Organisations ignoring their employer brands

May 14 2007 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Despite all the evidence of a growing global talent shortage, it comes as a surprise to learn that two-thirds of companies globally do not have a formal employer brand strategy in place and many don't even have any plans to develop one.

According to research from the International Workplace Survey by specialist financial recruitment firm, Robert Half, just a third of organisations across the world have an employer brand strategy, and whilst 20 per cent are planning to implement one in the next two years, over a third (35 per cent) admitted they currently have no plans to do so.

The survey, which quizzed over 5000 HR and finance managers in 17 countries across Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan and the United States, found that it is the larger companies with more than 200 employees that are more likely to have a formalised branding strategy.

It also found that employers in the UK Ė where the concept of employer branding was first devised Ė appear to have embraced the concept of employer branding more so than their global counterparts.

More than four out of 10 (44 per cent) of all the UK HR and Finance Managers questioned stated that their organisation has a formal employer brand strategy in place, with this figure rising to seven out of 10 in companies with more than 200 employees.

A quarter of all UK employers said that the most important reason for adopting an employer brand strategy was that it lead to a high retention rate for existing employees, while almost one in five (18 per cent) believe that it helps to attract and recruit new staff.

A further 17 per cent stated that it will tie employee commitment to organisational goals and 19 per cent claimed it will help to maintain a positive reputation in the industry.

However organisations in all countries agreed that the responsibility for developing and driving a company's employer branding must come from top management and filter down from there.

Globally three out of 10 of those questioned believe that the CEO/CFO must buy into the employer brand first and foremost in order for an organisation to successfully become an 'employer of choice'.

A quarter stated that this responsibility lies with the HR department and one in five said it must be a multi-departmental approach.

Meanwhile, when asked what organisations are doing to ensure that the employer brand strategy is implemented across the company, over a third (37 per cent) of companies in the UK said that they conduct workshops with staff and then implement the results.

Globally, a quarter of the HR managers surveyed believe that the best way to communicate the employer brand is through the organisation's human resource policies, 17 per cent said through the company website, and one in five believed the best method for communicating brand values is simply word of mouth.

David Jones, UK Managing Director, Robert Half International, said that the to developing an effective employer branding strategy is to identify what is unique to your own organisation.

"In today's marketplace where skilled candidates are such a precious commodity, employers need to look carefully at the image of their organisation and what they would like to represent both internally to existing members of staff and externally to potential new employees," he said.

"Candidates can now afford to be selective in who they choose to work for and increasingly will look closely at an organisation's culture, company image and values that are aligned with their own before deciding whether to join."