The Kenya Institute of Management (KIM) invited Employer Branding SA (EBSA) to their first ever HR Symposium hosted in Zanzibar, Tanzania. It was an honour to be elected as one of their keynote speakers and facilitators at this Symposium, titled The HR Function in Managing the Complexities of Organizational Change of Transformation in The Emerging Global Order.

Presenting alongside Beatrice Ochieng, Group HR Director for Coca-Cola Almasi Beverages Ltd and David Ssegawa, Chief HR Officer, for Airtel, Celeste Sirin of Employer Branding SA was called upon to present and facilitate on how to measure success in Employer Branding within the delegations’ respective organizations.

This was the first introduction of Employer Branding to the delegation and at the same time a superb exploratory workshop for EBSA to gain an understanding of and insights into the Kenyan employer market as it relates to the positioning of Employer Branding. Whilst the delegation represented mainly the public sector and were predominantly from the 47 counties across Kenya, they immediately saw the viability/benefits behind adopting the basic and fundamental principles of Employer Branding, benefits of which some private sector corporates have implemented and are clearly enjoying to date.

Upon demystifying the concept of Employer Branding with delegates, we collectively looked at how we could imbed employer branding into their various counties, with a view to transcending them into becoming “Counties of Choice”. Through showcasing various case studies within private sector, a good analogy was drawn between what was being done within these organizations and what could be adopted within the various counties. County delegates confirmed that since their national elections over a year ago, there was a strong focus on transforming their organizations into well-run businesses with definite goals and objectives. This transformation has brought about a private sector, business-like model/philosophy where HR is now accountable for ensuring that not only themselves but their internal staff complement meet key deliverables; and in certain cases being rewarded for individual and team objectives being met. With this in mind, it obviously has a direct correlation on building a measurable internal employee brand which in turn will impact on the organizations objectives and profitable outputs. For this reason, the focus was very much on the translation and positioning of their internal employee brand proposition into their counties, with a view to retaining and gaining their talent.

It was interesting to hear that Counties within broader Kenya are fast becoming desired employers of choice more so than the private sector. Whilst Counties are not yet faced with the “War for Talent” within their respective regions, this could very well change in the years ahead as they begin building their respective “Counties of Choice” with a view to competing for skills. Participants agreed that as Counties started defining their competitive advantage together with their employee value proposition, they could start making themselves more desirable to prospective employees.

Private sector echoed public sector sentiment as they confirmed that there is a definite disconnect between the company brand and the employer brand i.e. the company brand might be appealing through the consumers’ eyes yet employees might not rate them as great employers of choice. It was agreed that each county is likely to remain static if they stick to traditional methods of recruitment attraction, resourcing and retention, unless they begin to adopt the principle of building their reputation and outlook – that of differentiating themselves first as an employer of choice, through the quality people they employ behind the services that the county renders! This will be the differentiator!

The interest in Employer Branding within this forum was great and the affirmation to be progressive most definitely audible. However, like the rest of the globe there are hurdles and frustrations that would need to be overcome. I look forward to writing a follow up where I will be publishing preliminary insights collected from this wonderful group of engaging delegates which I so enjoyed spending time with during the three day Symposium.