Glassdoor in its survey of the US market in 2016, revealed that a mind boggling eight seven percent of the organisations have indicated culture and engagement as their biggest challenges. This therefore made companies believe that if they do not remain invested in their employer brand, they will be unable to monetise their spends on recruitment ads, and, at the same time, will be unable to foster a culture of employee engagement within their ranks.
All Things Talent spoke to Reena Roy who is the Social Recruitment, Branding and Communications Leader at IBM India. Apart from emphasising the relevance of employer branding within the corporate ethos, Reena was equally forthcoming in highlighting the culture of branding that is prevalent in IBM and the various practices that function as the very crux for the same.
ATT: Why has Employer Branding emerged as a potential game changer over the past few years?
RR: The job market today is driven by talent; and, the focus on ‘candidate experience’ has transformed the Talent Acquisition function. The standard question, ‘How good a company are we to work for’ then becomes a question of strategic importance for the organization. In my view, it is vital for an organization to convey to the prospective employees the ethos of the brand. Create a positive ‘customer’ experience for the candidates. Treat them in a way that makes them feel valued, as their opinions matter, and will determine whether or not they will further recommend a company. This said, I feel the world is more transparent than ever before, and, a more inward (employee) focus is the need in this age of talent. Your employees can be your best advocates – people are everything!
ATT: How can an organization align employer branding to achieve its business objectives?
RR: Here the key is to work with the business leaders to understand both the short and long-term business goals, and accordingly, articulate the talent priorities of the organization. Employer branding strategies must have actionable objectives to ensure that these priorities are met.
ATT: How can companies measure the ROI on Employer Branding?
RR: Employer Branding aims to deliver to the organization a competitive edge in both hiring and retaining top talent. A simple way to measure ROI would be to employ relevant metrics to monitor progress and measure employment branding efforts. Brand reach and engagement, social hiring, talent pipelines and employee engagement surveys, to name a few, are great starting points. Online reviews and Brand attractiveness indices can serve as great feedbacks to develop new strategies as well.
“Employer Branding aims to deliver to the organization a competitive edge in both hiring and retaining top talent. A simple way to measure ROI would be to employ relevant metrics to monitor progress and measure employment branding efforts. Brand reach and engagement, social hiring, talent pipelines and employee engagement surveys, to name a few, are great starting points.”
ATT: What should be a priority for Startups- Employer Branding or building their own Brand?
RR: It is vital for Startups to build a strong employer brand and robust employee value proposition to attract top talent. The founders and the leaders can also play an important role in promoting the employer brand, given that employees and talent associate the company brand with the personal brand of the leaders. The public evidence of this is CEO approval ratings on sites such as Glassdoor and the fact that candidates search LinkedIn profiles of leaders prior to interviews. It pays to use social and digital platforms to build an online presence and brand reputation.
ATT: Employer Branding has often been compared directly to marketing, yet it still remains under the larger rubric of HR. How can HR professionals contribute towards building a better Employer Brand?
RR: Regardless of who ‘owns’ employer branding, it is important to have a common branding framework and collaborate effectively across the organization. A holistic and strategically aligned employee branding strategy impacts both, top talent retention and attraction. HR professionals must own ‘employee experience’ and should strive for greater transparency in organizations by improving internal communication.
“Regardless of who ‘owns’ employer branding, it is important to have a common branding framework and collaborate effectively across the organization. A holistic and strategically aligned employee branding strategy impacts both, top talent retention and attraction. HR professionals must own ‘employee experience’ and should strive for greater transparency in organizations by improving internal communication.”
ATT: Has Employer Branding enabled you to attract better talent, as compared to traditional practices?
RR: At IBM, we are focusing on data-driven, social and agile methodologies to attract and engage with top talent for our business. Having said that, ‘candidate experience’ continues to be at the heart of our strategy.
ATT: Can you highlight some of the best practices that your organisation adopts for attracting millennials? How is it different from conventional brand reputation?
RR: At IBM, we look at millennials as “Creators”, with over 60% of them engaged in creating and publishing content, and, these millennials have become co-creators and top decision makers at IBM!
On the basis of a research done by senior leaders at IBM, it was revealed that a company’s millennial employees are its most valuable and accessible asset when it comes to successfully capturing the hearts, minds, and, yes, even the wallets, of the millennial generation. IBM’s Millennial Corps Community is a platform for millennials and other like-minded employees dedicated to short-term, iterative, collaborative processes which drive real business value. With over 4,000 members in more than 60 countries and across all industries, Millennial Corps is an IBM channel for its own digital natives to spark innovation and provide feedback to senior leaders on company-wide topics such as recruitment, digitization, client experience, transformation, and partnership opportunities among others.
ATT: Is Employer Branding merely a fad or is it here to last?
RR: Here, a more important debate – how are organizations gearing up to leverage big data, analytics and cognitive technologies to engage global talent with innovative methods! Personalization, authenticity, and brand influence will dominate the employer branding landscape in the years to come. So, it is definitely not a fad. Employer Branding is very well on its way to become the ‘next big thing’ in the world of talent acquisition and recruitment. It is only a matter of how organizations can extract the maximum potential out of it.