Discuss and highlight the relationship between employer brand recruitment

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Businesses seek to achieve long term success. Businesses can achieve this sustainability over the long run by simply tracking down three goals that together stands for the universal truth of all strategic differentiation, which is the only way. They are to be the company of choice, an employer of choice and an investment of choice. The goal of becoming an employer of choice can be achieved by way of having a good employer branding.

Modern day an effective employer brand is essential in order to gain competitive advantage as same as the product brand. Progressively more corporations are becoming deliberately strategic to exploit the employer brand to attract and as well as to retain talent and eventually to expand the business and to achieve growth. Employer branding represents a firm's efforts to promote a clear vision of what makes it diverse and attractive as an employer both within and outside the firm. It is a fairly new approach towards recruiting and retaining the best possible human talent within an employment environment that is becoming increasingly competitive as it is a way of achieving success. Recruiting of the right person at the right time is immensely important for an organization in order to achieve its vision.

As such this research paper attempts to discuss and highlight the relationship between employer brand in an organization and the extent to which it could be used to enhance recruitment and selection processes of an organization. It is said that people are more likely to serve employees with a good image among the public. In order to carry out our research it was selected an employer with a high reputation across the world. As such the study will be based on IBM (International Business Machines) company in United Kingdom.

International Business Machines (IBM) is a multinational computer technology and IT consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. It is the world's fourth largest technology company and also it owns the second most valuable global brand (after Coca- Cola). And also IBM is among the few information companies with a constant history dating back to the 19th century.   IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software (with a focus on the latter), and offers infrastructure services, hosting services, and consulting services in areas ranging from main frame computers to nanotechnology.

IBM has been recognized as the world's largest computer company and systems integrator with more than 400,000 employees' world wide throughout its recent history. IBM is one of the largest and most profitable information technology employers in the world. As per the Forbes Global 2000 list IBM is the second most profitable and the second largest (by market capitalization) information technology and service employer in the world. IBM holds more patents than any other U.S. based Technology Company and has eight research laboratories worldwide. The company has scientists, engineers, consultants, and sales professionals in over 170 countries. IBM has highly skilled and qualified employees those who have earned Nobel Prizes, four Turning Awards, National Medals of Technology, and National Medals of Science.

IBM United Kingdom's history dating back to November 19, 1951 and today IBM UK has around 20,000 employees from diverse backgrounds with the capacity and the ability to bring forth innovative solutions to a diverse client base to help them in solving their toughest and as well as critical business challenges.

Literature Review

Employer branding is defined as "a targeted long- term strategy to manage the awareness and perception of employees, potential employees and related stakeholders with regard to a particular firm". (Sullivan, 2004). The employer brand put forth an image showing the organization as a good place to work. (Sullivan, 2004). The employment brand highlights the unique aspects of the firm's employment offerings or environment. (Ambler and Barrow, 1996). The term employer branding imply the segregation of a firms characteristics as an employer from those of its competitors. As such through creating a good employer branding within the public will help a company to gain competitive advantage over its competitors.

According to the Conference Board, 2001, "The employer brand establishes the distinctiveness and provides an identity to a firm over its competitors. It covers the firm's entire value system, strategies and behaviours towards the goals of attracting, motivating and retaining the firm's existing and potential employees." These definitions indicate that employer branding involves promoting diversity and advantage both within and outside the firm as an employer.

Employer branding applies to the consequence of brand knowledge on potential and existing employees of the firm. Employer brand equity stimulates potential applicants to apply and encourage existing employees to stay with company.

IBM is one of the companies that has created a good brand image among the public a good place to work and retain and that perception has resulted in an increasing demand from potential job seekers especially among university graduates and undergraduates. As such Business Week has ranked IBM as the fourth "Best Place to Launch a Career" and ninth "Best Internship Program" in United States. The Universum has ranked IBM as the fourth "Best Engineer Program." This reputation has been resulted in increasing demand from potential applicants and as well as attracting the best talent day by day

Employer brand equity is the preferred result of employer branding activities. In other words, prospective or existing employees will react in many ways to similar recruitment, selection, and retention efforts of different firms because of the employer brand equity associated with these firms. It is apparent that most of the companies expanding substantial resources on employer branding campaigns, demonstrating that it will results in creating value to the company. According to the Conference Board report on employer branding organizations have founded that effective employer branding leads to competitive advantage, helps employees internalize company values and assist employee retention.

Employees, who base their job choice on unbalanced information, are more likely to become dissatisfied as a result of unmet expectations and are more likely to quit. (Cable and Judge, 1996; Wanous et al., 1992) So employer branding can be valuable in the recruiting process.

Ownership of resources those are exceptional, valuable, non substitutable and difficult to imitate allows a firm to outperform its competitors (Barney, 1991). Firms commonly consider of plant, equipment and capital as resources that create competitive edge. Human capital too has been revealed to function as an essential resource that creates competitive advantage (Priem and Butler, 2001.) For example, a state of the art faculty and technology can create competitive advantage only when there is a highly competitive workforce to utilize them (Boxall, 1998).

As such it is more important to select the best person out of the best with required skills, capabilities, qualifications and as well as with right attitudes at the right time to deliver a constant and better service to the customers and also to gain competitive edge.

Rynes and Cable (2003) in their Study on recruiting for the twenty-first century stated that serious job applicants are likely to display concern about choosing the most appropriate organization for them to work for as much as the most appropriate job for them to perform. Thus it is critical for an organization to build up a resonance strategy on human capital to act as a key differentiator in its corporate success by guaranteeing constant supply of the right talent. On the other hand, a good workplace, according to Levering (1996), is believed to produce superior quality products, facilitate innovation, have the ability to attract more talented people, and experience less resistance to change and lower turnover costs. Ultimately all of these will translate directly towards a better bottom line. Organizational effectiveness and efficiency depends on having the right people on the right bus (Collins 2001) to meet rapidly changing work environments (Bechet&Walker1993).

Recruitment literature suggests that numerous similarities exist among conceptualization of brand image and the position faced by potential labor market entrants. As such inexperienced job seekers find it impossible to evaluate the prevailing alternatives on the basis of the exact attributes of the job and company because many attributes are unknown or unknowable to them. Therefore job seekers may rely on employer brand images as guidance for making decisions regarding their potential employer.

External marketing of the employer brand establishes the firm as an employer of choices and thereby enables it to attract the best possible workers. The assumption is that the uniqueness of the brand permits the firm to acquire unique human capital. Further once recruits have been attract by the brand, they develop a set of assumptions about employment with the firm that they will carry in to the firm, there by supporting the firm's standards and enhancing their loyalty to the firm. Internal marketing of the employer brand helps create a workforce that is hard for the other firms to replicate. By systematically revealing workers to the value proposition of the employer brand, the workplace culture is molded around the corporate goals, enabling the firm to achieve a unique culture focused on doing business the firm's way.

Research aim and Objectives

Firms generally focus their attention and branding efforts towards developing product and corporate brands, but branding too can be used in the sphere of human resource management. Application of branding ideology in to the area of human resource management is termed as "Employer Branding". It has been found that employer branding is a rather new approach towards attracting, selecting, recruiting and retaining the best possible talent towards an organization in the dynamic business world which is becoming increasingly competitive.

This paper attempts to identify the relationship between employer brand in an organization and the extent to which it could be used to enhance recruitment and selection processes. For this purpose IBM in United Kingdom is taken as the sample to this study.

Specific objectives attempts to address through this study would be,

To identify how employer branding has been defined and discussed in the literature.

To identify how employer branding helps in attracting most suitable employees

To identify the degree of employer brand in IBM

To identify the relationship between employer brand in the company and the current recruitment and selection processes.

To identify how employer branding has been helped in enhancing the recruitment and selection processes.

Research Methodology

Research question of this study is to investigate the perception of employer brand in an organization and the extent to which it could be used to enhance recruitment and selection processes. As such study would be carried out in order to identify whether there is a positive correlation between a good employer branding and its ability to attract, recruit and select best possible talent. It is said that employees concentrate on the reputation of the employer and they prefer to serve them selves to a reputed employer.

Thus study will investigate in to the matters mentioned above and will attempt to address them. Both qualitative and as well as quantitative data is required in order to investigate above mention problems and to arrive towards a conclusion. There fore data will be gathered from both primary and secondary sources.

The researcher has adopted multiple strategies of data collection. As such interviews and surveys was the main tool used to gather information which is primary source of collecting data. Accordingly face to face interviews with employees were carried out which was done as a survey. During the time of interview interviewees are supposed to provide answers for a standard questionnaire consists of 20 questions in order to evaluate their perception regarding their employer. The questionnaire was designed in a way that it covers the above mentioned research objectives and provide answers for the above mentioned research questions.

In addition to the above primary data collection methods data would be gathered from secondary sources like company Annual reports, Hand Books, magazines, Articles on IBM and employment at IBM, Research papers, labour market surveys, researchers etc.

The research was expected to be carried out as a quantitative research and deductive approach will be used for the study. As such the study is started from the population and by investigating a sample population is supposed to be rationalized. Thus the IBM employees of United Kingdom will be taken as the population for the ease of gathering information and narrow downing the scope in order to meet research objectives effectively. Out of that 50 employees were selected randomly as the sample in away that it represents the entire population.

Hypothesis Testing

The research objective of this study is to identify the relationship between employer brand in an organization and the extent to which it could be used to enhance recruitment and selection processes.

As such hypothesis created would be as follows for the purpose of carrying out the study in order to investigate in to the above issue.

H 1 There is a positive correlation between employer branding and attracting of best possible human talent.

The above is one of the testable statements during this study. Thus it will attempts to identify how the degree of employer branding has been helpful in organizations in order to attract best possible employees and further it will examine whether there is a positive relationship between employer branding and attracting of talented employees. That is it will investigate in to the matter of whether well established, reputed organizations that possess a good employer branding, are in a position to attract the best possible human talent easily with compared to those that do not have such a brand image.

H 2 Employer branding is helpful in enhancing recruitment and selection processes.

Further it will study the matter of whether employer brand has helped in organizations in their recruitment and selection processes. That is whether a branded company has the ability to bargain at the time of interview processes in terms of salaries offered, qualifications of the applied candidates, degree of the rigidity in employee selection procedures and as well as when selecting the best candidates among the applicants.

Ethical Issues

Employees prefer to join well reputed company with a good brand image. As such IBM is a branded employer that brings together more people from diverse backgrounds to solve real problems for companies all over the world. Whether they are undergraduates or post-graduates, IBM helps its employees to turn their years of study into tangible achievements through a vast array of global career opportunities and development programs. Owing in to that reason IBM consistently ranks in the "Top 10" among students. Business Week Magazine has ranked as the fourth "Best Place to Launch a Career." and as ninth "Best Internship Programme" and as the fourth "Best Engineer Programme" by Universum. Owing to these reasons and as well as higher employee demand IBM's recruitment and selection procedures are rigid as the company seeks to ensure Right people are in the right place at the right time in real time.

A branded company like IBM offer many ways for its employees to be the 'right' person at IBM. As such it gives the ability for an employee to cultivate their expertise, to use their knowledge to the fullest extent, or to re-invent their selves in a way that never keeping a scope to leave the company.

There can be seen that most of the people prefer to serve in a reputed company which has a good employee brand image. Companies like IBM are benefitted by these kinds of people perceptions as it is not impossible for such companies to attract highly qualified and as well as skilled people in to the company even at a low pay. But if an employee with higher educational qualifications serving to an particular organization at a lower pay because of its reputation, it will be a negative indicator of employees quality of life.

Research Issues

Several issues were encountered with when carrying out this study. Availability of resources became the main constraint. It was supposed to carry out interviews with 50 employees, which consumed a lot of time. We felt impossible to conduct these surveys during IBM working hours in a way that it did not clash with the lecture sessions. And also permissions were granted for a limited time period in order to conduct interviews with employees.

When selecting a random sample, maximum effort was taken to avoid biases and to select a sample in a way that it represents the entire population. But the population may not be justified by the selected sample and biases may exist.

When gathering information it was promised to keep all the confidential information in secret. Thus the maintaining secrecy of that information while revealing all the necessary information in order to arrive at final conclusions was among the major obstacles encountered with.

Further the access to corporate confidential information was restricted and it limited the scope of gathering many of subject related information which is required to arrive at conclusions. Further we observed that the degree of voluntary participation was very low.