In a post-pandemic world where work, workplace, and workforce have undergone a fundamental reset, human resources leaders are taking charge of inventing a new vision for the future of work. In the All Things Talent webinar series, we collaborate with the most influential minds in Human Resources where they share powerful, thought-provoking insights and lessons learned with our listeners on the workforce transformation, future of work, learning, technology, and much more post-COVID-19.
The aim of these webinars is to bring together the HR fraternity, promote an environment of mutual growth, and inspire HR professionals to discuss, share ideas and develop as leaders by learning from the experiences of industry stalwarts. These talks take place once a month and are available virtually to enable people to participate and interact with our panelists.
In the second episode of the ATT webinar titled, ‘Unleashing the Marketer in You – Employer Branding’, we had the pleasure of collaborating with two extremely experienced and dynamic senior leaders—
Madhavi Lall – Managing Director, Head HR at Deutsche Bank and,
Shilpa Vaid – HR Head at Prione Business Services Pvt. Ltd / Cloudtail India Private Limited
In a conversation with Prashant Sharma, Manager – Marketing at Info Edge India Ltd, our esteemed panellists explore everything from crafting effective EVP to best employer branding practices and share insights that can help you fine-tune your employer brand.
Q: What has been one personal positive and one professional positive for you in these last 18 months of the pandemic?
Shilpa Vaid: On the personal front, before the pandemic, cooking was not a life skill I had. However, with the lockdown in place, I learnt how to cook and I am quite proud to announce that I am reasonably a good cook now. Professional positive for me has been reframing my thoughts on leadership. These last 18 months have challenged a lot of assumptions I held about being a leader. I have learnt about being vulnerable, not having all the answers, acknowledging what I don’t know, and yet trying to give confidence to the team.
Madhavi Lal: On the personal front, I found time to read and learn more. Also, there are two incredible ladies in my building who are doing social work on a small scale. I volunteered to help them over the weekend, so it’s been a personal positive. Professionally, I have learnt virtual ways of learning – from digitisation to experimenting with virtual hiring, onboarding, and induction – and every bit of it has been a huge learning experience.
Q: How does one build and inculcate culture with new hires and subsequently build an employer brand to attract talent during these times?
Shilpa Vaid: Before you start communicating the employer brand to your target audience, every organisation needs to have an Employer Value Proposition (EVP). An EVP is ‘unique’ attributes about your organisation that are ‘compelling’ to your target talent. When I say unique, they have to be distinctive about your organisation and compelling because they have to be relevant to the audience to attract them into the organisation. As a part of an organisation that puts a lot of premium on culture, we have taken a lot of action in terms of how we assimilate new hires who are joining virtually.
To do an EVP exercise is nothing different from running a marketing campaign. Once you identify the EVP, you socialise it internally and then you bring it forth through your employer branding campaign. This is the typical process you follow to build and communicate an employer brand. Today, talent worldwide is looking for flexibility, customisation, personalisation, and an organisation’s success depends on whether it is articulating that well as part of its story or not. In short, what you offer should make sense to the target audience.
Madhavi Lal: Employer Brand is about how people feel about their organisation and the experiences they go through. In the face of pandemic and lockdown last year, we at Deutsche Bank, found ourselves asking the question:
Should we postpone the joining dates of new joinees since we never onboarded employees virtually before? However, we took the call to not delay the joining dates. The reason was simple: We didn’t want people to lose out on their income. Once the decision to onboard people virtually was done, the team started to discuss ways to get this whole thing streamlined—getting laptops to people, getting forms filled digitally, etc.
For the last one year, we have been continuously improving the processes. The big challenge in the virtual world is going to be how the vision/mission/brand is going to be felt by employees who are not sitting in the office and how you build that connected culture. It does sound like a challenge but in my experience, organisations can make it happen. It just needs a lot more effort and more engagement.
Q: How can we create a recruitment experience for prospective candidates and talent especially in startups and small organisations?
Shilpa Vaid: Your candidate is your customer. Period! When they are looking at your Linkedin page or website, how easy is it for them to find the jobs they are looking for? Are your job descriptions inclusive? When they become a formal applicant, how long do they have to wait for the interview? How do interviewers interface with them? What messaging of the culture do they leave behind? How is the recruiter engaging? Just as a marketer creates a customer journey map, similarly in HR you have to create a customer journey for your candidates. My advice would be to identify the moments that matter and identify what is broken (by carrying out candidate experience surveys) and address them.
Q: How can a new entrant entering the Indian market craft a successful employer brand?
Madhavi Lal: The first step would be to assess the current brand awareness of your organisation. Secondly, it is important to identify key focus areas and next would be to develop a plan to ensure how the employer brand becomes visible. Also, we need to understand that the employer brand is not just the advertising, but it’s also much more. It is the brand statement or marketing promise to prospective employees. Once you know what makes your company stand out, you can create your brand story which will drive better employer branding internally and externally.
Q: What can you suggest in terms of best practices or recommendations when doing employer branding for internal stakeholders?
Shilpa Vaid: Co-create your employee experience with your internal employees. What you say is unique about your organisation should resonate with your current employees first. Also, if you are on the journey of articulating your EVP you should do a test run with your internal employees to get real-time feedback.
Madhavi Lal: In my opinion, employees and customers are an organisation’s best brand ambassadors. So, whatever your EVP is, it needs to be first felt by the existing employees.
Q: Can you explain the correlation between the company brand and employer brand?
Shilpa Vaid: For the employer brand to be compelling, it has to be aligned to your corporate brand. It is important to think deeply about the company’s purpose and then design your EVP around it.
Madhavi Lal: Everything we do in HR is all about creating a positive impact. Therefore, it is important that our employer brand is aligned and intrinsically linked with the corporate brand.