Impact of Employer Branding on Employee Performance
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Apart from the efforts put by me, the success of any project depends largely on the encouragement and guidelines of many others. I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the people who have been instrumental in the successful completion of my Thesis.
I am heartily thankful to my Thesis Guide- Prof. Robin Thomas, whose encouragement, guidance and support from the initial to the final level enabled me to develop an understanding of this subject.
The guidance and support received from all the members who contributed and who are contributing to this research, was vital for the success of this Thesis. I am grateful for their constant support and help.
- To study the impact of Employer Branding on Employee Performance in the organizations in today's scenario.
- Also, to study the impact of effective Employer Branding on perceptual and objective areas of Performance Management.
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.
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 the Target Audience.
* The target audience would be the H.R [Senior Level] and Subject Experts. Study would be conducted across sectors and around Five Industries would be taken under study. Five Firms would be taken for survey purpose under each Industry. So in all, 25 H.R [Senior Level] across sectors and Five Subject Experts would be surveyed. Sample size would be 30.
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.
Chapter 1. Introduction to Branding
1.1 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 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?
1.2 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.
1.3 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.
1.3.1 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 lour 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.
1.3.2 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 powerful means of securing a competitive advantage.
1.4 Can anything be branded?
[Can organizations be branded?]
Brands clearly provide important benefits to both consumers and firms. An obvious question, 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 product 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.
2: Introduction to Employer Branding
2.1 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.
2.2 Elements/ Essentials of an Employer Brand
Few things that form an Employer Brand are:
§ 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 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 followers in a campaign—people who simply did as they were 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.
§ 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 power 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.
§ 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.
§ AN 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.
§ 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.
§ 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, an employer brand may highlight distinct experiences or opportunities available internally. An 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 an employer brand can authentically reflect a business is if it articulates an 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 an employer brand, we must focus on what happens outside—and what an employees must deliver.
§ 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.
§ 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 answer, 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.
§ 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 powerful 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 a 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.
§ 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.
§ 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 an 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.
§ 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.
§ 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.
§ AN EMPLOYER BRAND CAN HELP WE RETAIN EMPLOYEES.
When an employee joins a business, an employer brand becomes a guideline for what we can expect. Just as with the customer brand, an 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"—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.
§ 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.
2.3 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.
a. 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?
• Are there issues with the customers?
• Are we concerned with their satisfaction?
• Are there issues with sales? With the operations?
• Is everything clicking along in a way that satisfies?
b. Record the ideas.
Use of flip charts or a whiteboard to transcribe what we hear in the meetings and recording the answers will help to build an employer brand.
c. 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.
d. 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 answer from the employer brand.
Take the answers 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 answers in mind, identification of each point that indicates 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 closer 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 answer 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 answer to the question, "What's in it for me?" if they were to make that contribution.
There's absolutely no more important question for the employer brand to answer 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.
2.4 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 us, 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.
Few organizations have been able to achieve such a holistic approach to brand. Few organizations have been admired so much. Few have stood the test of time. But it can be done, through the power of a brand that is owned by everyone associated with the business.
An employer brand is a mission, not just a strategy; a cause, not just an approach; a purpose, not simply a task.
2.5 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”.
2.6 COMPONENTS OF AN EMPLOYER BRAND
Simon Barrow suggests that there are four components that make good employer brand. The first is the Employment Package, which is the job offer made to an employee. This is made up of the financial compensation, job role and responsibilities, designation, work environment and career development plan. These factors help in 'sealing the deal' with potential recruits. There are some companies which effectively convey their employment packages through their recruitment advertisement. The award winning recruitment ad campaign at the 2008 Pink Slip Awards (given for creative excellence in recruitment advertising) went to JWT Mindset for its conceptualization of the Broad ridge Financial Solutions campaign. This winning ad has the headline "Thank God it's Monday!" and goes on to explain how the company creates such an experience for its employees.'
The second component is the Culture and Environment. This includes the values that the company stands for, work rituals and systems in place-arid examples set by the top leadership. Many industry experts believe that the proposed Microsoft-Yahoo merger (which did not materialize because Jerry Yang the chief executive was not happy with the share price was offered) would never have worked anyway-due to the way the two companies have branded themselves as employers. Microsoft's culture has been known to very deep-rooted and arrogant, with a focus on winning every 'game'. Yahoo, on the other hand, is a much younger company and has no qualms in cooperating with others and openly discussing its business policies.
The third component is Integrity. There is no point wasting time and money attracting people towards something the company cannot deliver. Dr. TV. Rao (a pioneer of the HR function in India) clarifies, "In the past few years, it seems to have become fashionable to indulge in employee engagement, and benchmarking of companies through best-place to work surveys for the sole purpose of image building."
The fourth and final component is Management Performance. If the people at top are not committed, or do not show their commitment through the required actions and behaviors, neither will the branding process be successful, nor will such an exercise be sustainable for too long.
2.7 Dimensions of Employer Branding
The above figure reveals that there are around 12 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 behavior and benefits also builds up strong associations and communicates a lot about the organization.
All of 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
3.1 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.
3.2 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 e
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