Redefining Employer Branding and Recruitment Marketing


By Nilesh Gaikwad , Country Manager, EDHEC Business School 






For up to a year post the Lehman Bothers’meltdown in 2007, a presence of an officer from Human Resources(HR)on the floor meant only one thing; a wholesome distribution of Pink Slips! HR has come a long way since that display of austerity. In fact, HR department has undergone the maximum disruption over the last decade. From being a mere operational hub, today HR transcends the boundaries of Marketing and finds itself working at a Strategic-level. We can only imagine where this Consumerization of HR will lead us.A lot of this credit should go to the advent of Social Media. We live in a world where information flows at breakneck speed, thus leveling the previously skewed playing field between the Employer& its workforce. The circle seems close to completion.


As the average time spent by an employee in a job has decreased, employers are left with two choices; either re-invent to retain the talent or wither away. This has made the job-creators weigh heavily on how their brand is viewed by their customers and employees alike. Talent Leaders are spending big money to attract the best of talent. Having brought them on-board, it transforms into a perpetual race against time to retain the said talent.


Two of the most misunderstood yet sought after terms


Today, Employer Branding (EB) & Recruitment Marketing (RM) are two of the most misunderstood yet sought after terms in the HR domain. While the latter focuses solely upon attracting the right talent, the former encompasses the overall projection of an organization in the eyes of a prospective employee. It would not be wrong to term Recruitment Marketing as a subset of Employer Branding. The way Marketing works to enhance brand of a product for one’s customers, similarly HR is working to livening the brand as an Employer. Thus, EB is more relative with defining the Employee Value Proposition while RM is more into promotional aspect. To succeed in these efforts, HR is orchestrating a greater push for employee inclusivity and acceptability.


Aleading car manufacturer’s marketing campaign is focused solely on ‘5-year old’ kids. One would wonder, why! Similarly, RM is now pursuing passive candidates. The focus is on whether a prospective employeecan ‘Make an Impact’ during her stay at the organization. HR is busy putting an acceptable metric to this impact. Such an approach works both ways – employers get to identify the right talentwhilejob seekersknow if it is the right job for them. In fact, candidates are willing to let go off  high-profile jobs if they are not comfortable with the work-culture.


Greater use of technology impacting HR


With a greater use of Technology, HR has become more agile in its approach. Recruitment Management Systems that provide end-to-end assistance in shortlisting the right candidates have decreased the overall time-to-recruit. The start-up industry’s interest in overhauling the legacy recruitment process has given rise to innovative tools. Tools are utilizing information within public domain to build a more intensive candidate profile. Improved algorithm mapping coupled with applications of big data can match candidate profiles against job descriptions to build diverse teams. Through incentive-based referral programs, organizations are relying on the network and intellect of their employees to find the right talent.


The age-old passive interview process has made way for interesting ‘Case-study Competitions’. These competitions play animportant role in engaging prospective employees. A challenging competition breeds curiosity among the next batch of recruits. Thus, employers manage to generate effective content not only for the next year but also for their internal teams. Further, employers are no longer shy of blowing their own trumpet.  Awareness campaigns through the various Social Media have become a norm. Through storytelling, employers are sharing their company culture, career-growth and other benefits.


Organizations shrugging off the one-size-fits all mindset


Today’s aspirational workforce is also looking for a healthier work-life balance. A recent study by Ernst &Young, concluded that 86% of Indian workforce ‘trusted’ their employers, as against the global average of 72%. HR is investing in building this trust. Legacy organizations are undergoing a makeover to shrug off the one-size-fits all mindset. Back in France, one of my colleague recently took a year-long‘paternity leave’. We could not have imagined such an accommodative stance ten years back. Initiatives like ‘feed-forward’, wherein team members provide feedback to their managers are creating good vibes within the workforce.


HR of today has to use a leaner but more agile approach in order to stay in the game. To reiterate, HR has evolved into an organization’s strategic partner. As competition heats up, HR has to ensure their chief ‘raw material’ (at the expense of objectifying) are attracted to them for the right reasons and selected after a thorough quality check. This is only the start of our journey. We are moving towards a world where instead of a customer, the ‘right’ employee is a king!


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