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Employer Branding

As a Human Resource professional, I have had a lot of opportunities to interact with professionals from diverse industries and profiles and trust me it has been extremely informative. Apart from it being knowledgeable what surprises me is the perception that most of the professionals have when it comes to the HR field. They feel that it’s is a stagnate field and what good work was needed has been done. The sole crucial work of an HR professional is to handle the most important resource of any organization and i.e. Human Resource. Human Resource field has to continuously work on improving and keep updated with the current trends of the market. Talking about the trends let’s take a look at the latest HR trends in the year 2019. There are many but one trend that is gaining momentum is HR Marketing and in particular Employer Branding.

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Let’s discuss in brief about the important aspects of Marketing. Marketing is the activity to promote businesses or to even to grow the existing businesses, apart from this it is also about managing relationships with customers. Customers are the core focus because they are the ones on which the businesses are dependent on. Many more concepts like a product, sales, and production are further developed on this core focus. Marketing is further accentuated with the concept of Branding.

Have you ever thought why is it whenever we get thirsty and we go to buy bottled water we ask for Bisleri? Or when we go to buy toothpaste we ask for Colgate? Xerox is the company which produces a machine that makes photocopies, yet we ask for Xerox copies. Well if you still haven’t got the answers to all my questions, then let me help you it’s Branding.  It’s the awesome branding strategies of these companies that have hammered their brands in our head. Branding is more specific than Marketing, it’s also a promotional activity but for a particular product or company.

When we think of Marketing and Branding the aspect of the budget cannot be missed and sometimes it’s the pressing issues that the businesses frequently face. Therefore the most effective and efficient way of marketing is “word of mouth”. This particular marketing strategy has zero financial liabilities as the business has to focus on only one aspect which is the most important aspect for any businesses and that is “quality”. But it is also very sensitive strategy as you have to be very careful about the negative marketing that can take place in the course.

Another most efficient strategy that is and has been and makes the most impact is the “top of the mind recall”. No matter what the companies in the world will do whenever an individual will think of buying a phone the iPhone will surely be on his/her mind and will desire for it irrespective of the cost that an individual has to pay. Apple has created a brand purely based on innovation and quality and which cannot be defamed in near future.

Before you start thinking of what human resource got to do with all the concepts of Marketing and Branding? We do understand the importance of stakeholders, there are two such stakeholders i.e. Internal and External. As an HR I am discussing the concept of Marketing and Branding from an employer’s point of view to further strengthen their presence with their existing employees and their future potential employees. We will now further speak more about the concept of “Employer Branding”.

Employer Branding is a concept introduced by Simon Barrow and Tim Ambler in the Journal of Brand Management in 1996. It was the first attempt made by this duo to test the branding aspect and techniques to human resource. So now we do understand that even though it is a trending strategy it has been established nearly two decades back. Many companies of the western world have accepted this concept with open arms and are already reaping the benefits of including this in their company’s strategy.

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Here as in marketing, the company needs to start by creating a solid ‘company image’. How this image could be created? Will advertising and promotional activities help in Employer branding? Yes, but the approach will differ, as we will have to create an image, a brand which will attract the potential employee. Also an image, a brand where the current employees can strongly associate with, we will further connect this aspect with another aspect of “brand ambassadors”. Hence, employer branding is therefore directly connected with the Company’s image, creating a brand and further creating a solid brand association.
This positive brand image with the human resource being at the core could only be created through “Goodwill”. An employer can create goodwill by having good human resource policies when you have the ability to survive in volatile markets and an empathic approach in handling the employee, many more aspects could be added to this list. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) could also be an effective way to create goodwill and a strong positive brand association.

Once the companies have achieved a positive company brand image, they have actually “positioned” their company within the market and hence have created their loyalties within their employees and a positive image in the minds of their future potential employees. This is how they make their own employees their “brand ambassadors” and this goes well with the brand association aspect that we discussed in our last paragraph. These ambassadors will be instrumental in further creating awareness and positive image of their own company and enhance the brand of the company as “word of mouth” is the most effective way in marketing and branding.

Employer branding has its own benefits apart from further creating new businesses and also improving the existing businesses. It is vital in talent acquisition where a positive and strong employer brand can attract and engage new talents. Candidates always want to join companies with good and reliable brand image and they see consistency, growth, and security with these companies. There is nothing wrong with such expectations in such volatile markets.
Employee Engagement is also another aspect where a positive employer image will be effective. Employees are well engaged with companies which provide work-related growth, good human resource related policies and favorable work culture. It also helps in the retention of the employees.

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As an HR profession, you can further take this concept of employer branding and further personalize it. In addition to the employer branding comes the aspect of “personal branding”. Yes, as being an HR professional you are the face of the company and hence you are directly contributing to the employer brand. Human resource team is comparatively a smaller team but if efficient enough can do wonders in creating a positive employer’s brand. As human resource professionals are the first contact for the candidates and the last contact to the employees in case of separation hence can effectively contribute to employer branding. This can be done with one thing in which the human resource professionals are struggling today and that is timely communication. Over a period of time, the area where there is major dissatisfaction in the interaction between the candidate and human resource profession is that they do not communicate appropriately. The grievances are very clear the human resource professionals are very active in the initial stage of engagement, this interaction fizzes out in the course of time and hence making the entire recruitment process a bitter experience for the candidates. The recruitment experience is traumatic for the candidates who are not positive or a select. The main aspect in this mismanagement is that the feedbacks are not provided by the professionals and if provided no proper justification is provided. This leaves a bitter taste hence hampering the employer’s brand which shouldn’t be tolerated.  Yes, the human resource professionals especially the ones handling recruitment are exhausted as it is a challenging role but a proper process and system will be helpful. A professional outlook is required even to handle negative feedback as these candidates will further go in the job markets and spread positive or negative feedback about the company as well as the human resource team. Every human resource professional must be educated on the importance of closure that is required in every discussion that they have initiated and no adherence to it should be dealt harshly. This is very much required and should be the norm in today’s work culture.

On the parting note, I would conclude that the Employer Branding is not just a trend but the requirement of the hour and Human resource is the strong backbone to achieve it.

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