by Roslyn Humphreys, Editor – Fast Moving
It is no secret that the working world has undergone drastic changes. With the advent of technology, particularly the internet and social media, the demand for instant results and responses has propelled us into a working environment that is highly pressurised and fast paced. Not only that, the consumer has gained invaluable power owing to social media, and now, as Ian Moir of Woolworths Holdings says, we live in the age of the consumer. However, what seems to be overlooked by many major corporations, particularly in South Africa, is the need for employer branding. You may ask yourself, “Why does employer branding matter?” I recently had the privilege of attending Employer Branding SA’s breakfast, held in Cape Town on 18 February and hosted by the inspirational Celeste Sirin, which aimed to highlight this growing trend.
Employer Branding SA strives to drive insights, through case studies and white papers, on the international employer-branding trend in order to learn how to implement it effectively in South Africa. The acquisition and retention of talented employees has become increasingly difficult to maintain in the ever-changing work environment, and it is for this reason that employer branding has become of paramount importance to businesses across the globe. Because we live in the age of the consumer, it is easy to lose sight of the people who ensure your customers are happy and loyal – your employees. Harvard Business School research the connection between customer loyalty and employee engagement and found profit and growth are stimulate primarily by customer loyalty, with satisfaction largely influenced by the services provided by employees. There is often a disconnection between the consumer and the employee. You may have an incredible brand with an amazing product, but people don’t want to work for you because they do not feel valued. This may not seem important, but your employee is also your customer, and if they have a negative experience of your brand internally, they are more likely to spread a negative opinion externally through social media and, particularly, Glassdoor – the TripAdvisor of employers.
South Africa is a country rich in diversity, which means there is no blanket approach to employer branding and it cannot exist in isolation. As Celeste pointed out, “South Africa almost has it’s own ‘countries’ within it. The corporate culture in KwaZulu Natal will be vastly different to that of Gauteng; therefore, you can’t approach employer branding with a mentality that one size will fit all.” A prime example of this is a leading clothing retailer. Whilst the implementation of their corporate brand is very necessary, this can be counteractive when resourcing for their trade brands if the candidate is unaware that they are housed within the Group. For this reason, some of their sub trade divisions are implementing their own employer branding initiatives within and when they embark on any recruitment drives. This is because employer branding does not work in isolation. You need to have a cohesive approach where HR and Marketing work together – marketing will attract the talent and HR will retain employees through the unified employer branding strategy. As Celeste mentions, “The employer branding moment of truth is about an integrated employee and customer experience. If your Marketing and HR departments work together, your employer branding strategy will have far greater success. ”
Ultimately, Celeste highlights six internal employer-branding trends and five external ones that will have a profound impact on the acquisition and retention of employees. If you would like to find out more about what employer branding is and what the trends are, then be sure to make it to the next Employer Branding SA “Why employer branding matters” breakfast taking place in Gauteng on 10 March 2016. The Masterclasses will be held between March and April in both Gauteng and Western Cape. If you are serious about promoting the reputation of your company as an employer or wish to acquire the top talent in the market, you need to attend these workshops. They are a mine of invaluable information in how to implement employer branding effectively, which will result in a happy, productive employee and a satisfied, loyal customer.
If you would like to attend the masterclasses, the information can be found at http://www.employerbrandingsa.co.za/masterclasses/.
This article was first published on FastMoving.co.za.