Employer Branding Is Evolving
The concept of employer branding was born in the mid-1990s. It flourished in the 2000s when the competition for talent became fiercer than ever.
Let me begin by saying that I have some reservations on this concept.
As I regularly explain on Superception, the first condition for an effective marketing and/or communications strategy is consistency: A brand can’t ask its target audiences to understand by themselves the consistency of its messages, especially in an era of information overload. It has to make sure that its messages are consistent and, as such, easier to understand and memorize.
This is why I consider employer branding an interesting concept if it pushes corporate leaders to think about their company’s value proposition towards employees and potential hirees, but a detrimental one if it leads a company to excessively segment its messaging by target audience.
In marketing and communications, consistency should always prevail over segmentation. A company that would project a different brand to each of its target audiences would no longer be meaningful to any of them. Indeed a company’s various stakeholders (employees, customers, partners, potential hirees, shareholders …) overlap and are not cloistered in separate silos, even less so in the social networking age.
Surveys of business leaders show that the competition for talent has now reached its highest level since 2007. Employer branding is therefore back in the corporate spotlight and its management is evolving.
While it was more often under the responsibility of the human resources function in the past, many leaders now place primary responsibility for the employer brand with the CEO or marketing. This is the conclusion of a survey conducted by Universum with over 2,000 CEOs, as well as HR and marketing leaders in 18 countries.
This evolution can be explained by the fact that social networks are forcing companies to be more transparent. Moreover, the information and opinions shared by employees on the social web are seen as more credible by the general public – and therefore potential hirees – than their company’s recruitment advertising.
Also, “because social media has intertwined company reputation with the customer experience, consumer-facing communications are increasingly important in shaping the employer brand.” Last but not least, the connection increasingly made by corporate leaders between employees’ well-being and customer satisfaction is driving this development.