A corporate brand is the sum total of several ideas. It encompasses your organization’s philosophy, culture, and approach to business as well as its reputation among its customers. A brand is reflected not just by the belief system of the top management but by each and every cog in the establishment’s wheel. For people who like to see the world in boxes, Human Resource Managers are merely tools for ensuring a good flow of talent into the company, and have little bearing on the brand. However, a closer look at the interconnected aspects of branding will prove that Human Resource Managers are key to the organization’s branding. They not only ensure compliance with labor laws and employment ethics, but also make sure that people in the organization are in sync with the brand image and value of the establishment and also reflect it externally.
A brand is the identity of a company in the eyes of its customers. To put it more precisely, it’s the promise that customers associate with the experience, value and quality of the services extended by the organization. If the promise is not delivered to the customers each and every time, the brand image suffers. Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, famously said that organizations should look after their employees, who in turn will automatically look after the customers and maintain the brand value. This is why the role of Human Resource Managers is important and key to the brand image.
By being the vanguard of an organization’s culture, by moulding the environment of the organization, by instilling the right values in new employees and bringing them in sync with the organization’s core values and beliefs, HR professionals determine the continuity of the organization’s brand at every level. In this manner, they also act as brand ambassadors of the company they represent. More precisely, they ensure that each employee becomes a brand ambassador of the organization.
Competitive pressure in today’s business environment has catapulted the HR department from an administrative overhead to the fountainhead of innovative solutions to cultivate and nurture talent, and act as the conduit between the top management and the ground level executers. This is how the core philosophy of brand flows from top to bottom internally.
Learning about the standards and trends prevalent in the industry is the key HR solutions provider as it helps organizations keep pace with the changing needs of time. For example, companies today are adopting employee friendly measures such as flexible timings, work from home options, paternity leaves and longer paid maternity leaves to make working more amenable and happy experience for employees. Organizations that take lead in adopting such friendly measures will automatically rank higher on employee preference and will have better retention results. Happy employee translates into the most suitable brand ambassador of an organization as he/she act as an influencer in the industry and persuades more talented individuals to join the organization.
Today, HR managers need to think like marketers and know how to market USPs of their organization to potential talent. Their role is crucial in explaining their company’s work culture and benefits to prospective candidates. It’s also crucial in retaining experienced candidates as they seek job security. Hence, the importance of retention, particularly of quality talent is key to maintaining the organization’s brand value.
How HR Managers Can Act as Marketers?
So, we know now that the role of HR managers is important in building an organization’s brand. But, apart from dealing with employees and trying to keep them happy on a day-to-day basis, what else can these company pointspersons do to ensure that the organization is talked about well in professional and industry circles?
Here are some suggestions:
- Each individual has a social network comprising people of different domains. Today, this social network is not only limited to the people we meet and talk to regularly, but also extends to the social media online. Through this network, HR managers can work in a systematic way to ensure that they are reaching out to people and spreading good word about their organization. For example, if you talk about an interesting pro-employee policy initiated by your organization, it will certainly ring a good bell among your network and help spread it beyond.
- We also have our professional networks comprising people from the industry who usually keep a close tab on what is happening across organizations. As HR managers, how you consciously participate in these networks can make a lot of difference to your organization’s image. Participation can happen at both formal and informal forums. Whether there is an opportunity to present a paper, debate an issue or participate as a speaker at an industry conclave, HR managers should leverage these opportunities to increase their organization’s visibility.
- The entire sourcing or recruitment process is another key area where you can help generate goodwill for the organization. How you manage and complete the entire process and how you treat the candidates who have entered the fray can make a lot of difference. In every recruitment process there will be candidates who are selected, and others who are rejected. How you treat the candidates who have not made it through the selection process is a key indicator of an organization’s moral fabric and culture. The recruitment process should make even the rejected candidates happy so that they go out and talk well about the organization.
- Normally, an organization’s association with an employee lasts as long as the two are together. But, how you treat your ex-employees and how you keep them engaged is another indicator of your organization’s goodwill in the professional circuit. You can keep in touch with ex-employees through alumni networks or newsletter, and maintain a constant association with them. Each individual has a clout or influence in spreading a good word for the organization.