different components of a brand that iden­tify and differentiate it can be called brand elements.

A brand is therefore a product, but one that adds other dimensions that differentiate it in some way from other products designed to satisfy the same need. These differences may be rational and tangible—related to product performance of the brand—or more symbolic, emotional, and intangible—related to what the brand represents. One mar­keting Observer put it this way.

More specifically, what distinguishes a brand from its unbranded commodity counterpart and gives it equity is the sum total of consumers' perceptions and feelings about the product's attributes and how they perform, about the brand name and what it stands for, and about the company associated with the brand?

Why Brand?

More and more firms and other organizations have come to the realization that one of their most valuable assets is the brand names associated with their products or services. In an increasingly complex world, individuals and businesses are faced with more and more choices but seemingly have less and less time to make those choices. The ability of a strong brand to simplify consumer decision making, reduce risk, and set expectations is thus invaluable. Creating strong brands that deliver on that promise, and maintaining and enhancing the strength of those brands over time, is thus a management imperative.

Emile Durkheim in Elementary Forms of The Religious Life explains the religion of the Australian Aborigines. The concept of a church as Durkheim defines it is 'a shared feeling of a special kind.' It is group dynamics, the act of assembling for a common purpose, that creates the feeling of being in the presence of a spirit greater than the individual, a sacred feeling of being in the presence of a spirit greater than the individual, a sacred feeling that strikes a chord with our deepest longings. Brands, too, strike chords.

However, striking the right chord is both difficult and often costly. There are no guarantees of the result, although there is a clear difference in the growth of financial value if we compare companies that have done at least a little branding and those that haven't branded themselves at all.

Why do Brands matter?

Creating a successful brand entails blending all these various elements to­gether in a unique way—the product or service has to be of high quality and appropriate to consumer needs, the brand name must be appealing and in tune with the consumer's perceptions of the product, the packaging, promo­tion, pricing and all other elements must similarly meet the tests of appropri­ateness, appeal, and differentiation.

An obvious question is, Why are brands important? What functions do they per­form that make them so valuable to marketers? One can take a couple of per­spectives to uncover the value of brands to both consumers and firms themselves.

To Consumers

As with the term product, this book uses the term consumer broadly to encompass all types of customers, including individuals as well as organizations. To consumers, brands provide important functions. Brands identify the source or maker of a product and allow consumers to assign responsibility to a particular manufacturer or distributor. Most important, brands take on special meaning to consumers. Because of past experi­ences with the product and its marketing program over the years, consumers learn about brands. They find out which brands satisfy their needs and which ones do not. As a result, brands provide a shorthand device or means of simplification for their product decisions.

If consumers recognize a brand and have some knowledge about it, then they do not have to engage in a lot of additional thought or processing of information to make a product decision. Thus, from an economic perspective, brands allow consumers to loour search costs for products both internally (in terms of how much they have to think) and externally (in terms of how much they have to look around). Based on what they already know about the brand—its quality, product characteristics, and so forth— consumers can make assumptions and form reasonable expectations about what they may not know about the brand.

Brands can also play a significant role in signaling certain product characteristics to consumers. Researchers have classified products and their associated attributes or benefits into three major categories: search goods, experience goods, and credence goods." With search goods, product attributes can be evaluated by visual inspection (e.g., the sturdiness, size, color, style, weight, and ingredient composition of a product). With experience goods, product attributes—potentially equally important—cannot be assessed so easily by inspection, and actual product trial and experience is necessary (e.g., as with durability, service quality, safety, and ease of handling or use). With cre­dence goods, product attributes may be rarely learned (e.g., insurance coverage). Because of the difficulty in assessing and interpreting product attributes and benefits with experience and credence goods, brands may be particularly important signals of quality and other characteristics to consumers for these types of products.

Brands can reduce the risks in product decisions. Consumers may perceive many different types of risks in buying and consuming a product:

  • Functional risk: The product does not perform up to expectations
  • Physical risk: The product poses a threat to the physical well-being or health of the user or others
  • Financial risk: The product is not worth the price paid
  • Social risk: The product results in embarrassment from others
  • Psychological risk: The product affects the mental well-being of the user
  • Time risk: The failure of the product results in an opportunity cost of finding another satis­factory product

Although there are a number of different means by which consumers handle these risks, certainly one way in which consumers cope is to buy well-known brands, espe­cially those brands with which consumers have had favorable past experiences. Thus, brands can be a very important risk-handling device, especially in business to business settings where these risks can sometimes have quite profound implications.

To Firms

Brands also provide a number of valuable functions to firms. Fundamentally, they serve an identification purpose to simplify product handling or tracing for the firm. Operationally, brands help to organize inventory and accounting records. A brand also offers the firm legal protection for unique features or aspects of the product. A brand can retain intellectual property rights, giving legal title to the brand owner."The brand name can be protected through registered trademarks, manufacturing processes can be protected through patents, and packaging can be protected through copyrights and designs. These intellectual property rights ensure that the firm can safely invest in the brand and reap the benefits of a valuable asset.

As noted earlier, these investments in the brand can endow a product with unique associations and meanings that differentiate it from other products. Brands can signal a certain level of quality so that satisfied buyers can easily choose the product again." This brand loyalty provides predictability and security of demand for the firm and cre­ates barriers of entry that make it difficult for other firms to enter the market. Although manufacturing processes and product designs may be easily duplicated, last­ing impressions in the minds of individuals and organizations from years of marketing activity and product experience may not be so easily reproduced. In this sense, brand­ing can be seen as a poourful means of securing a competitive advantage.

Can anything be branded?

[Can organizations be branded?]

Brands clearly provide important benefits to both consumers and firms. An obvious uestion, then, is, How are brands created? How do we "brand" a product? Although firms provide the impetus for brand creation through their marketing programs and other activities, ultimately a brand is something that resides in the minds of consumers. A brand is a perceptual entity that is rooted in reality, but it is also more than that, reflecting the perceptions and perhaps even the idiosyncrasies of consumers.

To brand a product it is necessary to teach consumers "who" the product is by giving it a name and using other brand elements to help identify it—as well as what the product does and why consumers should care. In other words, to brand a product or ser­vice, it is necessary to give consumers a label for the product (i.e., "here's how we can identify the product") and to provide meaning for the brand to consumers (i.e., "here's what this particular product can do for we and why it is special and different from other brand name products"). Branding involves creating mental structures and helping con­sumers organize their knowledge about products and services in a way that clarifies their decision making and, in the process, provides value to the firm. The key to brand­ing is that consumers perceive differences among brands in a product category. As noted earlier, brand differences often are related to attributes or benefits of the product itself. In other cases, however, brand differences may be related to more intangible image considerations.

The universality of branding can be recognized by looking at some different prod-Ict applications. As noted previously, products can be defined broadly to include phys­ical-goods, services, retail stores, online businesses, people, organizations, places, or ideas.

Brands extend beyond products and services. People and organizations also can be viewed as brands. The naming aspect of the brand is generally straightforward in this case, and people and organizations also often have well-defined images understood and liked or disliked by others. This fact becomes particularly true when considering public figures such as politicians, entertainers, and professional athletes. All of these different public figures compete in some sense for public approval and acceptance and benefit from conveying a strong and desirable image.

Section 2:

Introduction to Employer Branding

Defining an Employer Brand

Like a consumer brand, it is an emotional relationship, but between an employer and employee, one that radiates out from this core to other stakeholders, to the community at large, and obviously to potential employees. Employer branding is the development and communication of an organization's culture as an employer in the marketplace. It conveys a "value proposition" - the totality of a culture, systems, attitudes, and employee relationship along with encouraging a people to embrace and share goals for success, productivity, and satisfaction both on personal and professional levels.

Employer branding is the essence of the employment experience, providing points that commence with initial employer brand awareness, and continuing throughout the tenure of employment, even extending into retirement. Employer branding is a distinguishing and relevant opportunity for a company to differentiate itself from the competition creating its branded factors as its USP for employee satisfaction and happiness resulting in retention, productivity and efficiency.

Elements/ Essentials of an Employer Brand

FIFTEEN THINGS TO LEARN ABOUT EMPLOYER BRAND

1. AN EMPLOYER BRAND MUST ARTICULATE A PROMISE TO EMPLOYEES.

Just as every business has a customer brand, every business has an employer brand, too. Whether or not a business has ever spent any time developing it. That's because every business needs employees. And as it recruits and retains and motivates, a business needs to clarify what it stands for. Why it must exist. What difference it can make. What it believes in. How its offerings align with its values. And if a business doesn't define an employer brand, just ask the recruiters. They will tell the story based on their own experience. In fact, more than 90 percent of people on line looking for jobs say they must very closely or closely understand the value of working for a company, according to the 2005 poll by Yahoo! Hot Jobs.

An employer brand is a promise to a employees to provide an experience that, in return, will motivate their commitment to deliver a customer brand. The real spirit of a employer brand is a combination of what a business may promise and deliver, inside and outside. Essentially, it's about a relationship, between a business and a people.

How business generally approaches people, or talent, has actually changed a bit over the years. We can remember when business viewed employees as folloours in a campaign—people who simply did as they oure told. Then, as time passed, business progressed to considering employees as partners in the implementation of strategies. This led, in recent years, to a consideration of the exchange between employees and business—sort of a "we do this in exchange for this"—to express the relationship. But that was primarily a financial transaction. And over time the old ways of framing the relationship functionally became outdated. Employees began to demand a relationship that reached for something more: an emotional connection. That's where employer brand makes a difference. An employer brand can be a magical combination of what a business values, offers, and rewards—marrying what a brand promises outside with what a experience demands inside; what a business believes in and how we fundamentally respect the people who deliver a brand.

2. AN EMPLOYER BRAND MUST SUPPORT A BUSINESS STRATEGY.

But one can't just build an employer brand because everyone else does. It's too important. There's too much it must accomplish. The need must come from a business strategy. "The key to a successful employer brand is alignment with the business strategy," says Yvonne Larkin of Diageo. Together the business and organization strategies give the employer brand a reason for being. The poour of employer brand is how it connects the internal experience to the external business need. How it grounds the necessity for this internal experience in the economic realities of the buying decisions a customers make. For example, is a business in a phase of rapid growth? An employer brand is essential to a growth strategy. That's because growth will demand that a business continue to hire the right people in the right jobs at the right time. And keep the people we currently have. This constant effort to recruit and re recruit demands that a business enjoy a reputation in the marketplace that will support ambitions for growth. An employer brand can help a business clarify what will and will not change as we grow. And what growth means to the people who choose to work for we.

Or is a business shrinking? An employer brand is essential to a strategy for stability. It can, simply, give employees something to hold on to during periods of significant turbulence. An emotional connection with employees will be tested as a business faces challenges, such as reducing a size without cutting out a heart, or shifting a direction from what employees may consider sacred.

And is a business changing? Considering or pursuing new strategies? An employer brand is essential to any change strategy simply because it provides a focal point for employees. An employer brand is a touchstone for a employees, as their willingness to emotionally connect may be tested with each action each day. The essence of effective change management is effective stability management, giving people things to protect as they adjust to things that change. An employer brand can give people that emotional anchor as they may emotionally react to how they are expected to change. It can help people sing off the same page and embrace a common vision.

3. AN EMPLOYER BRAND MUST DEFINE, FOR EMPLOYEES, WHAT A CUSTOMERS EXPERIENCE.

An employer brand will never thrive if it's only an HR thing or a Communications thing. If its only purpose is to "make people feel better." It will only thrive if it makes a difference in results by making a difference to customers. If it supports every touch point a customers have with a business.

Such importance is a key reason why Hallmark, as part of its internal efforts to excite employees about its consumer brand, annually gives each employee a "card pack" as a friendly way to tell others of sending greeting cards." The card pack is just that—an attractive folder with three greeting cards inside, along with a note to the employee suggesting that they share this pack with someone outside Hallmark and their immediate family, such as "a new neighbor, the person sitting next to them on an airplane or bus, or the helpful sacker at the grocery store." The approach clearly connects employees to consumer touch points to help share Hallmark's mission of enriching lives. A customer who has a positive experience will be more likely to return. But that positive experience doesn't simply happen. People make it happen. And most of these are employees of a business. A customer's experience, regardless of the product or service a business offers, is a series of reactions and observations at each touch point: how people notice, observe, hear, experience, and talk. Every brand experience has a defining moment. An authentic brand experience will be consistent from one person to the next because employees internalize what they must accomplish at each customer touch point. And ultimately they will tell others what they think based on what their experience.

Commitment to the brand is just as important for an employee who touches customers as for an employee who never sees a customer. People who work with customers must "live the brand" in every interaction they conduct. Others, at the same time, work behind the scenes to make sure customer-facing employees have the tools and support they need for a positive interaction. Any business has people who never see a customer but who, in every interaction, represent the brand.

Regardless of where an employee works, the commitment to deliver the brand involves internalizing the promise the brand makes, developing the skills necessary to deliver the promise, and displaying the behavior necessary when implementing those skills. At every touch point.

4. A EMPLOYER BRAND MUST DEFINE WHAT A BUSINESS NEEDS FROM AN EMPLOYEES.

All the magical things that can happen when a brand connects with customers don't simply happen. Employees make them happen. An employer brand is more than simply articulating what the customer brand is all about. A employer brand must define what a business needs from employees to deliver the brand

Two things must happen for any employee of any business— from the smallest gas station on the corner to the largest global business—to live the brand. First, the employee must understand what the brand is all about. The employee must understand and internalize the essence of what a business is about—how that essence authentically applies to the products and services and experiences a business offers, and how the customer brand articulates this essence.

What customers expect. To successfully deliver the brand promise to customers, the employee must understand the difference a business makes to customers—through its brands as well as what employees are expected to deliver. Which is the difference between doing the job and delivering the brand?

Second, the employee must believe how the brand differentiates from what else is available on the market. It's not enough for the employee to believe the product, service, or business is a better choice. The employee must seriously believe it is the only choice.

How the brand is aspirational. The employee must believe in the authenticity of the pictures the brand can create. The idea the brand promotes. How the brand reaches beyond a single product or service to articulate the cumulative purpose of a business behind the brand and how it connects to what people aspire to be.

How the brand is inspirational. The employee must believe in the authenticity of the brand. What a business stands for. How it differentiates from others, not just in products and services, but in fundamental integrity. How its business proposition stands apart. What is unique in how a business inspires people to connect?

How the brand is emotional. The employee must feel a sense of ownership in the brand, how the brand represents a business and anyone who works for a business. As if each employee wears the brand on his or her sleeve. And it certainly involves more than wearing a logo on a shirt. This has everything to do with the values of a business. It's as if, to strongly believe in the brand, the employee must believe there is something at this business they simply cannot find anywhere else. This has everything to do with how the employee's values align with the values of a business. And if everyone in a business shares and aligns with these values, the brand will grow stronger.

How the brand is functional. Finally, the employee must believe the products and services a business produces will actually work. They must believe in the functional integrity of what a business delivers.

5. AN EMPLOYER BRAND MUST DEFINE ON-BRAND BEHAVIOR.

On-brand behavior is what brand is all about.

Any business needs specific behaviors from employees to deliver its brand promise to customers. This on-brand behavior occurs when an employee acts (or delivers) in a way that is consistent with what the brand is all about. And it's important because customers experience the brand only when employees deliver the characteristics the brand promises—when the behavior of employees supports the promise of the brand. The key to delivery of the brand is the on-brand behavior of employees at each touch point.

P&G carefully outlines the principles for creating exciting, memorable P&G experiences—in short, a summary of on-brand behavior. In materials distributed to employees, the company says, "To make the experience personal for a consumer, the employee is encouraged, for example, to anticipate, appreciate, and respond to diverse styles, needs, and motivations. To put the guest in the center of the experience, the employee is encouraged to be genuine and authentic in actions and behavior. To deliberately build a consistent delightful experience for the consumer, the employee is encouraged to define and execute a total experience from the very first moment the guest is made aware through the final follow-up. To make the guest's experience comfortable and seemingly simple, the employee is suggested to put the guest at ease. And to respond generously and selflessly to delight, and go beyond what is expected, the employee is encouraged to always look for ways to improve an experience."

The role of the employee to deliver the brand will differ from one business to another, simply because of the differences in what businesses offer. On-brand behavior is just as important in businesses whose employees never see a customer. Employees create what a business sells to customers. And customers experience the brand.

6. AN EMPLOYER BRAND MUST CONNECT WHAT HAPPENS OUTSIDE TO WHAT HAPPENS INSIDE.

A business has a customer brand as a place to buy—and an employer brand as a place to work. While a customer brand focuses on specific products or services available externally, a employer brand may highlight distinct experiences or opportunities available internally. A employer brand, on the inside, frames the experience a business creates for employees, so they in turn deliver the brand promises to customers. In fact, the only way a employer brand can authentically reflect a business is if it articulates a identity, mission and values. That can happen only if an employer brand builds from the inside—to incorporate an essential identity, mission, and values. But it's not just about what happens inside a business. To fully picture the potential of a employer brand, we must focus on what happens outside—and what a employees must deliver.

7. A EMPLOYER BRAND MUST FOCUS ON EMPLOYEE CHOICE

Every day, employees make choices about where and how to work. They view each stage of their relationship with a business as a brand experience that a business delivers. Some may consider new opportunities they believe may better meet their personal expectations. Some may wonder "What's in it for me?" if they contribute to the demands of the job and a business. Some may decide to depart a business about which they hold memories of what they experience—and they likely will share those experiences with others still actively connected to or certainly considering a business as an employer. That's why a business needs to use its employer brand no matter what it is doing or what it needs to accomplish. Employees will influence how any stakeholder reacts to what a business is trying to do.

An employer brand can help we think through a business from the perspective of the choices a employees make. To view a business—what we promise, offer, expect—through their eyes. Brands are inherently simple. Leading brands understand that an internal culture supportive of the brand strategy has a far better chance of delivering a consistent yet differentiated experience. The internal values are aligned with brand values to shape the organization's culture and embed the core purpose.

8. AN EMPLOYER BRAND MUST DEFINE "WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME?" FOR EMPLOYEES TO WORK THERE

To connect with a business, a employer brand must ansour, for the employee, the fundamental question "What's in it for me?"

For Yahoo! the key to securing employee engagement in the customer brand is creating an employee experience that mirrors the customer brand. As we look to the outside, and how Yahoo! is the life engine for customers, we look to the inside at how to make sure employees (simply called Yahoos) realize they are the engine behind what the company delivers to customers. Yahoos have an emotional and a functional connection with the company. As employees focus on the emotions of life they can easily see the ways Yahoo! embraces who people are and supports what they can be, personally and professionally. And, as employees focus on the practicality of our product for customers they can easily see how Yahoo! helps them get things done—professionally at work with the very best tools and resources as well as personally on their own time. At the end of the day, Yahoos live on the inside what the company delivers on the outside. And that's the essence of an employer brand.

The value of an employer brand is only as strong as its support for what a business needs to achieve. An employer brand must support the customer strategy. An employer brand must support a business. And the brand must support the talent strategy—that's at the heart of getting the right people, doing the right jobs, to deliver the brand. And an employer brand must support the people themselves by giving them purpose and meaning, helping them understand what is expected, and making them feel valued and appreciated.

9. AN EMPLOYER BRAND MUST DEFINE A BUSINESS AS A PLACE TO WORK.

An employer brand articulates the experience a business promises to create for employees so they in turn deliver what customers expect. This touches every dimension of the employee's relationship with the organization. What the employee must touch and feel to be willing to deliver to the customer at each touch point. What opportunities must be accessible? What rewards must be offered. What expectations must be met?

An employer brand frames the systems a business must put in place to support employees. This includes such things such as training, performance management, and compensation— everything in the hands of Human Resources to frame the employee experience. It also includes the system a business follows to keep employees informed, as well as to explain a business to employees, which is usually coordinated by Corporate Communications. And how these efforts align with how a business promotes itself through advertisements and promotions, which is usually the job of the Marketing side of the house.

Many of the most poourful brands are also known as great places to work. Think Southwest, Starbucks, Yahoo!, Hallmark, FedEx, UPS, P&G, Whole Foods. Each of these businesses, in addition to success with customers, has developed an employer brand as a place to work. Each has learned that, if customer brand loyalty is key to the relationship with customers, employer brand is central to the relationship with employees. And the only way to develop an employer brand that sticks is to begin on the inside. Each of these companies has learned that, to deliver what external customers expect, a business must develop what internal customers need.

This employer brand, as a place to work, must touch every dimension of the employee's experience, from before the first day to after the last. It must engage the heart and mind of the employee in every dimension of the employee's relationship with a business. And it must reflect the collective experience a business creates for employees—so that they in turn deliver the brand to customers. External promotional efforts will fail or, at best, achieve minimal success unless a business invests in nurturing its employer brand—unless it focuses as much effort to bring out the best of its internal talent to deliver the best to its external customers.

10. AN EMPLOYER BRAND MUST ARTICULATE A DESIRED REPUTATION AS A PLACE TO WORK.

Each year businesses work hard to establish a reputation as a best employer brand. Through recruitment advertising, community events and sponsorships, presentations at conferences and seminars, or public relations outreach they try to raise awareness and build a reputation.

The Yahoo! Hot Jobs poll results reinforce the importance. More than 82 percent of people on line looking for jobs consider it very important or important how others perceive a company they might work for according to the 2005 results.

And each year, to be named a best place to work, companies spend many hours putting together many required exhibits just so they can beat many others to be included on one of the many lists of best places to work. Because they want others to hear about what the work experience at their company can be. And because they want the world to know theirs is a great place to work. After all, people making choices about where to work can be influenced by a business's reputation as a place to work.

An employer brand is a key to develop this reputation. This reputation as a place to work is the result of many things just like the reputation of a brand with customers and investors. And this reputation means something different to each business. What gives one business its reputation as a great place to work has absolutely nothing to do with a list or what can work at any other business? It has everything to do with who a business is and what a business is trying to be and how this authentically extends to the experience a business creates.

11. AN EMPLOYER BRAND MUST DEFINE WHAT A BUSINESS BELIEVES IN.

An employer brand is an organic way to articulate what a business offers, believes in, and stands for. Why a business must exist. What difference a business can make. And how its systems, programs, and infrastructure align with its values. An employer brand marries what the organization values, offers, and rewards. Joining what the brand promises outside with what the experience demands inside. Linking what the organization believes to how it fundamentally respects the people who deliver its brand. At the heart of a employer brand is trust.

An employer brand must be authentic. It must reflect the values of a business. It must accurately portray what people actually experience. It must reflect a business's personality. An employer brand must be more than a marketing effort. It must be, in fact, the collaboration of all internal forces, from marketing to HR to operations, to create the emotional and functional employer brand. It is the sum of value, experience, opportunity, rewards, and results. It must reach beyond the hype of Marketing, the spin of Corporate Communications, the programs of HR.

An employer brand must motivate employees to emotionally internalize what a business offers and demands and values. To satisfy this requirement, it must exceed the employee's expectations. It is a product of anticipation, expectation, and reputation.

12. An employer brand must define a desired emotional connection with employees.

An employer brand frees one to describe an emotional connection with employees. What it means to employees to be a part of what we are trying to accomplish. How it feels to tell others where they work. Why they will want to choose to work and commit. How it can feel at the end of the day to go home and say, "I did my job."

For an employer brand to successfully create this emotional connection, a business must achieve certain standards in every dimension of the employee experience. Otherwise it risks offering a less than satisfying experience that in turn can undermine other aspects of the connection. Before an employee is willing to feel intimacy with a brand the employee must first feel comfortable.

An employer brand must be easy for an employee to emotionally recognize. The employee must feel it is within reach, as if "this is something I can experience, I can permit myself to connect with." Otherwise the relationship with a business can feel merely transactional. And that is not a step to engagement.

13. AN EMPLOYER BRAND CAN HELP TO RECRUIT EMPLOYEES.

An employer brand can create demand among prospective employees. It can help a business compete for talent. It can create die positive buzz. It can be a framework for how a business communicates its value proposition. And it can articulate what a business believes in and stands for.

14. AN EMPLOYER BRAND CAN HELP WE RETAIN EMPLOYEES.

When an employee joins a business, a employer brand becomes a guideline for what we can expect. Just as with the customer brand, a employer brand promise frames what the experience should mean.

Employees ask themselves if what they experience as employees lives up to the promise. And they ask themselves what they will tell others. Will they recommend the business as a place to work, or will they suggest the friend keep looking? Just as with customers, employer brands guide people through the user experience and give them something to hold on to—while reminding them of why they made the choice in the first place. Consider how Gap Inc. claims "our brands have a simple, common purpose: to make it easy for people to express their personal style"21—and how so many leading companies describe their commitments to social responsibility on their web sites, such as Coca-Cola's statement that it is "committed to becoming the world's most inclusive business." Just as with customers, a business can use its employer brand to create evangelists for the brand—to reinforce word-of-mouth recommendations that effectively attract new employees, retain current employees, and continue to engage former employees. In fact, former employees can have a big influence on the market perception of the brand—specifically, an employer brand as a place to work—and they can reinforce the appeal of the brand to employees.

15. AN EMPLOYER BRAND IS NOT HYPE.

How employees treat customers makes a difference to what customer's experience. And how employees feel they are treated makes a difference to what they are willing to do. That's what employer

Over the years many theories have emerged about employer brands, along with a lack of consistency in what people think it is, what they think it can do, and how they think it needs to be managed. Some of the theories have become myths.

Certainly there is a marketing dimension to an employer brand. And an employer brand is an effective way to market a business to prospective and current employees. But like a certain superhero, people have x-ray vision when it comes to places they work. And they quickly see through an employer brand that promises one thing and delivers another.

Communication is important to an employer brand. How a business positions and messages, educates and persuades. But employer brand involves more than how a business communicates. It's all about what a business is and how a business applies this identity and purpose to the experience it creates for employees.

The culture of a business will certainly impact its employer brand. But employer brand is not limited to the culture. Neither is buzz. At the same time an employer brand looks inside at the employee experience, it must look outside to the customer experience that employees must deliver.

Employer Branding Process

Employer Branding Process precisely consists of Four Steps as follows:

STEP 0NE: CLARIFY OUR GROUND RULES.

It is necessary for the employees to know why we are building an employer brand and what it can contribute to the business and to the employees.

1. Share the need with our team.

Share the need with the team by addressing the following five basic questions as part of the initial discussion.

What's happening in our business that may make employer brand an issue to address?

Ø Are there issues with the customers?

Ø Are we concerned with their satisfaction?

Ø Are there issues with sales? With the operations?

Ø Is everything clicking along in a way that satisfies?

2. Record the ideas.

Use of flip charts or a whiteboard to transcribe what we hear in the meetings and recording the ansours will help to build an employer brand.

3. Clarify the objectives.

This is especially important with employer brand, simply because there are so many directions in which a team can go.

Have we gone through a merger or acquisition, business downturn or growth? What's happening to our talent? Are we having any challenges finding and keeping the talent we need? What's happening with our employee engagement? Are there issues with employees? What's happening with our customer brand? What's happening in our markets?

To resolve such issues, clarifying objectives is very important.

4. Specify goals.

Considering the specific things, a business needs its employer brand to accomplish. And what the priority must be. What an employer brand must accomplish to make a positive difference to the business and its employees must be specified.

STEP TWO: DO SOME HOMEWORK

Before the next step, the team should do some homework—before a business starts building that employer brand, one need to collect a lot of input from a lot of sources. There are many places to look for clues to what the employer brand can and should be.

An excellent source for "clues" is the brand our business takes to customers. Our customer brand will offer many clues that can help we define our employer brand. To help we take our customer brand to the inside. Look at our customer brand for clues to use as we build our employer brand.

What "big idea" can connect a brand with customers? Beyond the specifics of one's products and services, what is the "big idea" the brand stands for? Today's employee wants to know, and feel comfortable with, the larger idea a business represents. The employer brand can crystallize this purpose in a few words and images. It can convey the essence of the business and make it relevant and appealing. Like a fine recipe, this identity must contain just the right ingredients that simmer at just the right temperature—with a pinch of values, mission, and purpose.

Amazon, for example, describes itself as "a place where people can find and discover anything they might want to buy online." Dell promises to "make computing accessible to customers around the globe". Motorola says it can help we find "the people, things and information we need in our home, auto, workplace and all spaces in between."

An employer brand must, at the same time, reach beyond a statement of identity to clarify the ambition of the business—a clear description of "This is what we can mean to our business, our customers, our people." So when an employee wonders, "Just how far can we take this business?" he or she can secure an ansour from the employer brand.

Take the ansours to such questions and select the five that are most important to our business and our employees. Record these as five key elements our employer brand needs to address as it captures the essence of our brand identity.

What is the ambition? And how does it compare to others? Are we similar to Pfizer, which states on its web site its ambition to "improve the quality of life of people around the world and help them enjoy longer, healthier and more productive lives"? The site goes on to state, "we dedicate ourselves to humanity's quest for longer, healthier, happier lives through innovation in pharmaceutical, consumer and animal health products. "This clarifies to employees the "bigger idea" the business stands for. Intel wants to "change the way people live and work". Coca-Cola wants to "benefit and refresh everyone," and Nokia wants to connect "people with each other." How would we, in one sentence, describe our business—its purpose, identity, and reason for operating? How do we want to be remembered? What about our business would be the most difficult to copy? What is the ultimate result we create, the difference we make, for customers? The community? Employees? What impressions do we want to create?

Now, with the ansours in mind, identification of each point that indicate the skills, behaviors, and attitudes our employees need to bring has to be done. This will guide to what needs to be included to develop an employer brand.

This assignment is to create an actual map of the experience our customers have with our business and our brand, to identify each opportunity for a connection with one or more of our employees.

STEP THREE: STATE THE ASPIRATIONS

Next, as we consider what the employer brand should include, taking a close look at what we want to say about the business as a place to work. Every business is a work in progress. And every business has places it hopes to travel to. An employer brand should specify what we aspire to for our business and, specifically, for the experience we create for employees. It should address "What's in it for me?" so the employee can ansour the question "Why would I want to work here?" In the end, few employees will support what a business needs to achieve without a satisfactory ansour to the question, "What's in it for me?" if they oure to make that contribution.

There's absolutely no more important question for the employer brand to ansour than the prospective employee's "What's in it for me?" if they work there. It's kind of the foundation for everything the employer brand can and should accomplish.

Unless employees believe in what a business offers, it will be challenging for them to see the benefit of a commitment. Does an employer brand clarify the role an employee can play, the contribution an employee can make? Ultimately, just as a brand articulates a value proposition to a customer, the employer brand must clearly express the potential of connection with the business and how the company values its employees.

On its internet site, Pizza Hut says "the only thing that tops our pizza is our people," eBay says "our people are the reason we've come this far," and Gillette says its commitment is to help "bring out the finest in every individual." American Apparel "sees all its employees as long-term investments" Heineken says "people are as essential to Heineken as hops and yeast." Tiffany says its people "are the talent behind our reputation." Johnson & Johnson claims "a company's character is not derived from its buildings, its products or its business strategy. It is a reflection of its people." To Williams-Sonoma, the potential "of our company has no limit and is driven by our associates and their imagination." Porsche candidly says "it is in manual work, which is still, as ever, greatly valued, that the true ability and the real emotions can be found."

Step Four: Defining an employer brand

Now it's time to take all die input and put together an employer brand. When we want to end up with one sentence that articulates what it means to work at a business—and how that supports the brand delivery to customers.

That sentence will frame what we offer and how we communicate to prospective, current, and former employees. To get to that one sentence, we need to go back and pick up the key words from all of the steps and exercises done in the previous steps.

Picking up the most important key words, key phrases and key commitments would help to define an Employer Brand for a business. Next, take this sentence and modify it into simple, clear employer brand. Before we finish, check the employer brand against our external brand—just to be sure it fits.

This is how an Employer Brand can be built up.

Benefits of Employer Branding

If we succeed in building an employer brand from the inside, what customer won't want to connect with our business, knowing every point of contact will be consistent with our highest standards for the brand? By just doing business with we, they will feel and sense our values, and they will know what we stand for.

How will it feel to work in an atmosphere without silos? With our partners in HR, Corporate Communications, Marketing, and every other function or business unit working in a holistic way to create a legendary brand? With a brand that starts inside the business and is based on values, vision, and mission; a brand that communicates what we stand for and creates a stellar corporate reputation; and a brand that acts as a magnet for consumers?

By looking at how we brand from the inside, we will absorb our overall vision, mission, and strategy, products and services, customers and marketplaces; people, communications, and culture; behavior, how we get stuff done, and we create design—all under one brand.

If we are in HR, we will be recognized for crafting an HR agenda that fosters a best employer brand. As a communicator, we'll find the media flocking to our door. The halo effect will create a rosy lens through which everything we do will be viewed. As a marketer, our brand valuation scores and brand equity will be climbing high. Our marketing budget will be plentiful, not only because the organization recognizes the ROI, but also because we won't need to spend as much to raise brand awareness—buzz will carry the brand.

No matter what role we play in making the brand as relevant to employees as it is to customers, if we succeed, everybody wins. Our shareholders will see a return on investment. Our customers will be loyal, as they develop a life-long relationship with our brand. Our management team will enjoy the pride, success, and rewards of being part of a winning, well-respected organization. Our employees will enjoy opportunities for learning and growth, intrinsic and extrinsic rewards, and a higher degree of engagement.

So few organizations have been able to achieve such a holistic approach to brand. So few organizations have been admired so much. So few have stood the test of time. But it can be done, through the poour of a brand that is owned by everyone associated with the business. Because an employer brand is a mission, not just a strategy; a cause, not just an approach; a purpose, not simply a task.

How does Employer Branding help in Product Branding?

Just like people, every organization has a unique constellation of attributes, talents, shortcomings, charming qualities, and quirks. Getting clear about the organization's personality is a prerequisite to communicating our uniqueness as an employer. Having a clear sense of our organization's personality also improves our hiring process.

Because Dell's management is clear about who they are - a company whose phenomenal success has been built upon operational excellence - they both attract and actively screen for individuals who share that passion for action. Contrast Dell's corporate personality with another famous technology company, Apple. Apple's iconoclastic, visionary corporate personality and its focus on leading edge product development offer a work experience different from Dell's. By knowing clearly who they are, both Dell and Apple can articulate their unique work experience offerings and more effectively attract and recruit people who can contribute to their success. When it comes to employer branding, it pays to "know thyself".

Dimensions of Employer Branding

The above figure reveals that there are around 15 dimensions to Employer Branding. It starts with Values. As values from the foundation of the Organization, they have a major impact on the Employer Brand. Values promote a workplace. Vision describes the purpose of the existence of the organization. It gives a long term direction. Mission reflects the strategies to be used in achieving the desired Vision. Goals are short term objectives for an organization. They have to be well aligned with Individual Goals in order to achieve the long term Vision, which is core objective of any organization to be after a span of time while every organization wants to be a leader in its own field. Leadership Practices followed in an Organization plays a vital role in forming the Culture of n organization. Policies and procedures have to be followed to be ethical towards environment and society. Recruitment and Selection procedures build up a frame for the development of the culture. These functions define the level of diversity in an organization which again has an impact on the culture. Corporate Personality is one that consists of two or more distinct personalities that work together in order to achieve a walking consensus. It is to be understood as a subjective self description, not as diagnosis, not as position statement. External Reputation refers to the image of the organization or the Brand in the market. Clear communication systems help in Recruitment & Retention of Employees and it also helps to attract external customers. Training and Development helps in Employee Development which in turn has an impact on Employee Commitment and Loyalty. Fair Reward systems & PMS are few other most important dimensions of Employer Branding as they help in building up Maintenance and Motivational factors within Employees. Finally, post employment benefits also communicate a lot about the organization.

All these dimensions directly or indirectly drive the Behavioral aspects of the Employees. It has an impact on Employee Motivation, Loyalty, Commitment, Engagement and Involvement. Hence, the productivity of the Employee is directly or indirectly related to these dimensions. Dimensions of Employer Branding do drive Performance of Employees in an organization.

Section 3

Introduction to Employee Performance

Defining Employee Performance

High level goals provide a reference point for managers and employees to articulate those actions that will or will not contribute to the company's aims. Nevertheless, that's not nearly enough. Managers need to translate high level goals into meaningful personal initiatives for their staff; only by doing this will real progress be made. That requires managers to think and act strategically in their allocation of resources and direction of effort.

Organizational effectiveness is improved by stating objectives clearly, communicating them down the line, translating these into meaningful actions for individuals, tracking people's progress and helping them when things get tough. It's not just that personal goals should be "SMART" (stretching, measurable, achievable, and relevant and time bound) they should be focused primarily on tasks that are over and above the normal requirements of the job. They should be strategic and meaningful steps towards the achievement of higher level KPIs.

The nature of personal performance goals should show the difference between business-as-usual job content - for which salary is paid - and additional initiatives the success of which will merit extraordinary reward through the company's bonus plan. The linkage of personal performance with reward also requires careful thought.

Drivers of Employee Performance

Drivers for Performance Excellence (DPE) is an employee performance diagnostic tool that provides companies with the necessary tools to measure critical employee performance success factors. DPE goes beyond analyzing skills and motivation and addresses the core conviction of employees with respect to the company and its products or services. Some examples include:

  • A lack of core conviction, Fear Leadership, results in hesitant employee performance and an inclination to minimize sales and maximize discounts to customers.
  • A strong core conviction, Freedom Leadership, results in excellent performance and greater revenues at higher margins.
  • Employees with a strong core conviction are more likely to deliver beyond expectation services and will delight customers.

Without knowing the doubts and worries of our employees regarding our company, products or price, we will never be able to address and resolve them. The DPE is geared to identify those core issues and provide resolution guidance which will help we build an enthusiastic workforce that is ready to deliver excellent performance.

Satisfaction, effectiveness, and engagement are all inter-related in an upward progression. Each item has different drivers, but they build on one another to increase performance in the workplace. Think about it, just because employees are satisfied with their job does not mean they are effective or engaged. It is possible for an employee to be completely satisfied with his or her job, and not be fully engaged. To further complicate matters, an employee can be both engaged and satisfied, yet not be effective. All three components work together to create an environment where employees are highly motivated and committed to giving their best performance.

Profile of a Fully Engaged Employee So what does a fully engaged employee look like? These items represent some of the most common characteristics of those who are engaged. They...

  • Do their very best
  • Constantly learn and take calculated risks
  • Feel stretched beyond their comfort zone
  • Take personal satisfaction in their quality of work
  • Find work can be stressful at times but also rewarding and fun
  • Love their job!

Decision Wise has done extensive research using employee surveys to determine which factors act as drivers for Dissatisfaction, Satisfaction, Effectiveness, and Engagement.

1. Drivers of Dissatisfaction These are the basics. If these areas are not sufficiently met, employees will most likely be looking for another job.

  • Compensation
  • Job Security
  • Safety
  • Fair Policies

2. Drivers of Satisfaction

These factors will satisfy employees but don't necessarily make them effective. Employees who are only satisfied "do what it takes to get by."

  • Relationships (manager, co-workers)
  • Interesting Work
  • Recognition
  • Opportunities to Grow

2. Drivers of Effectiveness

These items are critical if an employee is going to be able to provide a high level of contribution. These factors remove the limits that may hold employees back from giving their all.

  • Clearly Communicated Direction
  • Pride in the Work
  • Access to Information and Resources
  • Authority to Make Decisions
  • Personal and Professional Renewal

3. Drivers of Engagement

These drivers influence the discretionary effort given by employees. When these factors are met, employees choose to give their all in their work responsibilities.

  • Fit with strengths
  • Accountability
  • Values Alignment
  • Great Leadership
  • Stimulating Work Environment/Team

4. Boosting Employee Engagement

Here are a few recommendations on how to increase employee engagement.

  • Make sure employees are in the right job where their strengths can be maximized.
  • Focus on management behavior. Many employees quit their manager, not their job.
  • Provide opportunities for advancement and communicate them regularly.
  • Measure it, communicate the results, and create action plans to improve it.

As a final thought, be aware that not every employee will "transform" into a fully engaged employee. With this in mind, focus on employees in positions that are most critical for success for our organization.

Overview of Performance Management Systems

Setting up a good performance management system doesn't happen overnight or by accident. We need to consider its design and carefully plan how it will work before managers begin using it to evaluate employees. A performance management system should provide employees with these four basic benefits:

  1. A clear understanding of job expectations
  2. Regular feedback about performance
  3. Advice and steps for improving performance
  4. Rewards for good performance

The goal of a performance management system is to help boost employee performance and, ultimately, the productivity of the business. For it to be effective, a performance management system should incorporate the following critical elements:

Once we have job descriptions in place, we need to establish performance standards that describe what constitutes below-average, average, and above-average performance. Start by thinking about the best- and worst-case scenarios until we reach realistic standards for measuring performance. Next, determine how we're going to measure the expectations outlined in the job description. This requires both objective and subjective methods of assessment. In some situations it's easy to gauge performance by looking at the numbers: for example, how many new accounts an employee brought in or how many products an employee assembled.

Quantifying an employee's coping skills, customer service skills or attitude is much more difficult. Some managers also have biases or poor evaluation skills. Establish clear guidelines and measures that eliminate potential bias and prevent evaluators from subjectively determining what constitutes excellent and unacceptable behavior.

Evaluator Training

Research shows that managers with poor communication or interpersonal skills are often the downfall of a company's otherwise sound performance management program. All managers need training on how to communicate and how to conduct fair, nonjudgmental and consistent appraisals. An effective performance management system will administer training to managers before they conduct their first reviews.

Guidelines for Improvement

Institute basic policies to cope with employee weaknesses and poor performance. Decide if we'll provide training or mentoring for employees exhibiting subpar performance. Set guidelines that outline how long it should it take an employee to improve and what steps will be taken if the employee fails to show improvement.

Employee Input

Solicit and evaluate staff suggestions for our performance management program. Incorporate employee input into our program or system as needed.

Compensation and Rewards

When our employees perform well they should be compensated. Rewards keep morale high, generate loyalty and foster additional improvement. But closely linking pay hikes and promotions to performance appraisals is a contested issue. Critics say that too close a tie between performance evaluation and compensation may be punishing or unfair to employees who don't overachieve. Regardless of how and when we choose to compensate our employees, an above-average appraisal deserves acknowledgment. Make sure we consistently reward employees for their hard work.

Measuring Employee Performance

The most difficult part of the performance appraisal process is to accurately and objectively measure the employee performance. Measuring the performance covers the evaluation of the main tasks completed and the accomplishments of the employee in a given time period in comparison with the goals set at the beginning of the period. Measuring also encompasses the quality of the accomplishments, the compliance with the desired standards, the costs involved and the time taken in achieving the results.

Measuring employee performance is the basis of the Performance appraisal processes and performance management. Accurate and efficient performance measurement not only forms the basis of an accurate performance review but also gives way to judging and measuring employee potential. For the purpose of measuring employee performance, different input forms can be used for taking the feedback from the various sources like the superior, peers, customers, vendors and the employee himself. All the perspectives thus received should be combined in the appropriate manner and to get an overall, complete view of the employees' performance. Observation can also be exercised by the superior to obtain information. Some suggestions and tips for measuring employee performance are:

  • Clearly define and develop the employee plans of action (performance) with their role, duties and responsibilities.
  • Organizational outcomes or the achievement of organizational goals should also be kept in mind.
  • Focus on accomplishments and results rather than on activities.
  • Also take note of the skills, knowledge and competencies and behaviors of the employees that help the organisation to achieve its goals.
  • If possible, collect the feedback about the performance of the employees through multi-point feedback and self-assessments.
  • Financial measures like the return on investment, the market share, the profit generated by the performance of the team should also be considered.

For an organisation to be an effective organisation and to achieve its goals, it is very important to monitor or measure its' and its employee performance on a regular basis. Effective monitoring and measuring also includes providing timely feedback and reviews to employees for their work and performance according to the pre-determined goals and standards and solving the problems faced. Timely recognition of the accomplishments also motivates the employees and help to improve the performance. Measuring the performance of the employees based only on one or some factors can provide with inaccurate results and leave a bad impression on the employees as well as the organisation. For example: By measuring only the activities in employee's performance, an organization might rate most of its employees as outstanding, even when the organisation as a whole might have failed to meet its goals and objectives. Therefore, a balanced set of measures (commonly known as balanced scorecard) should be used for measuring the performance of the employee.

Impact of Organizational environment on Employee Performance

Many managers and supervisors labor under the mistaken impression that the level of employee performance on the job is proportional to the size of the employee's pay packet. Although this may be true in a minority of cases, numerous employee surveys have shown by and large this to be untrue. In fact, salary increases and bonuses for performance, in many instances, have a very limited short-term effect. The extra money soon comes to be regarded not as an incentive but as an "entitlement".

There are other factors that when combined provide a more poourful determinant of employee performance. When these other factors are missing or diluted, the employee does come to work only for a paycheck. In this case, the employee is present at work in body only, leaving their mind outside the gate.

It is the quality of the employee's workplace environment that most impacts on their level of motivation and subsequent performance. How well they engage with the organization, especially with their immediate environment, influences to a great extent their error rate, level of innovation and collaboration with other employees, absenteeism and, ultimately, how long they stay in the job. Many studies have revealed that most employees leave their organization because of the relationship with their immediate supervisor or manager.

Goal-setting

Involve employees in setting meaningful goals and performance measures for their work. This can be done informally between the employee and their immediate supervisor or as part of an organization's formal performance management process. The key here is that each employee is actively engaged in the goal-setting process and takes ownership of the final agreed goals and measures.

Performance feedback

Regularly feed back to employees information on how they are performing. This should consist of both positive feedback on what the employee is doing right as well as feedback on what requires improvement. The feedback needs to be as objective as possible and delivered with the appropriate interpersonal and conflict resolution skills. It can be a mix of both informal feedback and feedback delivered as part of a formal performance management cycle.

Role congruity

Work to ensure that the role that the employee is required to perform is consistent with their expectations on joining the organization and any subsequent training. The organization's role expectations are typically reflected in formal documents, such as Job Descriptions and Role Specifications. These expectations should be consistent with tasks allocated by the employee's immediate supervisor.

Defined processes

Many errors, defects and customer complaints are the result of poor process management. Constrain the variability of how work is actually performed through documenting processes and communicating such expectations to employees. Verify on a regular or random basis that the work is actually performed in the way required. Along with goal setting, getting employees to help define and improve processes is a poourful opportunity for engagement.

Workplace incentives

Determine what motivates our employees in particular and set up formal and informal structures for rewarding employees that behave in the way required. Rewards may consist of a mix of internal rewards, such as challenging assignments, and external rewards, such as higher compensation and peer recognition.

Supervisor support

Act as advocates for employees, gathering and distributing the resources needed by them in order for them to be able to do a good job. Immediate supervisors and managers need to display the interpersonal skills required to engage employees and enhance their self-confidence. This includes providing positive encouragement for a job well done.

Mentoring/coaching

Make available to employees skilled and respected people to help them perform better in their current role and to assist them develop further into a future role. Mentors and coaches may be internal to an organization or external. Either way, they will need to possess the necessary facilitation skills to assist employees apply existing sills and develop new skills.

Resource availability

The vast majorities of employees takes pride in their work and try hard to do a good job. Make sure that individual workloads and organizational systems and processes do not hinder employees from applying established skills or from practicing newly learned skills. Adequate time and material resources need to be available to enable them to perform to the best of their ability. Make their work easier and help minimize error rates and customer dissatisfaction by supplying job aids. These can include templates, guides, models and checklists.

Money is not a sufficient motivator in encouraging the superior workplace performance required in today's competitive business environment. Managers and supervisors will need to be comfortable with working with the whole gamut of workplace factors that influence employee motivation. Skills required include the ability to engage employees in mutual goal setting, clarify role expectations and provide regular performance back. Time and energy will also need to be given to providing relevant performance incentives, managing processes, providing adequate resources and workplace coaching. Last but not least, to drive their organizations to peak performance managers and supervisors must put out front the human face of their organization. Paramount here is the human-to-human interaction through providing individualized support and encouragement to each and every employee.

Section 4

Linking Employer Branding to Employee Performance

A firm's first customers are its own employees. If the staff understand and wholeheartedly endorse the firm's marketing goals, they will take care of the external customers and ultimately the end users. Research suggests a close link between the happiness of customers and that of employees. For this reason companies have become increasingly interested in creating success in the external marketplace by first doing so internally. And success is made more probable by finding and then tracking at Exec level, the key metrics.

To some extent, the concepts of employee and customer are interchangeable. A well-ordered firm wants its external customers to consider themselves part of the family and its staff to feel that they are respected and their needs are met. Brand equity is the same but carried around in different heads. Internal marketing is not more important that external but the differences arise more from the separation of the human resources (HR) and marketing silos than from what needs to be measured. The similarities and market driving potential of employee-based brand equity should encourage HR and marketing to swap notes, but such synergy is rare.

First we need to note an important difference: for the external market, the unit of analysis is the brand market segment, but for the employer brand, the business unit applies. In a complex organization with a portfolio of brands and a variety of trading names, the 'brand' so far as individual employees are concerned, may vary across the organization. Simplicity requires a single employing entity, even where there are multiple consumer brands, e.g. as for Unilever.

The process of employer branding is by nature holistic. It is not about tinkering with terms and conditions or corporate colors in the workplace, but about the total employment experience. Brand equity is synergistic, greater than the sum of its parts, and based on core values. If an organization increases its employer brand equity it increases its high performing employees' barriers to exit. Employer brand commitment can be seen as a ladder:

  1. Employees will change brands, especially for reward reasons. No brand loyalty.
  2. Employees are satisfied. No reason to change the brand but no reason to excel.
  3. Employees are satisfied and would incur costs by changing the brand. Co-dependent on the brand.
  4. Employees value the brand and see it as a partner to achieving their goals.
  5. Employees are devoted to the brand. Need to manage brand erosion and keep performance standards (brand equity is highly related to the number of employees who are in the 4 or 5 areas).

Watson Wyatt believes that a strong employer brand can also create competitive advantage:

  1. Reducing recruitment costs because of higher levels of awareness, loyalty, and commitment.
  2. Increasing bargaining leverage with unions and individuals since employees expect them to deliver on the brand.
  3. Demanding a higher level of performance than competitors because the brand promise has higher perceived quality.

Providing excellent and consistent performance from leaders and custodians of the brand may be the single most important characteristic in building a strong employer brand. And within brand management the most critical measure may be loyalty and commitment that comes from meeting and shaping expectations through the employee experience.

METHODOLOGY

Data Analysis and Interpretations/ Findings

How to measure the impact of Employer Brand?

Most critical step in the process of Employer Branding is to diagnose the health of an employer brand of our business.

Why is this important?

An employer brand may have evolved on its own, naturally, without any direct effort of anyone in our business. We need to know whether this unintentional employer brand is working for or we may have what we call an intentional employer brand—one we have put a great deal of effort into developing. If so, we need to know the direct result of our work. Regardless of its origin, we need to know its health. Otherwise we won't know what to do next.

We can find out the health of our employer brand by completing a quick diagnostic check. Over the years, we have looked at many ways to assess the health of an employer brand. Some approaches address the clarity of the message. The fact is, to realistically assess the health of our employer brand, we need to measure from the inside—-just as we will work to ultimately build (or rebuild) our employer brand. Ultimately, the success of our employer brand will rest on how our employees understand, believe in, and do what it takes to deliver.

The Ten-Question Employer Brand Health Check

1. HAS our business done some work to build an EMPLOYER BRAND?

We may have developed an employer brand for our business. Or we may have done a lot of work that, when added up, creates the essence of an employer brand. And our employer brand actually evolves as our business goes through the paces of hiring, engaging, and terminating employees. With each program and process a business chooses, it introduces expectations of what employees may understand and believe, how they may act, and how the business commits to value its employees. A business plants seeds for the employer brand with every program, message, and dimension of the employee experience, as well die employee input to each customer touch point. As well as any way in which the business connects with prospective, current, and former employees.

Have we embarked on efforts to define and implement our employer brand? If so, how recently? What impact did it have on the business and employees? And what change did it create? If not, how would we initially describe the employer brand that has evolved on its own?

Regardless of its origins, how would we describe the employer brand our business currently has? And how would our employees describe it?

  • How would we describe our work to intentionally develop an employer brand?
  • What resulted from that work?
  • How does this employer brand help or hurt us in attracting, retaining, and engaging employees?
  • How would our employees describe our business as a place to work?
  • How does this compare with an unintentional employer brand that may have developed on its own?

Our answers to these initial questions will help we get started with a close look at our employer brand—to see what we can do intentionally to develop and nurture our brand as well as what may occur unintentionally to influence our reputation.

2. Are we satisfied with how our employees understand what the customer brand of our business promises?

Our employees must understand the basics of our customer brand to bring that brand inside. That means we need to find out if they "get" what our customer brand is all about. If we can, simply ask our employees if they can repeat our brand promise. Or if they can describe, in as few words as possible, what our brand is all about. Or if they can imagine words a customer might use to recall our brand and what that can mean to a customer. Our assessment of our employee understanding of our brand will help us determine whether the employer brand that exists for our business naturally supports what the business promises to customers. Ask ourselves these questions:

  • What does our business promise to our customers?
  • How does this promise differ from what our competitors promise?
  • Why should our customers choose our brand over our competitors'?
  • How well do our employees understand and believe in and con tribute to this differentiation?
  • How committed are they to deliver on the promise?

If our employees "get" our brand, then this will give we a good place to begin to build our employer brand. If they don't understand our customer brand, repairing this will be the first thing on our brand to-do list.

3. ARE we satisfied with the degree to which our employees believe in what our customer brandpromises to customers?

It's one thing for employees to understand, but connection with our customer brand will happen only if our employees believe in its promise. It is about how we differentiate from our competition, in the roles they must play to successfully deliver our brand to customers. Ask ourselves these questions:

  • How effectively do our employees believe in their roles to deliver our brand promise to customers?
  • How consistently do they see the opportunities to deliver this brand promise at each touch point?
  • How thoroughly do they believe they make a difference—even those without customer contact?
  • How accountable do they believe they are to make the connection between the brand and their work?
  • How invested are they in the success of our brand in the marketplace?

Our assessment of what employees believe about our brand will help we determine whether our employer brand is "sticking" with employees. Because if they don't believe, they will not act. This assessment will help we determine whether our current employer brand is helping employees "connect the dots" between what they do every day and what customers expect and experience every day. And if it's not, what may be standing in the way.

4. ARE we satisfied with the steps employees take to do what it takes to deliver the brand to our customers?

In the end, all the understanding and belief won't make a difference if employees do not take the action to deliver the brand if employees do not commit to the difference between doing the job and delivering the brand. A passive understanding without active commitment will make it challenging to actually deliver—the same is true if the business does not support the development of needed.

Ask ourselves these questions:

  • How consistently do our employees have the skills the business needs to deliver our brand?
  • How easily can employees access tools and resources to strengthen those skills?
  • How effective is the fundamental infrastructure to support skill development?
  • How aware and committed are our employees to the behaviors needed to deliver our brand?
  • How easily can they observe and experience role models of these behaviors, including leadership?

Our assessment of on-brand behavior will help we determine whether the employer brand we now have is in fact creating real results we can substantiate—in the actions and behavior of employees. Or whether the commitment of our employees to on-brand behavior, as well as the availability of role models, is falling short.

5. Are we satisfied with how our employees understand and believe in our employer brand?

After assessing what is happening on the outside, when we look inside the business, what do we see? Do our employee "customers" have a consistent experience that in turn motivates them to deliver to our customers in the marketplace? How comfortable are we with our reputation as a place to work?

Do we make an effort to train our people to deliver our brand equal to the effort we make to develop our brand? The first step to help our employees understand the brand promise is to explain the brand.

Do we take the time to interview our customers on the precise experience they expect to feel when the brand is delivered'? And do we share these reports with employees? The first step to help our employees believe in what they can do to deliver the brand is to hear die firsthand experiences from customers. It will make it real.

Do we identify the touch points between our employees, the brand, and the customer? Carefully consider how employees can positively impact each touch point. The first step to help our employees do what it takes to deliver die brand is to help them see all opportunities they have to exceed customer expectations. Even if they are not customer-facing employees, ask ourselves these questions:

  • If we asked the question "What's in it for me to work here?" what would most of our employees say?
  • If asked by friends, "What's it like to work there?" what would most of our employees say?
  • If asked to recommend our business as a place to work, what would most of our employees say?
  • If asked what the business promises to employees, what would most of our employees say?
  • If asked whether they have the tools, resources, and skills to "get things done" at work to deliver what customers expect, what would most say?
  • If asked, at the same time, if they have what they need to get things done for their own lives, what would most say?
  • If asked what our business stands for, believes in, and values, what would most of our employees say?
  • If asked to compare what the business believes in and their personal beliefs, what would most of our employees say?
  • If asked to assess whether they "live the brand," what would most of our employees say?

Our assessment of the emotional commitment to the business will help we determine if the employer brand offers enough emotional content about the business for employees to make the connection or if something is missing. All together, our level of satisfaction with how employees understand our employer brand can help we determine what work we need to do. But don't stop here. In our next step, we need to take a close look at how our employer brand supports our talent strategy.

6. Does our employer brand support our talent strategy?

We can't look at our employer brand without looking at what our business needs to do with the talent. In a nutshell, our employer brand should be die framework for how we address our talent blueprint.

Every business has challenges finding the right talent. Every business has challenges keeping the right talent. Every business has challenges securing the trust of people. Every business has challenges engaging its people in its business and its brand. What's different today, as employees tell us, is that a business must do more to prove it will deliver what it promises. Business must pass a test before employees are willing to engage.

Do we have a hard time finding people with experience and skills in their industries or in specialties? Even if the overall numbers make it look as though we have surplus applicants, is the fight to get the best talent at its most intense? No business is immune. Some types of jobs, such as those in information technology, simply do not yield enough candidates for all the positions that need to be filled. This places extra pressure on our business and we do everything what it takes to secure the right people.

Do we have enough people for the future? Have we anticipated the impact, as baby boomers get ready to retire? Do we know where the next generation will come from to help the business do what we need the business to do? What skills and experience will be required? How many people will we need in key jobs? How many leaders will we need to develop from within? Where will we find them? What training will they need, to do the job and deliver the brand? How well does our talent strategy address our workforce needs—and how well does our employer brand support our talent strategy?

Do we know what our competitors are doing to land the same talent? Competitive intelligence has always been important in running a business. Now it is equally important for recruiting. How well do we know what our competition is doing in the hiring arena? Investment analysts have discovered that cataloging job postings can indicate where a business is planning to go. Do we know what our competition is looking to hire? Do we know the packages they are offering? Have we asked declining candidates why they accepted an offer from a competitor over ours? Or asked accepting candidates why they chose we over a competitor? Over time, the rules of engagement between competitors have become less friendly. Once upon a time businesses in the same space might honor handshake agreements to refrain from actively recruiting each other's employees. Today telephones are ringing like mad and email inboxes are filling with invites for career open houses. Lawsuits are filed to stop "poaching" of employees. That puts more pressure on the business currently employing the person in demand—pressures to make sure the employee commitment is as strong as possible. The best defense is always a strong offense.

Does our strategy vary by workforce segment? Any business has difficulty successfully implementing a single talent strategy across divisions, locations, and specialties. There is not, in fact, one talent challenge for the entire business. Our talent challenge will be distinct in distinct parts of the business, based on what each part of the business is looking for.

Do we segment by level of employee? Smart companies' segment talent First, they recognize that the highest level of talent, such as executives and "super-creatives," produce high-impact results. The very presence of thought leaders in their fields can change the game for the business in a big way. Second, they recognize that some employees are core to the business, with core competencies that produce results. Third, they manage the variations of peripheral talent. Some may be employees, some may be outsourced. Work may be done offshore or by vendors. Branding the experience for each talent pool can support attracting and retaining the talent needed in each segment.

Do we target markets for employees in different ways—with a separate (but related) employer brand for each? Each segment may need its own strategy. The top tier may sourced and recruited directly by the company or through third-party recruiting agencies. They will be most influenced by what they have heard from their peers about the business or what they read in business and professional journals. They react to a solid corporate reputation. They follow well-known talent that act as magnets for their peers. The core group of employees, on the other hand, can be targeted through recruitment branding, advertising, and sourcing. Although reaching this peripheral group is closer to product marketing, others may be acquired through third party agencies or business partnerships.

Do we find the search for diverse candidates even more challenging? The same concerns apply. These candidates, although certainly looking for what a business stands for, also specifically look for the organizational commitment to diversity.

Do we recognize that not only are employers becoming branded as places to work, but new workers are becoming their axon brand? Fact is, top talent no longer actively seeks out new opportunities; businesses find them because they are known in their field. The best companies have strategic talent-sourcing functions that search for the talent they want. They spend months, even years, cultivating relationships with prospects, eventually creating a compelling opportunity for the candidate. These sourcing functions use business competitive intelligence to know who to cultivate and who may be available, open, or interested. "Branded" talent can be sourced through employee referrals, speakers at professional conferences, expert bloggers, authors of articles and white papers, academic faculty, and so on. To attract these candidates, companies often have to think outside of the box. Creative ways to acquire this talent include creating start-up type ventures within the organization for those with entrepreneurial interests; acquiring small start-ups for the talent; creating joint ventures with university researchers, etc.

Do we recognize that people look for more than money? Without question, money speaks. And it will always speak. But as we talk with employees we learn, over and over, that people are sincere when they say they want a job to be more than a paycheck. Certainly they aspire to a job that offers more than a paycheck. And they want the business to stand for something beyond the financial rewards. Ask ourselves these questions:

  • How would we summarize our business's current talent needs?
  • How would we assess the workforce plan we have in place?
  • How would we evaluate our analysis of our workforce needs—what people, what skills, what places, what timing?
  • What are our competitors doing to secure the same talent?
  • How does our employer brand contribute to addressing our talent needs?

Our employer brand will be only as strong as its ability to support our talent strategy. Only as strong talent strategy supports our business. That's why it's so important for us to consider our talent strategy as we look at our employer brand.

7. Does our employer brand support our recruitment targets?

In the end, we can judge our employer brand's effectiveness by how successfully it helps we land the people we need in our business. Otherwise it's an exercise. Not a productive strategy.

Do we get the resumes we need from potential employees? Are we having trouble with the pipeline? Perhaps we need to attract more qualified candidates for the jobs we need to fill. Is our candidate flow what it needs to be? Can we keep filling the jobs we need with the right people? Or is our talent pool starting to become a dried-up creek bed? Especially for those jobs the business considers absolutely essential? If so, our employer brand may not be doing its job.

What are our hiring rates? How long is it taking to fill open positions? Are slots open for weeks and months? Is our metric dashboard gauge going the wrong way?

Do we have trouble "closing the deal" with the prospects we want? Do we need to convert more qualified applicants into new employees? Does our business get the applicants but, for whatever reason, have trouble closing the deal? Do the ones we want simply go elsewhere? Take a look at what we are saying to prospects throughout the process. Do the messages we send to attract employees parallel our identity and values as a business—and our brand promise to external customers? How do prospects react to who the business is? What the business is? Why the business exists? What's unique about the business? And, most important, about what the business needs and expects from employees to deliver the brand promise and what the business offers employees in return?

What are our recruits saying about we? Are we asking them why they accept competitors' offers? Are we hearing anything to indicate they believe the recruitment experience is not what they expected? Does it provide a prospect enough opportunity to distinguish this business from the others? Do the recruiting materials make working at the business sound too good to be true?

Are we losing employees we want to keep? If our turnover is high, especially in key talent areas, there may be some issues with our employer experience and brand.

Does our business approach retention as a process of constant recruiting and re-recruiting of key talent? Or is there a pattern of letting these efforts lapse, then struggling to regain lost ground? Does the business build the brand into the fundamental messages all employees receive, to reinforce the value of working at the business? Ask ourselves these questions:

  • How would we assess our success in recruitment?
  • How effective is our employer brand in our recruitment efforts?
  • What is the impact of our reputation as a place to work on our recruitment efforts?
  • What aspects of this reputation need to change?
  • How effective are our efforts to re-recruit key employees?
  • How do our employer brand, and reputation as a place to work, help or hurt?

This close look at the practical effectiveness of our employer brand will help we consider its impact on our recruitment and re-recruitment efforts.

8. Are we satisfied with how engaged our employees are in the business?

Just as we listen to customers and recruits, we need to carefully listen to our current employees. They are, after all, the ones the business needs to deliver the brand. And they also participate in, as well as nurture, the internal environment in which their colleagues want to contribute and thrive.

Does our business portray itself as one type of place to work, whereas employees actually experience something different? Do the rewards live up to what employees thought they would receive? Is the actual work the same as or different than what they expected—or, worse, do they believe that employer brand promises one type of job but they find themselves doing another? Or doing what they think is something different? How do actual touch points between the business and employees compare to what they may expect?

Does the business actively use the employer brand to create advocates for the brand and the business, to reinforce word-of mouth recommendations that can effectively attract and retain employees? Does the employer brand articulate our values, mission, and purpose? Does the employer brand parallel the promises to customers? Does the employer brand frame all die messages our employees receive?

Has teamwork deteriorated? Do we know that our people are not working together to deliver results to customers? Regardless of what customers experience and observe, what do we see as we evaluate results from the inside? When our brand is delivered, is it consistent with what we say the brand promises to customers? Or can we see gaps in what may be delivered —perhaps before it becomes evident to customers? Ask ourselves these questions:

  • How would we summarize our current level of employee engagement?
  • What signs are we seeing that employees are as engaged (or not as engaged) as we need?
  • How would we summarize our customers' view of how engaged our employees are?
  • How would we summarize our leadership satisfaction or frustration with our employee engagement?
  • How does our employer brand contribute to or undermine our efforts to engage employees?

Employee engagement is at the heart of our employer brand. And even though the two experiences are not precisely the same, the effort to engage certainly is critical to the experience of employer brand alignment.

9. HOW SATISFIED ARE WE WITH HOW WE TELL THE STORY ABOUT OUR BUSINESS AND OUR EMPLOYER BRAND?

Our sense of how we are telling our story {and how others tell die story, too) can help we determine the communication health of our employer brand. Communications that follow the employer brand are crisp, to the point, ultimately simple, and a clear call to action—-just like communications that follow a consumer brand. So how do our communications stack up?

Is our web site clear, to the point, and meaningful—or is it a collection of favorite expressions of corporate? Do our communications with employees speak in simple, human words or do they impersonally summarize rules and steps? Do our descriptions of business strategy bring the business closer to employees or simply sound like watered-down presentations to the financial community?

Do our advertisements support the employer brand? Many advertisements of many businesses portray employees serving customers. If that portrayal does not parallel what actually happens—if it is, in fact, less than authentic—efforts to promote the customer brand may actually undermine the efforts to support the employer brand.

Do we advertise for potential employees? Do we advertise for job openings? What do our current ads say about our business as a place to work? Do we list jobs on our web site? Does what we advertise accurately reflect the experience of people who work there?What is the media saying about we ? Are media reports about our business consistent with the employer brand the business projects?

What news reports, editorials, and speeches provide key insight into what is important to the business? What indications do the messages provide of what the business stands for? And believes in? Ask ourselves these questions

  • How would we summarize the effectiveness of our marketing materials to prospective employees?
  • How would we assess the impact of our web sites?
  • How would we evaluate the impact of our customer advertising?
  • How would we consider the view of the news media coverage of our business as a place to work?
  • How does our reputation as a place to work influence what others say about us?

Business or news reports can paint a picture of the business as a place to work that is inconsistent with what the business says it is—or actually is. If the business says it offers one employee experience and the news media reports another, the credibility of the employer brand can suffer. A portrayal of business activity that is contrary to the values of employees will quickly undermine the employer brand—if employees see, through these reports, a business at odds with the value system they hold.

10. DO WE HAVE AN EMPLOYER BRAND CRISIS?

Now look back at everything we have considered in this health check, to determine whether we have a healthy brand on our hands, or a bit of a nuisance, or a significant employer brand crisis. Depending on what we found as we collected data and answered questions, we can determine whether or not our employer brand, intentional or unintentional, is in crisis, or if we have enough concern that we need to make it a crisis.

The employer brand we discover may not be the employer brand we want. But we may decide to live with it. Or we may not. Only we can determine whether this employer brand is anything close to what we would want for our business. And whether our employer brand is in a crisis.

If a business from the outside tried to take over the business, would employees fight or welcome the takeover? If employees would not fight the takeover, the business may not have the emotional connection with employees that it needs to withstand less severe challenges.

If a business from the outside moved next door, would customers avoid or welcome the competition? If the loyalty from customers is not strong enough to weather the competition, employees who ideally would have an emotional connection with the business may not be creating the emotional connection the business needs with customers.

If a business from the outside went into business with an almost identical model but a different identity, would employees avoid or welcome the new face? Would they be inclined to leave or stay? If the new business on the block successfully steals employees, the reputation of our business as a place to work may not completely resonate with employees.

If our business wants to grow, will the employees support it? A business must look to its growth. An employer brand is essential to any growth strategy. Growth requires continuing to hire the right people in the right jobs at the right time and keeping the current employees.

If our business needs to change or possibly shrink, will employees stay connected? The emotional connection with employees will be tested most as the business faces challenges of reducing size without cutting out its heart. The employer brand will give people something to hold on to as their willingness to emotionally connect to the business is tested with each change. The essence of effective change management is effective stability management—giving people things to protect as they adjust to things that change. The employer brand will give people that emotional anchor as they react—perhaps emotionally—to how the business expects them to change. Ask ourselves these questions:

Based on the answers to the "health check," how would we summarize the crisis mode of our business?

  • To secure leadership attention to the health of our employer brand, what do we need to do?
  • To make this effort stick, whom in our leadership do we need to engage?
  • To make this effort real, whom in our business do we need to involve?
  • Are we committed to lead this effort as the employer brand champion?
  • Is it time to gather a team to address employer brand?
  • It's time to put together the cross-functional team and walk through a step-by-step process.

· Contemporary Relevance

· Case Study

· Conclusion and Recommendations

· Bibliography

· Annexure

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