Article originally featured in HR Future (South Africa)
Brett Minchington shares with HR Future Editor Alan Hosking how top organisations are attracting and retaining talent by building a strong employer brand.
Over the past few years there has been growing interest globally in employer branding. What is an Employer brand and how do you know it is working for you?
Your employer brand is the image of your organisation as a ‘great place to work’ in the minds of current employees and key stakeholders in the external market (active and passive candidates, clients, customers and other key stakeholders).
Employer branding is therefore concerned with the attraction, engagement and retention initiatives targeted at enhancing a company’s employer brand.
Strong employer brands have employer value propositions (EVPs) which evoke both emotive benefits – “I feel good about working here, my friends want to work here, this company has a great reputation,” – and tangible benefits – “This organisation cares about my career development, I am paid well and I have a clearly defined career path,” – for current and prospective employees. These EVPs reflect the image the organisation promises to deliver to its target audience. Leaders must have an employer brand mindset, which means they must understand what an employer brand is, how to define it, how to manage it and how their employer brand delivers value to the bottom-line.
Your employer brand is reflected through the behaviours and actions of your employees and, if the behaviours do not reflect your employer brand image, no amount of employer marketing will save you, as authenticity is the key to building an employer brand of which competitors will be envious. When I visited the Google offices in Zurich last year
you could feel the employer brand at work as soon as you walked in the front door. Google has an attractive working environment, it’s colourful, fun and optimised for maximum productivity. Look a little deeper and you’ll discover this doesn’t happen by chance. It’s a great example of how a company defines and delivers on their employment promise and manages it carefully. The manner in which it is done is seamless. Great products, great people – it’s a winning formula! Some of the signs that your employer brand is working for you include:
* survey results show employees are engaged;
* Unregretable turnover is low;
* quality of candidate ratings is high;
* the company ranks high in “best place to work” surveys;
* the number of unsolicited resumes
* of people seeking to work for you is high;
* your talent pipeline is optimised for talent attraction and retention; and
* the company is financially sound.
Over the past 12 months, you have delivered employer brand workshops in 12 countries and provided strategic advice to global corporations. what are you going to say to South African companies?
Companies need to break down traditional business models. This could involve engaging with talent in the virtual economy in a different time zone to work on problems whilst your employees in South Africa are asleep. Talent doesn’t have to be employed inside
There are pockets of excellence in all corners of the world which can be leveraged effectively, such as in China, Brazil and India, at a fraction of the cost to source the expertise locally. Companies should plan to increase their internal referral hire rate, which will not only save on recruitment and turnover costs. It will result in a new hire that is more aligned with the company’s culture. Undertake research to discover how your brand is perceived by employees and potential hires, and take
action on the results.
Companies should invest in building their online employer brand by reviewing their career website and building profiles on networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. With millions of members, these networks are fast becoming a valuable means to engage with current employees and potential hires for companies.
Employer Brand International (formerly the Employer Brand Institute) recently published the world’s largest independent study on employer branding. What were the findings?
The survey was conducted across all industry sectors and included over 2,000 respondents. There were some very interesting findings. Forty-three percent of employer brand projects are being managed by HR departments and surprisingly (but importantly) 34% of projects are now being managed by teams of HR, marketing and communications. This is a good sign – only two years ago over 75% of projects were being managed solely by HR departments. South African companies favour graduate programmes more (9% of respondents) as a channel to communicate their employer brand compared to total world respondents (2%).
Employer referral programmes are utilised less in South African companies (2%) compared to total world respondents (8%) to communicate their employer brand. Having a clearly defined strategy and CEO/senior management engagement are the most important activities to achieve employer branding objectives. A company’s corporate reputation and culture and work environment are the two most important employer brand attributes to attracting new talent. Retention rate and quality of hire are the top two metrics companies are using to measure the return on investment (ROI) of their employer brand strategy.
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