Friday, December 4, 2009

Employer branding, Step 1: Research

Too many companies make Employer Branding decisions based on gut feelings. STOP doing that! Time to change. The starting point for any employer branding strategy, no matter the company size should be Research.

The goal of this first step is to ensure knowledge of the current position of your employer brand: how it is perceived internally and externally – all in order to create a robust base for decision making in later stages of the process. Research can and should be used for two purposes: 1) planning and 2) evaluation. Evaluation refers mostly to step five:

My experience is that conducting internal and external research is among the least prioritized
activities in order to reach employer branding objectives. The fact that many HR professionals still follow their instincts rather than factual data for deciding on how to promote their employer brands
is alarming. I see though some encouraging signs of changing approach. Research improves the quality of activities conducted by employers and can reduce costs of branding activities dramatically.

Internal and external research
Employer branding is a prerequisite both for successful recruiting and retention. Both internal and external research is thus crucial for creating a sufficient basis of your employer branding strategy; they help you to create an understanding of internal and external target groups.
Some questions that are important to answer before going further in an employer branding strategy are:

a) What do graduates and professionals consider from an ideal employer?

b) What are the differences between graduates and professionals?

c) How satisfied are our employees?

d) What do former employers tell others about us?

e) How do our main competitors promote their employer brand?

f) What perception has potential employees about us?

g) Which channels have potential employees used to get a perception of us?

In my next blogs I will talk more in depth step 2) – a series of five blogs about Employer Branding:). Enjoy and comment!

1 comment:

  1. I believe the first step should be to decide on the goals of the project. If you do research first, the results might interfere on the goalsetting process. Also, setting the goals first will limit the cost of research because it will be more focused.

    There will be no research done in areas that have no value to the company, due to no correlation/impact on desired goals. This is especially important if limited resources is the main challenge for HR professionals (as you state in the post "Employer branding is not Easy").

    Second step should be to obtain support for the goals, research and subsequent steps from all levels of the organization. Also from the post "Employer branding is not Easy": Less than half the respondents are comfortable with their evaluation metrics.

    To ensure support of the new Employer Branding initiative, respondents must feel the areas and metrics that are measured are the right ones for them. You should look at aligning the employees´ goals with that of the organization as a whole, so that the responses are in line with what is good not only for the individual, but for the company as a whole.

    If a company wants to be seen as best in attracting young, up-and-coming talent, this might have a negative impact on mature employees. They might feel their positions threatened and/or that their age is considered as a problem for the organization. Conflicts like these should be resolved before going any further.

    Great post, Carlo! Keep up the good work ... :-)