Neglect employer branding at your peril
"Employer Branding" is getting a lot of attention in the US as a strategic focus required to win the war on talent. The Harvard Business Review has featured several articles highlighting its strategic importance (such as this and this), and 60% of CEOs surveyed felt the responsibility for employer branding lies with the CEO. In light of the ongoing discussion around a skills shortage globally, these findings are not surprising.
However, what is surprising is the importance of employer branding doesn’t seem to be felt in the Asia-Pacific region. A recent survey we conducted of digital experts in Asia highlighted how low employer branding ranked in their strategic consideration (it came in last when experts were asked to rank key areas of business measurement). This is a significant risk to organisations looking to attract new talent in order to move towards customer-first strategies via digital transformation projects.
Despite seeing digital as a competitive weapon, many executives of both digital and legacy businesses, de-prioritise employer branding as a measurement. This lack of focus results in a shortage of qualified digital candidates, which can delay in executing their strategies and places them at a competitive disadvantage.
The majority of businesses don’t have the luxury of being in the position of Google or Facebook, which receive thousands of unsolicited resumés every week, clearly making these companies the two most desirable places to work for active and passive candidates alike. That makes them the benchmark in employer branding.
Consumers are increasingly critiquing brands to see if they stand for something and searching for evidence of corporate social responsibility programmes. Candidates use this same level of due diligence when considering a career move. If organisations can execute an employer branding plan which recognises and considers this they will potentially yield a marked increase in pre-qualified candidates, thus creating a stronger employer brand and a stronger connection.
By openly promoting positive organisational culture, businesses will attract much needed talent across traditionally hard roles to fill such as those in data, user experience, customer experience, engineering, and web development. Simply demonstrating how a business provides a contemporary and flexible working environment can go a long way to expediting its digital transformation plans and ultimately future proofing the business in the process.
In discussing this conundrum with our recruitment partner, S2M, their experiences and views echo the DTS observations – the shortage of good digital candidates is decelerating growth and having a negative impact on delivering time-pressed customer-first strategies.
Here are some tips to consider:
- Start developing a positive narrative outwardly about your business strategy, placing the consumer at the heart of your offering, and position digital front and centre of this strategy. Demonstrate your commitment to change and the future!
- Are you providing modern facilities and an environment to accommodate new ideas and talents? Modern and expansive offices are becoming a hygiene factor and a minimum candidate expectation. Hot desking and other flexible working practices are required, dissolving outdated hierarchical structures in the process.
- Demonstrate your commitment to social and community causes. Recent research shows millennials, in particular, don’t assess a prospective employer solely on financial performance. Their selection criteria have clearly widened, so what programmes does your business overtly support and promote?
- Mobilise your senior executives and get them active on Social Media platforms. Present an authentic voice and don’t use compliance or regulatory restrictions as an excuse.
- Empower your employees to promote your brand story on social platforms. To mitigate any risks around brand safety and messaging, create a social media policy and simple processes for them.
There are obviously many elements involved in the success of digital transformation. However, with People and Culture ranked the most important by our Asia-Pacific digital experts, and a skills shortage leading to recruitment problems, Asia-Pacific businesses will neglect employer branding at their peril.
Marcelo Silva is the founder and director of Digital Transformation Scores (DTS), which provides companies insights on how they are performing with respect to their transformation efforts.
He has more than 20 years’ experience in the online and digital space.having worked with challenger brands, such as ING Direct and PayPal, that have gone on to significantly disrupt the business landscape.
As a consulting client, Marcelo was regularly frustrated by the inability to accurately measure digital transformation across all business dimensions. This led to the development of DTS, which aims to fill this gap by providing businesses with accurate and holistic reports to benchmark their performance.