Employer Brand – Part 1

Is Employer Brand even a term?

Many start-ups want Human Resources (HR) to create marketing strategies and position their respective organisations in the markets as ‘Hiring Brands’, a place where a lot of individuals would kill to work.  “Hiring Brand”/ “Employer Brand” (EB) and “Employee Value Proposition” (EVP) are terms are that raging in Chennai right now and are trending among start-ups.

No matter how a company gets the market and people to perceive it, the actual truth still spreads like a grapevine. That being the case, employers need to understand the basic difference between organisational culture and climate in order to work on its employer branding.

Organisational Culture and Climate – they are different!

“Organisational culture is a system of shared assumptions, values, and beliefs, which governs how people behave in organisations. These shared values have a strong influence on the people in the organisation and dictate how they dress, act, and perform their jobs”.

Organisational Climate is defined as a set of perceived attributes of an organisation and its subsystems as reflected in a way the organisation deals with its members, group, and issues”.

Organisational Culture is more opinionated and judgmental. While it silently lays down the rules and regulations for people to behave, perform, and shows them their boundaries; organisation climate gives the information as to how exactly do organisations do it.

Organisational Climate quantifies the culture of the organisation by specifically understanding a few aspects of the organisation. Through its climate, we get an inference about the organisation’s culture.

Let me give you an example

There may be two fun organisations who have a lax in their rules, flexible working hours, incentives, young employees, innovative employee engagement activities and fringe benefits  – these are shared aspects of organisational climate.

They may have a ‘Customer is God’ approach, business expansion schemes, would want to scale up instead of being boutique organisations, value performance driven employees a lot, believe in flat teams, self -initiated leadership and these may be shared aspects of organisation culture.

  • But in order to foster that culture through and through what practices does the company apply?
  • Does an organisation focus on career pathway for employees?
  • Do the supervisors provide goals and appropriate challenges for employees to perform?
  • Do employees feel motivated by achievements of periodic goals?
  • Do they aim for long-term goals for the future?
  • Are the team members altruistic and support employees to complete tasks or do the employees feel helpless?

If there are perceived differences in an organisational climate where one company aces all these and the other doesn’t, then the latter is bound to fail and in turn decrease in its brand value when attrition happens. Especially where the former employees, discuss the company in the market.

While the culture is subtle and implicit, the climate is blazingly obvious about whether the organisation has a particular set of characteristics or not. The climate is also relatively enduring over time and differentiates one company from another with the same culture.

Understanding climate is very important especially for creative companies in Chennai that have the same culture but different climates, thereby having different EVPs and brands.

Suffice it to say that EB and EVP go through an entire life-cycle, beyond just luring candidates. Substituting the term ‘Hiring Brand’ for ‘Employer Brand’ is gruesomely misleading because creating and sustaining the brand is not limited to Talent attraction but Talent Retention. It ensures that when employees quit, it is mostly in a win-win scenario. This way the reputation of the brand is still upheld by those employees.

In conclusion,

  • Employer brand, Hiring brand and Employee Value Proposition are popular now.
  • Organisations have to concentrate on the culture and the climate
  • Employers have to focus on not just talent attraction but talent retention as well to build their brands.

The different ways in which a company can build and sustain an Employer Brand have been discussed in Part 2 of this article.


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