The Role of HR in Brand Building

According to various surveys, low morale and discontent with the style of the management are key factors leading to high turnover. This underscores the importance of employer branding.

“Employer brand is about capturing the essence of an organization in a way that engages current and prospective talent. It expresses an organization’s ‘value proposition’—the entirety of its culture, systems, attitudes and employee relationships, providing a new focal point for the company.”

Today, an effective employer brand is essential for competitive advantage. Increasingly, Indian corporations are becoming intentionally strategic to utilize the employer brand to attract and retain talent and, ultimately, to expand and grow. To gain an understanding of how the concept of employer brand is being leveraged by multinational corporations with operations in India

The Value of the Employer Brand in India
“The Employer Brand—A Strategic Tool to Attract, Recruit and Retain Talent” highlights that HR uses the employer brand for three main reasons:

1) organizational culture and employee fit;

2) positive outcomes for recruiting; and

3) retaining talent with corporate values and a team-based culture.

At its most effective, the employer brand is a long-term strategy with a transparent message that promotes the organization as an employer of choice.

brand building—the image and the recognition—is a long-term effort that requires substantial resources. “The shackles of Brand India, where even sophisticated people outside India see it as associated with call centers and software engineers, are not consistent with creating and managing […] consumer products.”

India’s War for Talent
India is seen as the “land of opportunity” by many multinational corporations, and they bring the vitality of their employer brand to India. “Almost every Fortune 500 company is setting up (or considering setting up) operations in India that will be integral to its global value chain. The rush by multinationals to set up Indian operations and the rapid growth of Indian outsourcing companies has resulted in a war for talent,

“Employees who feel good about the synergy between the business model and brand values tend to stay longer and be more engaged, leading to higher productivity.”

“Many people equate employer branding to recruitment advertising and misinterpret it as a one-off internal marketing activity.”  the word ‘branding’ is often associated with marketing, and therefore only used by the CEO and marketing teams in developing communications for external audiences. However, the role of HR and their internal clients (employees) are often overlooked when a company is in the process of brand-building.

HR should be included as a component in the brand-building process for the following reasons:

1. Focusing on the people within an organization who deliver services to clients has become a key competitive advantage;

2. HR can directly influence the type of people who are hired.

According to Hudson Research in 2006, 42% of HR professionals acknowledge they do not have the right employment value proposition to attract and retain the talent their organization needs.

53% of HR professionals acknowledge that their own employees would be unclear as to what the company’s core value proposition is.

29% of employees believe that their employer provides a clear and competing reason as to why their organization is a great place to work.

There is a certainly more room for HR staff to play. 

Key Advice and Recommendations for Building an Employer Brand in India

  1. Finding your Compelling Truth. All branding needs to be based on the essence and realities of your organization.
  2. Align HR policies and procedures around the brand promise.
  3. Strengthen your internal communications messages and channels. Streamline them with your external communications.
  4. Appoint and empower brand champions to be the agents of change within your organization.
  5. Every employer brand is an investment that should demonstrate a return comparable to other forms of business investment.

  6. Offer a strong value proposition to talent in India

  7. Employer brands are at least as much about retention and engagement as they are about recruitment

  8. Retain the core of the brand (if it is an MNC) and contextualize development

  9. Keep the local context in mind: recognize, accept and adapt to the local culture

  10. The employer brand should incorporate sensitivities of employees in foreign countries (if the Indian company has overseas operations).

  11. The advertising of the employer and employee brand should be as synergistic and mutually reinforcing as possible

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