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Employer brand - Factsheets - CIPD

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Employer brand
Revised September 2012

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In this factsheet
What is employer branding? Why employer branding is important for HR Employer branding and mergers and acquisitions How organisations can benefit from developing an employer brand How to develop an employer brand The value proposition and employee segmentation CIPD viewpoint Useful contacts Further reading

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What is employer branding?

The term employer branding describes how an organisation markets what it has to offer to potential and existing employees. Marketers have developed techniques to help attract customers, communicate with them effectively and maintain their loyalty to a consumer brand. Employer branding involves applying a similar approach to people management. Our Guide to employer branding suggests the following definition of an employer brand: ...a set of attributes and qualities, often intangible, that makes an organisation distinctive, promises a particular kind of employment experience, and appeals to those people who will thrive and perform best in its culture. Go to our Guide on employer branding

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Creating a Strategic HR Business Case - Short courses - Training - CIPD HR for Line Managers - Short courses Training - CIPD View all resources

A strong employer brand should connect an organisations values, people strategy and HR policies and be linked to the company brand.

Why employer branding is important for HR

People Management magazine
Writing in our Research Insight Employer branding: the latest fad or the future of HR?, Shirley Jenner and Stephen Taylor of Manchester Metropolitan University Business School suggest there are four main reasons why the concept of employer branding has become prominent in recent years. They identify these as: brand power, credibility, employee engagement and the prevailing labour market conditions. Go to the Research Insight In the last two decades, branding has become a central concept in organisational and social life. Many HR professionals have chosen to embrace the language and techniques of branding to help enhance their strategic influence and credibility, And although the recruitment proposition was the starting point for many organisations forays into employer branding. today many recognise the value of a branding approach to the whole employee lifecycle as they seek to build an engaged workforce. See our factsheet for more information on engagement. Go to our Employee engagement factsheet

Employer branding still makes its mark Tesco attracts talent from the City

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Is employer brand still a relevant concept?

Many organisations initial employer branding efforts took place against a background of tight labour market conditions, Employers were competing fiercely for talent in a context of low unemployment and skills shortages. However, in uncertain economic times, employer brand remains a relevant concept.

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Employer brand - Factsheets - CIPD

In the wake of the global financial crisis, many organisations are recognising the business benefits and opportunities that can develop from embedding a responsible and sustainable ethos into the organisation and employer brand. Our Talent and changing values thought piece (part of the Talent forward series) also highlights an increasing desire for individualism and less trust and loyalty to organisations, (particularly among younger employees) which presents an important challenge. Go to Responsible and sustainable business: HR leading the way Find out about our Talent Forward series Our quarterly Employee Outlook survey covers the impact of the economic climate. In tough times, organisationsneed to motivate and engage existing employees as well as make themselves an appealing destination for potential future talent. In a climate of job insecurity, they also need to need to tempt candidates for key positions away from roles they perceive as safe in their current organisations. Businesses making employees redundant will need to consider how they minimise damage to their reputation as an employer and consider the impact on survivors still with the company. Find out more about our Employee Outlook series Our report Harnessing social media for organisational effectiveness emphasizes the huge popularity of social media which also underlines the importance of continued attention to the employer brand. For both existing employees and would-be recruits, the social world provides opportunities to discuss their experiences (positive or negative) and to listen to the views of others about an organisation, This is a major consideration when it comes to asking for and responding to feedback, and for reputation management. View the report

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Employer branding and mergers and acquisitions

Mergers and acquisitions have a particularly significant impact on the brand and shake the deal which exists between the individual and their employer. Many employees are disempowered and may feel they are working in a job they did not pick, for an organisation they did not choose to work for. For more information, read our report The impact of mergers and acquisitions on employer brands and for practical advice and recommendations, CIPD members can use our online tool Your employer brand: keeping it real through mergers and acquisitions. Find out more about the report Go to the online tool

How organisations can benefit from developing an employer brand

An employer brand can be used to help organisations compete effectively in the labour market and drive employee loyalty through effective recruitment, engagement and retention practices. All organisations have an employer brand, regardless of whether they have consciously sought to develop one. Their brand will be based on the way they are perceived as a place to work, for example by would-be recruits, current employees and those leaving the organisation. To be effective, the brand should not only be evident to candidates at the recruitment stage, but should inform the approach to people management in the organisation. For example, the brand can inform how the business tackles: induction performance management and reward managing internal communications promoting effective management behaviours exits from the organisation. To deliver benefits, it is important that the employer brand is not merely rhetoric espousing the organisations values, but is reflective of the actual experience of employees. As our Guide on employer branding points out "People who like the job they do and the place they work become advocates for it". An employer brand approach involves research with employees to understand their attitudes and behaviour, for example, through a staff attitude survey. This employee insight data can inform metrics on people performance in the organisation, providing an opportunity to demonstrate links to organisation performance.

How to develop an employer brand

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Employer brand - Factsheets - CIPD

Our employer branding Guide (see link above) gives some more detailed advice and suggestions for developing an employer brand. It identifes the various stages as: Discovery - involves research to understand how the employer brand is perceived by various stakeholders. Analysis, interpretation and creation - involves using research to help build a clear picture of what the organisation stands for, offers and requires as an employer its distinctive value proposition. Implementation and communication - sees the brand being applied for the first time in the organisation. Measurement, maintenance and optimisation - concerned with checking progress and maintaining momentum. We have also developed an interactive online tool for CIPD members Employer branding: your online companion for the journey to help in developing and implementing an employer brand. Go to the online tool

The value proposition and employee segmentation

As highlighted in the previous section, the value proposition describes what an organisation stands for, requires and offers as an employer. There is evidence of the influence of the concept of the psychological contract in the sense the proposition represents the deal between employer and employee. Go to our factsheet on the psychological contract Rather than focussing on a single value proposition for the whole organisation, some organisations are beginning to take a more segmented approach. Employee segmentation is driven by the recognition that employees, like customers, are not a homogenous group. It can be beneficial to tailor the deal or value proposition to the needs of a diverse workforce and this can mean emphasising different elements of the value proposition to different groups of employees or creating subsets of the overall value proposition. It is possible to segment an organisations workforce in many different ways. Where previously organisations might have analysed employee satisfaction or engagement data in terms of location and job type, valuable insights can be gained from looking to segment your workforce based on categories such as age, lifestyle and attitudes to communication in the organisation. Organisations have used such approaches, for example, to help them communicate and promote flexible benefits packages reflecting the different interests and needs of different parts of the workforce. Some are now moving on to using segmented reward approaches for different segments of an organisations workforce, for example, sales, executives, call centre, technical support, etc, in terms of base, variable pay, benefits and non-financial reward polices. Our survey report Gen up: how the four generations work, produced jointly with Penna, highlights the importance of understanding different generations attitudes and preferences in the workforce. It identifies the opportunity for organisations to consider (in addition to their generic value proposition) what the value proposition for Veterans, Babyboomers, GenX and GenY might look like. However, this research also points out the potential danger of stereotyping, which is one of the dangers to be aware of in tackling employee segmentation. Go to the report Whether to promote a single employer brand (and value proposition) is also a consideration for international organisations. For example, while they may wish to create global brand values, there might need to be to be some local interpretation of these to cater for the diversity of cultural needs locally.

CIPD viewpoint
Employer branding is a useful tool to help organisations differentiate what they have to offer in the labour market, and recruit, retain and engage the people they need to succeed. Just as marketers seek to understand their customers, HR people will benefit from gaining employee insight through methods such as employee attitude surveys and focus groups. This insight should inform the HR strategy, influence how internal communications are handled and help in the design of effective people management initiatives. Employer branding presents HR people with an opportunity to learn from some of the techniques of marketing and apply them to people management. New roles have started to emerge in some organisations which draw on skill sets from both disciplines. It is important that HR works collaboratively, for example with colleagues in marketing, public relations, internal communications and corporate responsibility, to share expertise and reap maximum benefits from developing an employer brand. The popularity of social media makes for increased transparency about the experiences of individuals as they interact with an organisation which underlines the importance of continued attention to the employer brand.

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Employer brand - Factsheets - CIPD

Useful contacts
Management issues employer brand pages

Further reading
Books and reports
INCOMES DATA SERVICES. (2012) Employer branding. HR studies. London: IDS. ROSETHORN, H. (2009) The employer brand: keeping faith with the deal. Aldershot: Gower. Visit the CIPD Store to see all our priced publications currently in print.

Journal articles
DODD, L. (2011) Bringing a more inclusive approach to internal branding. Strategic Communication Management. Vol 15, No 9, November. pp32-35. ERICKSON, T. and GRATTON, L. (2007) What it means to work here. Harvard Business Review. Vol 85, No 3, March. pp104,106-112. HATCH, M.J. and SCHULTZ, M. (2009) Of bricks and brands: from corporate to enterprise branding. Organizational Dynamics. Vol38, No 2, April-June. pp117-130. KUNERTH, B. and MOSLEY, R. (2011) Applying employer brand management to employee engagement. Strategic HR Review. Vol 10, No 3, pp19-26. CIPD members can use our online journals to find articles from over 300 journal titles relevant to HR. Members and People Management subscribers can see articles on the People Management website.

This factsheet was last updated by CIPD staff.

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