The greatest challenge facing Human Resources departments in recent years is how to attract the best people to the organization. The demand for talent is huge, and the talent is scarce causing an unbearable gap.
If at one time it was enough to offer an attractive salary, today the parameters for choosing a workplace are more numerous and diverse. They include employment conditions, distance from home, flexible hours, training, and most of all – the organization’s positive reputation as an employer. In order to address this challenge, classic recruitment processes that are the responsibility of the HR department alone are not enough. The organization needs to be marketed to the existing employees and to potential employees and branded as one that’s worthwhile to work at.
The most talked-about concept in the world of marketing and HR today is “employer branding” – an integrated Marketing and HR effort that includes branding, internal communications and precise messages with one goal: recruiting high-quality employees in a market where employees set the tone.
It may seem like the challenge of recruitment is greater for startups and SMBs, but that’s not necessarily true; the reality proves that big, veteran global companies do contend with many difficulties in recruiting high-quality personnel.
On one hand, in most cases, global companies are very solid and experienced when it comes to their HR activities. On the other hand, because in the past the reputation and fame that they gained from their products were enough to attract employees without making a special effort, they are not used to the recruitment difficulties that characterize today’s market.
The saturated market, the multiplicity of companies and the large supply of enticing global employers – and while the have made recruitment a real challenge, and it demands new thinking and renewed processes from these companies. A company that was once a synonym for innovation finds itself today in the category of a veteran player – still excellent, but no longer really exciting to the younger generation of potential employees in the market.
Employer branding means that the biggest companies need to build an up-to-date reputation as an employer – and not just ensure the reputation of the company or its flagship product.
For example, in recent years, Rolls-Royce, which ranks very highly in candidate surveys, has actively been promoting their employer brand, rather than just relying on the reputation of its cars. At Rolls-Royce they understood that despite the high ranking of the company as a potential employer, the competition for talent is increasing. The company realized they must start engaging with the talent market, communicate its strengths as an employer (known as the Employer Value Proposition, EVP) and position it as an employer of choice.
The first step in the process of developing the company’s employer brand was to understand why people want to work for Rolls-Royce? They deployed a survey to the company’s employees and the results showed that people they want to be part of a development process, and they are attracted to Rolls-Royce’s engineering abilities, innovation and advancement.
Rolls-Royce began creating a presence on social media, increased their presence on social media sharing stories and live broadcasting from within the company about the planning and development processes. The goal was to increase the number of followers from within relevant professional communities and who could become potential employees. Another channel the company chose to reach the awareness of potential talent was via schools and colleges, in which they engaged students in projects that encouraged them to consider engineering, technology, science and math as their majors. These processes led to Rolls-Royce winning second place in the British Randstad Award in 2014, with over 60% of candidates having chosen it as a preferred workplace.
A major challenge in the employer branding processes of global companies is of course the fact that they are international.
Any high-quality and effective employer branding process needs to be based on research that the organization carries out regarding potential candidates: who they are, what they’re looking for, what attracts them, why they may reject the company, and more. The marketing messages that the company projects to candidates are based on this research.
At global companies, there is another layer in this process – in addition to segmenting messages for the different employee and candidate profiles in the company, the messages also need to be adjusted for each and every country. Taking cultural characteristics into account is critical, because the things that make a company attractive are different in each place. Words, pictures, and the phrasing of the messages themselves – all these have to suit the specific cultural context, in order to create the right feeling and not lead to rejection or antagonism. Even colors have a different meaning in each place, and it’s important to adjust them, too, to suit the target audience. For example, in the United States, red symbolizes passion, love, danger and anger – while in China, it symbolizes good luck.
Properly defining all messages and especially the EVP, and the ability to adjust and localize it, are critical in global companies.
The advantage of global companies in employer branding processes lies in their ability to assess, with a broad perspective, all employees around the world, and to produce joint messages that are strong and effective worldwide.
In addition, in order to formulate messages that present candidates with a solid and stable experience, it’s actually recommended to survey veteran employees who have gone through entire employment cycles, and not new employees who have just been hired, as is commonly done. There is usually a wealth of such employees at veteran global companies.
In developing employer branding, global companies need to use their existing reputation – and refresh it. The new messages need to be derived from longstanding conceptions of the organization, rather than starting from scratch. Thus, it’s easier for companies to establish themselves more quickly in the consciousness of candidates, to be seen as reliable and providing security – and to attract new candidates.
At Xtra Mile we formulate, package and attractively convey your message to the most talented employees. By means of employer branding methodologies that we have developed and implemented at leading high-tech companies, we connect relevant candidates to your organization’s values, and retain and empower existing employees.
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