There has been a clear shift in employer branding approach. Earlier it was perceived as sole HR function with a limited objective but now it has gained wider perspective. It is no more a solo HR function. Business leaders /CEOs have assumed this responsibility. It indicates that employer branding intervention is gaining strategic importance. It requires dedicated and disciplined approach with support from managers across all lines of business. In changing scenario ownership lies with business leaders and not HR alone. Lack of confidence in HR's ability to drive the objectives of employer branding can not be ruled out for the shift of responsibilities in this respect.
Leaders/CEOs need to appreciate that apart from focusing on branding efforts through the marketing or the PR, one more powerful asset organization has, is the people, which is to be roped in as strategic move to enhance the branding value because what employer branding all about is the image, identity and the perception, employees carry in their mind and express in their opinion. These are intangible factors. These factors can be further strengthened by effective employee engagement and converting the employees in to brand ambassadors. Rather, beyond HR and leaders, even if one is not a leader but has the passion about engagement, he can very well play an effective role in branding with his team in a small department in the organization. A strong brand requires deep people engagement that creates an emotional inclination and a sense of identification with the organization which becomes invaluable.
Though current trends in employer branding are about treating employees equal to customers and making them feel valued and using social media as a positive tool through employees to talk about organization and form the opinion to attract, engage and retain good employees in long term, the danger lies where it all reduces to lip service only. Employers who position themselves as an excellent place to work but in reality, don't care much about employees, it turns in to fake branding. Question is not what you as an employer boast about yourself, what employees talk about your systems, processes and policies and culture matters most. Faking the image by making efforts to look good is not going to serve the purpose, rather will damage the organization.
Another challenge in branding activity is the dramatic increase in temporary employment of employees through third party and not dealing fairly with them in terms of compensation and legal rights. This segment is increasing and when such employees are not treated fairly; branding is going to get a dent surely. HR has to address this issue and intervene to help build a healthy work culture. It will be wrong to believe that only white collar employees can build brand. It is equally the blue collar lot which has higher say in making or breaking your image as brand employer.
This issue cover story is an attempt to further understand about employer branding in right perspective and take a dive to know and appreciate what others are doing in this direction and how to take a lead to have competitive edge.
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