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A "Good Company" tag is instrumental to a company's success in attracting and retaining the best brains in the market, and thus gain competitive advantage over others. According to various surveys, treatment of employees and the quality of products and services provided rate highest in job-searchers' wish list about the organization they want to work for. These companies are often voted as "Best Companies to Work For" and no doubt attract the best talent available in the market and ultimately create maximum value for the shareholders. It has been proved that job satisfaction of the employees is directly linked to an employee's performance at work. Higher the job satisfaction better is his performance. Thus "Employer Branding" is the process of creating an image for the organization as an employer, different from others such that it attracts the brightest brains in the market.
Many companies face severe attraction and retention issues. Information gathered by some of the surveys, explain the same.
SURVEYS SPEAKING LOUD
CIPD 2006 recruitment, retention and turnover survey:
82% of organisations reported difficulties in recruiting
69% reporting difficulties in retaining
Right Coutts 2006, in Management Issues 2006
41% of Senior HR professionals thought retention of key staff was their most critical HR issue
Accenture on-line survey 2006
67% of senior directors in N. America, Europe and Asia think the inability to attract and retain the best talent is one of their top 3 threats to success
A successful employer brand projects the qualities that make people want to work for the organization ensures that they are deep-rooted throughout the business and exploits this as a differentiating factor at the market place. Strong and successful brand image is the single most effective and common strategy employed to attract able staff. In a nut-shell "Employer Branding" refers to "What do prospective and current employees think of us as an organization?"
But the ground reality is marketing starts from home itself as in from inside out. Of late phenomenon of "Employee Branding" is catching hold in the market, not only in India but all across the globe. As the global economy recovers from the severe recession, the focus of all companies has been on optimizing their resources and thus they are in the look out of best talent in the market, thus in the current scenario talent erosion has become a rampant. Such a situation calls for immediate attention towards talent retention or to be more specific retaining leadership. This is true that this is not a new phenomenon but there is no denying fact that in the present situation it becomes all the more important. "Employee Branding" therefore becomes an important tool in employee retention by creating a passion to stick to their company and stay together as family or community because they know that their company values them and their talent and thus this mutual agreement goes a long way in brand building for the company in the market.
Employer branding to the core is related to the people and thus inherently signals a company's faith and concern for its human resources. Thus if a company wants to go for Employee Branding, it ought to strengthen the role of HR at various stages of its functioning. This mainly aims at the following:
Employees "living the brand" they are working with and thus strengthening the brand in the market place, simultaneously enhancing organizational effectiveness by emphasizing employee involvement to the highest possible extent in the branding process
Employees feel emotionally connected to their organization in terms of its ethics and values, and most importantly feel connected to their work place - this being the core of all employee retention strategies
The onus of managing all these aspects of "Employee Branding" is definitely the job of Human Resource Department of any company. Achieving the same might not be a simple task for most of the companies and needs a strategic well defined approach. So, in this article role of HR in a four step approach has been suggested to strengthen "Employer branding".
Role of HR in "Employer Branding" and Employer Value Proposition
STEP 1: Research
HR of any company needs to understand where the company stands in the employment market and accordingly design an action plan depending upon the requirements. The four fundamental points that need to be considered while going through the process of research:
Perceived brand image
Expectations of the target group from the employer
Relative positioning in the market with respect to the competitors
Research is thorough and regularly updated
STEP 2: Employer Value Proposition:
Every organization has to have a statement so as to make it explicitly clear and visible why the total work experience at this particular organization is superior to that in the competitor organizations. This statement is termed as "EVP". EVP demonstrates current and future employees why they should work for this particular organization and not with the competitors and therefore gives a competitive advantage in talent acquisition.
The diagram below gives an idea about the various aspects of EVP. All these policies have to be invariably supported and facilitated by HR. EVP is a mixture of various benefits, policies and attributes of an organization which when managed effectively, increase the talent pool of the organization, efficiently reducing the size of their wage bill. But those who can't have to rely on a wage premium to attract and retain top talents.
ASPECTS OF EMPLOYER VALUE PROPOSITION
STEP 3: Communication of Strategy
Once an organization has a well defined EVP, an effective communication strategy has to be devised which conveys the same to the current and the future employees. EVP, starting right from brand building involves various aspects of an organization. Gone are the days when branding was considered to be a marketing domain. Marketing departments in companies spend a fortune in developing strategies for branding, experimenting with taglines and logos to make their brand a success. But they forget that branding is not just for external purposes but also for meeting internal purposes with regards to retaining the talent pool, motivating them and enabling them to perform to the best of their abilities. Since, HR is central to employee related policies therefore it is the role of HR to bring all these departments like Sales, Marketing, HR together develop a comprehensive communication strategy to communicate the EVP in the employer communications during recruitment, promotion, appraisals etc.
STEP 4: ACTION
Closely following up all these aspects of "Employer Branding" is the most important step for successful implementation of the strategies we propose. Integration of various exercises being practiced in isolation needs collaboration with all the departments of the organization and to ensure that all the departments are working in tandem towards creating an effective Employer Brand. For this HR needs to create a robust value framework that ensures all its policies are in place.
Following the above presented four step model, the employer builds a brand that projects its business and culture and is attractive to targeted employees. Also, it is essential for the company to share and live the brand. The role of HR has changed in the same in a manner that the employer brand no longer remains a secret potion to be administered only by HR, but it is the duty of the HR to widely disseminate and share it with the entire organization.
It has been proven by the "Employers of Choice" what a powerful differentiating tool employer branding can be! Thus HR, integrating the different functions of the organization, strives to create a reputation in the job market that relies on building on both, the innovation in employment attributes that are of basic importance to high performers as well as efforts, which make this innovation visible in the job market.