“The speed at which a company’s HR function
efficiently reacts to the changing needs of its actual and
potential employees.” – CELESTE SIRIN

“Responsiveness” within organisations may be defined as being consistently effective in making appropriate and timely decisions – about individual customer requests, about short term fluctuations in operating conditions, about changes in the overall business environment – and then implementing faithfully on those decisions. This means not only reacting quickly, but routinely applying all of the relevant available information to make the best possible decisions.

Building on this definition, I am sure that we can all acknowledge that brand perceptions are gauged and built through peoples’ interactions with a given organisation, whether you are a customer, employer, employee, business associate, service provider or the like.

What fails to amaze me is the amount of time, energy and resources that organisations spend upfront in crafting, positioning and implementing on regular brand building campaigns (both product and employer brands), with every good intention of stimulating attention and creating a strong brand following. Once complete, this often becomes a futile exercise as, more often than not, the actions taken can fragment a company’s brand reputation.

As an employer brand leader and seasoned recruiter, I have experienced engagement at all levels through ongoing interactions with various profiled individuals, being well aware of the direct effect that brand ambassadors can have on an employer brand. The time and effort spent on the forefront, in strategically earmarking and personalising your communications to engage with your market segments, is as important as your backend where you formalise the manner in which your talent team receives, responds and reacts on incoming requests for information, generated through your brand awareness campaign and/or call to fill vacancies.


As a Candidate in the SA Market

Having had simultaneous, recent, first-hand accounts of acting as the ‘middleman’ between my valued clients and the candidate market, I reflect as follows.

In SA, the combination of our high unemployment rate and a mismatch in skill set requirements nowadays exposes recruiters more often than not to a very fragile, vulnerable and despondent market of work seekers.

Sad to say that the South African recruitment market generally has disregarded the emotional rollercoaster ride faced by these desperately-seeking, bemused, confused individuals with little or no attention being given to the manner and effects of engagement. Companies often go to great lengths to implement compelling recruitment and marketing advertising campaigns in order to captivate a niche candidate market segment. However they make little effort in defining (scoping and approaching) the management of the candidates’ interaction and expectations – more specifically as it relates to the talent departments’ “operational responsiveness” and the effectiveness of its recruitment and selection process during the incoming candidate’s journey.

While Applicant Tracking Systems serve as a great tool for recruiters to manage two-way communication, one must not overlook the importance of “humanising” the recruitment process which can tend to become quite a clinical and laborious process when workloads are excessive.

With 80% of talent leaders confirming that employer branding has a significant impact on their ability to hire talent.
Refer to LinkedIn Global Recruiting Trends 2016

Companies continue to work tirelessly on crafting their EVP, ascertaining the best channels to market their brand, measuring the effectiveness of their social media activity and metrics: views, shares, hits, likes, followers, etc. But how much time and measurement is allocated by talent leaders and their teams to attending to the backend engagement and management of their brand reputation while striving to fulfil their pipeline of talent – commonly referred to nowadays as ‘the candidate (experience) journey’?


As an Employee in the SA Market

This Bizcommunity article clearly outlines the present status quo of our more fortunate employed workforce highlighting the sentiments that can prevail through the uncontrollable external economic, political, technological pressures with which we are faced.

Brand leaders need to be that much more responsive towards further instilling, cultivating and driving a strong sense of purpose and belonging within their workforce.

Employer brand creators and leaders need to continuously scrutinize their employee journey from hire to retire, ever mindful of the fact that large numbers of employees feel vulnerable and uncertain of the bigger picture. A well-nurtured workforce, together with a strong culture and clear business objectives, are a force to be reckoned with!


As a Company in the SA Market

The Age of the Customer continues to impact on how companies are engaging with service providers, with the former ‘demanding more for their buck”, simultaneously striving towards becoming more self-sufficient in order to reduce their outside expenses.

While today companies are spoilt for choice when trying to find an ideal outsourced recruitment partner, they should not disregard the fact that the level/manner of professionalism/engagement is just as important in either building or fragmenting their brand reputation.
At the same time, operational responsiveness at the outset (acknowledging an introductory mail from the provider) or well into the partnership (confirming interview times and/or appointment) between these two parties can often be overlooked and underrated. This in turn can have a detrimental effect on both company and service provider brands.

There is no question about it: being operationally responsive can guarantee companies the opportunity to stand head and shoulders above others in terms of those all-important employer brands!


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