How to build up an employer brand & Benefits of employer brand

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1.     Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………………… 2

2.     Benefits of employer brand………………………………………………………………………… 2

2.1      Attract job applicants……………………………………………………………………….. 2

2.2      Employee motivation and retention……………………………………………………. 4

2.3      Enhance customer confidence……………………………………………………………. 5

3.     How to build up an employer brand…………………………………………………………….. 6

3.1      Human resource – promise of no layoffs……………………………………………… 7

3.2      Quality – cutting edge technology & flexible work setting……………………. 7

3.3      Identity…………………………………………………………………………………………… 9

4.     Conclusions………………………………………………………………………………………………. 9

Employer brand

 

1.        Introduction

The term employer brand could be referred to what attracts the job applicants, what keeps employees and what motivates them, which is to some extent different from both identity and organizational identity (Burke,Cooper & Martin 2011, p. 47). And according to the view of Tapomoy Deb (2006, p. 276) that there are three major components of the employer branding: first, employer brand is not confined in recruitment advertising and it covers more HR activities such as incentive and punishment systems, corporate cultures and organizational settings that value the employees; second, marketing plays an important part in employer branding by applying some marketing communication techniques; thirdly, strong corporate identify and overall quality service and products of the company contribute to the employer branding.

 

2.        Benefits of employer brand

2.1    Attract job applicants

 

As job seekers, when we are looking for a job and a position in which we are going to spend our next few years or even the rest of our life it is logical and reasonable for us to consider a number of factors. Most of us would look at the offer of the job by searching the key words such as monthly pay, monetary and other incentives, space for promotion, corporate culture, quality of work and company policy and also the company’s reputation as an employer. Another way that the employer brand will assist the attraction of job applicants is through employee recommendation, because the current employees consider the employers as a star employer, they will tend to recommend their families, friends and classmates to apply for the vacancies and even help with the applications. And employers also have many reasons for favoring applicants recommended by employees (Katz 1993, p. 166) such as these recommended applicants tend to be more compatible with the company culture and other polities according to the practical experiences. What is more, the brand image as a good employer could be critical to the high end and top talents because they usually would not consider salary and other compensations and financial incentives as the top concerns and instead other considerations such as company culture, reputation, and space for further career life advancement become more important. Hence, the brand of employer could attract more applicants and it is important to the HR of the company. Also because the brand of employers helps attract applicants, it will help reduce the recruitment efforts and relative costs which contribute to the company overall efficiency.

 

 

 

2.2    Employee motivation and retention

 

Motivation is defined as a psychological force that determines the direction of one’s behaviors, level of effort and level of persistence (Lauby 2005). Good employer brand contributes to a high employee motivation for three reasons: firstly, when employees are hired by famous and renowned employers, they tend to be following the company rules and directions without making too much questioning; secondly, a good employer brand often provides above average level pay and compensation and also learning, training and promotion opportunities which drive the employees to work harder. Thirdly, it is believed that employees would stand firm ahead of difficulties if they find a sense of belonging to the companies. In time of difficulties for many “best employers” we can see a lot of cases in which employees would not choose to leave the companies but instead fight for the survival of the companies.

 

In term of employee retention which usually refers to the maintaining of the employees from leaving the company, two reasons are given regarding why brand of employer contributes to the higher chance of employee retention: firstly, researches prove that a positive brand of employer could be a method of differentiating a company from the others and a way of making a strong, different and attractive identity with which existing or potential staffs could identify and become committed to (Management-issues.com 2005). For example, if a company is listed as the top 10 employers in the year, the existing employees would be able to identify the differences between the company and other unlisted companies by imaging that their company are treating them better than others and hence it would be a strong reason for them to stay down even when competitors’ offer is much more attractive.

 

2.3    Enhance customer confidence

 

Consumer confidence or credibility refers to the confidence placed in the medium by the consumers (Bootwala, Lawrence & Mali 2009, p. 43). There are countless benefits of having a high level of customer confidence or credibility such as higher advertising effectiveness as customers will tend to believe what the company tries to convey to the customers. The customer confidence could be enhanced by a good employer brand by two ways: firstly, many customers will assume that those companies that treat the employees well will tend to treat other stakeholders well which include the customers; secondly, the employees and media reports will spread the goodwill of the company as a good employer to the society which enhances the corporate image, increase the brand and act as good advertisements that remind customers of the company’s products with positive impression. In a word, the employer branding help differentiate the product brand provided by the employer in the eyes of the customers and make them perceive the uniqueness of the employer and thus become more willing to buy the products under the brand. This could be seen from the fact that many companies would include its earning of the titles such as “the best 100 employers of the year” in the introduction part of the company in the websites to create not only the good image among the job seekers but also other stakeholders which include the investors, the existing employees and the potential customers. For example, Microsoft put sixteen “Best Employer” titles such as “Best Employer for Women” by Association for Women’s Career Development in Hungary and No. 2 on 20th Annual “Top 50 Employers” in CAREERS & the disABLED Magazine (microsoft.com 2011) together with other professional rewards to enhance the customer confidence on the company’s products.

 

3.        How to build up an employer brand

Table 1
 The matrix of the employer branding construction

Source: Deb 2006, p. 277

 

As proposed by Deb (2006, p. 277), there are four major directions through which companies will be able to facilitate the establishment and improvement of the employer branding: human resource, quality, identity and communication. Below we will analyze and introduce some techniques and methods to support the employer branding construction process in three of the four fields identified in the matrix.

 

3.1    Human resource – promise of no layoffs

 

A responsible employer in most employees’ and applicants’ eyes will not easily fire the employees which in most people’s opinion will create substantial to the influenced employees’ life and thus layoff, especially avoidable layoff in many cases is understood as irresponsible. Hence promises of no layoffs will help set up the image of good employer brand. For example, SAS which is the leader in the field of business analytics was ranked as the top of the annual “100 Best Companies to Work For” list in 2009, and in the beginning of 2010, the CEO Jim Goodnight again promise that there will be no layoffs in 2010, the year in which the global financial crisis deepened (sas.com 2010). From this case we can see that a promise of no layoff in a good timing, such as during the difficult time, will very much comfort the employees and build up good employer brand among the existing employees as well as the job applicants.

 

3.2    Quality – cutting edge technology & flexible work setting

 

A good product certainly increase the brand equity, and it also helps increase the employer brand equity perceived by the “customer”, the existing and potential employees. Two major kinds of quality related factors contribute to the brand of employer construction process that we are going to talk about that are: cutting edge technology & flexible work setting.

 

On one hand, the most popular and widely applied technology seems to be a powerful attraction to most job seekers and employees. Take Google as an example which begun with the most famous and innovative product, the most efficient and effective search engine in the world has offered many innovative services such as Blogger, Orkut, and Gmail using cutting technologies, and these innovative products with a wide global customer base have actually contributed to a better brand of employer because people admire and value such innovative technologies and the products and services created by them. For example, Google Inc has recently been named as the word’s “most attractive employer” of 2011 according to the survey conducted by global employer branding firm Universum (intoday.in 2011). In the list, other most innovative companies such as Apple and Microsoft have been found in top positions. Hence we can see that with cutting edge technology and innovations, employees and potential employees will add additional value to the employer brand of the companies.

 

On the other hand, flexible work setting also creates a good employer brand. Many best employers such as Google have enabled the employees to work with some flexibility in term of work locations and work time to support their creating work. Such flexible work settings actually convey the employers’ trust to the employees and it is understandable that the employees will in return put more trust on the companies. Therefore the flexible work setting will be able to help the companies to build up a good employer brand.

 

3.3    Identity

 

An identity of a company helps other stakeholders to differentiate the company from many other companies. A product with strong identity tend to be easier for customers to pick up, similar cases could be found in the companies with strong identity as employers. For example, a dark (or gray) suit, white shirt, and a “sincere” tiewas the public uniform for IBM employees for most of the 20th century, and it helped created a strong identity of the company among the employees and also to the outside world. When such strong identity of company is demonstrated, internally employees will become more dedicated to such an identity when externally job applicants would be attracted by an identity of this strong. The simplest and strongest information made by a strong identity is that, “we are different from others” and “here you will find a sense of home”.

 

4.        Conclusions

 

With the analysis we have above, we can draw some conclusions: first of all, employer brand involves a series branding behaviors designed to attract and retain the employees and potential employees with a number of benefits such as enhanced customer confidence and attracting more job seekers with a lower cost; secondly, there are many ways and techniques that could be used to build up a good employer brand such as cutting edge technology, flexible work setting, promise of no layoffs and a strong company identity, with the reference to some examples of the famous companies such as Google Inc and IBM, we can see that these techniques have positive contribution to the employer brand construction process.

 

Reference

Bootwala, S., Lawrence, M. D. & Mali, S. R. 2009, TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT M.P.M. Part II – Semester III. Chennai: Pragati Books. p. 43
Burke,R. J., Cooper, C. L. & Martin, G. 2011, Corporate Reputation: Managing Opportunities and Threats. Farnham: Gower Publishing Limited. p. 47

Deb, T. 2006, Strategic Approach to Human Resource Management. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers and Distributors. p. 276

Intoday.in 2011. Google ranked world’s attractive employer, again. View on 5th Dec 2011 [online] http://businesstoday.intoday.in/story/google-ranked-worlds-attractive-employer/1/19098.html

 

Lauby, S. J. 2005. Motivating employees: Career planning & talent management. New York: ASTD Press.

 

Management-issues.com 2005. The basics of employer brand reputation. View on 5th Dec 2011 [online] http://www.management-issues.com/2006/5/25/opinion/the-basics-of-employer-brand-reputation.asp

 

Microsoft.com 2011. Awards and Recognition. View on 5th Dec 2011 [online] http://www.microsoft.com/about/diversity/en/us/programs/awards.aspx

 

Katz, M. B. 1993, The “Underclass” debate: views from history. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. p. 166

 

Sas.com 2010, SAS ranks No. 1 on FORTUNE ‘Best Companies to Work For’ list in America. View on 5th Dec 2011 [online] http://www.sas.com/news/preleases/2010fortuneranking.html