Category Archives: Employer Branding
An employment brand isn’t necessarily just a marketing tool to express your employee value proposition. You don’t have to try to create an employment brand message that speaks to four generations, but you should think about who your company is and what your company is offering as a value proposition. Creating an authentic brand and increasing employee loyalty starts by having an understanding of what your culture really is and what it is not. In a complex recruiting and retention environment, employer branding can be a very effective tool to attract and retain the right people to your company and repel the ones that just don’t “fit”.
Human resource professionals are constantly looking for new ways to help them solve the age-old problems of recruitment and retention.Methods such as print ads and employee referrals, along with newer online methods, are not supplying quality solutions,and the problem may get worse before it gets better.
It’s time to break out of the traditional ways of thinking and begin to look at different ways of doing things. Human resources and marketing may have more in common than you think.
WHAT’S THE CONNECTION?
If you have trouble recruiting quality employees, it’s not good enough to say that you need a new answer.That’s obvious. What you need is a new perspective, a fresh way of looking at the whole problem or issue.
Here’s a true-life example. A regional bank was having trouble recruiting qualified, competent tellers for their branches. They were unable to compete with the wage being offered by the local fast-food burger restaurants,
Could the bank solve its HR problem by using a solution from a seemingly unrelated area of competence, i.e., marketing? Could the bank recruiter use a standard marketing model to recruit new workers? Could the bank use different thinking to identify its real problem: The need to get jobs done vs. assuming the solution was to hire new, full-time employees to get the job done?
For example, if the real problem is to get the job done not just hire full-time employees, could the bank’s HR recruiting efforts be integrated with S.O.P. (Standard Operating Procedure) used by the bank and could interim professionals fill the jobs to get the work done?
Some specific ideas: Could the bank recruit from their customer base by sending out letters or cards asking if customers have ever considered a careerwith XYZ bank? Could the bank put a recruiting message on the back of the deposit/withdrawal receipts that everyone receives after an ATM, driveup or teller transaction? Could they use some of the money being spent on non-productive advertising as a bonus pool to award to current employees who sponsor qualified recruits? Of course they could.
Your company’s marketing department recruits new customers in this exact same way. Why shouldn’t human resources recruit new employees and workers using the same “marketing tools”?
Your recruiting problem may be solved in a similarly “easy” fashion. You always hire full-time employees to do your company’s work. Do you really need those workers to be full time? We’re all familiar with job-share arrangements. Most are usually comprised of two full-time people. Does it have to be that way? Couldn’t you use the experience and skills matched carefully and specifically to your project of, say, three interim, contract workers? Why not?You get the job done, you save on costly benefits because the workers are employees of the outsource staffing agency, and the workers leave when the job is complete. You could probably have several teams of interim workers for those projects that just never seem to get done. What’s stopping you?
THIS COULD WORK !
In fact, it does work. It works every day. In all sorts of companies. Maybe at your competition? Interim, contract workers are the way that work gets done in today’s world.
Today’s companies are composed of a core of competent and skilled executives, high-level managers and professionals.
The core is supported and surrounded by two types of outside workers: Task Workers and Project Workers. Task Workers are frequently part-time and are brought in to assist with the administrative activities of the company.Project Workers are skilled, experienced professionals who come in to a company from outsources that specialize in skilled professionals who provide services that organizations must have to be competitive.Management chooses not to add these people to their permanent payroll and benefits plans, thus realizing a significant cost savings.
NOW TO THE MARKETING MODEL:
Your interim outsource company should be Researching the marketplace for the best and most skilled professionals to accomplish the jobs you need performed. This must include both active and passive job seekers. There’s a lot more expertise out there that can be found and/or moved to action by good marketing.
In their research phase, marketing people find out where there may be unmet needs for things that people do not even realize they need. That’s why recruiting using the marketing model should focus on both active and passive job seekers. The passive recruits may not “need” a new position, but good research may put them together with an excellent opportunity.
When you want to market a product (consumer),you research and find people with certain demographic and lifestyle characteristics. When you recruit, you
(1) identify and establish solid performance and/or experiential characteristics for your employees;
(2) obtain some consumer research; and
(3) recruit people who are similar to good employees you already have.
Basing your search and recruiting efforts on hard data is tantamount to having researchers qualify recruits based on a benchmark scoring system. Marketing people do this when they are trying to research who will be good customers for their companies. When you’re recruiting, don’t just recruit based on geographic area. Why not expand your area of market segmentation? Target a different demographic snapshot. Why hire tellers in a bank from the high school co-op program when you can go to the local meeting to find people? They may be older in years, but many are still young in outlook and have the skills to do the work you need. And they may not be looking for a full-time job. Or, recruit those candidates who may be looking for a job but never thought about a bank and who have good personal skills in dealing with people and situations.
Marketing people see a big difference between marketing and sales. Good marketing strategy is based on identifying not just who you can sell to but who you can satisfy in a superior way. To be more productive, good recruitingmust apply the same concepts to its efforts. Automatically placing an ad in the paper at Rs. 100,000 per insertion may bring you quantity but not quality responses. The same effort through on-line sources may result in the same quantity over quality. But recruiting efforts that are aimed at a specific target segment of people who meet your research criteria will give you quality over quantity.
Targeting a niche and delighting that niche is how and why your company’s marketing pros become successful. Positioning your company’s job offering as a “value proposition” supplying a main, central benefit will give prospects the reason to become “customers,” i.e., employees
THE MARKETING MIX
The Marketing Mix consists of what marketing pros call the 4 Ps, i.e., Product, Price, Place and P romotion. The product satisfies a need or want. It is offered at a price that will move the target market to action. It is offered to the market through/at a place , i.e., a method of distribution. And it is promoted by a variety of means. The Marketing Mix is subject to one of the great “buzzes” in the discipline today—marketing metrics.
IMPLEMENTATION & CONTROL
Accountability via marketing metrics means very simply that are you getting a return on what you’ve invested in your marketing efforts. Now that you’ve strategized your recruiting effort, you must manage its implementation by asking yourself, “Does the position we offer to the target market create interest in the recruit’s mind to “purchase” our position? Are we using the proper means to distribute information to the target market about the position? And, are we integrating all relevant options to promote the position to the market? If your results aren’t what you planned, then feedback mechanisms in the implementation and control stages will help adjust your efforts to improve your odds for success.
Consider the marriage of convenience between HR and marketing so that you can use the tools of the marketing trade R STP MM I C to help you recruit new and retain existing employees. All you have to do is to think of your prospective existing employees as customers, treat them like customersand use the marketing model as your guide.
The HR Reports can have a strategic impact on the organization. But, they have to act as the HR Marketing tool to sell the services and results of the HRM Function. The HR Reports provide the organization with the numbers and trends around its main capital – the human capital of the organization.
The HR Reports can be divided into 3 separate groups:
- Ad hoc reports
- Regular reports
- Strategic Reports
The ad hoc and regular reports are the HRM reports, which are usually getting digitalized as they are standardized and made several times a month usually. Their value added for the organization is not huge; they just show the current status of the organization.
The strategic HR Reports are more important as a tool for the HRM Marketing. The strategic HR Reports are not that common, but they provide the organization with in-depth information about several topic. They are not issued that often and the topic changes in each of the reports. Sometimes, the CEO can ask for making the refresh of the particular HRM Strategic Report.
The Strategic HRM Report is the best place to show the real results of the HRM Function in the HR Processes with the value added. The HRM Reporting Specialist has to collect all the data and make the first analysis of the data to show the drivers in the organization. The HR Reporting Specialist should cooperate with the specialized expert area in the HRM Function to identify the basic causes for the development in human capital.
When the basic data are gathered and identified, the common team of the HR Reporting Specialist, expert area member and the HRM Marketing guy should start the search for the number, which can be sold to the organization as the number to be promoted.
The HRM Marketing person is usually able to find the most important number, which is better than the numbers at the competitors (compared with the external competition and reported in benchmark surveys). But, the HRM Marketing can also sell the positive development in some key measures from the last report and find the correct drivers for such a change. When there is no possibility to find a driver behind, then it is better not promote the number as employees will not understand the logics behind.
The role of the HRM Marketing is not to drive and manage the HR Reporting, but the results of the HR Reporting have to be used as the main source for the selling effort of the HRM Marketing to make employees believe in the uniqueness of the organization.
The Job career fairs are the best tools to improve the position of the organization on the job market. The main purpose of the job career fairs is to attract the young and fresh university graduates. The organizations try to show the full potential of the career with the organization and the graduates? They usually do not know exactly, what they should ask for.
The Job Career Fair Target Group
The job career fairs are an excellent HR Marketing tools as the graduates are asked to vote for the best employer and they usually tend to select the company with the most sexy presentation during the job career fair.
As they have no exact idea about the best employer, they are a very nice target for the HR Marketing guys. The organization, which invests most time to the preparation of the presentation and selects excellent presenters, takes all. The graduates like to have fun and they are bored by very detailed numbers generally.
The HR Marketing has to follow the promotion trends on the market. The admired companies and their product promotion for youngsters is a good example to be inspired. The graduates are used to these communication styles and they will be quickly very familiar with them.
How to raise the attention at the Job Career Fair
The young and fresh university graduates love quick things, which are colorful, but still with a simple message inside. The message of being the best employer will work better than the explanation of the economic background and the stability of the organization.
The young graduates are not interested in detailed information. The world is about the speed, the presentation has to be quick as well. It is the role of the HR Marketing to find the most important aspect, which are attractive for the graduates and the presenters have to repeat them for several times.
The Brand Name building is one of the most important tasks of the HR Marketing. The really strong brand name on the job market brings an attention and attraction to the organization and people start willing working for the organization.
The brand name is essential for the successful recruitment, mainly for the organizations focused on the recruitment of young and fresh university graduates. The university graduates are always driven by the strong brand name and they have no real expectations about the other aspects of the employment with the organization.
The HR Marketing can use several tools to build a strong brand name on the job market:
- presentations at career fairs
- special web sites
- promo web site
- conference sponsoring
- direct mails
The strong brand name built by the HR Marketing is done mainly through excellent presentations at different career fairs explaining the organization to the university graduates looking for their first real job opportunity.
HR Marketing has one big advantage. It can use the channels of the internal communication and it is not limited just to the internal communication, it can work as a public relation moreover as a promotion agency on the external market.
The HR Marketing has to be focused more internally as the real success of the HRM Function is measured internally and the external success is taken a nice extra in the final evaluation. HR Marketing has many communication tools to use, but the most important internal ones are:
- HR Reports
- Black Boards
The HRM Function is about emails. HR Marketing should avoid using the emails whenever it is possible to do so. The HR Marketing should use managerial and employee workshops to announce the most important messages from Human Resources. The HR Marketing is not making an announcement of long reports, the HR Marketing reports one big number and provides the “right” explanation to it.
The HR Reports are a great communication channel. The HRM Function tends to present reports as just facts and figures. The HR Marketing way is to make one more sheet with highlights and sell the results achieved. It works excellent.
The real HR Marketing uses the email as a supplementary tool for its activities, but it is not the main channel to be used.
The HR Marketing needs several basic principles to be followed by the HRM Function.
HR Marketing Consistency
The consistency in the HR Marketing is very similar to the promotion of the organization on the general market. The HRM Function must be consistent in the messages sent to the external and internal world. The customers need to hear the same things all the time and the anchors have to stay the same.
No one will trust to the HRM Function, which changes its priorities quickly and the explanation is not sent to the audience. In case of the change of the priorities, the changes have to be always explained and the expectations of the customers can be raised. There is one rule. Do not communicate, when I am not sure what to communicate.
The consistency of the HR Marketing is also about its connection to the other HR Processes, HR Strategy and corporate culture. This makes the job of the HR Marketing staff more difficult, but the customers will take the message more quickly.
Simplicity in HR Marketing
The messages sent by the HR Marketing and HRM Function has to be simple. The customer does not have time enough to go through long documents. The customer looks for the basic principles and the details are not attractive enough to understand to them. There is the HRM Function to help in case of troubles and the HR Marketing has to communicate this way.
The simplification is not about hiding issues from the managers and employees as they will discover potential issues quickly. It is about communication the basic and most important principles and to explain potential benefits from the solution. And the issues have to be communicated as well.
HR Marketing Attractiveness
The attractiveness of the HR Marketing is the main role of the HR Marketing staff. They have to find the interesting points, procedures and policies to communicate. The normal processing stuff is not a message to promote as everyone expects the main procedures and policies work smoothly. There is no interest to hear about the number of salaries processed every month. On the other hand the result of the Performance Appraisals on the high level are a message very attractive to the management of the organization.
HR Marketing Segmentation
The attractiveness is not just about popular messages. It is also about a cute and attractive way of the communication to the target groups. The HR Marketing has to recognize several target groups of the communication and promotion. Generally, the three main target groups for the HR Marketing are:
- Top Management
Each of the target groups have a different communication needs and they have to be met by the HR Marketing. Also, the segmentation of the target groups help to filter confidential and sensitive information, which have to be distributed just to the very limited group of employees in the organization.
The segmentation of the audience is the task for the HR Management and the HR Marketing has to strictly follow the defined target groups and to monitor potential changes and needs by different groups. The HR Marketing has to send the information about the need to extend the information access by one target group, when there is a need to do so. By the final decision has to be taken by the HRM Function and HR Management.
The HR Marketing is an evolving part of the HR Processes, but the importance and have an impact on to the results of the HRM Function is really high and the HRM Function should invest its employees to the promotion of the results, procedures and policies.
Employer branding is rapidly gaining a solid grip as an effective way for companies to retain and engage employees, attract new talent, and complement traditional branding efforts. As yet the practice is too new to define its ROI in specific terms that have wide agreement, but certain results can be measured with a high degree of accuracy. Internally one can look for the following:
• Employee satisfaction, as measured by length of service, turnover statistics, and targeted surveys
• Increased level of employee referrals, evidence that employees believe the company is a good place to work
• Decreased absenteeism and a good safety record
The effectiveness of the branding effort on a company’s ability to attract and hire the best talent can be gauged in several ways:
• Hits to a company’s career site and number of applicants compared to pre-employer branding efforts
• Conversion rate of applicants to potential candidates
• Job acceptance rate of candidates
• Cost to hire and time to hire
There are, of course, other measurements of branding effectiveness that will be developed or become more clear as companies’ efforts mature and are refined.
And a company whose employees, business model, and strategy are already in alignment has an advantage because it will be better able to articulate its brand.
Employer Brand is the image of your organization as an employer and place to work as perceived internally and externally. Employer Value Proposition (EVP) communicates that image to your target audience(s) and reinforces why talented people would want to join (and stay with) your organization.
The Need to attract and retain top performers remains key to business success. By distinguishing oneself from the competition, by promoting strengths and confirming values ensures that a company stays ahead of the pack and becomes an employer of choice.
Effective EVP management can bring tangible benefits including:
- 20% increase in the pool of potential workers ,
- four fold increase in commitment among employees and
- 10% decrease in payroll costs.
My employer branding research can help you to identify:
- What employees are looking for from an employer.
- How potential employees feel about you and your key competitors.
- How your organization performs on the most important factors for your target market.
- How views differ by different types of staff, division, regions around the world.
- What changes you need to make to your EVP overall and by each relevant audiences.
As companies seek to attract the best talent and to win the retention battle, they are coming to the conclusion that it pays big dividends to influence the candidate’s psyche long before the job ad is ever placed. The branding of companies can be a lot more subtle than just the product or service brand.
The great hope offered by an effective employer branding strategy is that many of today’s HR challenges – those revolving around retention, loyalty and engagement – can be solved long before they ever arise.
The employer brand is the series of messages and images that the company puts out to the employment market to communicate the culture and value – from the employees’ point of view – in working for the company
Good employer branding leads to partially qualified recruitment candidates and enhances the probability of a good match between the applicant’s expectation of the job and what it
actually delivers. Poor employment branding can result in a mismatch between what the applicant expects in the job and what the cold hard reality turned out to be.
Accurate employer branding becomes an issue in a tight talent market where prospective employees are aware of the range of options open to them.
Employer branding has an important role to play in the way the employment market is developing.
Employee branding helps company expansion
Not only can employer branding help recruit the right employees, it can also help an orderly company expansion by removing the drag caused by a high turnover rate
Planning is critical and good employer branding strategies are not the result of knee jerk management decisions or a desire to follow the latest fad.
Communicating the message
The communication task in an employer branding campaign is two fold – one part is the communication with the candidate market and the other is with the existing staff
The role of HR is not to force the issue or own the employer brand. This is a role for CEO level and the Board. The role for HR is to highlight issues, research options, present strategies and facilitate Board discussion. Once an employer branding decision is made the role of HR is to oversee its deployment and communication within the company.
The important thing in measuring success is to rely on objective measures as far as possible. These may include monitoring company statistics such as turnover. They may also include staff surveys
Avoiding pit falls
The worst thing an employer can do is to under estimate the individual and his/her ability to think. If there is a mismatch between the EVP and the reality, the new employees will pick it up very fast and this could become the seed for future disengagement.
Sometimes the employer branding messages inadvertently given out by the company are the very reverse of what the companies are trying to convey with their product brand
There is a growing awareness of the similar sounding concepts of employer of choice and employer branding. While the ideas may be associated, they are not identical. They are however related and, with the heavy intention that the brand must line up with the truth,improvements in a company’s employer branding can boost that company’s place in the employer of choice pecking order by improving employee engagement.