An inside-out approach to employer branding
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Most organizations are unwilling to sell their employee experience as part of their brand. This is the biggest differentiator in terms of how to make a work place attractive.
With the current workforce dynamics, competitive business landscape and the on-going war for talent, recruiting the right and retaining candidates have become two of the biggest challenges faced by organizations today. Right talent is crucial for building a competitive edge in the market. In this context, how can organizations build a compelling brand that not only attracts talent but also creates the right experience for employees? And how does this in turn serve as a retainer of top talent? Progressive organizations are finding the answer to such a challenge by deconstructing the elements of their own employer brand and introspecting.
Deconstructing Employer Brand
Recruitment and retention of high caliber talent is heavily dependent on the brand of the organization. The brand stems from the organizational culture that is further defined around the identity, image and perception that the organization wants to create among its stakeholders. Employer Brand has two elements, what we are today (that comes from the purpose and values of the organization) and what we aspire to be (a futuristic and aspirational desire).It is important that the aspirational part of the brand is perceived as achievable both by employees and potential candidates, and it is the journey of fulfilling the aspirational side of the brand that will attract people to join and to stay in the organization.
Employer brand is experienced through three elements: the worker, the work and the workplace. People are the representation of a brand, personal traits that align to the traits of the employer brand play a crucial role in assessing future employees; Work, and how work is performed, how collaboration is enabled and the rhythm are all examples of elements that form a part of the brand experience. Finally, the workplace is also crucial in representing the employer brand. In this context, both the physical and social environment of a workplace is important. The open or closed spaces, zones & structure, lights& color, all represent the mood of the company. Interaction between employees, the way business is conducted also come into play in the workplace. The worker is at the center in this trinity as the worker becomes the ambassador of the brand both inside and outside the organization.
Alignment between worker, work and workplace strengthens the brand identity and creates a constructive spiral that consolidates the brand values from the inside out. To some extent, leadership has a role to play in architecting employer brand internally, by hiring the right fit of talent, by recognizing and reinforcing the right behaviors at work, by enabling and creating the right work spaces and environments.
Employee referral program: A sign of a strong employer brand
Although advertisements are the most popular form used for building brands, the most effective advertisements are the ones that happen through word of mouth. While the employer brand plays a crucial role in understanding why a prospective candidate selects an organization, it is important to remember that the employee is the number one brand ambassador. Most employees within the organization tend to talk about the work, worker and workplace and such aspects shape the perception of the organization to external stakeholders. Prospective candidates make choices based on this information. However, most organizations are unwilling to sell their employee experience as part of their brand. This is the biggest differentiator in terms of how to make a work place attractive.
When organizational culture is established around an all-inclusive employee voice, the employer brand becomes more attractive, and hence, worth talking about. Employees usually tend to praise the organizational culture, rather than the work that an employee does. So, when employees ‘advertise’ the organization in front of their friends, it leaves a deeper impact, which ultimately increases the chance of referrals. This is corroborated by the fact that the quality of candidates and also the retention rate of referred candidates is higher than recruitment that is done through other means. Further, the cost involved in traditional recruitment is usually higher than that of employee referrals.
A journey of thousand miles
Strong Employer Brands are built with strong foundation that is derived from the organizations purpose and vision, and aligned to the value of the company. It is when this articulation translates into the people we hire (the worker), the way we operate (the work), and our work spaces (the workplace), there is a consistency that is experienced by the employees and who in turn become the brand ambassadors bringing more like minded people to the firm – both strengthening the ability to attract the right people and also retain them.
This article is a part of the People Matters- Oracle Let's Talk Talent series. Click here to visit the Let's talk talent page to read more such articles.