“My name is Anthony Gonsalvez and main duniya mein akela hoon (I am alone in the world)”
If you are among a handful of people who can recognize this dialogue (and the actor) and work at a company that enjoys similar name recognition, skip to the end. For others who are not so blessed, read on.
Talent today is spoilt for choices and accordingly to a research, receives 10-12 recruiter calls within 72 hours of posting their resume on the job site. On several occasions, they skip this process altogether and apply directly to some selected firms. What can a company do to increase the probability of consideration if they are on Page 2 of Google search results?
Over the last few years, there is greater convergence in the fields of Marketing and HR and no conversation is complete without discussing Employer Branding, the process of promoting a company as the employer of choice. Building an employer brand is not an overnight journey, however, it is important to get started and not get overwhelmed by the magnitude of the challenge. Everyone has an existing “employer brand” and it is time you took charge of it.
Here are a few steps to consider as you embark on this journey:
· Understand Current perception(s): Begin by understanding current perceptions about your employer brand. This can be discerned through comments on sites like Glassdoor, Quora or asking existing people on why they chose to join/stay with you. Alumni is a great source of information as they will share the good, the bad and the ugly without any fear of retribution. If you have the money, consider commissioning employer brand survey by an outside specialist firm. The essence of this exercise is to understand “What is it like to work here?” A word of advice — suspend judgment and soak in the information, even if it stings you. Remember, this is your story as interpreted by others, not as told by you. And finally, try and discern positioning of your compete firms.
· Table the Aspiration: Once you have a good understanding of current perceptions, play it forward and paint the picture of tomorrow. Assuming you have addressed everything there was to, what do you want to read/hear about your employer brand? Best place to learn, place to work on complex work, place that emphasizes strong values or a place that offers best money. The more precisely you can articulate, the higher is the likelihood of you being able to put together a plan. I recommend building on the goodness that already exists that was uncovered in Step 1 that is unique to your firm. The essence of this exercise is to answer “What do I want to be known for?” Needless to say, one will have to collaborate with senior management and other functions as you alone cannot build and deliver on that promise.
· Hash out the Plan: This is where intent meets action and the thinking is moved forward with specific plan and tactics. Start penning activities, audience profile, media-mix, timelines, priorities and budget. We started our journey by focusing on existing people as opposed to prospective hires as they are the most credible source of information for new hires. The focus was to elevate “employee” brand leading to building of “employer” brand. At this time, let me tackle two key issues – first is the money. If this is the first time you are doing this, don’t bother asking for additional money. Unless your firm has heritage and legacy in building brands, this is likely to be shot down even before you have finished articulating the business case. Start by diverting some of the existing money – for example, reducing hires from agencies, hiring more local candidates and relocating fewer, replacing attrition in your team with junior people etc. Results speak louder than words and the conversation is a lot easier when you have something to share. The other issue is metrics or in some case, lack of it. There are no short cuts or easy answers here, but start by tracking and base-ling metrics like:
· Number of relevant applications (not good enough to just increase applicant pool)
· Quality of hires (advancement rates, performance scores of new hires etc.)
· Engagement & tenure of people
· Offer acceptance and renege rates
· Sentiment analysis
I am sure you can add to this list and you must – the key here is to get started, then get better. Even the best laid plans go awry. Don’t get consumed by it, but start testing by engaging your audience.
And once you have done all of this, start all over again.
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