If the company has the task of forming the HR brand, individual isolated initiatives will most likely not lead to the desired result. It will be more efficient to use a step-by-step strategy.
First of all, those groups of people whose opinion about the employer’s brand is significant for the company should be determined, i.e. target audiences. It is then necessary to examine the perception of the HR brand by these groups, and based on this research, identify problem areas that require maximum effort. Reference: “For HR managers: How to start building the employer brand?“, https://www.worldforgemagazine.com/for-hr-managers-how-to-start-building-the-employer-brand/
After that, a proposal or promise for the HR brand is formulated, as well as a strategy for its promotion, taking into account the characteristics of the target audiences. Projects are developed and implemented to deal with the most pressing tasks of HR branding, and in the end, the achieved results are evaluated.
We will take a detailed look at each step of forming the HR brand:
Finding and studying the target audiences of the HR brand
Describe your target audiences, both external (applicant categories) and internal (employee categories). Separate their main characteristics.
The target audience (TA) is a group of people to whom the company’s offer is directed, in this case, the company’s offer as an employer. Determining the target audience is important before planning any advertising, marketing, or communication campaign, and in the formation of the HR brand, this is no exception. Furthermore, like classic marketing, effective HR branding requires target audience segmentation. Typically, various social demographics such as gender, age, income level, education level, etc. are used to describe the Target Audience.
However, to form a “portrait of the ideal candidate” or to identify key categories of employees, a more detailed description of professional experience and competencies, some personal characteristics, and other qualities important for effective work in a company is needed.
The correct selection and segmentation of target audiences allow you to highlight the most important benefits of working in the company for the “necessary people”, as well as find effective channels and tools for transmitting this information. Depending on the company’s goals, there may be several options for offering and forming the HR brand (both substantively and emotionally). While a vague idea of who exactly we want to make an offer that is impossible to refuse leads to probable mistakes, loss of money, and time resources.
Identifying the problem areas for the HR brand
Research the perception of the company’s HR brand by the described target groups. Based on the results of the survey, isolate the problem areas that need correction.
One of the main marketing axioms is that before you offer a product to a customer, you need to understand what their real needs are.
For example, you can never sell a mid-range laptop to a customer who needs a computer more for images than for solving work tasks. Or convince the editor to buy a laptop with advanced graphics capabilities. It is the same with forming the HR brand: When creating, and even more so when adjusting the HR strategy, it is important first of all to understand the needs of the work team. The easiest and most effective way is an interview to assess the level of employee satisfaction, which is usually conducted anonymously.
Creating a concept for forming the HR brand
Formulate the HR-brand concept: statements and facts that reveal the image of the company as an attractive employer. Try to highlight exactly those benefits of working in the company that may be of interest to the specified target audience.
The HR brand concept or proposition is essentially the reason why a candidate chooses a company over other potential employers, it is the values, opportunities, and benefits that the employer offers to the employee. In any case, the offer of the HR brand must include both emotional and rational advantages, and the proportion already depends on the characteristics of the target audience. The real work environment and processes in the company must meet the promises, otherwise, the effect will be negative both in terms of employee perception and (after some time) in the labor market.
The correctly formulated concept of the HR brand is a response to the identified needs, it is the offer that the company makes to the candidate or employee.
Such an information message will not interest everyone. Behind the board, there will be executive people, but not too creative, not ready for the constant manifestation of initiatives, oriented towards an equal work process and stability. If companies want to achieve such an effect, then the motivation system, based primarily on the opportunities for career growth and development of professional competencies, will not work for employees who are ready to dedicate to work the time from 9 to 18 hours, performing only these functions, which are described in the job description.
At the same time, there are quite a few organizations in which completely different qualities will be valued, and initiative and creativity will only hinder the work. The HR-brand proposition in this case will not be built around the search and development of talents, but, for example, around stability, maintenance of traditions, compliance with rules and regulations, and strict adherence to prescribed instructions.
Develop a strategy to promote the HR brand
Define the HR-brand promotion strategy: ways, forms, and channels for disseminating the information. Develop plans for specific projects and events aimed at solving the most pressing tasks in the formation of the HR brand.
When planning a specific event, first of all, it is necessary to have clearly defined, specific goals and objectives. If problem areas and weaknesses of the HR brand are identified, first of all, the projects aimed at their correction should be implemented. In any case, at an early stage of planning, it is necessary to consider how the results will be measured and evaluated. In addition, “seminar held” or “corporate event took place”, is not a result of the realization of the project.
The result is a solution to a specific task to strengthen the HR brand: let’s say, a corporate event uniting employees of different ages, with different interests and hobbies.
It is necessary to carefully consider all stages of project implementation, taking into account the peculiarities of the target audience: incorrect initial data can reject any subsequent work of the HR department. In general, any project is more effective if it is implemented within the framework of an overall strategy, and not simply to solve a separate task.
Evaluation of the obtained result
It is possible to evaluate the results of the work both by indirect signs (number of incoming resumes, hired employees, reduction in the percentage of leavers) and by conducting a special study on the perception of the HR brand by the target audiences.
Evaluation of results is an indispensable and very important attribute in the process of implementing any project. Already at the planning stage of the HR-brand formation project, it is necessary to consider how the effectiveness of solving the assigned tasks will be evaluated. If possible, the results of the project should be presented in the form of figures reflecting the state of affairs before and after the project.
Every HR-branding project has two dimensions of effectiveness: direct impact on the company’s business indicators (labor productivity, sales volume, market share, wage-to-income ratio, speed and cost of closing a vacancy, etc. ) and employee perceptions (participation, loyalty, satisfaction, reduced turnover, etc.). There are also universal indicators, such as reducing the number of sick leaves, increasing the number of candidates who come to the company on the recommendation of employees, etc.
To evaluate the effectiveness of building an internal HR brand, it is best to use employee engagement and satisfaction surveys, especially if they are conducted regularly (usually once a year).