Thursday, January 8, 2015

Why HR and employer branding is important

HR branding or employer branding is not unknown thing for HR fraternity. Only those organisation and people who are still in the mindset that HR is just a policing and administration department may be unaware or not worked on this. 

Yesterday (i.e. december 07), HR Shapers discussion was based on the same topic and indeed, it was a very fruitful learning. Many members from both group 1 and group 2 expressed their view. Yes, few members were top of the topic, whereas few others also expressed some additional view of the outer area. 

The whole point is, branding is required to create awareness about a product and for any organisation, its products are:
1. Its culture
2. Its practices
3. The environment it provides
4. Benefit it extends to it employees
5. Opportunities it provides to its employees
6. Showcasing how happy its employers are. 

Few members expressed the point like communication and what happens when an organisation fails proper way of communication. However, I think, the discussion could be reserved for managing communication. Yes, true, that also impact branding. 

There may be understanding that branding is required only for a smaller, new or lesser known organisation. No, that is not the case. even the top employer need to tell people to attract talent that why they should join them. If you need to attract talent you have to tell them, you have to tell about why you are one of the best choice for them. The time has gone when people used to stick to an organisation for the whole life, now it is completely give and take relationship. Forget about the only salary cost, now the CTC can have many things. 

I am sure, you will find this discussion fruitful. 

[07/01 09:38] Ashish Gakrey: Today Topic by KN, HR - ABC Solution, Mumbai - share some insight of brand building n role of HR for HR brand building n company HR and company does build up their own brand inside n outside...because most of the time..HR does not market and leverage too much even for their own HR brand...

[07/01 09:40] participant 1: Be a pay master and you are building a brand to start with.....that's a common definition.....may work only for short while.

Govind: I fully agree to participant above statement

[07/01 09:41] participant 1: In long term,  it is more on employee life cycle been handled.....Tata steel, HAL, NAVRATNAS, Godrej has been able to do a lot in this area....

[07/01 09:41] participant 2: EVP is important for brand building

[07/01 09:42] participant 2: Ensuring that the policies are created as per the EVP

[07/01 09:42] Ashish Gakrey: Great start Participant 1 and participant 2. looking forward more inputs from all members.

[07/01 09:43] participant 1: Where next generation is equally interested to make their  careers,

[07/01 09:43] participant 3: I would say the silent but strong brand builders are the employees...if the are happy, satisfied, engaged, it does help the organisation to maintain its brand. This helps in attracting the talent too.

[07/01 09:44] participant 4: In my opinion irrespective of the industry, HR can always contribute and play an important role in brand building as they have the key sources to brand their organisation I.e. employees , candidates,  outside Vendors through whom they deal,while posting the requirement in online portals,the way they deal with their current and ex employees  etc. please correct me if I am going in the wrong direction

[07/01 09:44] participant 1: many employees proudly talk that their employer is the best.....and really takes care of everything they aspire for

[07/01 09:45] participant 5: GM..we are all good in talking jargons and fundas, be specific in telling what u have seen worked or u have succesfully implemented. That will be real value addition.

[07/01 09:45] participant 6: Brand building plays extremely imp role when it comes to global hiring.

[07/01 09:46] participant 3: What I have mentioned is what we did and experienced.

[07/01 09:47] participant 6: Agree with all of you.

[07/01 09:48] participant 1: Its the connect n awareness of employees in every stage of business affairs.

[07/01 09:48] participant 5: What made them happy n engaged is the expected answer I think.

[07/01 09:48] participant 1: Today, I have 20 employees who are my internal brand ambasdors in terms of HR brand building.

[07/01 09:49] participant 5: Am I right, knowing from where you are coming from! ( my and your boss having same wavelenght)

[07/01 09:50] participant 7: Wow! What is the methods you guys use for brand building?

Govind: I have given few options below in my answer.

[07/01 09:50] participant 1: And they are.....because they have experienced the growth, culture change, sense of contribution , carry a feeling that they are part of culture building etc.

[07/01 09:50] participant 7: True participant 1.

[07/01 09:50] participant 1: Simple. I talk to them first before I execute any change.

[07/01 09:51] participant 1: Since they are tenured they understand equally well in terms of what will work and what not.

[07/01 09:52] participant 5: U said it participant 2.

What it means is, involvement in decision making ! Is the action you took which worked well. Kirit or any one expects these types of inputs.

[07/01 09:53] participant 3: There are various fundamental aspects we can look compensation, progression, training etc. But there are other aspects we need to focus like-  transparency, open culture, innovation, inclusiveness which helps them to gel with the organisation and organisational changes. If they are confident about their employer,  they are the best brand ambassadors.

[07/01 09:53] participant 1: These people share the success stories for me across the organisation n people start following them.

[07/01 09:53] participant 8: I think employees itself is a brand builder of any organisation. .. If employees are happy they will spread good things about the organisation. .and that will possible when an organisation has good culture, employee friendly policies. .flexible working hours. .etc. ..This is one of very important factor other than social media.

[07/01 09:55] participant 1: It is important to make employees aware what is happening inside as well as outside......most of the times it is outside environment that matters to them rather than internal

[07/01 09:55] participant 3: A simple action of letting employees know how their small action can affect the business, helps them to increase their awareness about the business and builds confidence in them.

[07/01 09:56] Ashish Gakrey: In some industry like media and entertainment...though HR is there, but actually not exist just because of its nature of business.

Govind: I slightly agree with Ashish. Yes, HR is ignored in media and entertainment. It is more due to management attitude and lack of proper control. HR very much exist, but in a lose form where multiple employee handles role of HR.

[07/01 09:56] participant 1: When the industry is doing not so good....we share with them the outside realty and our steps to cope up......they understand and start feeling good about it.

[07/01 09:58] participant 7: I think transparency is key.

Govind: It has nothing to do with branding.

[07/01 10:00] Gayatri: I think building trust plays an important role in brand building inside as well as outside organizations.. If we talk about HR brand building any initiative that HR is taking up should be driven in such a way that employees feel involved. There should be transparent communication. Also, all our representatives should be aligned with our brand and values.. And should exhibit the same while representing the team or the organization in any forum internally or outside.

[07/01 10:04] participant 3: If an employer puts a big size Ad in anewspaperr, employees who are happy with the organisation, will show it to others, talk with others about it. Else, they will ignore it. Or if someone asks them about the Ad they would not like to speak about it.

[07/01 10:05] participant 3: We have channels ready for us to do publicity, which we should use. But, we should not forget that our brand building is shouldered to our employees too.

[07/01 10:09] participant 9: I am making a reference of ADP, which used actual employee photos across the city. One of them is a friend and he said that I will never leave ADP, since the organisation has given me more than what I asked for. While this may seem a bit off track for many organisation, using real employees in advertisements, poster campaigns enhances the brand value.

[07/01 10:13] participant 5: I would say whyyouu need to put advertisement innewspaperss? Why not internal advertisement attract sufficient responses?
your employee referral should fetch maximum response. That shows your people are happy and they would like others to join with them. 

Big or small advertisement has been just a PR exercise. It really does not work and what you land up getting is all junk CVs.

Govind: I feel, the statement above is for advertisement for a job / vacancy. Although the junk percentage is more, still you reach to many people and create your visibility. Sometime, out of 100, you may get one suitable profile too.  

[07/01 10:15] participant 5: Infosys, and Capgemini or Accenture too did that sort of big advt hoardings. It was for PR also.

[07/01 10:15] Gayatri: So true Vijay.

[07/01 10:18] Gayatri: Especially in today's age when employees have very strong social connect.. We can expect wonders happening through the internal brand building.

[07/01 10:19] participant 5: Very true...its +ve as well as -ve effect.
See TCS laying off 1500 employees news or rumour it spread.

[07/01 10:20] Gayatri: Right.. That's where transperant policies and communication plays

[07/01 10:21] Gayatri: An important role.. To create the positive impact.

[07/01 10:22] participant 9: Employer Branding has to be both internal and external. I would prefer my photo externally as compared to internal. It is a catch 22 situation. Getting junk CVS is expected, even if you don’t have big Posters ;) they just find the id and bombard you. From an employee perspective leveraging whatever means soMe or OOH end of the day is recognising that orgnisations do value employees. Then there are many who don’t do anything still they have a strong Emp Brand
[07/01 10:25] participant 9: Referrals are not always a right reflection of the Brand. We tend to get carried away by the responses to referrals ir does not mean a super brand. One personal example, one employee used Referral schemes to make money by recommending profiles downloaded by his wife from a portal. It was eventually found out.

[07/01 10:25] ‪participant 10: I believe that we should communicate the most in bad times but in reality communication is least in these times!!! Transparent and clear communication is the key to build the brand !!

[07/01 10:26] participant 5: We cannot include every employee inadvertisement photo. This may not be a useful way. I know these photos have been chosen randomly, otherwise HR will have different problems to face. 

I have done this exercise in early 2000 at Mastek.

[07/01 10:27] participant 9: Saurabh, I agree with a slight modified version communication is essential all through, good or bad times should not be the criteria. During bad times.  The types would vary and reach out deeper.

[07/01 10:28] ‪participant 10: True !!!

[07/01 10:29] participant 3: It’s not only about referrals, it can not be the sole motive of brand building...companies need toadvertisee, make publicity to remain in the competition, attract clients and investors.

[07/01 10:30] participant 3: So a balance is required between internal and external actions and campaigns

[07/01 10:31] participant 9: We get caught in the trap of Branding Vs PR ;)

[07/01 10:31] participant 11: Referrals are an outcome of the brand. Brand essentially is an agreement by a large section of employees and such agreements are driven by conversations.

[07/01 10:31] participant 9: well said, participant 11

[07/01 10:32] participant 11: Mostly as HR we are at the impact of such conversations and not at the source or partner.

[07/01 10:34] participant 11: Appreciate what the participant wrote in creating internal ambassadors. Even the whatsapp groups internally are driving agreements.

[07/01 10:34] participant 9: But Branding is beyond Referrals

[07/01 10:34] participant 3: Yes

[07/01 10:35] participant 11: Certainly

[07/01 10:35] participant 9: Policies, Practices and Stories are also needed to strengthen the Employet Brand.

[07/01 10:36] participant 9: Empowerment

[07/01 10:38] Gayatri: Agree with u.

[07/01 10:42] Gayatri: Its also about the whole experience we, as representatives of our org, offer to anyone .. May it be a candidate or vendor or partners or clients.. The trust gets strengthened and the brand gets enhanced.. It can even start with the smallest things how you greet them..

[07/01 10:43] participant 9: It starts with the first point of connect.

[07/01 10:44] participant 9: Maybe the reception, the guard, the security check process, how you are treated when waiting everything count

[07/01 10:45] participant 11: Continues with all touch points.

[07/01 10:45] participant 9: As we are discussing this HCL announces Intl Holiday or Merc to top 130 performers. This too is in essence employer branding at a higher level.

[07/01 11:06] participant 12: I agree with baba..every point of contact needs to be looked at as a brand building exercise. The first impression is always the most lasting one.

[07/01 11:09] participant 12: From personal experience at GHIJ, we have a strong referral system. We have timely one on ones with employees to gauge their satisfaction levels.

[07/01 11:27] participant 13: EVP depends on business, industries etc.

[07/01 11:30] participant 13: For example. FMCG vs heavy engineering industries.

[07/01 11:51] participant 14: Consider our employees as "Human" rather than "Resources" only.   Listen to our employees and make them feel "Valued" and be transparent about not considering any suggestions / initiative immediately.     Conduct post exit interviews to get candid responses and implement mitigation plans to retain the existing talent and attract the ex-employees / performers which leads towards Brand Building.

[07/01 13:05] Ashish Gakrey: What a great conversation and input so far... please carry on and would also request other members (mute wale) to share their experience and  knowledge.

[07/01 13:23] Govind: Advertising alone is not branding. There are  other methods too, which I have used and prefer. Few examples: becoming a speaker in a webinar, organizing webinar on various businesses, HR and career related topic and to explain how my organisation deal into such issues and what my organisation do in that area. Blogging, writing articles in management magazines and newspapers, becoming panellist and speaker in business management and tech colleges or targeted colleges / institutes/ seminars. Using twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to engage readers effectively. There can be more options, I just told what I have done so far and experienced few. just look at Mahindra Auto Farms Sectors twitter handler @Mahindraexp it post about HR practices it has, brands it HR policies and culture , asks people question/ view on a specific topic, then showcase their employees and their experience. This is a good branding effect and example.

[07/01 13:27] Ashish Gakrey: I have one question- how many of you have different names or extended name or tag line of HR in your company because this is one part of brand building whether internal or we do for newsletter etc...

[07/01 13:31] participant 1: People and communications is what I refer to as HR

[07/01 13:39] participant 9: PEOPLE, PROCESSES, VALUES

[07/01 15:03] participant 15: I feel any HR branding strategy Will also work if we are are first following the basics of HR- being approachable,  communicate, connect, handle grievances effectively (at the right time), work on people development and progression. To have transparency in process and strategies. Handle crises well instead of being d part of the grapevine. Works toward creating a good employee friendly organisation culture.
HR visibility and being actively involved in org strategies.

what is our in-house culture is very fast passed on outside organisation by our existing and ex employees...
[07/01 15:06] participant 15: We may be doing 20 big things, but if not have 10 mins to listen to the employee problem or challenges.... all impact of those 20 big things will get fade off for that employee.

[07/01 15:07] participant 13: Absolutely right.

[07/01 15:09] participant 16: True

[07/01 15:09] participant 17: Absolutely true.

[07/01 15:10] participant 13: 1 minute can cost us heavily. 
And it's my recent experience.

[07/01 15:14] participant 4: Right, you  have concluded the discussion very well

[07/01 15:19] participant 13: Can we have another topic to discuss?

[07/01 15:19] participant 4: Hahaha

[07/01 15:22] Govind: Agree -  satisfaction of internal customer also lead to branding then each employee become brand ambassador.

[07/01 16:03] participant 12: Very well put.

[07/01 17:05] participant 18: Agree Sandhya

[07/01 17:15] participant 19: People matter results count @ our organization.

[07/01 17:18] participant 19: This year at our organisation I have suggested a new tagline for HR - collaborative human approach.

[07/01 17:28] Ashish Gakrey: input from Group I...lots of gud points...

7 Jan 10:09 am – Participant 20: One simple thing to build brand externally. When we call candidates for interview, give them a fantastic experience. Don't let them wait for hours. Give them enough information about the organisation.

7 Jan 10:11 am – Participant 21: Although this sounds very basic, but I have many companies not doing this well.
7 Jan 10:13 am - Sometime it becomes difficult to give good experience to mass drive...unless planned really well...Keeping good communication is key for building brand....Simple thing is response time....for all is important.

7 Jan 10:17 am - To build a strong brand internally, HR should focus on maintaining communication and buy in of key stake holders. Also HR should create brand advocates outside the HR department to brand HR internally.

7 Jan 10:22 am - Internal brand management is really very imp and  the first step in building brand outside. The way things are conveyed by word of mouth is too fast these days due to technology. You do one good practice and it gets circulated in da world So keep employees happy...good engagement practices... Do benchmarking regularly to improve your current practices...

7 Jan 10:24 am - Interesting can we have HR brand ambassadors in the say that we have for the overall brand? Can there be the equivalent of a Tendulkar or Shah Rukh khan endorsing?

7 Jan 10:27 am - Vikram you tossed a good idea. We can actually identify popular employees internally the Shahrukh Khans and the Tendulkars of the organization and make them HR brand ambassadors internally.

7 Jan 10:28 am - Employees are good the brand ambassadors.

7 Jan 10:29 am - Ex-employees talking good about the organisation & willing to come back.

7 Jan 10:30 am -  Thanks. I was also wondering if they could be brand ambassadors externally as well. Like through their blogs or appearances at forums, social media. Can an org consciously make them brand ambassadors to create a desire and operational value to join the company the same way it is created to buy the product. Basically replicating the marketing model in HR.

7 Jan 10:30 am - Identify the employees who can endorse the Brand (org) train them on "How to" (Social media platforms)

7 Jan 10:31 am - Huge topic

7 Jan 10:31 am - ex-employees talking good about the brand are external ambassadors.

7 Jan 10:32 am - I would prefer to add my comments restricted to branding initiatives in my Firm which is full of 60% millenials

7 Jan 10:33 am - For eg: I may not join ICICI because Amitabh B. is endorsing. I may consider ICICI, if an employees are endorsing it.

7 Jan 10:35 am - @Swapnath: we should target Millenials.  We (Millenials) are the target audience.

7 Jan 10:37 am - Employer branding is nothing but to become best in class employer ie do everything which gives competitive advantage to talent strategy.

7 Jan 10:39 am - Talent strategy is truly a marriage between quality talent plus quality work for quality talent, HR gas control on quality talent parameters, but plays an insignificant role in the enduring quality work for quality talent.

7 Jan 10:40 am - What do millennials want?

7 Jan 10:41 am -  true. Can existing employees also do it? Like can specific people be marked out and consciously cultivated as ambassadors with a marketing strategy driving it? Through marketing, can an existing employee be made as (close as possible) popular as Amitabh?

7 Jan 10:42 am - Top ten things- work life balance, diversity, challenging work, collegial company, continuous feedback, giving back to society, specialized work, influence through merit, self image and status

[07/01 17:28] Ashish Gakrey: 7 Jan 10:43 am - So to create a strong external brand we need to appeal to at least 80% of the sticky factor.

7 Jan 10:44 am - If we can sincerely and seriously promote autonomy with feedback and at the same time flexible career path positioning appears right.

7 Jan 10:47 am - Deep insights to the data, Suggests employment branding is not only how you treated the person, but who did you hire, intellectually agile, passionate and creative employees are needed if the hour as organizations are shifting from a goal based management to situational based on execution.

7 Jan 10:56 am - An interesting aspect about brand failure is not doing not so innovative things,  but maintaining extremely frustrating status quo or refusing acknowledging  the issues at hand.

7 Jan 10:57 am - Loss of credibility is more on status quo.

7 Jan 11:00 am - The biggest challenge for HR is the credibility seats in minute details of daily work and to be an optically correct HR can't afford to allow error or relax.

7 Jan 11:01 am - In addition to voice and impartiality of the top HR Leaders.

7 Jan 1:05 pm - What a great conversation and input so far... please carry on n would also request other members (mute wale) to share their experience n knowledge...

7 Jan 1:25 pm - Building a strong employer brand and living it both are important..make sure the things that you promise to the candidates are actually living in the organization, else it would be challenging to retain in case of mismatch, internal Branding and external branding go hand in hand.

7 Jan 1:25 pm - Where ever you go.... take your brand along with you... It speaks for u...I have seen Yogesh prefers wearing Rangrut T Shirts most of the times.. Its a great brand building exercise….We keep on doing HR conferences every year and it's a big brand booster for Rangrut…..Social Media undoubtedly is the best platform now a days….HR should speak their brand where ever they go.

7 Jan 1:31 pm – In our organization, we have people ad our brand ambassadors. Everywhere whatever posters you see it will have some VP or director or manager in it.

7 Jan 2:02 pm - I feel every minute and second branding happens in the organisation.  Simple smiles from HR team members defines  approachability sensitivity and care.  People  are taking these experiences back with them.  I have often seen Exasperated expressions from HR team members to employees which put off people. To be  continuously aware that people are making judgements about you all the time is vital.

7 Jan 2:07 pm - Well said.

7 Jan 2:08 pm - Agree with swaps walk the talk is extremely crucial for people to think highly about their organisations. Parallel engaging employees in org initiatives gives them the opportunity to understand org perspective which indirectly helps in better branding.

7 Jan 2:28 pm - Another big opportunity to branding is a campus - where it works in a different way. Their visibility and association in various formats is important, being academic partners to event partners, to sponsorship of scholarship, running gender initiatives etc play an important role. This is branding with immediate purpose.

7 Jan 2:29 pm - True. I remember at FMS games like Loreal E'strat, ITC challenge etc were great fun and really drove a lot of us to associate with and aspire to working there

[07/01 17:34] participant 7: Great input from all members thanks a lot.

[07/01 17:34] participant 7: Good learning experience.

[08/01 00:12] Ashish Gakrey: in a top consumer electronic MNC, we do branding through employees who are designated as "XCI Champs"

XCI stands for X Cultural Index.
They are given some goodies like T-Shirts, special ID Cards and some other facilities.
Their task is to help HR in generating a favourable response and to collect feedback.
They help in organising and promoting events and policies etc.
Basically ,  task is to keep employees motivated, invovled. and informed.
However, how they exactly work and how much impact they have made since their inception in 2013, is not known to me. Employee Relations and Strategic Planning team will have a better idea as they drive the "XCI Champs" initiative.

[08/01 00:12] Ashish Gakrey: HR & Marketing should collaborate on Employer Branding Strategy

[08/01 00:13] Ashish Gakrey: Friends looking for an HR professional generalist role 6-7 yrs exp preferably IT background in Bangalore for Xoriant solutions. Please send references to my colleague

[08/01 00:13] Ashish Gakrey: My two cents!

I agree we should do branding through our employees! 

We at campus, have alumni's from the same campus representing XYZ, we also have XYZ Alumni network to be in touch with employees who leave us! We encourage boomerangs! 

At campus , we have different branding through their own Alumni!

[08/01 00:16] Ashish Gakrey: Same at XYZ alumni network of law schools is crazier than B schools so we make it a point to create campus committees.

[08/01 00:17] Ashish Gakrey: With chosen graduates,  including partners to associates

[08/01 00:17] Ashish Gakrey: Very true... We have just started the campus drive for employer  branding

[08/01 00:17] Ashish Gakrey: I think the most ideal forces are HR + corporate communication / corporate brand team to come together on employer branding. An element of your core brand needs to be a part of your pitch to campus,  which also helps to market the company beyond roles. Somewhere corporate communications can play a great role and also I have seen them relatively more aligned to HR compared to mainstream marketing.
[08/01 00:17] Ashish Gakrey: Campus committee  is a good idea

[08/01 00:17] Ashish Gakrey: It’s a good platform to merge HR practices, business processes and brand management

[08/01 00:17] Ashish Gakrey: Corporate communication is a big domain depending upon the size and operations.

[08/01 09:32] Ashish Gakrey: Few thoughts of yesterday's topic HR plays a big role for branding many have pit their thoughts. I use a of social media both for internal and external branding in collaboration with the branding team on various medium like FB, twitter. Linked in and also on Instagram. This is very effective. It is all about the things going viral. Most of the Co. Amply while they use social media. In TCS We use social networking platform which has been developed for internal people which connects all the employees globally. at the same time we have a social networking platform for students. A collaboration between business and HR is very effective. It happens a when we have a clear cut plan of theories that each need to play.
[08/01 09:32] Ashish Gakrey: In today's word it more about how different is your branding. In short time what is the impact that you are creating on the said audience . The recent videos by HCL hirals was a fantastic idea advertising about re skills that they want to hire.

[08/01 09:32] Ashish Gakrey: In strongly within organizations, two things work simultaneously to achieve the same goals of branding. Like Nikhil said what impact we have on on the said audience in terms of service levels ànd how employee caring HR  is? Being fair, transparent, consistent and proactive should be the core values of every thing that happens around us and through us and at every level. The second aspect is about strategic branding to meet the larger business goals and both these should integrate and marry and be a natural outcome than a laboured effort.

I hope you loved and like this article. All comments are welcome.
Thanks to all members who participated for this discussion.

January 08, 2015

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