Back

Employer Branding is not PR’s Business

Nowa­days com­pa­nies are inc­re­asingly allo­ca­ting funds to Emp­lo­yer Bran­ding. Paral­lel with this popu­la­rity some depart­ments such as mar­ke­ting andPR are begin­ning to stake their claim on emp­lo­yer bran­ding acti­vi­ties. If con­ti­nues this way HR may be totally excluded.

“Having more bran­ding expe­ri­ence than HR” is the pri­mary jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for this prac­tice. But in reality they’re in power and they get what they want. Unfor­tu­na­tely some HR depart­ments give in this situation.

But I think we are mis­sing an impor­tant point. Emp­lo­yer bran­ding is HRissue. It’s more than the app­li­ca­tion of bran­ding prin­cip­les to rec­ru­iting. Han­ding it over to PR will end up with failure. Beca­use Emp­lo­yer Bran­ding is much more comp­re­hen­sive than clas­si­cal bran­ding prac­ti­ces. First of all it is clo­sely rela­ted to emp­lo­yer iden­tity. Unders­tan­ding this rela­tion is essen­tial for suc­cess­ful Emp­lo­yer Bran­ding. Let me show just how comp­li­ca­ted it is.

Before giving start to emp­lo­yer bran­ding ini­ti­ative these ques­ti­ons need to be answered:

1. Who are we as an employer?

2. What do we want emp­lo­yees (cur­rent and poten­tial) to think about us as an employer?

3. What do emp­lo­yees (cur­rent and poten­tial) actu­ally think of the organization?

4. What do emp­lo­yees (cur­rent and poten­tial) beli­eve others think about organization?

Filip Livens and his col­le­agues simp­lify this fra­me­work by so cal­led “cock­tail party test”:

“In social situ­ati­ons such as cock­tail par­ties, there is a high pro­ba­bi­lity that we have to ans­wer the ques­tion for which orga­ni­za­tion we work. If we sub­se­qu­ently tell who our emp­lo­yer is and the con­ver­sa­tion sways almost imme­di­ately in anot­her direc­tion, this might indi­cate that the orga­ni­za­tion is held in low regard. Howe­ver, if people exp­ress their app­re­ci­ation and keep tal­king about the orga­ni­za­tion, this might sug­gest that the orga­ni­za­tion is highly valued. We will typi­cally com­pare the infor­ma­tion rece­ived from out­si­ders of the orga­ni­za­tion to what we as insi­ders of the orga­ni­za­tion beli­eve the com­pany stands for. When an emp­lo­yer is viewed favo­urably by our­sel­ves and by others, orga­ni­za­ti­onal mem­bers­hip pro­bably enhan­ces our self-esteem and our orga­ni­za­ti­onal iden­ti­fi­ca­tion is likely to be strong. The reverse hap­pens when an emp­lo­yer is held in low regard. In other words, this so-called ‘cock­tail party test’ pro­vi­des valu­able infor­ma­tion for indi­vi­du­als gauging which emp­lo­yers are held in high (or low) regard and how out­si­ders are jud­ging them.”

“From a the­ore­ti­cal point of view, the issues eli­ci­ted by this cock­tail party test can be fra­med in the con­text of social iden­tity the­ory. Accor­ding to this the­ory, people’s iden­tity and self-esteem are partly deter­mi­ned by their mem­bers­hip of social orga­ni­za­ti­ons, such as the orga­ni­za­tion they work for or their spe­ci­fic workg­roup. It is furt­her posi­ted that both the per­ce­ived orga­ni­za­ti­onal iden­tity (i.e. insi­ders’ per­cep­tion of what the orga­ni­za­tion stands for) and the const­rued exter­nal image (i.e. insi­ders’ per­cep­tion of what out­si­ders think the orga­ni­za­tion stands for) of an orga­ni­za­tion are rela­ted to people’s iden­ti­fi­ca­tion with that orga­ni­za­tion (For more deta­ils see Lievens et.al, 2007)”

So the key to att­rac­ting, reta­ining, and enga­ging emp­lo­yees is the holis­tic use of what the busi­ness beli­eves from its core, as embo­died in its emp­lo­yer iden­tity. It’s secu­ring the right people with the right skills in the right jobs and, once its place, estab­lis­hing a rela­ti­ons­hip of trust that enga­ges them to deli­ver the beha­vi­ors so that, ulti­ma­tely, the busi­ness exe­cu­tes on stra­tegy and deli­vers its pro­mise to customers.

It all begins inside. If the brand doesn’t live on the inside, it can’t thrive on the outside.

If the brand isn’t built inside, few may beli­eve it on the outside.

And “iden­tity” is a HR issue. PR does not unders­tand and care this side of Emp­lo­yer Branding.

That’s why the guidance of HR in Emp­lo­yer Bran­ding prac­ti­ces is so crucial.

Refe­ren­ces:

Filip Lievens, Greet Van Hoye and Fre­de­rik Anseel, “Orga­ni­za­ti­onal Iden­tity and Emp­lo­yer Image: Towards a Unif­ying Fra­me­work”, Bri­tish Jour­nal of Mana­ge­ment, Vol. 18, 45–59 (2007).

T.J.Brown, Peter A. Dacin, Mic­hael G. Pratt and David A. Whet­ten, “Iden­tity, Inten­ded Image, Const­ruc­ted Image, and Repu­ta­tion: An Inter­dis­cip­li­nary Fra­me­work and Sug­ges­ted Ter­mi­no­logy” Jour­nal of the Aca­demy of Mar­ke­ting Sci­ence, 34, 2, 99–106 (2006).

Libby Sar­tain, Mark Schu­mann Brand from the Inside, Jos­sey Bass, (2006)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

We use cookies to give you the best experience. Cookie Policy