Developing an effective employer branding strategy can be the single most effective way for a company to attract top talent. How can your CEO become a champion? Robin Schooling, managing director at @SilverZebras and contributor to HRLeadsBusiness.org shares her thoughts.
According to The Conference Board’s CEO Challenge 2014, CEOs have developed a laser focus on human capital and talent management activities and cited human capital as the number one global challenge. While customer relationships, innovation, operational excellence and corporate brand and reputation were also listed as top challenges, identifying ways to develop, engage, manage and retain talent was identified as the most pressing challenge.
As one of the authors of the report, Rebecca Ray, SVP Human Capital at The Conference Board pointed out, “Though particular strategies vary from region to region, business leaders worldwide are working to optimize their greatest resource — their employees and those who will lead them.”
There exist any number of strategies that an organization may choose to initiate to address these human capital needs depending, of course, upon their unique goals and desired outcomes. The report lists numerous strategies that are often evaluated and selected including providing employee training and development, focusing on internally developed talent to fill key roles, and improving succession planning for both current and future needs. In addition, organizations often identify the need to improve the effectiveness of front-line supervisors and managers as well as the need to enhance the effectiveness of the senior management team.
One strategy that may be gaining more steam in the United States and Latin America is improving employer branding (including articulating employee value propositions) to attract top talent. The report states that “... while human capital practitioners are focused globally on building and leveraging a strong employer brand and employee value proposition to attract and retain talent, especially in highly competitive labor markets in emerging economies such as Asia-Pacific and China, CEOs in the United States and Latin America do not see it as an essential tool to meet the Human Capital challenge. ‘Improve corporate brand and employee value propositions to attract talent’ is the twelfth-ranked strategy in the United States and thirteenth in Latin American in the human capital space. It is tied for fourth in Europe and seventh in Asia.”
I think those are quite interesting results.
CEOs will undoubtedly agree that their organizations put forth considerable effort in ensuring their vision, culture and image are in alignment with their corporate brand; it’s what directly leads to reputation amongst all stakeholders (customers, investors, employees, etc.) and impacts all lines of the business. This impact is realized whenever and wherever the general public comes into contact with the brand. Those public perceptions, many CEOs would agree, are important.
So what about the employer brand? Why is an understanding of its importance not firmly embedded in the minds of CEOs?
One challenge for HR leaders is to ensure that CEOs understand that allocating the resources necessary for the development and maintenance of an employer brand can assist in meeting the challenges of attracting, managing, developing and retaining talent.
Many executive leaders have a traditional view of “recruiting and staffing” and employer branding is quite different. Recruiting and filling open requisitions has often been a short-term, stop-and start process whereas branding is a continuous, ongoing, and long-term process that shares the unique culture and ‘story’ of the organization. A true and authentic employer brand, with a consistent message and aligned experiences fulfills promises to candidates, applicants and employees.
As stated in the 2014 Global Trends Study by Employer Branding International, “ease in attracting candidates (35%), employee engagement (32%) and recognition as an employer of choice (28%) are the main benefits gained from employer branding programs. Other major benefits include reduced recruitment costs (225), higher job acceptance rate (19%) and decrease in staff turnover (19%).”
Identifying the best talent needed to meet organizational goals is only the beginning.
Developing an effective employer branding strategy can allow companies to gain a competitive advantage in the human capital game and winning the game requires the CEO and senior leaders to be fully onboard champions.
Robin Schooling is a versatile and accomplished HR Leader, strategist, and advisor with extensive senior level experience in all areas of HR management. She is the managing director at Silver Zebras, LLC and regularly speaks at conferences and to organizations on a variety of HR, management, and social media topics.
You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org