Human Capital Musings!

a peek into the human capital world…

Archive for the category “brandmanager”

Is your employer branding for real??


Honestly, am pretty tired of so many surveys and writings on why an employee will stay engaged in a company. Volumes of analyses are penned on why the employees need to be engaged with the best practices, contemporary practices, and ‘designer’ employee retention tools which are a great tool in the armor of the employer brand.

But, let me bluntly put across a few things which makes the employee hang on, and why he will not look elsewhere to do the same job.

  1. treatment with dignity – this is the bedrock. you do the best of practices and yet have a jerk as a manager in one of the functions, who loves and lives by stamping on the ego and dignity of his colleague, then with all the cosmetic engagement tools, you are not going to retain a soul, a good employee. so, spot the jerks today, and do something about their behavioral change if you can – a great service to your employer brand.
  2. a role appropriate to the skills and competencies – how many times does your HR/line/recruitment function jump and say “here’s a great talent”.. and you go ahead and hire the person just for the heck of showing the world that your ’employer brand’ is capable of attracting the best of talent out there. without any sense of what role and responsibility you will give the person – in your present and future ‘scheme’ of things? if there is nothing like that, then your ’employer brand’ is not just ruining another career, and even worse self-inflicting a blow on the face of your brand. so, think of a proper plan before you want to go out and get the best of talent – is your brand ready for such great talent?
  3. great talent is never retained by frivolous engagement tools. period. at best, the buzz you build around the ’employer brand’ with such fun tools may last for a month or so. even that, in this information age, is a stretch. great talent looks for real ‘meat’ in the job content, in the career path, in the span of control and challenges – besides off-course the best of money. notice that money will mostly come in the bottom of the aspiration ladder for someone who is serous about ‘growing’ a career. so, pay attention to the ‘meat’ your employer brand can proffer and spice it up with the money. as you will know, just the spice sans the ‘content’ food will be inedible and propel attrition, no matter what you do.
  4. is your employer brand a school of learning, and the best in that – most organisations which win the serious employer brand surveys are there mainly because they are solid learning grounds. every person who stays with you wants to grow, intellectually as well. and most times, people exit the organisation getting tired of doing the same thing, in the same way everyday. there is nothing called learning in your brand – if that is the case, then all the buzz you create around the employer brand will fizzle out in no time.
  5. work life balance – in this wired world, as we all get more connected, and telecommuting is the order of the day, it is no surprise that what is hit most is work-life balance. technology is meant to ease our lives, and help us get more productive; yet in reality the opposite has happened. our handheld work devices have got to our bedroom and kitchen – every ring or buzz hits the nerve even at home. it is time great employer brands offer real work life balance – to take it further, i would opine that today’s employer brands must have a documented work-life balance policy, which clearly facilitates each employee in being a balanced person (i have taken it too far? 🙂
These things have to be ingredients of your employer brand. If they are not, a whole lot of other ‘stuff’ will not serve the purpose of enhancing your brand value, other than just getting your some ‘news’ as a best ranked employer!

All the best for your ’employer branding’ life cycle.

Do you hire from your direct competition?


It’s now common, and rather inevitable, to poach from your direct competition. However, there are a few things you must remember…

1. Never start with ‘your company is in dumps…’. The candidate is willing to look at you precisely because of some perception close to that or any issue which may not be in the open… Re-iterate as to how life can be better in your place, rather than speaking the load of negatives about competition…. throwing negatives reflects badly on the quality of your HR function…!

2. Engage only in a relevant conversation, from the specific prospective employee point of view. Statements like ‘xyzee from your place came at our terms etc’ would only get you desperadoes’ and not the real stars… Remember, you are not a savior, and you want them for a business objective too.

3. Listen to the prospective employee point of view, instead of mouthing platitudes on how your company got people cheap… What if the prospective employee retorts ‘you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.. uh…’?!

4. Showcase as to why you are good, and not as to why the other company is bad. The employee comes from there, and has no need to hear his present company information from you.

5. Clarify roles and responsibilities, instead of only sounding like buying ‘human vegetables’. That is HR at its pits, and is a bad reflection of how you value people.

6. By taking names, of whom you got for how much, you drive the prospective employee to more comparison which could lead to inequity thoughts, and that would only harm your company interests… plus now those who have come in are ‘your employees’, and whatever you did and do, directly speaks volumes about your quality of hiring.

7. A simple “this is the best we can pay in your case” is good for everyone. Don’t throw open a pandora’s box by mentioning all irrelevant data.

8. Remember, you hire people for your company growth. If that is not the pivot, then you are harming careers, and also you company.

9. Good prospective employees are smart candidates… think otherwise, the cream will never fall for you verbal innuendo. And no book in HR advises innuendo as a prudent hiring practice.

10. Allow the prospective employee to speak, and for god sake, you listen. As they always say, two ears are to listen that much more, that speaking with one mouth. And if it’s a telephonic conversation, you have to listen that much more.

Remember, the prospective candidate, in these few conversations, sees you as a brand ambassador. And HR is indeed the best brand ambassador for your organisation.

HR professionals – Brand Managers! (repeat)


For so many years, it has been oft-repeated that the contemporary HR professional must be multifaceted, possess an understanding of cross-functional aspects in the organization, provide strategic direction, intent and inputs to the line managers, be capable and competent to sit on the board – in a nutshell, be not just a leader in HR, but a strategic think-tank that most across the organization can really look up to.

Times have changed, and here is the need for the new age HR professional to be a great brand manager.

A brand manager, who can clearly lay down the attributes that the organization stands for, craft a communication plans around that, and constantly iterate it, to the organization and to the outside world, which is populated by the target audience – prospective employees (internal clients), the external clients at large, and all those who matter.

Most of all, the crucial hat that the HR pro must be able to don with ease is that of a Brand Manager….  Unless he or she can be a smart and seasoned brand manager, it will be almost next to impossible for the HR Professional to win the war for talent and also sustain existing talent within – all this, amidst the intense fight for scarce talent, and a mad rush & scramble to recruit, retain, re-train, de and get the best out of people, here and now!

Creating the organizations brand value proposition can no more be just a role that the internal/external marketing team will do… the content which is so crucial for the success of any marketing program must come in from the top leadership, and it is only the HR professional who commands a place on the table, owing to the sheer cross functional value he can add, – who can drive the organizational marketing from within.

To re-phrase this, the core of the marketing program – that drives the BRAND of the organization – MUST be the onus of the HR leader in the organization.

For this, the HR leader must be one who can craft, articulate and strategize all branding efforts of the company, around the core values and messages that the organization stands for.

This besides, as for any product or service brand, the HR team must bear in mind that there is a need to reposition, re-package and re-invent the organization brand, time and again.

Its imperative to understand that the brand life cycle – call it, how much tangible and intangible results that communicating the brand can actually produce – is limited to a life cycle – as in PLC. At the laggard end of this cycle, like almost any PLC, the brand needs to re-invented, repositioned, or even completely re-launched…. This, by ensuring that the brand/organization reflects endearing values/benefits and at the same time, making the right brand noises in the right place (there is no great difference – for the outsider, a new Liril and a rejuvenated Infy or Wipro, could stand to communicate the same brand strength, energy and longevity!)

Who else but the HR leader know the so many P’s of the organization brand better than him or her….   While the internal marketing/branding team can go about the task of implementing the branding exercises, the strategic insight for the program must come in from the human resources head and the core HR team.

P for Product – the organization itself – encompassing its values, vision and mission – what the organization intends to be, and what it delivers end of the day – delivery of  not just the product or the services, but things like re-plough profits to be, the CSR program et al, the green commitment and so on.

P for Place  – the facilities, the infrastructure etc, the ambience, the kind of work culture, the hygiene issues which are unique to the company, how it can be a great place to work for a whole generation of employees.

P for performance – the performance of the organization measured by revenues and profits, can at best be the sum total of individual performances. It’s the HR’s onus to craft performance management programs across the organization to ensure the goals are achieved.

Akin to this, pick up any P component of the marketing pie, and one can clearly see the crucial role the HR leader can play as a branding professional.

As in marketing/branding any conventional product/service, promotion is the crucial P that determines win or otherwise for the marketing/branding efforts… and the promotion is continuous and consistent…  these could the the tangible and intangible benefits that the company can proffer to the current/prospective talent pool.

Besides this, branding is also about having great employee engagement tools – call it innovation in branding – how each organization has its unique EE programs in place.

The raison d’être of the HR professional as a brand manager is to create, sustain and re-create an endearing brand value proposition in the mind of the prospective buyers – here the employment market, and the employee pool, and the team within.

So, HR professionals as HR leaders in organizations are passé.  This is a new world in which every good HR professional is a marketing/branding specialist as well!

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