This research proposal deals with one of the major issues organizations are facing these days. It is moving away from their normal practice of marketing of goods they produce or services they offer to external customers or end users. This concept deals with marketing company to its own employees and develop positive Employer brand.
Quantitative as well qualitative research methodology is suggested for this exploratory research. It will provide statistical information as well as attitudes , behaviors and thoughts will be measured by qualitative research method. Sample size and entry criteria are also part of the report. Limitations of this research are discussed in the later part along with all the ethical issues that should be considered.In the personal reflections portion , individual’s opinion on Employer branding along with some recommendations is present.
Over all conclusion is that positive Employer Branding is the need of the hour and can provide a significant competitive advantage to the firms who will move early and implement a long term strategy to make this a continuous process.
Rapidly changing business environment needs organizations to come up with innovative and creative goods, ideas, services and standards. Innovation is the key to survive in dynamically changing business environment.
Globally organizations are looking for employees who can not only provide them sustainable competitive advantage and also create solutions to maintain profitable levels and acceptable ROI for all stake holders.
Key to success is to hire and retain talented employees for long duration. Loosing and employee has huge cost these days which includes direct cost as well as hidden cost. Add to it cost of hiring and training new employees and a huge amount can be seen wasted in non productive areas.
Out look for talented employees will always be a vital part of an organization. This need intensifies during difficult economic times and recession where productivity is directly proportional to the quality of employees.
Organizations are now focusing more on branding them as a good prospect employer providing opportunity for growth as well as secure future. This is helpful in attracting talent at initial level and helps to retain it for a long time. This has given importance to EMPLOYER BRANDING , where investment is done to market company for external customers ( potential employees ) to join and internal customers ( current employees ) to remain satisfied and as a result reduction in turnover.
BACKGROUND OF RESEARCH
Employer brand is the the image of your organization as a ‘great place to work’ in the mind of current employees and key stakeholders in the external market (active and passive candidates, clients, customers and other key stakeholders). The art and science of employer branding is therefore concerned with the attraction, engagement and retention initiatives targeted at enhancing your company’s employer brand.”
It reflects company’s culture, values and builds expectations of employees (both current and prospective). Motivated, satisfied and committed employees are a great source of moving company ahead in competitive resource crunched times.
Employees can make decisive difference between a particular organization and its competitors. Success is a combined end point of Good product, service and how well they are executed in timely manner with in desired ROI. Over all image of an organization which is a combination of many factors is key for attracting talented individuals.
Company should focus on providing complete employment management process where employees who have a range of options and companies to compare pay , growth opportunities , skill development , job satisfaction etc This process also develops a relation more than number ( salary based) and develops at another level where employee feels emotional bonding with the company . This factor was one of the reason for phenomenal growth of Japan after World War 2, where employees had a life long relation with the employer leading to retention of talent.
Rational of research:
As discussed earlier, Employee management process ensures to attract high potential individuals to an organization and ensures that current employees are motivated. This tackles issues related to low morale , reduces turnover , absenteeism , low productivity . It also helps employees to focus more on improving business.
As a result of this research its findings can help identify gaps between expectations of employees vs. current offerings and in the long run develop strategies to improve Employed branding towards positive employee friendly company.
Research (Aim and Objectives )
This research will help in providing a direction for the organization to develop strategies to improve perception of company . Human Resource department and policy makers can use these findings to set their priorities and achieve the goal of being a employee friendly company at fast pace.
Research can also use to identify gaps between desired work place and actual work place using perception of employees
What are most valued attributes an employee wants to see in an employer?
Where company is rated on key attributes vs. competitors.
How views vary among employees of different functions in an organization.
How can companies make them as high Employer value proposition and what are the initial steps.
Talent management is the key for successful organizations. It ensures that organizations achieve short and long term quantitative as well as qualitative objectives. Hiring right person for the job also ensures that all stake holders involve get the feeling of a winner.
Top executives of the company and policy makers can also use this research to have a Employer Value Perception in line with global standards.
Limitations of research
All necessary steps ( details to follow ) are taken to ensure that a balanced results are achieved with out any influence on the respondents , interviewers bias and data recording errors. However, following factors can be considered as limitations of this research paper:
Sample Size and mix :
Sample selection for this research consists of employees with different back ground, work experience and management level. Also since it is a mix of many people we can not have specific findings for a particular industry. Employee expectations and value perception may differ with industry
Interviewer / Respondent BIAS
During the process utmost efforts were done in recording data as well as compiling results to minimize interviewers bias. Role of interviewer was only of recording the data and as an observer . He did not prompt or asked questions in a leading way to get specific answers.
Another area could be respondents bias and their current level of satisfaction with the company. Length of service in a specific company can also be a factor leading to bias. General observation is the dissatisfaction from employer is directly proportional to the length of employment. Long service years leads to higher level of dissatisfaction.
Questionnaire Design :
Questionnaire was design keeping in view certain pre conceived hypothesis of end point for research finding . Although enough options were given to the respondent in others option of question , but respondents tend more to select one of the given options and not go for options where they have to write or explain reasons for their selection. This might also act as a research limitation.
This proposal was written using on line sources consisting of academic journals , articles , magazine and websites like Wikipedia to get a broader insight on Employer branding .
According to Mr. Steve McKee – Internal branding is simply having a continuous process in place by which you ensure your employees understand the “who” and “why” behind your business proposition. Companies that overlook internal branding are doing themselves a critical disservice. It can be the missing link between perception and reality, promise and delivery, effective marketing and positive outcomes. Yet internal branding doesn’t receive nearly the time, resources, or attention that external efforts do.
It also means that you are also giving employees expectations of them and what should they expect from company in the short and long run.
We find use of this term in corporate circles from 90’s and in a very short period of time it became accepted and use of term employer brand term does not go long in the past. It got used initially in the 1990s to denote an organization’s reputation as an employer (Wikipedia 2010) over the period of time; it has become widely adopted by the universal management community (Martin 2009).
Some important references in the literature is mentioned and discussed below
(Management issues, 2010).
Company of choice, an employer of choice and the investment of choice are the three straightforward goals that combined stand for the universal truth of strategic differentiation and merely method that an organization can transmit sustainable accomplishment over the long period
Employer branding is an emerging discipline with its roots in classical marketing and brand management principles. It aims to position an image of a company as “a great place to work”.
It works under the concept of developing an emotional connection with the finest talent, presents real benefits that are based on facts. The promise and accomplishment of an employer brand facilitates the magnetism, inspiration and preservation of suitable talent for the business to carry on conveying on the corporate brand pledge.”
An organization’s employer brand consists of human relationships and human emotions. The employer branding is a box including Internal communication, Reward & recognition, Learning & development, Measurement systems, Performance appraisal, Team management, Recruitment and on-boarding, Working environment, External marketing, Values, Senior leadership . Communication and Culture are the two strong elements of employment branding since honest dialogue is important in attracting, engaging and retaining the top talent and making strong employer brand.
Companies are competing to attract best talent in current job market. Employer brand becomes more relevant when compared to various critical factors like job profile and the compensation package.
Employer branding reveals the work culture of a company and it has become more critical in today’s times, as most professionals are looking at a steady career and establishing a long-term relationship with the company. Research shows that employees of industrial brands sense a much greater logic of satisfaction, affection and belief towards their employer. They are also appreciably more likely to advocate their organization to others and maintain it treats employees well. A good employer brand makes it easy to attract good talent and curb attrition. The strength of an organization’s brand has a significant impact on the performance of its employees.
Employer branding is all about the perception of employees, stakeholders and external market about an organization and hence it deals in attracting, engaging and retaining organization image.
In the current work markets, where organizations fight for magnetizing the finest of the ability, employer brand, occasionally, turns into more pertinent when matched up to different decisive features as the profile of the job as well as the payment package
Employer branding is defined by various researchers and authors and their reflections on this subject are ;
According to Sullivan (2004) employer branding is a targeted, long-term strategy to manage the awareness and perceptions of employees, potential employees, and related stakeholders with regards to a particular firm.
Ambler and Barrow (1996) explains employer brand in the form of provisions of the benefits it passes on to employees. Backhaus and Tikoo, 2004 defines the employer brand as holding a “value proposition” about what employee may get as an outcome of doing job with a specific employer
Making a sustainable and differentiated employer brand requires a firm to take indoor to out route which is contrary to general marketing strategies of the company. One must understand that we are targeting internal as well as external or potential employees.
In a recent article in Wall street Journal (March 23, 2009) importance and benefits of segmenting employees is mentioned. Similar to the target market they should also make segment of potential and current workers”.
According to Schumann and Sartain “ Segmentation is at the core of any effective marketing program. The talent brand can move beyond generic messaging to express what will truly make the difference to a worker. Segmentation means adapting the talent brand message for each segment based on insight into audience needs and preferences. Later in this proposal a method for segmenting talent is proposed
Main objective of the research is to discover new facts about key attributes that current and potential employees are looking for in a employer. Exploratory research methodology will suit best to achieve research objectives. Later based on the initial findings a follow up research can be planned to verify results and get more specific information on identified aspects of the research.
Regarding methods a combination of Quantitative as well as Qualitative methods would be used
In order to get more information on the topic Exploratory method of research would be used initially . Later we can plan explanatory research methods to explain certain findings of the research . We will be using a mix of Quantitative and Qualitative Research.
Quantitative research is the numbers game. It’s about measurement and attaching numbers to a specific topic – for instance market size, market share, penetration, installed base and market growth rates.
Quantitative research can also be used to measure attitudes, satisfaction, commitment and a range of other useful market data and market metrics that can tracked over time and used as part of a wider business planning and business strategy process
Qualitative research has become the most common view of the market research business. Qualitative researcher is a detective looking for clues and motivations as to what really drives a market using a range of techniques.
Source of Data
Sample size of 30 will be selected to fill in a questionnaire . Questionnaire will have a mix of open ended and Multiple choice questions.
Breakup for quantitative survey would be as follows
10 employees from Middle Management position
10 Employees from Entry level positions
10 Employees who have recently changed their jobs their experience will be from more than one year .
Employees will be selected from any manufacturing or service industry and should fulfill above specified criteria.
Face to Face interviews will be conducted with 6 respondents 2 from each of the above categories.
As mentioned above for quantitative research a questionnaire will be used. It would be a fixed questionnaire that should be administered the same way, word-for-word, for each respondent to obtain a reliable measure of the market.
For Qualitative research individual in depth interviews will be conducted that draws vital clues about attitudes, behaviors and motivators of an individual .
Method of Analyzing Data:
Generally most market research quantitative studies are under-analyzed, usually because of pressures of time and a desire to get the results into a presentation.
The better the analysis, the shorter the questionnaire and the presentation will be. The reason being that good quality analysis means being able to focus on the important over the merely interesting. But to understand what is important, the analyst needs to have a good view of what the business is about and so what the audience need to hear.Presenting quantitative information is also a challenge. It is by its nature numerical and not particularly visual.
In qualitative research process starts with a broad overview then to narrow down to the area of interest. A discussion guide is prepared to ensure all the pertinent points are covered and to ensure that spontaneous opinion can be gathered prior to setting the researcher’s stall out about what and why the research is taking place.Qualitative researchers want to map their findings onto the bigger marketplace they need to understand the pitfalls and contradictions that arise, and the points of connection and resonance for the broader audience.
Following important ethical issues should be considered and dealt with in accordance with all applicable laws.
Use of information for other purpose than research
Responsibility to participants.
Also respondents will be informed about the objectives of the research. Utmost efforts will be done to omit any ambiguity between the researcher and respondent by sharing the filled responses with the respondents.
Prep of Questionnaire
Start of Research
Presentation of Results
During literature review and research on the topic , importance of positive employer branding was further established. Organizations which have developed positive employee branding were able to attract and retain talented employees.
Talented employees help organization achieve competitive advantage in the market and as a result help achieve leadership.
Organizations should have a system of employees exit interviews to identify why people leave their jobs and what is their overall satisfaction level with the company. An outgoing employee is the best source to get information on the employer perception.
Organizations can also have an advisory board of their retired employees who can also act as an advocate for the company.Third party employee satisfaction surveys can also be used a resource for improving process with in the organization.
However, employee satisfaction survey and analysis is a complex process and organization would need specialized human resources to understand the gap between ideal and reality and also to recommend steps to the concerned for positive image.
In recent corporate world of dynamic changes, employees are one of the most important asset of a company. With loyalty of employees at historic low and their desire to grow fast , rapid job changes have become industry norm. Employee satisfaction is a combination of factors which include compensation , growth opportunities , training and development and work place environment . It is always very difficult to have best of all the mentioned areas above. Employer friendly organizations are the ones which have found a better balance in all areas , although ideal may still be a far end to achieve.
After researching and going through all the resources it has come out very clearly that “ Employer Branding “ is the need of the hour, Every company has steps in place to have a positive Employer Branding. Companies with early mover advantage will not only take lead but have better chances to create a competitive advantage in the recent times of undifferentiated products and services.