CEO is the custodian of an employer brand
An employer branding exercise can be successful if it is a part of the CEO’s KPI
CEOs in Indian companies often complain that they are unable to achieve the desired outcomes from their investments in talent management. While CEOs realize that the role of talent in business has grown, there are no gold standards that depict the direct outcomes of talent initiatives. There are several indicative questions that CEOs refer to while assessing their talent efforts. Some of these are:
- How can we make our employees more productive and successful?
- How can we attract and hire the best talent?
- How can we increase market share; compete & win vis-à-vis competition?
While all these are relevant questions, it is no secret that without placing an adequate people engagement strategy, we cannot expect to achieve desired outcomes. Our June 2014 survey among 85 CEOs in Indian organizations reveals that more than 70 per cent of organizations spend less than 10 per cent of their overall brand budget on employer branding. This indicates a level of unwillingness to take serious steps towards building an employer brand.
Building an employer brand is similar to building a consumer brand. One can consider the brand-building exercise as a four-step process. The first step is for the organization to understand and gain answer to the question, “Who am I (organization) and how I am different from others?” It is an important first step which provides a direction as to what the organization stands for (value system); its unique value proposition and differentiation. An organization should try to build its employer brand by focusing on critical quantitative parameters.
The second key step in building an employer brand is the traditional marketing phase. All the organization’s talent management plans have to come together in this phase. The employer branding exercise needs to clearly define the target audience demographics; experience level; location–local/regional/global; active vs passive seekers.
The third step in employer branding is building a communication strategy. The most effective communication strategy is the one that is able to articulate – Who you are and how you are different? We should watch out for trying to include too many points to communicate. On the contrary it is best to include two to three strong differentiators as your communication objective. The communication should address both your current and prospective employees. The communication strategy should be based on research/study (internal and prospective employees) and not just built on perceptions/opinion.
The next step is to decide on the media vehicle/s on which our brand communication will reside. It is important for the organization to select media which is used/consumed by the target audience; is engaging provides flexibility of two-way communication; measurable and cost effective.
An organization needs to have a long term view (at least 8-12 months) to the employer branding exercise. We need to be consistent and just communicate, communicate & communicate.
A CEO should be the custodian of the employer brand. An employer branding exercise should reflect in CEO’s KPI. If we look at any established employer brand, we’ll find that it is built through a systematic, sustainable effort with active involvement of all stakeholders, driven by the CEO.
(As told to Vikram Choudhury)