The only way to do a great job is to love what you do.Steve Jobs
Employer Branding is commonly understood as a strategy that combines marketing and HR to achieve a better positioning of the organization in the labor market, mainly in situations where the selection processes are reversed because many candidates, especially the most talented, are those who choose their employers.
Would we be talking about Employer Branding if there were no talent deficit market in some sectors? Possibly not. The numbers say that it is only necessary to invest in strengthening the brand when the laws of the market so dictate.
And it is here where we commit a lazy error of concept, we cannot make a complete parallelism between the rules of functioning of the market and the labor reality. Let the following not be understood as a demagogic discourse: the market of exchange of money for products/services does not really work the same as that of money in exchange for the labor force.
A customer’s behaviour may seem very similar to that of a candidate in terms of supply and demand. However, for candidates, offering an employer their physical or intellectual effort in exchange for money has a number of very different implications than a purchase. An employee observes his or her relationship with the employer with a much greater subjective burden than would be contemplated in the customer-company relationship, and the consideration is never reduced to a simple monetary transaction.
When we buy a can of tomato, the seller will be completely satisfied if our money is legal tender. When, as employers, we buy a person’s effort to work, we can pay them with the right amount of money, but there is more than just money, which the seller-employee is going to require from us to initiate or continue with the trasaction. This is a reality that many people who buy labor still have a hard time assuming.
There’s something we’ve always had a hard time explaining numerically:
The quality of the subjective relationship between employer and employee affects production, and of course also the benefits of an organization.
And here is the great blindness of those who are not able to see beyond the numbers, costs and revenues. There is also, here, resignation and lack of scientific culture among those who must effectively explain the statistical correlation between organizational climate and results.
In fact, the fear of many CEOs and CFOs to strengthen commitment management policies lies in the difficulty of finding a strong causal relationship between investments in happiness at work and results.
But there is a new approach with which to approach the definition of Employer Branding.
Generating a better employer brand is not only useful in a talent deficit labor market. It is useful because (and here I pause dramatically) … because when employees have considerable motivation and commitment, production processes work better, work is of higher quality, there are fewer mistakes, more business opportunities appear proactively, cooperation and innovation are fostered.
In short, because having a committed staff is a competitive advantage absolutely not imitable by your competition, and directly affects your bottom line.
Common sense, right? But I have the feeling that from human resources we have lost strength or motivation to remember this fundamental principle within our organizations.
I sincerely believe that Employer Branding, understood with a transforming approach and continuous improvement of organizational commitment, is more than a strategy, it is a raison d’être and an unavoidable obligation for any organization that wants to be looking towards success.
How much are your organization’s results affected by people who never intend to do anything beyond what is strictly requested of them? And by people who are artists in avoiding problems and conflict situations? How many mistakes are caused by lack of attention and interest in tasks? How many commercial opportunities escape for lack of proactivity? What is the cost of a professional absenteeism? How much money does it cost us to captivate a young promise, to train it so that a year we leave with a competitor? How many innovative and wonderful ideas did not appear because we did not have employees empowered to generate them? Any one of us could fill several pages with these kinds of questions.
It is estimated that 70% of employees do not feel connected, are not satisfied and are not productive, and this costs companies time and money.
Let’s not confuse commitment with exaggerated behaviors of effort and presence. Sometimes we think we see engagement where there is only fear of losing the job in a narrow labor market. At other times we reward very ambitious workers, regardless of the fact that they only grow for their own benefit so that the slightest opportunity can be auctioned off to another company.
And the other problem is our natural tendency to reduce to the absurd everything we don’t fully understand. Because commitment management is not about having satisfied employees, you can be satisfied and not be productive. It’s about generating the engagement that leads to productivity.
Nor does it consist of turning our organizations into a colorful social club where, in theory, creativity is fostered and workers are entertained with fun things in favor of a utopian happiness at work. Does anyone really believe that the lack of commitment can be solved by placing a foosball table in the company canteen? It’s not about filling every corner with Ikea sofas or putting up a glamorous mindfulness room. It’s not about creating an environment where millennials sit on the floor to hang photos on Instagram from their brilliant IPhone 11.
It is necessary to approach Employer Branding from a less short-term and merely visual approach. We must go beyond the superficial layer of the image projected to the worker, and enter directly into all the processes that mark the Experience as Employee, in order to improve it. A different approach to implement several ideas and oriented exclusively to give a positive and modern appearance to a potential candidate.
AN EMPLOYING BRAND MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
A company’s bottom line is so important that it justifies the fact that the management of the “organizational commitment” on which it depends deserves a Management System.
A management system of this type must have some important features:
- Establish the methodology to clearly define the Employer Value Proposition (EVP). This definition represents the central axis of the functioning of the System, and must have the full support and participation of the company’s top management.
- Define operating procedures, work instructions and responsibilities to improve the brand and generate commitment. It must also provide management indicators and measurement methodologies. Fortunately, the techniques of People Analytics are providing us with valuable help in the management of intangibles and when transmitting their ROI to the management committee.
- The objective is to provoke the spontaneous appearance of behaviors of commitment in people, understood as that behavior that is born from feeling involved, from being interested and being devoted to work and the organization.
- To result in a better Employee Experience, but without forgetting that the empowerment of a particular type of Talent is what we ultimately need to obtain through the generation of commitment.
- Identify Talent, potential, current, future and both internal and external. In order to do so, it must be able to establish methodologies to define, map and evaluate it.
- It must respect the demands of business operations at all times, but at the same time courageously promote changes in them, which result in improved results through the attitude of people.
- Provide a constant and meticulous analysis of the worker’s life cycle, and establish a procedure to detect failures in the Employee’s Experience (Pof moments), or discover opportunities to empower it (Wow moments).
- To question, from the perspective of the employee’s experience, how the different processes are implemented in the management of people (recruitment, selection, hiring, onboarding, evaluation, development, compensation, etc.) in order to introduce significant changes in them, in order to achieve the objectives of generating engagement.
- Efficiently communicate the Employer Value Proposal using all the marketing procedures, communication channels and contact networks necessary to strengthen the transmission of the Brand image and the improvements achieved. The presence and impact on social networks and the strategies of brand ambassadors are two clear examples of aspects managed by the system in terms of communication.
In short, a management system that places the employee in the strategic place that each organization demands at all times..
We all know that a company without conflicts or totally engaged and happy workers is a utopia, but like quality management, the secret is that…
you are not going to change your brand overnight, but you have to be oriented to it at all times.
Therefore, an employer brand management system is the best formula to provoke the continuous improvement of the employee’s experience. A methodology where the iteration of small improvements is what adds up to the great effect we need.
The engagement is neither asked for nor purchased.
To internalize this phrase is the first step to propitiate an environment of generation of engagement in the organization. It is useless to ask for it, and it is not demandable in exchange for money. Commitment is something that is only given from the heart, and obtaining it will depend on the type of employer we choose to be.
We still have a lot to do on this subject, or rather… a lot to stop doing, so that we begin to develop emotions and engaged behaviors in our organizations. And the first ones who start walking have an advantage over the rest because it is not a path that presents too many shortcuts.
Taking employer brand management seriously allows us to keep the organization permanently inoculated with the virus of continuous improvement in our ability to make people give their best.
And something that emerges spontaneously is inevitable.