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With a growing competition among businesses, it became evident that organizational performance is to a large extent determined by the knowledge of its employees, their skills and abilities (Breaugh & Starke 2000). The employees these days are the real assets of a company as it is the employees who contribute towards the success of a company/organization.
The changing demographics of the working environment from the last decade have witnessed a growing trend among employees to change employers. This created a situation wherein employers were left short of talent and experience by the sudden departure of staff(s). There is also a current skill shortage in the global labour market and it is very difficulty to get the right person with the right skill and attitude for a job. As a result of this organizations are involved in a talent hunt and fierce competition for skilled professionals in the market (Katoen & Macioschek 2007). It was realized by the employers that they needed to come out with something very attractive to attract future employees and keep the current workforce (employees) happy.
Recruitment and retention of a skilled and talented workforce is a major challenge faced by organizations these days and is recognized as a strategic business challenge (Gurtheridge et al 2005). One of the ways to enhance recruitment and selection is to use the company as a strategic tool to attract employees. Employer brand is one of the strategic tools and plays a crucial role in businesses these days. It is one of the most powerful tools used by companies to attract employees. Brand stands for a particular standard and quality of product or service that a company or organization produces or delivers. Customers like to purchase brand, employees like to work for brand names and investors like to invest in established brand names.
Employer brand is used by HR practitioners frequently these days as a tool to attract new recruits into joining the company and hence it plays a significant role in the recruitment and selection processes. Employer brand in HR is analogous to the fulcrum of a lever in mechanics, and using this brand HR professionals market the company to its potential employees. The concept of employer branding clearly differentiates companies in today's business world and provides them the necessary impetus to approach, attract and retain the most talented employees (Katoen & Macioschek 2007). It helps build the concept of 'employer of choice' among potential and present employees.
Not only it attracts and recruits new people, but it also helps to retain talents in the organization, which is very vital for businesses to grow and sustain. In the words of Sally Humpage, CIPD employee relations and diversity adviser, "Employer branding is increasingly being used to help attract, recruit and retain talent within businesses, issues which are seen as top priorities for HR. Attracting and engaging the best individuals is no easy task in a continuing tight labour market." (Peacock 2007)
The better the quality of employees and new recruits, the more advantage an organization has over its rivals, i.e gives them competitive advantage over its rivals.
Research Aim & Objective
The aim of this research is to find out the impact an employer brand has on attracting employees to a company, i.e the extent to which employer brand can be used to influence recruitment and selection.
The objectives of this research is to find out about the concept of a brand employer, the power of a brand, how brand is used as a tool by employers and the benefits that organizations reap from developing an employer brand.
The research questions follow from the research objectives and are as follows:
How to build and develop a brand?
What are the advantages of being a brand employer?
How does employer branding enhance recruitment and selection?
Chapter 2: Literature review
The American Marketing Association defines Brand is "a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. A brand may identify one item, a family of items, or all items of that seller" (Kotler 2003)
Kotler (2003) defines brand as a complex symbol that can convey up to six levels of meaning in reference to the attributes, benefits, values, culture, personality and the type of the user of a product/service.
A brand identifies itself with its services or products and differentiates itself from its competitors (Kotler & Pfoertsch 2007). The stronger a brand is the more profit it makes and the easier it becomes for it to attract employers, customers and investors.
2.2 Employer branding
CIPD (2010) defines employer brand as an organization marketing activity with regards to it existing and potential employees in what it has got to offer them. It is a very powerful tool used by organizations for attracting employers and for people management.
In the context of this assignment employer branding can be defined as the image of the company that is portrayed through the eyes of its employees, present and potential future employees.
Employees look for brand names and look to enroll with an employer that is a known brand and has a good reputation among employees.
2.3 Creating and managing an employer brand
These days companies are very much aware of the importance of creating an employer brand and effective branding strategies to manage employer brand.
Creating and managing a corporate brand is a challenging role for HR professionals. A proper management of corporate brand ensures that the reputation of the company is intact and even enhanced. This reputation is that which is perceived by the general public about the company, not what the company thinks about it. It gives the company competitive advantage over its rivals which helps to attract employees and talent and also retain them.
According to Balmer (2001) there are three virtues in managing a corporate brand, namely clearly communicating the promise of the corporate brand, differentiate the corporate brand from its competitors and enhancing the reputation of the brand.
2.4 Applicant attraction (Recruitment & selection)
In today's competitive business environment, every company wants to recruit the best candidates for the job. This is not an easy task as currently there is a global skill shortage in specialized fields and companies are competing with each other in talent hunt. Thus there needs to be a special appeal to employees to join a particular company (a brand).
"Recruitment is a process of attracting potential candidates to the organisation" (L.V.D. Wagen 2006). A recruitment campaign involves identifying the human resource needs of the company, placing advertisements, job specification and details to source candidates. The better the reputation of the company (brand), the easier it is to attract employees. An important problem faced by a lot of companies/employers is the volume of applicants applying for a job and a significant number of them being not the level of expertise and experience required by the employers. Employer brand and its reputation helps to filter a lot of unwanted applicants and hence enhance a streamline process of attracting applicants.
Employees are essential to success of any organization and it is very important that quality applicants are attracted. Recruitment and selecting employees incur a significant cost in attracting new talents to the company. The stronger the brand is, the higher the profile of the company and the more attractive it is seen as an employer (Miller & Muir 2004). Employer branding influences the labour market by attracting applicants. As a result those companies do not have to devote much resources to attract talent.
"Selection is the process of choosing the most suitable candidates" (L.V.D. Wagen 2006). This process starts when the candidate is interviewed for the post and the process ends with the candidate being offered the contract of employment. It is much easier for a brand employer to select the right candidates from a pool of candidates because people want to work for brand employers.
2.5 Employer Value proposition
"The reason why a talented employee would want to join and stay with an organization" (David Maister 2010). Employers need to create an environment as such so that employees value them and realize that there is a chance to learn, develop and grow inside the organization. Every employer, be it current, new or potential employer wants to see it in a brand. It helps to attract talent (new employees) and also creates an atmosphere of stability (retention) among current employees.
2.6 Employer of choice
An employer of choice comes from creating a great working environment where every employee feel valued and respected, in which a bondage develops between the company and the employee where that extra effort is put in by every single employee to strive for the best (Joyce 2004). In order to become an employer of choice, an organization needs to be more professional in recruitment activities in the mind of skilled and experienced job seekers (Katoen & Macioschek 2007), offer an attractive employment or employer brand (Martin et al 2005). Being an employer of choice can make a significant difference to organizational performance, in attracting new recruits to work for the company (their employer of choice).
Motivation of employees plays a big part in organizational performance and success of an organisation. Employer brand is a motivation in itself and more and more talented people will be in a position to take up employment with a brand employer, considering the offer is attractive enough (Telfer 2008). A brand employer would be in a better position to offer attractive employment offers to its employees. Along with the financial package, career progression opportunity is also regarded as a key motivator. With branded companies there is the scope for career progression and future development. The ease of communication of today's world spreads this message spreads very quickly into the labour market and acts as a motivator for future employees.
2.8 Talent retention
There is a current global shortage of talented and skilled people. Hence it is very important for companies to retain quality staff, i.e the specialist skilled people. A good work environment and satisfaction at work place for employees is key to them staying with their employer (Mitchell et al 2001). Brand employers value the importance of specialist skilled people. It also goes to show that the employees are satisfied with the employer and sends out a positive signal to potential employees.
2.9 Financial performance
The financial performance or financial strength of a company/brand is indirectly related to Human resources practices like recruitment and selection in company. The employer brand value increases with its financial performance. This does increase organizational health which in turn provides job security (Paauwe & Boselie 2005) by attracting and securing talented employees.
Chapter 3: Research Methodology
The chosen company for research is Wipro Technologies, India
The desire of the researcher should be to achieve the desired research results, or to put it into otherwise, answer the research questions and to satisfy the research objectives. In this chapter the research approach will be discussed, the type of research that will be chosen, the methodology adopted, the choice of research strategy and the data collection methods and techniques. Lastly the ethical issues involved and the limitations in conducting the research will also be explained.
3.1 Research Approach
The research approach is often regarded as the first step towards a research design. Hence it is very important to choose the right research approach as it influence the methodology chosen for the research and also the data collection methods and techniques.
The approaches are classified as inductive and deductive. In the deductive approach a hypothesis is stated (Applied Research Methods for Business Management, MBA Coursebook, Version 2.0, University of Sunderland. P.42) and a research method and strategy is designed to test the hypothesis (Saunders et al 2009). In the inductive approach the researcher collects the data, analyses it and develops a theory based on the data analysis (Saunders et al. 2009). The approach that will be chosen here is the inductive approach. This is because the research is an investigation into the perception of employer brand in an organization and the extent to which it influences recruitment and selection. This research can't be possible without collection of data and analysis of data. The importance of employer brand and the extent to which it enhances recruitment and selection can then be based on data analysis. Also inductive research is particularly suited to study of human behaviour in organizations (G. Lancaster 2005) and offers flexibility with regards to sample size and data type in a research (G. Lancaster 2005).
3.2 Type of research
According to Lekvall and Wahlbin (1993) there are mainly five types of research, i.e descriptive, explanatory, exploratory, predictive and prescriptive. The nature of the problem that is researched determines the choice of the type of research (Zikmund 2003). In this research the researcher is unsure of the precise nature of the problem (Saunders et al. 2009) which points out to the fact that this research is exploratory in nature. An exploratory study is also a valuable means of finding out "what is happening, to seek new insights, to ask questions and to assess phenomenon in a new light" (Robson 2002).
3.3 Research strategy
In choosing the research strategy the most important thing to remember is whether the chosen strategy will be able to answer the research questions and meet the research objectives (Saunders et al. 2009). There is also no fixed research strategy attached with descriptive, exploratory or explanatory research. In the words of Saunders et al. (2009), these research strategies are also not mutually exclusive. The strategy used for this research is a survey (questionnaire) strategy. It is quiet a popular strategy in business studied related researches. It is "frequently used to answer who, where, what, how much and how many questions" (Saunders et al. 2009). It also facilitates the economic collection of a large amount of data from a large number of respondents (Saunders et al. 2009). The questionnaire will be sent to the employees, recruitment managers and HR managers at Wipro technologies. About 40 sets of questionnaires will be sent to obtain a sizeable sample.
3.4 Methodology adopted
The methodology is normally chosen from quantitative, qualitative or a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods often called the mixed method. According to Clark (1998), while quantitative methods involve measurement of some kind, qualitative methods are concerned with verbal responses. In this research, the quantitative data is very important as without it the researcher cannot form any idea about the importance and perception of brand with Wipro Technologies and to how much it would enhance recruitment and selection at Wipro Technologies. However quantitative data is numeric in nature, while the responses that will be gathered for the research from the HR department of the 2 branches of Wipro will move towards a qualitative approach for the research. The qualitative data is also an important ingredient for the research analysis as it would obtain information such as views, attitudes, opinions, behavior (Malhotra 1996) Eriksson & Wiedersheim-Paul 2001) of the respondents in the research and to get a better understanding of the research problem from within (Denscombe 2003). It was decided that a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods would be suitable for this research.
3.5 Data collection
The primary data will be collected using the survey (questionnaire) strategy.
The questionnaire will be sent out in an email to the HR department of the 2 branches of Wipro Technologies in Kolkata and Pune. There is limited work on the perception of employer brand and its use as a strategic HR tool to enhance recruitment and selection, especially in the context of Wipro Technologies. There is also very less secondary data available on this research topic in the textbooks. However the various articles, journals and publications, research work done by previous students on employer branding provide a thorough understanding of the literature for this project.
3.6 Data analysis
The raw data available from the survey (questionnaire) need to be converted into information that is meaningful satisfies the research questions and meets the research objectives. G. Lancaster (2005) concludes that important and relevant information may be missed if data is not analysed properly and the research will give results that will not satisfy the research objectives. This will lead to a complete waste of time, effort and money (if any involved) on part of the researcher. Hence it is imperative that data is analysed effectively so that meaningful conclusions can be drawn that are consistent with the research objectives.
The primary data for this research will comprise both qualitative and quantitative data. It is quiet clear the quantitative and qualitative data analysis techniques will be used for the respective data types. The quantitative data for the research will be analysed using tables, diagrams and charts, which in a way will facilitate the comparisons among the various variables used for the research which will help to draw the research findings and conclusions. The raw data will be tabulated and plotted using spreadsheets (excel).
3.7 Ethical issues involved
One of the primary things that the researcher should consider when embarking on the research is the ethical implications that come along with the research. The ethical considerations might start from choosing the topic, but in most management research it is largely involved in the data collection from the target population. As Saunders et al. (2009) points out that the most important ethical issue to consider from a researcher's point of view is that the choice of research topic, the data collection for the research should not cause "embarrassment, harm or any material disadvantage" to the respondents/participants/target population in the research.
3.8 Limitations to the research
One of the main problems associated with conducting this research has been the geographical difference between the researcher and the company of choice for research (Wipro Technologies in India). The researcher is in London, while the data for the research is coming from India. It was very hard to focus the research on a UK based company because of the stricter corporate regulations and the data protection acts in UK. The researcher comes from India, has associations with people in Wipro technologies in India, hence has chosen the company for the research. Wipro Technologies has many branches in India and the time frame available for the research was also not enough to get response from all metropolitan city branches. The researcher wrote to the HR departments of 6 major branches of Wipro, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi. While there was positive response as regards to the survey (questionnaire) that was to be sent, in the end only the HR departments of branches in Kolkata and Pune responded to the questionnaire. The responses from the HR departments (email response) also took time. The other major problem was the four and a half hours of time difference existing between UK and India. This caused some delay in communication.
Judith Leary Joyce, 2004, Becoming an Employer of Choice
Mitchell, T.R., Holtom, B.C., & Lee, T.W. (2001) How to Keep Your Best Employees:
Developing an Effective Retention Policy. Academy of Management Executive, 15 (4) :96-
Philip Kotler, Marketing Management, eleventh edition, 2003, Prentice Hall