RUSSIA-Employer branding’s emerging market


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Over the past five years I have been fortunate to travel to more than 45 cities in 26 countries to share my employer branding knowledge and experience with thousands of leaders across all industry sectors. The number one issue that continues to draw discussion and debate is whether employer branding should be a human resources or marketing function or both!

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RUSSIA-Employer branding’s emerging market

  1. 1. Employer Anno 2 - Numero 05 Branding Dicembre 2011 Review Campus Recruiting Employer Reputation Online Social Recruiting best practice Employer Brand Engagement Facebook Analytics
  2. 2. The key to unlocking the enormous economic potential of this vast country will be to develop the human resource capabilities of companies based in Russia, a trend which is well on the way of positioning Russia as a country where the art and science of employer branding may well lead the rest of the world within the next five years. Russian companies are in a prime position to be able to learn from the mistakes and successes of Western companies before them. There is enormous interest in employ-er branding in Russia supported by the attendance of more than 250 managers at masterclass events I conducted in February and May 2011 and our first International Employer Branding Summit in September (400+delegates) in collaboration with HeadHunter, the country’s leading online job board. I (Brett) travelled to Russia on three occasions in 2011 and my first impressions when I arrived were very different to what I was expecting. My previous exposure to Russia had been from what I had read in the media and childhood memories of the reporting of the Cold War between communist countries led by Russia and America and its western allies. I really did not know what to expect but my level of anxiety was elevated when less than a month before I was due to fly into Moscow 35 people were killed and more than 100 injured in a suicide bomb attack at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport in January 2011. I’ve travelled to India shortly after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in late 2010 and was reassured by the heightened security presence at the airports there and sort comfort that I could expect similar upon my arrival in Moscow. Other than the minus 30C (-22F) temperatures on my arrival into Moscow in early February 2011 I was instantly attracted to the city, its architecture, its culture and the hospitality of its people. 47 Scenari e Nuove Tendenze RUSSIA Employer Branding’s Emerging Market An International Whitepaper By Brett Minchington MBA Chairman CEO Employer Brand International and Emelenko Elena, Head of Employer Branding Consulting Centre, HeadHunter Russia has a market economy with enormous natural resources, particularly oil and natural gas. It has the 10th largest economy in the world by nominal GDP and the 6th largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). It is also one of the BRIC economies, an acronym for the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China combined. In 2003 the term was first prominently used in a Goldman Sachs report which speculated that by 2050 these four economies would be wealthier than most of the current major economic powers.
  3. 3. Moscow has a certain energy or ‘roar’ about it - and St Petersburg has to be one of the world’s most beautiful cities- a cross 48 E m p l o y e r B r a n d i n g R e v i e w between Paris and Amsterdam! If I had been looking to relocate for work as many millions of people do around the world each year and will increasingly so due to skill shortages in many regions, Russia, unfortunately would have been well down on my list. Now that I have had the op-portunity to learn more about the country, its customs and the way business is done I find it very similar to many other countries I have worked in. During our ‘Employer Branding Global Research Study’ in late 2011 we wanted to learn more about the status of employer branding in Russia and Ukraine, two key markets which are predicted by many economist where economy growth will stem from to stimulate the world’s economy over the next 5-10 years. Due to lower labor and production costs, many companies also see Russia as a source of foreign expansion opportunity, especially if they can navigate their way of doing business there. Through the support of our Russian partners, HeadHunter, we were able to receive a large number of responses from the region to assist us to better understand the science and practice of employer branding in Russia and importantly how this compares to more developed markets in employer branding in Asia, Europe/UK and USA/Canada. The global study found that in Russian companies a higher percentage (60%) of employees have been at their company less than two years compared to those in Asia, Europe/UK and USA/Canada (see table 1). Table 1: Percentage of employees working at their company less than 2 years. Tenure (Years) Asia Europe/UK Russia USA/Canada < 1 27% 26% 31% 20% 1-2 19% 17% 29% 24% Less than 2 years 46% 43% 60% 44% When investigating the department(s) responsible for managing the employer brand strategy some very interesting results emerge. CEO’s and the Executive Team are more involved (16% and 24% respectively) in the employer brand strategy in Russia than in any other region (see table 2). The human resources department, a dominant driver of employer branding in many coun-tries is low (20%) in Russia compared to other regions. In Europe/UK the number of human resource teams responsible for the employer brand strategy is more than double than in Russia. Table 2: Department(s) responsible for managing the employer brand strategy Department Asia Europe/UK Russia USA/Canada CEO 10% 10% 16% 9% Executive team 12% 6% 24% 18% Human Resources 49% 42% 20% 30% Marketing 10% 13% 21% 14% Human Resources & Marketing 5% 4% 22% 7% Russian leaders are more likely to have to justify their investment (25%) in employer branding than leaders in Asia, Europe/UK and USA/Canada. (see table 3). Plans to increase investment in employer branding activities in 2011/2012 in Russian companies is similar to other regions with 30% of companies planning to increase their investments. Table 3: Investments plans for employer branding activities in financial year 2011/2012
  4. 4. Investment Asia Europe/UK Russia USA/Canada Approximately unchanged in-vestment 48% 32% 33% 39% An increase in the amount in-vested 29% 32% 30% 30% Need to justify investment 15% 21% 25% 16% A decrease in the amount in-vested 0% 6% 6% 0% Employer brand strategy is less developed in Russian companies compared to other regions. Only 8% of Russian companies have a clearly defined strategy and 26% do not have a strategy (see table 4). What is promising is that 41% of Russian companies are currently working on developing their employer brand strategy so we should expect to see a significant increase in compa-nies having a clear strategy in the next 1-3 years. In 2011 our Russian employer brand consulting partners, HeadHunter had a significant rise in interest in employer branding services in areas such as employer brand auditing, employer brand strategy, EVP development, employer brand research and communications planning. This level of demand is expected to increase in 2012 as more companies become aware of the benefits of employer branding in driving productivity gains through more effective talent acquisition, engagement and retention programs. 49 Table 4: Status of employer branding strategy Strategy Asia Europe/UK Russia USA/Canada Yes, we have a clear strategy 19% 18% 8% 20% Yes, but it can be further devel-oped 26% 32% 17% 37% No, but we are working on it 42% 26% 41% 29% No, we have not developed a 10% 18% 26% 13% strategy Russian companies are lagging western countries in key people development areas which have a positive impact on the employer brand. These include recruitment branding (21%), employee referral programs (25%), use of applicant tracking systems in recruitment (19%), leadership development programs (16%), alumni programs (7%) and retention initiatives (6%). It could be expected that as Rus-sian leaders become more aware of how to develop, implement and measure these initiatives more companies are likely to participate in these activities to enhance their employer brand (see table 5). The use of social media to support employer branding (43%) activities in Russian companies is well below that of USA/Canada and Europe/UK. However with the increase in internet penetration (currently 43% of the population) in Russia and increasingly popularity of social networking sites such as Vkontakte (160 million users), Facebook (5.2 million users) and LinkedIn (commenced in Russia in 2011) we are likely to see alot of activity in this area in 2012 as companies seek to build their online employer brand presence across these networks as companies have done in other countries. It is pleasing to note that more Russian companies use coaching/mentoring (37%) and induction programs (52%) to enhance their employer brand than other regions. Russian companies are also more likely to track competitor activities (37%) to ensure their own activities are ahead of their competitors.
  5. 5. However Russian leaders have very little patience with focus groups with only 7% of companies using them to support em-ployer 50 E m p l o y e r B r a n d i n g R e v i e w branding efforts. Table 5: Activities currently being undertaking to enhance the employer brand? (more than 1 response possible) Activities Asia Europe/ UK Russia USA/ Canada Focus groups with current employees to define employer brand 27% 18% 7% 29% Competitor analysis 18% 22% 37% 34% Focus groups with external stakeholders to define 18% 7% 3% 12% employer brand Recruitment branding 56% 42% 21% 47% Recruitment advertising/employer marketing 50% 55% 67% 50% Employee referral program 52% 31% 25% 49% Applicant tracking system 34% 30% 19% 37% Leadership development program 35% 34% 16% 29% Coaching/mentoring 34% 31% 37% 25% Induction program 48% 42% 52% 9% Alumni program 23% 21% 7% 18% Retention initiatives 39% 22% 6% 21% Social media 34% 50% 43% 61% The global study found people management practices and policies (87%), career development (90%) and reward and recogni-tion (87%) were more important employer brand attributes in attracting new talent to Russian companies than companies in Asia, Europe/UK and USA/Canada (see table 6). Performance management (69%), employee research (58%) and communication systems (66%) were least likely to attract new talent to Russian companies compared to companies in Asia, Europe/UK and USA/Canada. Table 6: Most important employer brand attributes in attracting new talent to a company (more than 1 response possible) Employer brand attributes Asia Europe/UK Russia USA/ Canada People management practices and poli-cies 84% 76% 87% 80% Performance management 80% 73% 69% 74% Career development 89% 85% 90% 84% Employee research 68% 62% 58% 60% Reward and recognition 83% 81% 87% 82% Communication systems 77% 70% 66% 70%
  6. 6. Russian leaders have fewer problems with obtaining an adequate budget (49%) for their employer branding program than Russian leaders also appear to encounter less challenges in co-oordinating employer brand messages across different depart-ments (57%) and communicating key employer brand messages to customers (55%) when compared to companies in other regions. The research shows the challenges in engaging the CEO and senior leadership team, important tasks in driving employer Table 7: The main challenges in managing the employer branding program (more than 1 response possible) Challenges Asia 51 companies in Asia, Europe/UK and USA/Canada (see table 7). branding excellence is consistently high across all regions. Europe/ UK Russia USA/ Canada CEO engagement 64% 62% 59% 56% Senior leadership engagement 68% 66% 65% 63% Obtaining an adequate budget 69% 69% 49% 71% Co-oordinating employer brand messages across 67% 67% 57% 64% different departments Communicating key employer brand messages to potential recruits 66% 67% 59% 61% Communicating key employer brand messages to customers 64% 60% 55% 58% Communicating key employer brand messages to suppliers/contractors 58% 55% 58% 50% Being creative and innovative to distinguish our employment offering 73% 69% 73% 63% Advocacy is important for Russian employees with 64% of employees stating ‘It is important that other people want to work for their employer - see table 8. However it is not as important in Russian companies that employee’s friends know the company they work for (18%) compared to the other regions. Table 8: Employer brand advocacy (more than 1 response possible) Endorsement Asia Europe/ UK Russia USA/ Canada It is important to me that my friends know the com-pany I work for 32% 23% 18% 22% It is important that other people want to work for my employer 42% 50% 64% 61% Russian leaders are more likely to use retention rate (47%) and profit per employee (26%) when measuring the return on in-vestment of their employer brand strategy compared to leaders in Asia, Europe/UK and USA/Canada who are more likely to use cost per hire, employee engagement and sourcing effectiveness as measures of ROI. (see table 9). Russian companies are also less likely to use a ranking in best places to work or similar award to measure the ROI of their strat-egy. This was most common in Asian companies (26%).
  7. 7. Table 9: Metrics used to measure return on investment (ROI) for the employer brand strategy (more than 1 response possible) Metrics Asia Europe/UK Russia USA/Canada Cost per hire 37% 27% 23% 36% Employee engagement 47% 29% 28% 36% Employee referral rate of new hires 32% 17% 13% 36% Quality of hire 35% 24% 34% 36% Profit per employee 15% 13% 26% 7% Ranking in Ideal Employer, Best 26% 21% 12% 18% Places to Work or similar award Retention rate 42% 26% 47% 38% Sourcing effectiveness 29% 17% 5% 22% Surprisingly a high number of Russian companies use alumni events to communicate their employer brand (32%) compared to companies in Asia, Europe/UK and USA/Canada (see table 10). They use the career website to communicate their employer brand at a similar level to other regions. However they use company events at a much higher level than companies from other regions (39%). Employee video testimonials are not as popular in Russian (10%) companies as they are in other regions such as USA/Canada (41%). The use of company brochures (25%) to communicate the employer brand is also less popular in Russia as are on campus activities (5%). The use of job boards to communicate the employer brand (56%) is much higher in Russian companies than in other regions as is the use of newspaper job ads (36%) which is more than four times the amount compared to USA/Canada. Table 10: The main communication mediums to communicate the employer brand (more than 1 response possible) Communications Asia Europe/UK Russia USA/Canada Alumni events 21% 14% 32% 11% Career fairs 40% 42% 40% 29% Career website 73% 60% 63% 59% Company brochures 45% 37% 23% 36% Company events e.g. AGM, product launches 21% 17% 39% 12% Employee video testimonials 32% 28% 10% 41% Newspaper job ads 24% 20% 36% 8% On campus activities 52% 29% 5% 34% Online job boards 39% 38% 56% 43% Online social networking sites 39% 40% 44% 57% Performance appraisal 27% 17% 32% 18% The main benefit gained from the employer branding program in Russian companies is decrease in staff turnover (29%), decreased time to fill roles (29%), increase in number of unsolicited resumes (21%) and increased customer engagement (16%). 52 E m p l o y e r B r a n d i n g R e v i e w
  8. 8. These benefits are higher in Russia than in all other regions (see table 11). Compared to companies in Asia, Europe/UK and USA/Canada, the lowly ranked benefits compared to other regions include recognition as an employer of choice (8%) and setting a standard and framework for all HR activity (3%). All regions experienced the benefit of reduced recruitment costs from their employer branding program at similar levels. Table 11: Main benefits gained from an employer branding program? (more than 1 response possible) Employer branding benefits Asia Europe/UK Russia 53 USA/ Canada Decrease in staff turnover 20% 19% 29% 19% Decreased time-to-fill 11% 10% 29% 11% Ease in attracting candidates 34% 32% 24% 33% Higher job acceptance rate 23% 11% 24% 16% Increase in number of unsolicited resumes 15% 7% 21% 16% Increased customer engagement 10% 6% 16% 7% Recognition as an employer of choice 31% 21% 8% 20% Reduced recruitment costs 20% 24% 21% 20% Setting a standard and framework for all HR activity 15% 11% 3% 11% And some final thoughts The research points to many areas where Russia companies are leading Western companies in their approach to employer branding. However the level of awareness and uptake in employer brand strategy in Russia is still well below that in advanced economies such as USA/Canada and Europe/UK. Importantly, there are promising signs and certainly a high level of interest and engagement amongst hu-man resource and marketing professionals in Russia to suggest that in the near future the strength of a company’s employer brand may well be the difference to whether Russian companies are able to optimise their human resources, increase customer engagement and be-come an organisation people want to work for and one which employees are proud to call their own.Employer Brand International’s next global study of employer branding will be launched in Russia in collaboration with HeadHunter in the first half of 2012 and we look forward to gaining and sharing further insights with local leaders. About the authors Brett Minchington MBA Chairman/CEO Employer Brand International is a global authority, strategist and corporate advisor on employer branding (www.brettminchington. com ). Brett’s global footprint has included delivering employer branding masterclass and keynoting at conference events in more than 40 cities in 25 countries with thousands of senior leaders from a majority of Global 500 companies. He is the world’s most published writer in employer branding His latest book, ‘Employer Brand Leadership-A Global Perspective,’ sold in more than 45 countries is available at http://collectivelearningaustralia. com/index.php/view/products/item/30. Contact Brett @ Emelenko Elena, Head of the Employer Branding Consulting Centre, Headnter. As Head of the Employer Branding Consulting Centre at Headnter is responsible for the growth of the centre through the development of innovative employer branding products and services. Elena has consulted on employer branding projects for leading companies including Microsoft, British American Tobacco, Bank Home credit, Mars etc. Contact Elena @ * Tables do not always add up to 100% as more than one response was possible for some questions and/ or only the relevant responses for the purpose of this paper have been included. For a copy of the full 2011 EBI Employer Branding Global Research Study Report please visit http:// products/item/24 Connect with Brett Minchington
  9. 9. Certificate in Employer Brand Leadership About Employer Brand International EBI provides research, advisory and thought leadership in employer branding through strategic consulting, conferences/training, publications, research and global think-tanks. EBI’s expert services are provided through an international network of expert employer brand Senior Associates. EBI’s Global Advisory Board consists of leading corporate professionals and academics from around the world. Why choose to study the Certificate in Employer Brand Leadership? • Study for an in demand leadership skill • Case study approach to support theoretical frameworks • Real world application • Flexible study options • Supportive learning environment • Access to the world’s most extensive employer branding learning resources • Alumni support 1. Since 2007 EBI has trained thousands of managers in employer branding in more than 50 cities in 28 countries. 2. Access to an employer branding global community of 3500+ members. 3. Course is supported by world class learning resources including books, handbooks and global research reports. 4. The first course of its kind offered in partnership with educational institutions, business and the community. 5. Accredited by EBI 5 QUICK FACTS Enrol Today!
  10. 10. WELCOME FROM THE CHAIRMAN/CEO Welcome to the Certificate in Employer Brand Leadership Course – a contemporary leadership program for managers around the world. Since 2007, Employer Brand International has conducted training for thousands of managers in employer branding in more than 50 cities in 28 countries including Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, UAE, UK, and the USA. Employees are fast becoming central to the process of brand building and their behavior can either reinforce a brand’s advertised values or, if inconsistent with these values, undermine the credibility of your messages. Employer branding is a whole of business concept concerned with the attraction, engagement and retention initiatives targeted at enhancing your company’s employer brand. The contest amongst employers to attract and retain talented workers takes place in a world where changes in the political, economic, social and technological environments and concerns about a company’s environmental footprint is driving widespread change in employment patterns. Today, competition for the best employees is as fierce as competition for customers and market share. The course brings together a talented team of academics, strategists and corporate leaders to create an inspiring learning experience in the growing field of employer branding. Our emphasis is on assisting you to develop leadership, communication, problem solving and team building skills, which will enable you to better understand and deal with the complex issues of management in a changing business environment. In selecting students we look for high quality people with the potential to not only benefit but also contribute to the learning experience. Whilst practical in orientation, your learning experience will include networking with like minded professionals around the world to support a solid theoretical grounding in employer brand leadership. Organizations that can attract and retain the best minds by leveraging a unique, relevant and distinctive employer brand will have a competitive edge in the marketplace. We look forward to welcoming you and wish you the very best with your studies. Brett Minchington Chairman/CEO Employer Brand International PROGRAM STRUCTURE CORE MODULE A THE BUSINESS CASE FOR EMPLOYER BRANDING Study Unit 1: The Fundamentals Of Employer Branding (EBLFU) CORE MODULE B BEST PRACTICE IN EMPLOYER BRANDING Study Unit 2: Employer Brand Leadership Principles & Practices (EBLPP) Study Unit 3: Employer Brand Strategic Management (EBLSM) Study Unit 4: Employer Branding Mapping & Competitor Analysis (EBLCA) Study Unit 5: Employer Brand Analytics & Reporting (EBLAR) Study Unit 6: Contemporary Practices in Employer Branding & Social Media (EBLSM) Study Unit 7: Employee and Customer Experience (EBLCE) CORE MODULE C THE FUTURE FOR EMPLOYER BRANDING Study Unit 8: Employer Branding Social Responsibility (EBLSR) Study Unit 9: Future Trends in Employer Branding (EBLTD) Study Unit 10: Employer Branding Case Study Analysis (EBLCS) HOW TO APPLY Apply online at or to enquire please email Andrea at: Please direct all course enquiries to: Ms Andrea Fielding P +61 8 8443 4115 F +61 8 8443 4149 ALUMNI SUPPORT The EBI Employer Branding Global Community is an important part of the life and community of the School, as it forms an integral part of the School’s business relationships. The network is diverse, including students and graduates who work and live locally, interstate and overseas. With more than 3500 members, the EBGC supports members in various ways: • Fostering global networking opportunities • Informing the business community of latest trends in employer branding