WHYyou need employer brandingBy HANMER MSLYou’d normally associate ‘branding’ with products and services, but ‘employer branding’is rapidly becoming a priority for organisations battling with talent shortages and highattrition rates. CEOs today understand that being known as an employer of choice iscritical to attract and retain talent – the key to achieving business goals and long-termsuccess.This was the key discussion point at a recent event HANMER MSL and the Indo-FrenchChamber of Commerce and Industry organised in Mumbai.
Executive summaryWhat makes an employer a ‘brand’? While many companies are only just wak- ing up to this, MSLGROUP has seized theAn employer brand embodies the core opportunity to start a new global employervalues of the organisation. Prospective branding practice. Christened ‘Brand andemployees view companies as well-defined Talent’, it addresses the growing need forentities embodying the traits they’d like to innovative and purposeful ways to attract,be identified with. Companies that focus on inspire and engage talent.becoming great places to work at eventuallyrealise that they need to harvest their intel- All of this was dissected in an interactivelectual capital -- their employees. They need format at the symposium themed ‘Em-to understand employees’ hearts and minds ployer Brand – The Importance of Buildingto differentiate and grow. a Brand to Attract the Right Talent’ at the Mumbai Yacht Club on October 20, 2011. ItHence, the employer brand is essentially was organised jointly by HANMER MSL andthe identity of a firm – in the minds of em- the Indo-French Chamber of Commerce andployees, key stakeholders and prospective Industry (IFFCI). The panel was moderatedemployees – as a great place to work at. by MSLGROUP’s Senior Vice-President and Chief Strategy Officer Pascal Beucler andIn this crisis-prone employment market, included Bharti Axa General Insurance Man-companies compete fiercely to attract the aging Director Dr Amarnath Ananthanaray-best talent. In such a situation, the employer anan, L’Oreal India Chief Operations Officerbrand plays a more critical role than even Dinesh Dayal and MSLGROUP’s Asia Direc-the job profile or remuneration . tor of Social Media Gaurav Mishra.
Employer value perspective and also that most Indian companies have not created an Employer Value Proposition (EVP). There are various proposition facets, he pointed out, to creating an EVP – how you train the employees, grow them, give them opportunities within the firm “Talented people lie at the heart of every and outside (which is where community successful organisation,” said IFCCI service comes in) and how you reward and Secretary-General Laura Prasad, opening recognise employees. the discussion. All this ensures that there is a lot of brand HANMER MSL CEO Jaideep Shergill put building, even if it’s through word of in perspective the growth of employer mouth. People outside recognise what is branding in organisational thought. “We happening within the company. This is one believe strongly in the ‘employer value way of building EVP. proposition’ (EVP). Employer branding is a must-do. A lot of organisations don’t MSLGROUP’s Beucler highlighted three see that yet, but the MSLGROUP has key aspects: A good EVP programme been doing it globally for years. The Brand is about empowering people; there is and Talent practice communicates with an intrinsic connection between social3 employees through their career cycle – from responsibility and EVP, which is very the time they join the company, through modern but is also a more Indian vision their tenure in it and even after they leave. of life, leading many companies to create The alumni become a very important part of social responsibility projects; EVP helps the campaign. As organisations chase their institutionalise innovation. goals, sales and marketing targets, there is Another very important aspect of EVP a realisation that they cannot do it without was highlighted by MSLGROUP’s Mishra people,” Shergill said. Key learnings • Businesses need an engagement tool that communicates with employees through their career cycles, even after they’ve left the firm. • There are 3 aspects to a good EVP programme: empowerment, social responsibility, innovation. • Every business needs a well- defined sense of ‘purpose’. All employees look for a purpose that drives and motivates them. Ananthanarayanan, of Bharti AXA when he spoke about the need for every General Insurance, emphasised the value organisation to have a well-defined of building a brand from an employer sense of ‘purpose’. All people, including
employees, are looking for a purpose that Bharti AXA, though still a young company, drives them, motivates them, that makes is among those that has realised the them proud and want to be associated with. importance of effective employee engagement through a ‘shared values’ He looked at EVP as having three main approach, where the leadership constantly elements, purpose being the first. People empowers, engages and educates want to be associated with companies employees to make them ambassadors that have a clear sense of it. The second is within and beyond. the company’s ‘personality’. Companies need a vision of what their ideal talent L’Oreal’s Dayal shared what his company is since the ideal talent also has a clear endeavours to do, focusing on integrating perception of the kind of companies the company’s vision with that of talent’s. they want to associate with. “Unless He talked about the mobility that there is a fit between the two visions employees can expect and leverage within and personalities, it won’t work,” Mishra the company: most of the leadership has said. The third element is ‘potential’, lived and worked in at least three countries, which is very important and stands for before coming to, or returning to, India. everything, from how fast the industry is Dayal also detailed the various initiatives growing to opportunities for international on women, education and science. assignments.4 Another employee engagement tool could Engaging and be ‘empowerment’. There is a saying in L’Oreal – “You can be a general at 28,” Dayal said, referring to Napoleon who retaining talent became a general at that age. When people are given the opportunity While part of the problem before CEOs is to assume responsibilities at a young age, the importance of sourcing and recruiting there is a sense of empowerment, leading the right talent, the more pressing issue to ‘veterans’ who are not even 40 years old. is how to retain it. Keeping employees It is the ideal situation for young people engaged, inspired and connected to the who can grow very fast. organisation demands commitment and innovation. Key learnings • Finding and recruiting the right talent is tough enough, but retaining it is even tougher. • Integrate company vision with that of employees’.
Have a purpose matter.” We are increasingly seeing that any company that wants to define its EVP will need to integrate all three elements – There has been a marked change in the purpose, personality and potential. perception of ‘corporate citizens’ and corporate social responsibility (CSR) He mentioned examples of companies over the past decade. A decade ago, that are doing a great job of converting being a corporate citizen was all about employees into ambassadors. One such the environment. This later came to be is Dell, a benchmark for a well-defined associated with sustainability, a more purpose focused on inspiring, organising holistic vision of ‘corporate citizenship’. and energising employees. Dell recently Today, this concept is all about purpose and trained 900 staff in India to engage with people. From this perspective too, people consumers on social media and hosted an are more important to organisations than unconference so that its employees could ever before. brainstorm how best they can leverage social media. Having a sound strategy and social innovation plan are essential to attracting Another example is footwear firm Zappos, the talent that will help organisations which believes that it’s not about making5 deliver on focus areas like customer shoes, but about “delivering happiness”. centricity, innovation, talent and a shared Zappos realised it can deliver happiness to policy agenda. The right EVP inspires, customers only when it delivers happiness organises and energises people; the to employees – if you delight your purpose helps retain them. employees, they will delight customers. So everything Zappos does – as radical an idea as a bonus to leave after a month in Key learnings the company if they don’t see a cultural fit • The focus has gone from – is centred around such innovations that environment to sustainability to define EVP. purpose and people. • A sound strategy and social Finally, another example from India. innovation plan are essential today. Mahindra is betting on innovation. Its Mahindra Rise campaign has become an • The best people want to do work that important part of its EVP. What we see is contributes to society with a company the visible, public part of it, but there is whose values they share, where their actions count and their views matter. also the invisible internal campaign where it has given stock options called ‘Social Options’ to employees. Social Options give Mishra, the last speaker, quoting Van employees the freedom to support social Der Veer of Shell, said: “The successful causes that they believe in and include the companies of the future are those that help of the organisation in those causes. integrate business and employees’ This is a fantastic example of how a large, personal values. The best people want manufacturing company reinvented itself to do work that contributes to society around a clear purpose to engage, inspire with a company whose values they share, and energise employees. where their actions count and their views
6 The change within Beucler summarized the day’s proceedings fragile ecosystem. People are part of it by drawing on the biggest challenge facing and have the ability to move, regroup and CEOs today: “We agree that we are living in change all the time. How do you mange an era of change – change is the challenge this ecosystem? How do you ensure that for all CEOs around the world. CEOs agree employees find enough reasons to stay that everything is about change – we need in the company? Employee engagement to change business models, the way we delivers business results and cultural lead innovation, customer service and we benefits to the organisation as well as need to change the way we engage our personal and professional benefits for people, our employees in our companies. employees. On the whole, we see that the challenge for every CEO is to drive the change because if He drew attention to innovation, which you don’t, the change will drive you out.” is very close to employee engagement. A company that does not have a social He also highlighted the concept of innovation strategy is going to face ‘ecosystems’ – how each company is a problems.
We are in a decade where people are asking companies to stand for a purpose that can be clearly identified. I would like to quote the example of a leading French business school where 35% of young graduates last year chose to work with non- profit organisations. They could have made 1,00,000 euros working with large financial organisations but they chose to work with non-profit organisations where they were making only 10,000 euros a year. This is a clear indication that people, especially the younger generation, are looking for meaning, for purpose. Pasal Beucler, Senior Vice-President and Chief Strategy Officer, MSLGROUP Employer branding positions the company as a great place to work at in the minds of present and prospective employees… Employees want to work for companies they feel good about... Laura Prasad, Secretary-General, IFCCI Employer branding is a must-do. A lot of organisations don’t see that yet.7 Jaideep Shergill, CEO, HANMER MSL We all know what a big brand Apple is and how people line up to work for it and not the other way around. Most companies in India have not created an Employer Value Proposition (EVP). How do you create values? There are various facets to creating and EVP – how you train employees, grow them, give them opportunities inside and outside, which is where the community service comes in. And, lastly, how you reward and recognise employees. If you do all that, there is a lot of brand building even through word of mouth – people outside recognise what is happening within the company. Dr. Amarnath Ananthanarayanan, MD, Bharti Axa General Insurance L’Oreal was not formed by a businessman or a financial wizard but by a chemist who invented the first harmless hair dye. The passion for developing products, the emphasis on the science behind everything is inherent and attracts a lot of people. This company has more than 700 patents filed and people feel proud about that. Dinesh Dayal, COO, L’Oreal India
Any company that wants to define its EVP will need to integrate purpose, personality and potential. We also need to recognise that different people assign different weightages to the three elements of the employer value proposition and we need to understand who these people are – who are the ones who would look more for the purpose, who would focus on the personality and who would give more weight to potential. The next question would be to understand how to communicate the EVP effectively to these different employee personas – do we use owned media channels for communication like spokespersons or newsletters and websites or do we employ word of mouth to convert our employees into ambassadors… And how much would we consider paid media like TV advertisements or sponsoring events? Gaurav Mishra, Asia Director of Social Media, MSLGROUP We go about looking for the talent we want to see working with us – the right talent. We want the ‘poet in the peasant’. The poet who has the sense of imagination and aesthetics in any function and the peasant who has the sense of pragmatism in everything will do the job.8 Dinesh Dayal, COO, L’Oreal India …each company is a really fragile ecosystem. People are part of it and have the ability to move, regroup and change all the time. How do you mange this ecosystem? How do we ensure that your people find enough reasons to stay in your company? I have the highest respect for [Pepsi chief] Indra Nooyi because she had the courage to say that apart from cleaning up the brand Pepsico, one of her main focus areas is to ensure that employees have good reasons to be with the company. Pasal Beucler, Senior Vice-President and Chief Strategy Officer, MSLGROUP We engage, empower and create a common set of values across the organisation. We also do a lot of stuff on the social responsibility front so that each employee stands for what our company stands for. By this, we are able to create brand ambassadors both inside and outside. Dr. Amarnath Ananthanarayanan, MD, Bharti Axa General Insurance
For over 20 years, MSLGROUP Asia has counseled staff reaches an additional 125 Indian cities and a global, regional and local clients, helping them to strong affiliate network of independent agencies establish, protect and expand their businesses in across the region adds another 23 Asian cities Asia. to our reach. In the past two years, MSLGROUP Asia has been recognized with more than 35 The largest PR and social media network in both awards, including MSL Japan’s 2009 ‘PR Lion’ in Greater China and India, MSLGROUP Asia is the Travel and Tourism category at the Cannes headquartered in China and includes 30 owned Lions International Festival of Creativity and ‘PR offices and 1250 staff across Shanghai, Beijing, Consultancy of the Year’ for HANMER MSL INDIA, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, 20:20 MSL India, Eastwei MSL China, and ICL MSL Seoul, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Taiwan from both international and local industry Delhi, Ahmedabad, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, groups. Hyderabad and Kolkata. A satellite network of INDIA MSLGROUP India is the nation’s largest PR and With a proven track record of servicing Social Media network. Made up of three agencies, multinational and Indian corporations since 1989 HANMER MSL, 20:20 MSL and 2020Social, and 40 senior counselors with 15 or more years of10 MSLGROUP India combined includes 16 offices, communications experience each, clients, staff 575 staff and an activation network reaching an and business partners benefit from the depth and additional 125 Indian cities. breadth of insight and experience within its teams. HANMER MSL is one of India’s largest multi- offices in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, discipline communications firms and a leader in Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune, the area of speciality communications services as well as the reach of the MSLGROUP and including financial communications, social Publicis Groupe international network, HANMER media, crisis and issues management, corporate MSL works with more than 150 leading Indian reputation, strategic public relations, events brands and multinationals to deliver world-class and activation and creative services. Through its communications. powerful network of more than 400 staff across www.mslgroup.com www.mslgroupasia.com www.hanmermsl.com Contact firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com