A lot of excitement is brewing up in the Indian Sub continent now,with India going through its largest ever democratic election this year and probably a new government coming into power. While I am not in the thick of the electoral excitement, the constant influx of visual, electronic and social media coverage has allowed me to keep a pulse with the political manifestos and align myself towards the party whose values and beliefs I can relate to. How? The Brand Image. Electoral processes across different nations have leveraged the power of brand imaging to entice people. This is by no means a new concept and many organisations have been on this bandwagon for a while now. They have however lost sight of the gravitas, influence and impact it can have, if leveraged effectively. The question is, have organisations understood the impact the new wave of technology can have on their brand?  How can they leverage the technology to market themselves effectively? How is HR helping them manage their brand?
Keeping current and up to date with the impact of employer brand has become an imperative for all organisations. While marketers have developed techniques to help attract customers, communicate with them effectively and maintain their loyalty to a consumer brand, through the use of Big data and analytics,  HR are slow on the uptake to help organisations get on trend to create and build employer brand loyalty. With the future of the workforce being driven by consumer behaviour and newer generation being tech savvy,  In my opinion, HR have just started to realise the benefits of the use of analytics as a tool to support decision-making but is yet to use the information to develop insight through predictive analysis. Building the right Employer Brand though analytics by mining of data streams of social media, mobile communications and big data, will forever change how HR market, develop, manage and build sustainable organisations. Those organisations that understand this change, who work to create deeper collaboration, change management and strategic development will be on the right side to help build and sustain an employer brand
What is an employer brand?
The CIPD describes employer brand as how an organisation markets what it has to offer to potential and existing employees. Employer branding involves applying similar approach of marketing to people management. In that a strong employer brand should connect an organisation’s values, people strategy and policies and be linked to the company brand. This would include creating an experience for the entire journey of an employee life cycle from attracting the right candidates, talent acquisition, right to retention  and everything in between.
Why is it important to create an Employer Brand?
Marketing an effective brand, helps you stand out in the consumer market. An organisation’s brand helps you attract and retain the right calibre of people for your organisation. Additionally, with employee engagement being in the forefront of most organisations, (A study of HR departments across UK – 58% of the organisation have their focus are employee engagement  “HR Outlook – Views of our profession”, CIPD, 2012-13).  By keeping your staff engaged and satisfied, enhances your brand image and creates brand ambassadors.
After all, if employees are able to associate with your brand, they in turn become your brand ambassadors – Pay it forward
So, isn’t it worth building an digitally enabled Employer Brand? But how do you go about getting started?

  1. Be Unique  – It is important to identify and define your key Unique Selling Point ( USP).  Your USP could range from an array of things like culture, values, type of work, benefits or simply location. The bottom line is you should be able to answer – Why would Mr. Joe Bloggs want to come and work for you rather than a competitor?
  2. Make a Statement – Develop your message that is strong and clear which tells Joe what your brand is all about. Avoid being vague and generic. Rather take Joe through a journey – have a unique, clear and a ‘Call for Action’ statement that helps Joe associate with your brand.  When you say it, mean it!
  3. Spread the Word – It is important to be consistent with the messages both internally and externally. While the channels of communication may vary for internal employees and external candidates, the brand language should remain the same. Regular communication in the business and harnessing a blame free spirit of innovation throughout the company will help ensure that a winning formulas is found. The intent is to ‘attract’ potential employees and ‘retain’ existing employees, in turn building brand ambassadors.
  4. Stay on trend – It is imperative to measure the impact of your branding to see if the right employer message is being received. The ability to predict when changes are occurring, good bad and ugly about your brand, services, products or reputation through internal or external sources will enable the organisation to act differently. Measuring what and why things work and don’t work allows organisations to make appropriate interventions at the right time, keeping you relevant.

How do you become the’ Employer of Choice’?
We know that the future of HR will be all about emotion and driven by consumers with innovative and mobile ways of working is a given. HR would need to make a paradigm cultural shift on the way organisations view their employees and work on a new approach on engaging its employees. It is a Darwinian world out there. You would need to improve your offerings and improve your brand imaging  by staying relevant with what the customer wants.. The use of digital tools like social media, employee listening posts etc., should be used to engage with the workforce and the public to build brand ambassadors for your organisations. The knack is to not just react but to predict and create a new type of strategic agility not seen before.
In Webrecruits latest survey, only 30% of organisations have an employer brand strategy in place. Developing an employer brand strategy is thought to be a drain on resources and expensive. The question worth asking is, is it worthwhile to have an Employer Brand Strategy? If so, do you have an Employer Brand Strategy?