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Why Companies Are Increasingly Focusing On Employee Branding The main focus of these communication elements is to retain and attract talent, the toughest aspect of running any business today

By S Shanthi

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75 per cent of active job seekers are likely to apply for a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand, said a recent Glassdoor survey. It also mentioned that 68 per cent of millennials have visited an employer's social media handles to evaluate its social standing.

In today's world of transparency, supported by social media, employee branding has become key not only for employees and employers but for potential employees. Employee branding is a relatively new concept and is nothing but a communication strategy that intends to enhance the value of belonging to a company. It allows organizations to build an emotional connection with their employees.

The sole focus of these communication elements is to retain and attract talent, the toughest aspect of running any business. "Employer branding typically involves a range of activities such as showcasing the company's culture, values, benefits, and opportunities for growth and development to generate a positive image of the company in the minds of its employees, potential hires, customers, and stakeholders," said Richa Telang, founder and CEO, TrueBlue Advisory, an employer branding consulting firm.

The purpose

According to Telang, employer branding is not just a set of strategies, but a reflection of the company's understanding and respect towards its employees. She explains taking the case of Google. "The company's employer branding efforts are so strong that they have become a global benchmark for creating an enviable workplace culture. It is centered around creating a culture of innovation and collaboration, where employees are encouraged to think creatively and work together on new ideas and projects. Their strategy includes promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as offering attractive employee benefits and prioritizing work-life balance," she said.

These steps have established Google as one of the most preferred companies to work for.

"Modern companies are already leveraging technology to deliver the best employee experience, thereby promoting employee branding. Internal social media platforms, virtual rewards and recognition platforms, benefit management platforms integrated with e-commerce sites, online stores, and streaming platforms are some of the great ways to delight employees and make them your brand ambassadors organically," said Sumit Sabharwal, CEO Teamlease HRtech.

According to HR experts, a strong and well-established rewards and recognition program is the most significant part of any employee branding strategy. "It is a comprehensive process of creating a positive and engaging experience for the employees of the organization and sometimes for other stakeholders also. In the current tech-driven business environment, having a strong employee brand can aid employee retention and helps to lower attrition rates in organizations," said Sourabh Deorah, co-founder and CEO, Advantage Club, a global employee engagement platform.

The first step in building a strong employee branding narrative is evaluating the company's existing image as an employer, identifying the areas for improvement and the competitive edge. "The next step is to conduct surveys, meetings and feedback sessions with existing employees to know how well they understand the company's mission and values. Based on the above steps, an insight may be developed to draw up a unique value proposition for your company. Your rewards and recognition plan is key to building the same. The next step is to educate the employees as to how your brand will help transform them into true brand ambassadors," said Deorah.

Challenges in building the right strategy

The first challenge that organizations come across while building an employee brand is the correct evaluation of the current positioning. If the current positioning itself is wrong, then any corrective efforts will most likely be erroneous. Another major gap occurs when the employee engagement strategies aren't aligned with employee aspirations. This often leads to higher attrition.

Telang shares with us the following gaps that companies may encounter while developing their employer branding strategy.

  • Lack of clarity about the company's values and culture
  • Inconsistent messaging
  • Poor candidate experience
  • Lack of employee engagement
  • Inadequate employee benefits and perks
  • Poor leadership and management practices
  • Lack of measurement

How to keep a balance?

Sometimes companies also tend to go overboard in the name of employee branding and miscommunicate certain values, only to lose employees later. Companies must avoid such communication and job seekers should also stay away from such companies.

"When a business tries to project a particular image or set of values that don't align with the reality of the corporate culture for instance if a company advertises a healthy work-life balance but in practice requires long hours without pay, this may cause employees to lose faith in the organization and become disillusioned. Companies should ensure that their messaging corresponds with the reality of the workplace culture and employee experience to avoid such misinterpretation," said Telang.

This entails being truthful and open about the organization's principles, standards, and workplace culture. "If the employee feels that there is a disconnect in the way he/she perceives the company, then such matters should be communicated to the right forum in the organization. The company must also keep such avenues open so that the employees do not feel stifled," said Deorah.

S Shanthi

Former Senior Assistant Editor

Shanthi specializes in writing sector-specific trends, interviews and startup profiles. She has worked as a feature writer for over a decade in several print and digital media companies. 



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