Building an ‘employer of choice’ brand

Building an ‘employer of choice’ brand entails drawing and retaining quality talent. Given the job opportunities in India, employees are not content being just passive participants in their own careers; they are choosing to drive it. Employees want to work for organizations that are visible, innovative, have well defined values and showcase solid growth. Being alive to this change in the workforce of the 21st century by building HR policies to support this will help attract potential candidates and at the same time, create a highly motivated workforce. And this can only be possible if employees are empowered to contribute to their brand’s growth and potential candidates, too, feel that the employer truly believes in “employee empowerment” and is not just paying lip service.

An employee group consisting of high caliber young professionals who ideate over critical strategic issues facing the company’s future growth plans. Involving employees in the process gets them to share with the company their views and ideas. The recent repositioning exercise that CEAT undertook was spearheaded by a young CEAT marketing team. When CEAT embarked on the brand repositioning exercise, they realized that the proposition of “Born Tough” and the “Rhino” as the identity, though salient had long lost their relevance. While the non-commercial team and the younger employees were clearly for the new identity, there was strong opposition from the commercial marketing team/older employees who saw the rhino as still relevant in the truck segment. A very young team orchestrated this entire exercise of convincing the entire set of employees before launching the identity change campaign.

At Steria, they conduct People Poll, an employee satisfaction survey which lays special emphasis on a section called, ‘branding’. This is a platform where in people can express their views on how branding initiatives could be made more efficient. One can even post comments sharing their opinions on the existing logo. In the sidelines of Xansa’s transformation and re-branding into Steria, post the acquisition, one such suggestion (regarding recruitment) made by an employee was to execute a radio jingle, as part of the advertising strategy and air it on a popular radio station. The jingle was a 20 second catchy testimonial by a young Steria employee that talked about the career opportunities offered at Steria to a technology fresher like himself and other prospective employees. The feedback filled in by this employee exactly stated what should go on air in this jingle.

The new age companies can achieve success when the branding or management strategies of the company are derived through a strong foundational culture of employee participation. Employees and potential candidates are tuned in to the market dynamics and in this age of web 2.0 and pervasive social media, they are the main influencers of the company’s brand in the marketplace. For the branding of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative, they called for nominations from associates and received several entries. The name that was finally short-listed was a Sanskrit word that stands for initiation of divine energy transfer. Even a suggestion as small as making the pronunciation right of the company name was taken into consideration.

The “Perot” in Perot Systems is pronounced with “T” being silent; their associates wanted to ensure that the name was pronounced correctly and hence they began a radio campaign to ensure that the correct pronunciation reached out to people. At IBM, recently, when one of the business units was re-defining its vision and mission, they sought the creative talent of their employee base. They reached out to the employees through a contest, which enabled them to submit their creative ideas.