Article originally published in South Africa's leading HR publication, HR Future where Brett is an International monthly columnist on employer branding. click here for the published article.
This article provides some insights into "The role of leadership in employer branding as featured in Brett's new book Employer Brand Leadership - A Global Perspective.
Build employer brand leadership capabilities in your company
The role of an employer brand manager is increasing in scope as the discipline evolves. As the line between the role of human resource, marketing and communication professionals in talent attraction and retention continues to blur, employer brand managers are being empowered to deliver responsibilities from all three functions.
In 2006 when I published my book, ‘Your Employer Brand attract-engage-retain,’ the position of an employer brand manager was virtually unheard of. Today companies such as Nike, Ernst & Young, UnitedHealth Group, Vestas Wind Systems, Starbucks, IBM, Ahold, E.ON, Deloitte, Nordea, DONG Energy, HP and Deutsche Bank now all have dedicated employer brand managers focused on developing their company’s employer brand.
Employer Brand Leadership Capability FrameworkTM
To assist employer brand leaders to better manage their cross functional responsibilities I developed the Employer Brand Leadership Capability FrameworkTM to ensure a consistent approach to employer brand management. (see figure 1).
Figure 1: Employer Brand Leadership Capability FrameworkTM
(click image to enlarge)
The key functions contained in the Employer Brand Leadership Capability FrameworkTM include:
Employee lifecycle management
This function segments the employee lifecycle and develops policies, systems and practices which are reflective of the changing needs of employees throughout their tenure. For example, as the population ages, mature leaders may require a more flexible working environment so they can take care of their elderly parents.
Employee lifecycle management is a relatively new concept for human resource leaders and creates an excellent opportunity for the human resources function to learn from the marketing function and vice-versa.
Brand portfolio management
The corporate, consumer and employer brand strategies are usually managed separately. The marketing department has been the traditional custodians of the corporate and consumer brand portfolio and human resources have been responsible for the employer brand. It is important to realise you have one master brand which has subsets. The segmentation of the master brand into corporate, consumer and employer brand
segments merely ensures each segment has a focused strategy to ensure outcomes are optimised.
Advances in technology have led to an acceleration and adoption of social media for communication around the world. It has the potential to connect the developing world to the developed world and to create a truly globalised society where goods, services and knowledge are transferred freely. The community management function develops strategies for harnessing the power networks to tap into best practice and to connect employees with customers creating a two way feedback loop that benefits the company and its customers. Companies like Procter & Gamble and Dell have been successful in harnessing the wisdom of the crowds to develop better products and services at a fraction of the cost previously possible.
Strong change management must underpin any effort to embed employer brand management principles and practices across the organisation. Failure to engage line managers with a vision that demonstrates creation of value will result in your employer brand strategy becoming just another project that gets ‘a tick of the box’ but creates no lasting value.
The key levers for driving the functions of the Employer Brand Leadership Capability FrameworkTM include:
Strong, capable leadership that works collaboratively to engage managers across the functions is the key to a successful employer brand strategy. Whilst there is an ongoing debate that ‘leaders are born not made,’ most organisations will have an opinion on the strength of their leadership. The issue is many companies do nothing to address the deficiencies in leadership which end up making it difficult to recruit the leaders required to turn things around. All the companies being recognised for having a strong employer brand such as Google, EMC, Starbucks, Chevron, etc have strong leadership at the top.
Relevant, engaging and timely communication is rare in organisations where employees work in a fast paced busy environment full of communication blockages and jams. Companies such as HP and IBM have built their own internal social networks to connect employees across the organisation and to facilitate wealth creation by creating an environment where explicit knowledge flows freely and through sharing it widely transferring it into tacit knowledge leading to competitive advantage.
The key gap I have found with managers I have met at employer branding training events I have conducted around the world is their ability to influence Executive and line managers about the role of employer branding in building company value. They key to addressing this gap is for employer brand leaders to develop and implement training programs to build employer branding capabilities across the organisations.
Your employer brand strategy must achieve outcomes and be performance driven. This is what will engage the C-suite and ensure continued investment beyond the first stage of your strategy. Performance to objectives and targets must be an ongoing process throughout the development and delivery of your employer brand strategy.
and some final thoughts............
Successful employer brand management requires a new perspective, focus, and commitment at all levels of the organisation, but it must start with having leaders with the capabilities required to effectively deliver on the strategy.
Have you read Brett's new book "Employer Brand Leadership - A Global Perspective" For full details please visit the publisher's website click here>
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