Employer branding: how to avoid swimming in a red ocean?

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Presentation by Prof. Dr. Filip Lievens at the Employer Brand Summit

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Employer branding: how to avoid swimming in a red ocean?

  1. 1. 25/03/13   Employer Branding: How to avoid swimming in a red ocean? PROF. DR. FILIP LIEVENS! GHENT UNIVERSITY! ! filip.lievens@ugent.be http://users.ugent.be/~flievens Randstad  Employer  Brand  Summit,  March,  21,  2013   I have some knowledge about employer branding but I want to know more about it. I am interested to apply employer branding in my company. I know my company’s employer brand via info from insiders (employees) and/or outsiders. I was involved in a program to change my company’s employer brand. I measured the impact of an employer brand program. Prof.  Dr.  Filip  Lievens   1  
  2. 2. 25/03/13   Recent enthusiasm 500   Number  of  scienLfic  arLcles   450    on  employer  branding   400   350   300   250   200   150   100   50   0   78  -­‐  82   83  -­‐  87   88  -­‐  92   93  -­‐  97   98  -­‐  02   03  -­‐  07   08  -­‐  12   Early scepticism ”Using marketing language in HRM is dangerous. It might make HRM look deceptive & manipulative.” “We have so much things to do at the moment. Employer branding is not essential.” “You can build an employer brand only when you are in good economic shape.” “Employer branding is okay but try telling this to senior management & obtain funding from them.”Prof.  Dr.  Filip  Lievens   2  
  3. 3. 25/03/13   Hard EvidenceProf.  Dr.  Filip  Lievens   3  
  4. 4. 25/03/13   Employer branding Represents a firm’s efforts to promote, both within & outside the firm, a clear view of what makes it different & desirable as an employer” (Backhaus & Tikoo, 2004) Red ocean Blue ocean Compete in existing Create uncontested market space market space Beat the Make competition competition irrelevant Exploit existing Create & capture demand new demand Defend current Innovate & pursue position new opportunities Prof.  Dr.  Filip  Lievens   4  
  5. 5. 25/03/13   Reinventing the camera business Lytro  digital  camera   You’re  probably  used  to   taking  pictures  by  seRng  up   the  perfect  shot–including   focusing  on  the  subject.   Well,  thanks  to  the  Lytro,  it   is  now  possible  to  shoot   first  &  focus  later.     One  calls  this  “living   pictures”  because  you  and   other  people  can  adjust  the   focus  of  pictures.   1st Blue ocean strategyProf.  Dr.  Filip  Lievens   5  
  6. 6. 25/03/13   Good learning & development Long-term job security Career progression opportunities International career opportunities Strong management Interesting job content Competitive salaries & benefits Good work-life balance Diversity management Quality products/services Flexible working Conveniently located Instrumental •  Functional benefits •  Tangible/ concrete •  Examples –  Compensation –  Advancement –  Job security –  …Prof.  Dr.  Filip  Lievens   6  
  7. 7. 25/03/13   “Large & monolithic” “Inefficient, conservative & inflexible” “Exploitative: a cube city” “Personal company” “Progressive & hip” What the employee gets is not just about tangible rewards; intangible elements are also powerful drivers of company attractiveness & employee engagement.Prof.  Dr.  Filip  Lievens   7  
  8. 8. 25/03/13   Instrumental vs. Symbolic attributes •  Functional •  Expression of personal benefits & social identity •  Tangible/ concrete •  Intangible/ abstract •  Examples •  Examples –  Compensation –  Innovative –  Advancement –  Competent –  Job security –  Sincere –  … –  … Hard Evidence Instrumental & symbolic attributes are related to companies’ attractiveness. Potential applicants ≈ symbolic Actual applicants ≈ instrumental Employees ≈ symbolic Companies can be better differentiated via symbolic attributes.Prof.  Dr.  Filip  Lievens   8  
  9. 9. 25/03/13   Imagery exercise Describe the personality of your company and share this with your neighbor. Which traits do you assign to your company? Who is the most appropriate celebrity to represent your company? What would be written on the company’s tombstone if it went out of business? Employer brand equity Incremental value of an employer brand Typically in terms of symbolic attributes (employer brand personality)Prof.  Dr.  Filip  Lievens   9  
  10. 10. 25/03/13   2nd Blue ocean strategy Let’s develop our employer brand by an external agency & engage the company when the end product is signed. An employer brand = a nice slide pack presented to senior management or a page on an intranet site.Prof.  Dr.  Filip  Lievens   10  
  11. 11. 25/03/13   80% of employees wants to keep working for their company. Prof.  Dr.  Filip  Lievens   11  
  12. 12. 25/03/13   You can never win the outside war on talent. But… You can win it inside your organization.Prof.  Dr.  Filip  Lievens   12  
  13. 13. 25/03/13   If we would spend only a fraction of the marketing survey budget on personnel surveys. Build your brand from the inside out Describe employer brand via input of your employees. Keep on “living” your employer brand. Invest in your employees. E.g., I-deals Give your employees a voice talk about it. Prof.  Dr.  Filip  Lievens   13  
  14. 14. 25/03/13   3rd Blue ocean strategy Human Resource Management is all about adopting “best practices” in your company.   The customary practice is for companies to benchmark on people systems so that every company looks and feels to employees like every other company.Prof.  Dr.  Filip  Lievens   14  
  15. 15. 25/03/13   Surprise & be strange One should perceive your HRM systems as strikingly different, unexpected, slightly odd, and even a bit weird. You can’t be great if you just do what everyone else does. You have to do something out of the ordinary. Summary Be strange & surprise in your employer brand communication. Build your employer brand from the inside out. Focus on the symbolic aspects of your employer brand. Prof.  Dr.  Filip  Lievens   15  
  16. 16. 25/03/13   Thanks for your attention! PROF. DR. FILIP LIEVENS! ! More information on http://users.ugent.be/~flievensProf.  Dr.  Filip  Lievens   16  

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