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Today, an effective employer brand is essential for competitive advantage. Increasingly, Indian corporations are becoming intentionally strategic to utilize the employer brand to attract and retain talent and, ultimately, to expand and grow. As Indian firms focus on strategies of turnaround, diversification, expansion and internationalization, human resources and human capital performance in India have become increasingly important. Consequently, HR's role in effectively using the employer brand has tremendously expanded and grown in importance.
The paper titled "Employer Branding: A strategic HR tool" , basically focuses on the general understanding of the Employer Branding, why employer branding is gaining importance, factors contributing to good employer brand and challenges of Employer Branding.
If we try to look into the concept of Employer Branding, it is not only a Human Resource Concept, even a Marketing Concept too. When we say Brand, it is a marketing term but at the same time when we say Employer, its a HR term. Basically the concept speaks about the HR and Marketing Strategies. Let's understand what is Branding? And we know that the brand is something like a logo, symbol, sign etc which offers benefits to the consumers and satisfies needs and wants of the consumers. At the same time, if we look into the term Employer, an individual or group of individuals coming together working for the common goal along with creating the employment opportunities. This exactly means, employer should not only create the employment opportunities but should market themselves to create an image of their own to survive in the marketplace. Thus Employer Branding is all about creating an image of the organization in the market place to survive and beat the competition. It is strategic tool, not only used to sell products but also maintain a corporate image.
A Strong Employer Brand with High Levels of Employee Engagement Delivers Improved Customer Satisfaction and Improved Financial Results. Employer brand is the package of functional, economic and psychological benefits provided by employment with your company - these benefits need to focus on the most compelling reasons a candidate would both choose your organisation and also why they would choose to stay.
If we ask people to name some of the good companies, it's Infosys, Wipro, Tata, Bajaj etc. If we ask them why they like these firms, the answers might be their practices, employment generation, ethics, growth of the firms, etc. If we ask the professionals, the answers would be different as they are aware of practices, market, etc. Let's try to understand why people named only these few firms when there are other players in the market? The answer is very simple, these firms have communicated to people to in such a way that the people have started connecting themselves with these firms.
Thus, the Employer Branding is all about creating the image of the employer in the minds of the people, firms, and even employees too.
According to the Employer Branding Survey and Poll, HR Connect, the important findings are
The top 3 aspects of Employer Branding (Employer point of view) are, Company's success and reputation in the market, Career Progression and Compensation.
The Top 3 Employer Brands in the Country are Infosys, Wipro and Tata Consultancy Services.
You need an Employer Brand even when you already have a strong presence in the market.
85% of the people said, Employer Branding will become very important in the future.
The key to successful Employer Branding is Collaboration. Although HR is primarily responsible, the contribution from the different departments is also important to communicate.
The report gives us the clear understanding of employees, employers view on the concept and relevance of the concept "Employer Branding".
To Create an Employer Brand, one must understand the meaning of the Brand and difference between the external and internal brand.
What is an External Brand?
Basically, it addresses the functional, economical and psychological benefits of the organizations which include answering the questions like what will this service/product do for me? What needs it will fulfill? How much I should pay? Why should i pay so much? Or what is so good about the product or service?
What is an Internal Brand?
Basically, it addresses the functional, economical and psychological benefits of the organizations which include answering the questions like what is my job. What are my responsibilities? What is the Compensation? Will I be rewarded? What is the work culture? Is there any growth? What are the opportunities of career development? Will I be part of it?
Thus the Concept of Employer Branding basically functions on the two concepts called as External Branding which is a marketing concept and Internal Branding which is a HR concept.
Employer branding Framework which explains the branding associations.
Why Employer Branding?
Employer Branding works on managing Corporate Reputations, Branding and People Management. Let us try to do a critical analysis to understand why Corporations should spend lot of money, managerial expertise, market research, public relations, media associations to establish their brands.
Increased talent retention:
Increased productivity as we all know that the firms spend lot of money from day one of Recruitment till the Employee leaves the firm. The firm incurs lot of losses if the attrition rate of the employees is very high which will become threat to the firm. Since getting right people for right job at right place needs huge monitory costs, firms will not afford to lose such employees. A strong Employer Brand practising high-quality HR practices can definitely be able to retain the Talent. Retaining talented employees is one of the top priorities of employers. The cost of employee turnover is huge when we consider productivity, recruiting costs, reduced efficiency in transition and time. Worker shall continue to escalate. Each and every day good employees quit their employees for better jobs.
Growth & profitability:
Hiring and retaining top performers is essential for growth and to maintain a competitive edge. Employees who have the right skills, experience and knowledge, in relation to the critical areas of a business to steer growth, are strategically important. If the employer positions properly in the minds of the customers and skilful resource, the higher brand recall rate helps the brand to enjoy more brand equity and strong presence in the marketplace. This intern helps employer to grow profitably. Being an attractive, provides a company or organisation more bargaining power, as employees will want to work for them more than anyone else, even those that have rare or most in demand skills-irrespective of salary levels.
Enhanced Industrial Relationships:
The meaning of the Industrial Relationship is to maintain healthy relations among employers-employees, employees-employees and employer-employer which can be achieved through the high quality HR practices which is the basic element of the internal branding. The belongingness feeling makes people feel for each other, more emotional stability and helps understanding each other and maintaining good relationships.
Increased motivation and Productivity:
An employer providing the good work environment, growth opportunities, belongingness, and recognition motivates employees to be more dedicated, focused, productive, and loyal and committed which increases the productivity of the organization and minimises the costs too. The increased productivity enhances the profits, market share, growth, more recognition, customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.
Challenges of Employer Branding:
The biggest challenge for the employer is People management as each employee is different from each one, different cultural background, different needs and wants, different attitudes, beliefs; mind set different calibre, different expectations. Understanding all these aspects is the biggest challenge for the firms.
Maintaining the Values and Reputation and consistency of Culture
We know that the different firms have created image, as innovators, leaders, ethical values etc managing which is the most difficult job for the firms. Once the firm sets benchmark, it's very manage it throughout. To achieve it, firms should be able to manage internal issues, grapevine, whistle blow, etc. Setting value is easy but sticking on to them is difficult thing.
Attracting and Retaining Talent:
Organizations are investing more time, energy, talent and money in this area than ever before - and with good cause. Obviously, without a responsive, top-notch workforce, it is impossible for management to fully execute and sustain a strategic plan. Without your people enthusiastically supporting your goals, your plan is likely to remain just that: a plan, and not a reality.
Every employer spends huge money on getting the right skilful employee for the right job. Employer does lot of research on identifying the right candidate through the right selection techniques.
Employee Motivation and commitment
Today's employees expect more than a job and a pay check;
they expect meaningful work
they expect to be challenged
they want to see the "big picture" and know where they fit in
they require expectations and guidance
they demand feedback
they crave on-going training (education)(Harry.K.Jones, The Achiever News letter, attracting and Retaining Talent"
As employers it's very difficult to understand what motivates employees. Is it money? Job security? Work culture? Emotional security at work place? Pay? Recognition?. You never know and making them loyal & it takes lot of research and huge costs.
Competitiveness of Compensation
Pay and benefits are extremely important to both new applicants and existing employees. The compensation received from work is a major reason that most people to seek employment. Compensation not only provides a means of sustenance and allows people to satisfy their materialistic and recreational needs, it also serves their ego or self-esteem needs. Consequently, if a firm's compensation system is viewed as inadequate, top applicants may reject that company's employment offers, and current employees may choose to leave the organization.
Because compensation practices heavily influence recruitment, turnover, and employee productivity, it is important that applicants and employees view these practices in a favorable light
Leadership and Management Effectiveness
The leaders and the Management play a very big role in the organisation as one defines what is to be achieved and the other helps people achieve it through his leadership skills. A good management should always be clear about the vision and mission of the firm. A good leader& flexible leader should help the people to achieve individual goals along with the firm's goal through the leadership skills, guidance and educating the employees about the firm, objectives, job profile etc.
Strategies to build Employer Brand:
Employer Value Proposition (EVP): the company or organisation needs a unique employer offer. The EVP gives current and future employees a reason to work for an employer and reflects the company's competitive advantage. Employers that manage their EVP effectively benefit from an increase in their talent pool and employee engagement, as well as a potential decrease in salary costs. Typically, less attractive employers need to pay a wage premium to get top talent whereas attractive employers do not. By analysing the factors influencing the employer brand, and by defining a strong and true EVP, the employer will be able to deliver sound and consistent communications during the communication phase and develop an attractive, as well as unique, employer brand.
Research: to understand where an employer is positioned in the employment market and to determine the appropriate action plan is fundamental. The four important factors, both internally and externally, are:
â€¢ Know how the target group perceives the employer
â€¢ Learn what the target group wants and needs from the employer
â€¢ Discover where the employer is positioned in relation to its competition
â€¢ Ensure that the research is updated regularly
Development Programs (Training & Development)
Professional development is critical if employees are to keep growing in their work lives. It is something that a great workplace values and certainly benefits from as these individuals return to the workplace with new experiences and insights. Employees always look for the development in the organisation In Organization development, the related field of training and development (T & D) deals with the design and delivery of learning to improve performance within organizations. On the other hand, the important aspect of training and development programs is that it helps to avoid the managerial obsolescence. Organizational problems either major or minor can be solved our by these programs. These programs also play an important role managing the changes in organizational structure caused by mergers, acquisitions, rapid growth, downsizing and outsourcing.
Training and development programs are also important to cope up with the changes in technology and with diversity within the organization. Today because of number of changes in technological fields, these programs are increasingly emphasizing on converting the organization to learning organizations and human performance management.
Corporate Social Responsibility
The triple bottom line of CSR activities are Economic, Environmental and Social factors. Major numbers of factors related to bottom line have been addressed so far and few of the firms succeeded. Most of the corporations have addressed issues like creating awareness about the environment and Social issues, rural development, education, Employment etc which are basically in the form of charity and dependence but not empowerment and partnership. The LPG is a gift to society which helps the corporations to contribute to the economic growth of the country but corporates should start thinking about the society at large. The CSR activities helps developing concern for the society which intern boosts the sense of belongingness.
Better work Environment
"The environment our employees work in is all part of what makes the Gap's formula creative and innovative;" says Mickey Drexler, president and CEO of Gap Inc. "Frankly, it's what makes us feel good about our jobs every day." Creating a better work environment will improve your work relationships, help with career goals, and perhaps increase your salary! These tips for job success are both easy and effective.
Building Sustainable Work Force
In the new era of systemic innovation, it is more important for an organization to be cross-functionally excellent than functionally excellent. Firms which are successful in realizing the full returns from their technologies and innovations are able to match their technological developments with complementary expertise in other areas of their business, such as manufacturing, distribution, human resources, marketing, and customer relationships. To lead these expertise development efforts, cross-functional teams, either formal or informal, need to be formed. These teams can also find new businesses in white spaces between existing business units.
Open door policy
There has to be a open door policy in the firms so that employees can walk in any time and discuss the matter with the superiors. Irrespective of personal or professional matters, employees should be given a chance to walk in to the superior's cabin and speak which create a sense of belongingness among employees and helps building the motivation.
Commitment from leaders
The leaders are the major driving force the success of the firm. As major responsibility lies with the leaders, they should be better communicators about the firm's objectives, personal objectives, growth opportunities, job responsibilities to their subordinates contributing to the effective team management which can contribute to productivity.
The firms should basically use effective media and proper channels to communicate to the audience about them. This purely depends on the communication objectives and positioning strategy of the firm. The communication focuses on creating awareness, managing reputation, promotion and public relations.
Employer Branding is not a new concept, but a concept which is gaining importance rigorously. Whether employees, or a lay man, they want to associate themselves with the top employer. Today, an effective employer brand is essential for competitive advantage. Increasingly, Indian corporations are becoming intentionally strategic to utilize the employer brand to attract and retain talent and, ultimately, to expand and grow. The employer should focus on the strategies like understanding the employees needs, responding them, communication etc to position themselves in the market place.