Checking your Employer Brand vitals

By Lovisa Öhnell
Global Director of Research and Consulting, Universum

Regardless of industry, country or position, it seems those that work with employer branding have at least one thing in common: the need for solid measuring tools for their employer branding activities. This need is particularly pressing now, since employer branding has gone strategic. Not having good measuring tools has an adverse effect on budgets, number of recruits and the quality of the recruits. But the suffering is unnecessary. There are plenty of tools you can use to correctly measure the results of your work.

Measuring employer branding (EB) is to your strategies what regular health checkups are to your body. Even if you don’t feel sick, you should do regular checkups to confirm your good health, and to catch potential problems early. Only if the initial tests indicate a problem does the doctor send you for an MRI or a CAT scan. It’s the same thing with EB strategies. A simple dash board of three key performance indicators should be used annually to gauge the overall health of the employer brand.

• Attractiveness
When measuring your attractiveness, make sure you do it amongst relevant target groups. Second,
set a goal for the ranking. Being number one is not realistic for most. But perhaps being amongst
the Top 20 or Top 10 is. Third, changing rankings take time. So when you do set the goal and define
your target groups, make sure that reflects future recruitment needs beyond six months.

Brand Perception
Proper brand perception reflects your Employer Value Proposition (EVP) in the right way. You have to define what characterises your employment offer, and in what ratios. If the brand perception and your EVP aren’t aligned, you may run into a similar problem as a global soft drink company did whilst recruiting staff to a manufacturing plant in Asia. The company’s brand is strongly associated with international atmosphere. But the manufacturing plant had none of that global flair. It was basically a local, independent, factory. Hence, the plant required a completely different set of recruits than the company as a whole did.

Measuring your conversion means measuring the strength of your relationship with your target group. How well they know you, and how strongly they want to join your organisation. At Universum, we have a funnel to illustrate this. At the widest point, we have those who are familiar with you. Further down are those who consider working for you. On the next level in the funnel, we find those who think of you as an ideal employer. And at the narrowest point are those that have also applied. Defining where you want to be will help you track your communication with your target group and also measure progress in a clear way.

Following this health check ABC will hopefully generate a clean bill of health for your EB. If there are problems, they will be discovered early. And early detection increases the chances of effective treatment. In addition, if ailments are discovered early, the treatment will be considerably cheaper. So when you sit down to measure your EB, do as your doctor. Start with checking your vitals.

French affection for CSR Employers

Universum’s employer brand study in France reveals that French students give great importance to companies with active CSR policies and practices. Questioning a whopping 26,878 students, only a small minority of students (4%) were totally indifferent.

A warning sign for all companies that pay lip service to CSR, French students will be watching and judging you! Nearly half of France’s young career-seekers decide to choose you or not based on your social engagement and commitment.

The importance of CSR in France

The importance of CSR in France

We join a company and we leave our manager

Read Simon Brown’s article “Do you have what it takes to be a good boss?” Having surveyed SSON members, he highlights the five most important characteristics of being a good leader and offers tips for improving your management skills.

As he rightly points out, your employer brand will have a big initial impact on the potential candidate selecting you as an employer of choice. Yet there is a well-known saying, “We join a company and we leave our manager”. If that’s the case, how can employers ensure their managers don’t frighten off talent?

The relationship an employee has with his/her boss will determine the “should I stay or should I go” phenomenon among your employees. In consecutive order, here are the five most important qualities managers in a company should aspire to:

1. Provide a clear vision of where you are going and lead by example
2. Empower and trust your employees
3. Offer support and provide regular coaching
4. Keep employees well-informed of the company’s progress
5. Manage the performance of your employees fairly, by either rewarding or challenging their results

Mr. Brown provides some excellent recommendations in his concluding must-do list for all leaders. To add to it, however, I would put in question a manager’s ability to inspire others.

Perhaps a more abstract quality to measure, but it determines the ability of top management to: arouse positive feelings, animate and quicken teams into action, and exalt influence on achieving corporate objectives. Ultimately, it’s about getting your staff to perform at the best of their abilities and make the impossible happen.

The meaning of inspiring top management
From an employer branding perspective, ‘inspiring top management’ is relatively important for young career-seekers who are considering various employers. For them it mainly means selecting a company based on top management’s ability to 1) inspire staff, 2) demonstrate competence and expertise in their area,  3) allow staff to partake & influence decision-making, and 4) act as role models.

True leaders are a rare breed and the best go down in history. The art to inspire others is a rare quality, which few are endowed with. Yet if you are gifted enough to be able to inspire others, you are in a good place – as your people will move mountains.

Russia’s Top 10 Strongest Employer Brands

We just released the results of our annual employer image survey for Russia. The leaders are the same as last year with Gazprom, Lukoil, and Sberbank holding on to their positions as ideal employers for business students. Gazprom, which has been no. one for four consecutive years, was nominated as an ideal employer by 33 per cent of Russian students.

Russia’s Top 10 Strongest Employer Brands:

Business: 1. Gazprom, 2. Lukoil, 3. Sberbank Rossii, 4. BMW, 5. Russian Railways, 6. VTB24, 7. Google, 8. Toyota, 9. The Coca-Cola Company, 10. Rosneft Oil Company

Engineering: 1. Gazprom, 2. Lukoil, 3. Russian Railways, 4. BMW, 5. Rosneft Oil Company, 6. Microsoft, 7. Schlumberger, 8. Intel, 9. Nokia, 10. Siemens

Click here to see the full ranking.

UK career-seekers forgive the banks

• Universum released the results of its UK student survey, based on over 13,000 respondents – the banks are back, but Apple and Google continue to dominate.
• BP holds strong despite last year’s negative publicity around the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
• Nokia that has lost significant market share has also lost important employer appeal.
• Job security was the fifth career goal in 2008, third in 2009 and 2010, and is now the second career goal in 2011.
• Research is available on UK students’ preferences of employers and career expectations – contact us!

Based on 41,532 employer evaluations, reflecting the opinions of more than 13,000 students, Universum released the UK 2011 Ideal Employer rankings.

Employers from the banking sector are back in students’ good books as they climbed the rankings. Yet employers with innovative and exciting products continue to be the favourite employers for engineering, IT and business students: Apple (1st business, 2nd engineering/IT) and Google (2nd business, 1st for engineering/IT). Read the rest of this entry »

Americans fearful of being jobless

• Universum released the very first US professionals Ideal Employer rankings, based on over 10,000 respondents – Google, Apple and the Walt Disney Company in the top 3.
• Management consulting and auditing firms battle to fulfil Americans’ personal requirements of work/life balance and job security – a challenge the industry might have to face.
• Troubled by job insecurity and lack of money…and left craving free time, American professionals need relief. 
• Research is available on US professionals’ preferences of employers and general career expectations –
contact us!

Universum questioned in the US over 10,000 young professionals about their career expectations and choice of employers. Below are the key highlights of the needs and wishes of the US labour market.

The current state of the economy has led professionals to re-evaluate their personal priorities. Being an entrepreneur or a leader or manager of people is not high-up on their agenda right now. Instead, the current reality is forcing professionals to think practically – need a stable job, need to earn a decent salary and need free time to spend with family and friends.  Evidently, Americans place a strong emphasis on job security & stability (2nd most important career goal) and their ongoing search for financially strong employers (selected as 3rd most desired attribute within Employer Reputation and Image). Similar to undergraduates, US professionals also seek to achieve work/life balance – the exact meaning of what it means for them is still to be clarified. Read the rest of this entry »

Talent management from an employer branding perspective

What is the difference between talent management and employer branding? In order to understand that difference, we need to first define the terms.

Talent management can be defined as the process of attracting, integrating, developing and retaining highly skilled workers.  The cornerstone to talent management is the development of people to help them reach their full potential – the underlying principle that what a company gives to its people, will be returned by loyal, committed, motivated and highly productive employees.

Employer branding, however, is the process of generating appeal, creating an identity, communicating that identity and ensuring that the identity remains authentic and true.  It’s about ensuring that your organization is known, respected and considered to be a great place to have a career and work.

Talent management and employer branding both have the same objective in mind, i.e. to make companies more successful in their recruitment and retention, but they shouldn’t be considered the same thing. Talent management is about how to manage employees and employer branding is about how to create and communicate a strong corporate culture that resonates well with the target group you wish to recruit and retain. Employer branding and talent management are interdependent, however, and one cannot function without the other.

In the talent management and employer branding circle there are four potential groups to identify and manage: 1) candidates, 2) new hires, 3) employees, and 4) alumni. This article will address how talent managers can incorporate the employer branding activities into their work, outline the benefits of doing so and address how each constituent can be approached. Read the rest of this entry »

Oh no! For the French work/life balance is all about leisure time

As a fun follow-up to yesterday’s post, I mentioned that the meaning or understanding of an employer offering can change depending on the culture or country you’re in, right?

Well, we saw that for the British a positive work environment was one of the most important criteria of work/life balance (27%). Now for the French, however, the meaning of work-life balance is somewhat different.

Close to 40 per cent of 26,800 French job-seekers say that work/life balance means mostly having enough leisure time for their private life, while respect for leisure time was important to only 13 per cent in the UK – a striking difference.

Another interesting dissimilarity between the two nationalities is with regard to both financial and job security. Eighteen per cent of French versus 26 per cent of British students thought financial security was an important component, as 10 per cent of  French versus 24 per cent of British students thought job security was imperative. It seems that the French are less concerned about money and losing jobs.  

Yet what do they have in common? Similar to students in the UK, the French also feel that a good office atmosphere (35%) and interesting and challenging work (26%) help contribute to finding a harmonious balance – something which both parties seem to agree upon.  So far, so good…we might have found the common denominators for both countries.

The meaning of work/life balance in France

The meaning of work/life balance in France

Who thought work/life balance was about offering sabbaticals?

• It’s mostly about generating a positive work environment and giving employees the means to live – a secure and steady income.

People would naturally assume that work/life balance would mean working less and having more spare time with family and friends. Or would it mean something else?

UK students define the meaning of work/life balance, based on the answers of 13,000 students. The good news for employers is that it doesn’t mean working less.

Surprisingly for UK career-seekers, work/life balance mostly means the following: a positive work atmosphere (27%), financial stability (26%), job security (24%), interesting and challenging work (23%), flexible working hours (22%), etc.

In fact, only a minority of students think that work/life balance should be: consideration for private interests when requesting leave (6%), leisure activities with colleagues (6%), adequate recovery time following peak work periods (5%), compliance with standard working hours (5%) . 

In short, if you’re an employer keen on implementing a work/life balance programme in the UK, you’ll just have to work on 1) creating a positive vibe, 2) remunerating people fairly, 3) offering them secure employment,  4) giving them interesting and challenging work as well as 5) flexible working hours – doesn’t sound hard now, does it?

Be careful though, work/life balance could take on a different meaning depending on the culture and country you work in. Therefore, don’t be to bold and claim you offer something, until you have confirmed how the labour market understands the employer offering.

The meaning of work/life balance

The meaning of work/life balance

The great return to Asia

Asia’s booming economy has created a special need for natives with Western experience.

By Fred Cohn

The boom in Asia’s economy has created a corresponding growth in its job market. Companies are hiring not just in established business centres like Hong Kong and Singapore, but in the second- and third-tier cities that are now flourishing throughout the area. Read the rest of this entry »

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About Employer Branding Today

A UNIVERSUM initiative to share relevant, compelling and actionable employer branding news.

Note: the articles and comments represent the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the standpoint of Universum.


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