The impact of Employer Branding on talent acquisition in banking sector of Pakistan.

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This paper examines the impact of Employer branding on the residing talent within and outside the organizations. In the current scenario, organizations in Pakistan face a challenge on distinguishing themselves from the clutter of brands in the job market. Reaching the right talent and affecting them from the very beginning seems to be the most crucial step in recruitment. So the organizations need to know how building reputation can shape up the expectations of employees in labour market. They also need to understand how various recruitment practices can impact their employer branding process for hiring better pool of applicants. These all issues raise a concern for me to come up with an insightful study of how employer branding is practiced around the banking sector of Pakistan and most importantly what are its implications. This study also explores the major gap in existing literature concerning the conflict of expectations and the organizational reality.

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The impact of Employer Branding on talent acquisition in banking sector of Pakistan.

  1. 1. Employer Branding Page 1 The impact of Employer Branding on talent acquisition in banking sector of Pakistan. By Exam Number B032902 Dissertation Presented for the degree of Msc Human Resource Management 2012-2013 The researcher can be reached through the following contact information. Please feel free to contact me, I will be more than just willing to help you. husnain88@gmail.com
  2. 2. Employer Branding Page 2 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Firstly I would like to pay my gratitude towards the supervisor Dr Sara Chaudhry. Her insightful and intelligent step by step guidance held me together during my difficult times. Secondly I will pay my thanks to the employees of Standard Chartered who not only provided with deep understanding of the subject but also greeted me with warmth. Lastly I would pay my regards towards my family for their endless support.
  3. 3. Employer Branding Page 3 DECLARATION I hereby declare that this is a presentation of my original work. Wherever I have used other contributions, every effort has been put to indicate it clearly. This work has been done under the guidance of Dr. Sara Chaudhry. The word Count is 16,050. The researcher can be reached through the following contact information. Please feel free to contact me, I will be more than just willing to help you. husnain88@gmail.com
  4. 4. Employer Branding Page 4 ABSTRACT This paper examines the impact of Employer branding on the residing talent within and outside the organizations. In the current scenario, organizations in Pakistan face a challenge on distinguishing themselves from the clutter of brands in the job market. Reaching the right talent and affecting them from the very beginning seems to be the most crucial step in recruitment. So the organizations need to know how building reputation can shape up the expectations of employees in labour market. They also need to understand how various recruitment practices can impact their employer branding process for hiring better pool of applicants. These all issues raise a concern for me to come up with an insightful study of how employer branding is practiced around the banking sector of Pakistan and most importantly what are its implications. This study also explores the major gap in existing literature concerning the conflict of expectations and the organizational reality.
  5. 5. Employer Branding Page 5 Contents CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION................................................................................................................. 7 1.1 Background............................................................................................................................................ 7 1.2 Why Standard Chartered?.................................................................................................................... 8 1.3 Target Audience.................................................................................................................................... 9 CHAPTER 2: LIERATURE REVIEW .......................................................................................................10 2.1 The Concept of Employer Branding ...................................................................................................10 2.2 The Fusion of Marketing and HR in Employer branding...................................................................14 2.3 Recruitment and talent acquisition .....................................................................................................17 CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY...............................................................................................................21 3.1 Summary of method.............................................................................................................................21 3.2 Methodology and approach of research ............................................................................................21 3.3 Research Design..................................................................................................................................22 3.4 Data Collection.....................................................................................................................................22 3.5 Data analysis and generalisation........................................................................................................23 3.6 Limitations.............................................................................................................................................24 3.7 Ethics.....................................................................................................................................................24 CHAPTER 4: FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS .............................................................................................25 4.1 Employee expectations formed through Employer branding process in Standard Chartered ......25 4.2 Mismatch between job expectations and organizational reality and its repercussions..................30 4.3. Various recruitment practices that shape employer branding to impact talent acquisition...........34
  6. 6. Employer Branding Page 6 CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION....................................................................................................................40 5.2 Recommendations ...............................................................................................................................42 5.3 Future Research ..................................................................................................................................43 5.4 Recommendations and implementations (CIPD) ..............................................................................44 REFRENCES..............................................................................................................................................46 Appendix A..................................................................................................................................................53 Appendix B..................................................................................................................................................54
  7. 7. Employer Branding Page 7 CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION This chapter will provide the background and reason for choosing the subject of Employer branding. Secondly I will demonstrate the need to study this subject with respect to Pakistani perspective while investigating the employer branding practice done in Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan. Lastly this chapter will chalk out the basic themes which I will be arguing throughout the dissertation. 1.1 Background In the era of globalization and on the verge of shifting demographics, the organizations are indulged in stiff competition to acquire and retain human capital. Furthermore the increasing demand for highly skilled and talented workforce has created an intense labour market in which organizations find it difficult to navigate. The successful recruitment and succession of talent is now considered as the leading issue in Human Resource Management. The increased focus towards corporate social responsibility is due to the global emergence of media which scrutinizes the company’s treatment towards employees (Aggerholm et al., 2010). The term brand refers to a symbol that encapsulates many associations that are linked with a name (Gardner and Levy, 1955). Branding might not sound a new concept but its application in accumulating human capital and its implication on job market still needs investigation. Branding initially used for differentiating tangible products but with the passage of time the concept also started to highlight the uniqueness among people, places and firms (Peters, 1999). Employer branding is a long term strategy used to create awareness and shape up the image in the minds of existing as well as potential employees with regards to a particular firm (Sullivan, 2004). Employer branding is more than just recruiting and managing talent, its crux lies in the provision of authentic brand experience that engages employees. Beside the differentiating attribute associated with employer branding, it has constantly gained a strong foothold as a strategic approach to attract the better pool of applicants. Though employer branding has been a topic of high attention in practitioners’ venues, still there exist a gap in academic understanding of employer branding and the theoretical foundation still seems incomplete (Backhaus and Tikoo, 2004). Well there is an established connection between employer branding and attraction but the implications of attracting employees is still a developing subject. In the process of building attraction, the brand often links an avalanche of expectations towards a particular organisation or a job role. In the pursuit of creating awareness of brand uniqueness, the
  8. 8. Employer Branding Page 8 organizations need to understand the risk associated with building expectations. These expectations becomes the part of your brand promise and unmet expectations can not only make an employee leave the organization but also can impact the future recruitments. The study of this relationship of employer branding and expectations would be one of the key concerns of my research. It should be noted here that different recruitment channels can also impact the employee’s perception. With the shaping technological services and contemporary recruitment methods, organizations seem to be baffled by the affectivity of various recruitment channels. The question remains the same that with this wide variety of recruitment methods, which amongst them will effects more on employer branding to impact the talent sitting inside and outside the organization. Moreover the choice of the method is how much affected by the advertised position and the targeted audience. Unfortunately very less investigation has been done about employer branding with a Pakistani perspective. The limitations of those studies are discussed in detail in the literature review section. As Human Resource Management is still a developing field in Pakistan, the organization there should know how they can be benefited by the concept of employer branding. However to study the current scenario of HR practices, I took one multinational bank named as Standard Chartered Operating in Pakistan. In short I will be looking at the impact of employer branding for talent acquisition in Pakistan within the banking sector. 1.2 Why Standard Chartered? There are various reasons for choosing Standard Chartered Bank as an object of investigation. As the banking sector around the globe is going through a lot of public scrutiny due to the financial crunch. Financial institutions have to work a lot in order to provide a secure and committed image to their employees to counteract the negative image of banking industry. Standard Chartered Bank has been operating in Pakistan since few decades. It’s the only international bank that has survived the tough economic downturns of Pakistan. Rest of the foreign banks have either stopped operating or they are completely downsized. So Standard Chartered provided me with an interesting analysis about how they acquire and retain talent when the overall condition of Pakistani Job market was tough. I believe that employer branding is developing into a crucial topic for nearly all the big organizations working in Pakistan and unfortunately very less prior research is done on that with a Pakistani perspective. Being an International bank, Standard Chartered provides me a good cross analysis between local and the international practices. As Human resource Department of Standard Chartered Pakistan is located in Karachi, which makes it more interesting to look how they communicate with the other geographically diversified branches. Lastly Standard Chartered claims to have a very effective recruitment network which makes my subject highly imperative that which strategies they adopt to counter problems related with talent acquisition.
  9. 9. Employer Branding Page 9 1.3 Target Audience This research paper will be useful for organizations who want to build their reputations in the minds of potential and existing employees. The study can benefit HR employees by providing them with insight of how the branding process shapes up the employee expectations and which situations can result in conflicting expectations. Moreover this research also provides a theoretical contribution to the people doing research on employer branding and its link with different recruitment practices.
  10. 10. Employer Branding Page 10 CHAPTER 2: LIERATURE REVIEW Primarily this chapter will advance our knowledge about the relevant theory and concepts surrounding the chosen subject, employer branding. I will attempt to explore the complexity of issues surrounding employer branding and link key theoretical themes to my research questions. There would be further investigation on how the knowledge of employer banding can generate value proposition for existing and future employees and create synergy of organisational disciplines (HR and Marketing). For this it is necessary to discuss how the term employer branding was coined and how it is perceived and used in modern times by analysing its implication on strategic as well as hoe it is communicate to the potential and existing employees. Moreover the chapter will discuss the fusion of human resource management and marketing in the organisational development and implementation of employer branding and the psychological contract. Finally, this review will also present the connection between employer branding and talent acquisition in order to highlight the efficiency of different branding channels and their impact on various talent markets. 2.1 The Concept of Employer Branding A pivotal distinction between the suggested values in what an organization claims to be (mission) and values-in-use (how an organization actually behaves) was first made by Schein (1992) who argued that the underlying values of a corporate brand should be ‘more than romanticism’ (Hatch and Schultz, 2003) and should be inculcated within the lived experience of the employees. Brands are clusters of functional and emotional values making promises about unique experiences and it is not sufficient to just communicate the brand values to the employees but also to make it a part of the corporate brand developmental process (de Chernatony 2001). This leads us to the fact that to manage employer brand we need to understand how employees make sense of their world and the role which symbols and stories play in this sense making process (Czarniawska, 1997). What does it mean to work for globally recognised organisations like Google, Microsoft or Coke? The post- industrial organization manages to inextricably associate emotional bonds and messages with the corporate brand that helps attract and maintain managers, employees and network partners (Larsen, 2000). Therefore, the corporate identity which is symbolized using artefacts such as organisation name, representation style, logo etc. (Hatch and Schults, 2000) should be developed as corporate stories to form a corporate brand.
  11. 11. Employer Branding Page 11 The term employer branding was first coined by Ambler and Barrow (1996). According to them it is a package of functional, economic and psychological benefits provided through employment which is associated with the hiring organization. This means the brand creates an expectation and certain values to employees which the organization wants them to hold. The authors sought to investigate the previously unexplored connection between marketing and human resources, particularly recruitment, and the value employer branding could add to the business. Their qualitative pilot study conducted interviews with the top executives of 27 companies and highlighted that these executives had a vague understanding of the significance of employer branding and commonly associated it with corporate culture alone. However, this study led to a rather basic initial model for employer branding which considered the relationship between best people - best shops – best word of mouth – best applicants (Ambler and Barrow, 1996). Backhaus and Tikoo (2004) further investigated different relationships of employer branding with how employees behave and stressed upon its significance by saying that effective employer branding can provide companies with a competitive edge. They conceptualised employer branding as a three-step process in which initially a firm is engaged in developing a ‘value proposition’ that has to be made a part of existing employees. This value proposition is created on the foundations of organisational culture, the style of management and the popularity of the employment image (Sullivan, 2002). After the development of this first stage the value proposition then has to be marketed externally to targeted potential employees. This recruitment campaign is designed according to the type of target population and the recruitment agencies and placement counsellors used. This is the stage where the generated value proposition helps to attract potential employees. Lastly this image is supposed to become a part of the organisation by using internal marketing. Up till now we understood that in employer branding we generate value though culture and providing employment benefits and how employer branding is related to the branding concepts which was previously given. Davies (2007) attempted to compare a customer brand with an employer brand in order to highlight any common grounds. He found four key attributes of consumer brands such as the ability to differentiate, contribute to satisfaction, build loyalty and enhance emotional attachments that are also relevant with respect to the employer brand. These four dimensions were predicted by the aspects of brand personality in influencing outcomes and it was found out that agreeableness was the most influential factor of the corporate brand personality for influencing outcomes. He suggested the employers need to focus on this factor while promoting their employer brand. According to Davies brand knowledge is developed through awareness and image and since awareness did not seem to be an issue for existing employees because they already know about the existing values so he put more emphasis on brand image by studying human associations with a particular brand. He mentions a very crucial point that many employees take a decision to quit because of job dissatisfaction and lack of commitment and this process is hugely affected by the corporate brand. This is usually because of the mismatch between what employees expect from certain brand and
  12. 12. Employer Branding Page 12 what is practiced while doing their task. The intentions to quit are generally a repercussion of job stress and lack of commitment to the employer (Mellor et al., 2004). The emotional attachment is measured by how committed an employee is the employer (Tsai, 2005). This affinity of employee to the brand is a result of good employers brand personality (Davies, 2007) despite that corporate brand is the most significant factor in an organisation still lacks enough consideration. As we established some factors that affect the employer brand it’s important to discuss how employees relate to these concepts. According to CIPD (2010) there is a fundamental need to understand how much you need a certain employee to associate themselves with the organisational brand. Engagement surveys show that the biggest gaps lies between what the employer needs the employee to understand about the organisational brand and what the employee actually understands. This is when we find the concept of psychological contract very useful. The concept of psychological contract develops our understanding about the relationship between the employer and the employee and the implied expectations or obligations they share with one another (Eshøj ,2012). The research of Eshoj (2012) found that the employer brand message leads to employer associations and formation of some beliefs about a brand in the minds of potential applicant. This relationship depends upon for how long the applicant is exposed to a particular brand. The following diagram illustrates how various components of employer brand such as message, reputation, marketing and publicity etc., which leads to different associations, is ultimately dependent upon individual employees’ mental schema. This process then carries the development of the psychological contact where the expectation between employer-employee relations is determined. Fig 1.1 Adapted from Eshøj, A. N. (2012). The Impact of Employer Branding on The Formation of The Psychological Contract. A master thesis, Aarhus University, Business and Social Sciences.
  13. 13. Employer Branding Page 13 The correct establishment of this relationship is crucial because if it is not communicated or done properly then it might lead to post-employment dissonance. Post-employment dissonance in HR perspective would refer to a state when there is a mismatch between employee’s perception and organizational reality which will lead to conflicting attitude at workplace. Festinger's (1957) cognitive dissonance theory suggests that instinctively we try to hold our attitudes and beliefs in harmony and avoid any conflict. As discussed earlier that potential as well as existing employees make certain expectations and associations with a particular brand. It’s the responsibility of an employer to live up to the established brand promise. If the expectations are not translated into reality it can lead to demotivation due to disharmony between the values you were promised and the conditions you are provided with. So it can be implied that post-employment dissonance can lead to conflicting beliefs in the workplace which can in turn affect the external image of the company through word-of-mouth. Berthon (2005) suggest that there is a need for researchers to determine how ‘employer brand’ affects the post-employment dissonance and to establish whether an increase in job satisfaction through employer branding can decrease post-employment dissonance. This literature gape leads to my one of the research question that how a mismatch between job expectations and organizational reality is created and what are its repercussions? Previous section discussed the psychological understanding of a brand now we will look at some other issues surrounding employer branding. It’s crucial to understand that employer branding is done both ways; externally and internally. Though corporate marketing in very much directed towards the external opportunities but it is essential to consider the internal activities while integrating a marketing plan. This is because employees are in the unique position to interact with both the external and the internal environments of the organization and therefore, can have a significant impact on consumer perception (Harris & de Chernatony, 2001). A brand is not represented by emotional values alone but also through various interactions of employees with different stakeholders. Employees are the representatives of organizations who project a certain image of the environment that needs to be compatible with what top management desires the organization to be perceived as (Kennedy, 1977). This implies that employees become an integral part of the branding process and the companies advertised values should be consistent with what current employees feel about that organization. Any inconsistency can undermine the credibility of the advertised message (Harris & de Chernatony, 2001) in the long run. According to Harris and de Chernatony (2001) there is a need to investigate further into organizations to understand the shift in employer branding literature from brand image to brand identity. They stress that brand image considers the customer perception of brand differentiation whereas identity talks more about how internal stakeholders, i.e. employees and managers can make a brand unique. However, they ignore a crucial point that with regards to the concept of brand identity there exists a subtle difference between organizational identity and corporate identity.
  14. 14. Employer Branding Page 14 Organizational identity refers to how members perceive and feel about their organization. It is actually a shared frame of thinking about the distinctive values and characteristics of the organization. On the other hand, corporate identity inclines more towards the function of leadership and the advertised visuals such as corporate symbols (Hatch and Schults, 2000). However, it creates a challenge for the current organizations to balance their brand identity as a whole with the brand image they have. Organizational literature which focuses more exclusively on the internal issues perceives brand image to be different from the marketing concepts. Whetten et al (1992) define brand image as the way in which “organizational elites” would like their organization to be perceived by outsiders. Organizational elites here refer to the top management which sets the companies goals, vision and mission. They want their employees to think in the ‘companys way’ While marketing literature claims that image is not what the company believes itself to be, but the feelings and beliefs about the company that exist in the minds of its audiences (Abratt 1989). Previously organizations could prevent their internal functioning from influencing the external environment because of the lack of communication channels between insiders and outsiders (Hatch and Schults, 2000). With the advent of new technology and constant social interface, employees are connected with the outside world in a better way. In my research I would be looking at the values with which organization identifies itself with and the impact it has on the external and internal stakeholders. My research will specifically study the importance of brand image in employer brand. While discussing about internal branding, I would be using the concept of organizational identity and the concept of corporate identity will be used as a foundation for external branding. These concepts were not tested in Pakistani perspective so that makes space for my research that how employer branding process is used in Pakistan to shape up the employer image. Moreover how this brand image leads in the creation of expectations among the applicants of banking sector of Pakistan. So my another research question would be How does image created through employer branding shape the employee expectations in Standard Chartered? 2.2 The Fusion of Marketing and HR in Employer branding Brand image forms the foundation on which the potential applicant’s decision is dependant and this image resides in the memory of individuals. Such memory models postulate that information is stored in the memory in the form of nodes (Collins and Stevens , 2002). When we recall a node it actually triggers and activate other nodes associated with it according to the strength of link they share. If we study this process under the hat of customer based brand equity than we can determine two major dimensions of brand image. The key dimensions are the awareness of the brand and its links related to information or the knowledge we have accumulated about the brand (Keller, 1993).
  15. 15. Employer Branding Page 15 Fig 1.2 Adapted from CIPD (2010). Employer brand and total reward. Chartered Institute of personnel and development. As previously discussed that psychological contract is crucial in determining if the employer brand is having a right impact or not on employees. The diagram above explains how through communication you can go through different components that could help develop the brand (CIPD, 2010). This is where marketing mix becomes an important tool to spread awareness. Brand awareness refers to whether consumer can recall or recognize a brand or simply hold some information about it (Keller, 2008). The brand awareness created precedes building brand equity and brand name forms memory nodes in consumers’ minds (Aaker, 1991). therefore, just as brand awareness affects the information stored in consumers’ mind, it also affects the decision of potential applicants applying for jobs. Now as brand awareness can act as a purchase decision heuristic for customers (Hoyer and Brown, 1990) it also drives brand market performance. The underlying assumption of the external marketing effort is that the right employer branding strategy will result in the attraction of the right human capital, securing a future source of competitive advantage (Backhaus & Tikoo, 2004, 505). It’s important to note here that all aspects employed in external marketing is not equally adaptable to recruitment activities (Collins and Stevens , 2002). Because of that Collins and Stevens tried to test recruitment against four marketing activities which were (a) publicity, (b) sponsorships, (c) personal or word of mouth endorsements, and (d) brand –specific product or service advertising. I will discuss the first two marketing activities here and the third one in the next section. However I will not be focusing on the fourth one because it has a weak connection with HR. The study of these marketing concepts is important in HR because for the implication of Employer branding one needs to develop the synergy between HR and marketing. Publicity is defined as a product or service communicated through editorial media which is not paid for by the organisation (Cameron, 1994). There is a need for greater recognition of the value which
  16. 16. Employer Branding Page 16 publicity holds since this is a promotional tool which is often neglected (Lord and Putrevu , 1993). The reason for considering publicity as a tool for improving employer branding is that it has some advantages over traditional recruitment channels such as greater visibility, lower costs and a third party endorsement leading to an increase in credibility (Kotler 1993). Barber (1998) implied that media publicity of firms can have a spill over effect on their recruitment efforts. The data collected by Turban and Greening (1997) also supports this contention. Their study on 500 fortune firms revealed that those organisations which were rated highly in terms of corporate social responsibility had more media exposure and were perceived as more attractive by potential employees. There is an implication that publicity will shape the general perception about the firm and will have a greater effect on employee attitudes than on their perception of job attributes (Collins and Stevens , 2002). Through publicity the brand awareness will be increased resulting in a stronger brand image (Aaker, 1996). However, the studies of Baloch and Awan (2012) which tested publicity with brand equity with the reference of telecommunication companies in Pakistan rejected the hypothesis that “publicity as a component of employer brand equity is positively associated with the decision making about the employer, amongst the fresh graduates of Pakistan” (pg.6) which also highlight that without the mediation of external third parties like educational institutions of Pakistan its difficult to affect the potential applicant decision through publicity. It’s important to notice that this study was conducted on telecommunication companies of Pakistan which has different set of practices as compared to the banking sector. Moreover the study only examined the brand equity and its relationship with talent recruitment and no connection was established between how brand equity leads to developing expectations in the mind of applicants. Moreover the discussion of recruitment practices lacked the mention of modern day channels which I have discussed in my section that establishes a connection between recruitment and talent acquisition. According to Johar & Pham (1999) the raison d’etre of event sponsorship is actually to stimulate a link between the event and the sponsoring brand and it is alarming that even sponsors are often misidentified. Current practitioners have already raised a concern about this issue However, corporate sponsorship can result in improvement of both brand and corporate images by generating a positive effect on individuals who come and attend the sponsored events. Sponsor identification is heavily biased towards the brands which are prominent/globally recognised. Prominent brands include those which are not only accessible to memory but also regarded as plausible sponsors of events that require significant amounts of resources (Johar and Phan, 1999). The studies of Poe (2000) show that many corporations have started to stretch their recruitment efforts towards campus activities where they build their employer brand image through sponsorship events. Hoek et al (1997) examined two forms of brand awareness. The first one was general brand awareness that was featured in video clip advertisements the second one was specific awareness of the brands that involved sponsoring the event. Participants who were exposed to sponsorship material had higher
  17. 17. Employer Branding Page 17 recall scores and directly associated the event with the sponsors. Thus, it is crucial for consumer awareness that event sponsor should explicitly link the stimuli of the sponsoring brand with the event. Now as we move further we need to establish the connection between how the concept of marketing and HR can fuse together in the form of employer branding and be used as tool for recruitment. The marketing and HR needs to work together in formation of Employer branding because in marketing holds the concepts of how customer segmentation is done similarly HR has to segment for employees and candidates. For example its important to develop a targeted value proposition so you can better address the right candidate and employee segment (Sochart, 2009). This helps in tailoring the message just according to the needs of targeted audience and a crucial step for effective employer branding. 2.3 Recruitment and talent acquisition It’s really important to understand that the concept of employer branding is closely related to recruitment. Different recruitment practices have different impact on employer branding and vice versa. Recruitment is defined as the process of identifying and hiring the best –qualified candidate (from within or outside the organization) for a job vacancy in a timely and cost effective manner (Sangeetha, 2010). Rynes (1991) saw effective recruitment as a process that includes all the organizational practices and decisions that affect can affect individuals who are willing to apply for or to accept a vacancy. The recruitment process has traditionally involved advertisements highlighting particular characteristics such number of vacancies, qualification required and job profile (Sangeetha, 2010). Firms can choose multiple recruitment channels to guarantee higher visibility of their vacancy/s among different strata of the population. Widespread job searches enable employees to tap into a larger and more diversified pool of applicants that could justify the cost of recruitment through higher gains (Kirnana et al. 1989) for example It is easier to judge the response rate by posting a telephone number and determining the frequency within the time limit (Davids , 1986). The candidate sourcing itself can be done through newspapers, magazines, journals, e- recruitment, word-of-mouth publicity, job fairs and recruitment process outsourcing (Stoops, 1984; Sageetha, 2010; Parry and Tyson, 2008; Herr et al., 1991; Anderson, 2007). Classified advertising in particular has been identified as an excellent vehicle for corporate communication (Stoops, 1984). Although recruitment ads are directed toward potential employees, other audiences such as inactive job seekers, stockholders, competitors, and consumers may also read the ad. Unfortunately, over time creativity in newspaper ads has not increased and uninspiring ad’s focusing on a list of qualifications was not having an impact on company image (Rawlinson, 1988). Bucalo(1983) states that most recruitment advertisements in newspapers for professional and managerial personnel were relatively ineffective in attracting the desired type of applicant largely was due to organisational inability to understand the unique and responsive needs of the ideal applicant. Recruitment
  18. 18. Employer Branding Page 18 advertisement was criticised for being nothing more than a mere announcement of a vacancy in a company (Palkowitz & Mueller, 1987). However in well-established organizations the chances of attracting potential applicants using newspaper advertisements are low (Wells, 1997). The use of specialised magazines and journals are adding a new dimension through which employers can create awareness of their brands in specific and niche labour markets. Sageetha (2010) stresses that well established firms like to advertise their job opportunities and planning through professional magazines , journals and newsletters to attract individuals who are not actively searching job opportunities but are looking for better course of work. As opposed to these formal communication sources, information spread by word-of-mouth works very differently. Van Hoye and Lievens (2009) provided four dimensions of word-of-mouth on which can have varied effects on the how a brand can be communicated. Word-of-mouth typically refers to communicating face-to-face which can be facilitated by all sorts of media sources such as telephone services and the internet (Dellarocas, 2003). Secondly, all social actors including friends, family, acquaintances and strangers can be an independent source of word-of-mouth communication (Brown & Reingen, 1987). Thirdly, word-of- mouth can be related to different employee motives such as dissatisfaction or advice seeking (Mangold et al., 1999). Finally some sources do not have an explicit purpose of highlighting the organization and the information may therefore be positive or negative (Bone, 1995). It’s important to consider word-of-mouth communication as a source of brand awareness because negative word of mouth, which is defined as interpersonal communication that denigrates the organizational image, has a more powerful influence on targeted audience behaviour than the print media (Herr et al., 1991). This is where brand equity becomes crucial as prior marketing research demonstrates that brand equity can act as a buffer against the detrimental effects of negative word-of-mouth. (Laczniak et al., 2001). Fig 1.3 Adapted from Rosenbaum-Elliott, R., Percy, L. & Pervan, S. (2011) Strategic Brand Management. (2nd Edition) Oxford University Press. Corporate culture employees Media and word-of-mouth Corporate reputation stakeholders Corporate image stakeholders Corporate vision managers
  19. 19. Employer Branding Page 19 The diagram above explains that how corporate vision and culture is connected and the corporate image shared with the power of media & word-of-mouth lays the foundation of corporate reputation. Sparrow & Braun (2008) believes that in Multinational companies context the notion of organizational culture is complicated and especially because of the acute differences between headquarters and subsidiaries. Moreover he mentions that the national culture and the institutions influence the HRM practices among MNC’s in a subtle and uncertain ways. The cultural imperatives and institutional influence has an effect on the relationship between organizational culture and how employees and managers perceive HRM practices (Stiles et al., 2006). This means that the culture could have implication on the employer brand image. The national culture influences the sense- making of employees and can put limitations of national cultures over their organizational culture and HR practices (Weick, 1988). In the modern era the use of technology in the recruitment process has completely revolutionized how employers can generate organizational attractiveness in the minds of potential applicants. E- recruitment can be defined as “the use of any technology to attract, select or manage the recruitment process (Parry and Tyson, 2008) (pg. 5). Career websites helped the companies to improve their website visitors’ knowledge and promote their image to generate further job applications (Cober et al., 2004). Whereas job boards could be used to address large public or specialized target market for job offers (Fondeur, 2006). The group experiment of Bondarouk et al. (2012) concerning potential applicants showed that corporate websites actually moderate the relationship between employer branding and organizational attractiveness. Moreover these websites are important tools for the provision of information about the employer brand to the external world. According to Girard and Fallery (2009) the advent of social networks has empowered the applicants as well who can now obtain more information about the company and the job. The most representative web 2.0 includes blogs (created by applicants, employers and head-hunters) and LinkedIn where employers can even head hunt passive applicants. Girard and Fallery (2009) also argued that Nowadays RSS (Real Simple Syndication) is also used where information about job offers are automatically updated in the search engines. These tools not only help an organization to increase their social capital but also help employers to identify the right type of applicant. Applicants nowadays can electronically establish a direct relation with the employer using these networks Though the research of Girard and Fallery (2009) showed a lot of links between social networking sites and employer branding however, the later study of Bondarouk et al. (2012) did not find any significant relationship between the two. Attracting applicants is not the only thing that should be a part of an effective employer branding campaign but also to consider that the right candidates get attracted. Various employer branding techniques could have distinctive effect on the market. Anderson (2007) argued that the direct
  20. 20. Employer Branding Page 20 communication through recruitment fairs and advertisements can have a less impact on the employer brand image than using more interactive methods like endorsing students and hosting placements in companies. Livens and Highhouse (2003) studied the impact of symbolic attributes of employer brand image and according to their findings symbolic attributes are more important than the instrumental attributes (organizational and job) in helping recruiters to differentiate between themselves among competition. Though this study provided a key insight still its findings were contrary to the thought established by Trank et al. (2002) who stated that students who are attracted to employees during the stage of recruitment can also be most disconnected shortly after hiring this is usually because of the mismatch between the motivational profile and the organizational experience. So we could infer that even if the symbolic attributes of a brand is used as an image to attract talent, soon the talent will be difficult to retain if the values are not symbolized through instrumental attributes. Moreover it’s crucial to understand that the student applicants tend to be attract more towards the organizations that have personality traits similar to their own (Slaughter et al, 2004). These studies present an important concept that whichever attributes you will try to map on the mind of applicants should match with the job attributes as well otherwise the whole point of effective recruitment will fail. It’s very important to note that high ability applicants opt for such job roles that are challenging in nature and create interest (Trank et al.,2002). Now if we look at the previous trend , the managers actually resisted in providing new graduates with tasks that require challenge and responsibility (Ratan, 1993). Such practices should be changed now because in the current scenario its crucial to find ways to boost challenge and provide good succession planning in order to attract potential applicant (Trank et al , 2002). As previously mentioned the only study that I found regarding employer branding and recruitment with Pakistani perspective was done by Baloch and Awan (2012) and the recruitment practices that he talked about was mainly through traditional channels. So this gap leads to my last research question that studies the effect of recruitment on employer branding to impact the talent acquisition. Discussing not only some effect of modern recruitment channels but its impact on employees at different hierarchical level that prior literature lacked. So my last research question would be How do various recruitment practices shape employer branding to impact talent acquisition? Research Questions 1. How does image created through employer branding shape the employee expectations in Standard Chartered? 2. How a mismatch between job expectations and organizational reality is created and what are its repercussions? 3. How do various recruitment practices shape employer branding to impact talent acquisition?
  21. 21. Employer Branding Page 21 CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY In this chapter I will elaborate the methodological foundation for the dissertation. I will discuss about my research philosophy and the research design as well as various data analysis techniques that I used. Moreover at the end of the chapter I will provide some reflection on the limitation and the importance of the thesis. 3.1 Summary of method My research would be exploratory in nature for the reason that exploratory research provides greater understanding of a concept or focuses on problem rather than providing precise quantification Zikmund (2003). This is because through my research I want to provide a better understanding regarding the impact of employer branding on talent acquisition in Pakistani setting. According to (Bryman and Bell, 2003) the popular type of research integration is done using qualitative and qualitative approach. Quantitative approach is outlined as the collection of numerical data that exhibit a relationship between the theory and research on the other side qualitative research is collection of data driven through interviews and participants observation (Bryman and Bell , 2003). As my dissertation titled is subjected towards various interpretations so I will be using qualitative method to comprehend those interpretations. Strauss and Corbin (1990) state that Qualitative research is very common is social sciences where the practitioners who want to understand different human behaviour and functions. It is quite suitable to study not only organizations but also groups and individuals. Moreover Denzin and Lincoln (1994) stressed that qualitative research focuses on interpretation of phenomena in their natural settings to make sense in terms of the meanings people bring to these settings. 3.2 Methodology and approach of research In this research I have taken an interpretative view that respects the differences among people and the objects and there is a need to grasp subjective meanings dependent upon social actions (Bryman and Bell , 2003). My research philosophy would be constructed using phenomenology which as implied by Finlay (2010) is the exploration of relationship between people and the situations. The research approach which I have chosen is inductive as opposed to deductive. The reason being that, unlike deduction approach the induction approach doesn’t construct a rigid methodology which provides an alternative explanation to what is going on (Saunders et al, 2009).
  22. 22. Employer Branding Page 22 3.3 Research Design For the dissertation I have chosen a case study design which will enable an in-depth analysis of a particular case. In such research design a single organization could be taken and studied the case from that perspective. Case study design often favours qualitative methods such as participant observation and interviews and these methods allows you to develop intensive, detailed examination of a case (Bryman and Bell, 2003). The organization I have opted to study is Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan. The case deals with the Employer branding strategies practiced around Standard Chartered. In short the research design represents an interpretive inductive qualitative research using interviews as a primary source of data. The prime reason for choosing case study design was to deal with the time constraint problem and secondly I had only one organization at my disposal which I will be studying from various perspectives. However I referenced some other organization from banking industry to highlight upon some differences in practices of Standard Chartered. The qualitative method will allow me to ask more about the employee’s individual experience with the bank and hence get a better view of the situation through multi-layered question. 3.4 Data Collection There are two practical method of data collection being used. One is the semi structured interviews and the one is through secondary data. I choose five employees that had diversified areas of working and at different hierarchical level. As previously discussed the reason for choosing Standard Chartered was that it has been operating in Pakistan since decades and survived the rough economic situations of Pakistan. Employer branding is a subject that affects employee’s at all hierarchical level so it was made sure that the range of interviews is wide to develop as much comprehensive study as possible. I conducted semi-structured interviews to derive my findings. The reason for choosing semi- structured interview is that besides obtaining information, such type of interviews allow greater flexibility in obtaining person oriented information. So there was a pre-set of questions which was made and additional follow-up questions were asked according to the designation and job area of the employee. As employer branding is a topic that concerns employees at almost all hierarchical levels so it posed a great challenge to select few employees having different job titles. For this I contacted various employees at different positions to have an interview with me. Standard Chartered had some limits, which was taken into consideration while asking for the interviews. Taking interviews at lower hierarchical level were much accessible then having time with the higher-ups because of their strict corporate schedule.
  23. 23. Employer Branding Page 23 The first interview was conducted during the mid of August 2013 while the rest of the interviews were taken in the last week of August 2013. The first interview was with Floor Relationship Manager which lasted about 45min. Through the relationship manager I got contacted with an International Graduate who just joined the organization. Interview with him was about 20min. The third Interview I took was with a person who initially started working in Standard Chartered Pakistan as international graduate and after two years was moved to Standard Chartered London. He provided me with a good cross-analysis about how practices differ in the same organization based in different regions. The fourth interview I got was from Senior manager regulatory reporting unit who had worked in Standard Chartered for a long period of time and seen the shifting practices with the passage of time. Fifth one was another interesting interview I got from Assistant manager cost and performance who left the Standard Chartered Pakistan an year back and joined another bank. He provided me with the insights about why did he made the switch and areas that HR of Standard Chartered needs development. These three interview varied from 30-40min. The names of the respondents are not used in the analysis and they are labelled from A-E. Their name along with the designation is provided in the appendix. Each respondent were asked core questions with some tailored questions according to their knowledge of HR and experience. Here are some example of questions that were asked. The detailed questionnaire is attached in the appendix. 1. How will you describe the culture and formally identified values of Standard Chartered? 2. How did you get to know about the job at Standard Chartered? 3. Did you see any conflicting behaviour, where employee did not get what he expected? 4. What associations do you make with the brand Standard Chartered? I also used secondary data which was acquired from the website of Standard Chartered. 3.5 Data analysis and generalisation In my data analysis I have compared the prior literature with what the respondents said. There were connections developed regarding various themes of the data collected with the models presented in the literature review. My contribution to the knowledge is quite specific to Pakistani market and especially in the banking sector. According to Saunders et al. (2009) there are three main types of qualitative data analysis process. For my primary data it will be better to summarise (condensation) the meaning of key concepts. However for secondary data I would prefer the technique which involves categorisation (grouping) of meaning. Lastly I will structure the data and try to integrate it with the empirical material I collected. The coding will also be used to label chunks of data and draw different comparisons between the related themes. This is because when you collect hefty amount
  24. 24. Employer Branding Page 24 of data then the coding becomes handy and it helps you to identify categories (Strauss and Corbin, 2008). So this will help me to build principal categories to develop an exploratory research. The data I have used is mainly about the working experience of employees in Standard Chartered and their understanding of employer branding and recruitment practices. 3.6 Limitations As interviews were conducted on Skype/phone so I was not able to observe the physical cues in some of the interviews. However it had a very less impact on my findings. Another limitation was that the respondents were non-HR employees so they had a limited knowledge in some areas. Apart from that the study was conducted in restricted time and resources. The respondents who answered the questions had English as there second/third language. 3.7 Ethics The ethical form was signed and submitted while handing over the proposal. Each respondent was told that the recordings of their interview are being made and it’s strictly for educational purposes.
  25. 25. Employer Branding Page 25 CHAPTER 4: FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS This chapter will present the key findings highlighted during the interviewing process with Standard Chartered employees. It will start with a discussion on the culture of the case study organization and how it effects the perception of employees both inside and outside the organization through employer branding. The study of three important questions will be presented and the interview data will be critically analysed against the backdrop of existing literature. This section is divided into three parts. The first part will present how employer branding shapes expectations and the second part concerns with what happens if any conflict arises between these expectations and organizational reality. The last part will analyse how recruitment practices shape up employer branding to impact talent acquisition. 4.1 Employee expectations formed through Employer branding process in Standard Chartered In this section I will be examining the employer branding process and determine how it links with HR practices in Standard Chartered in order to create desired expectations in potential and existing employees. Throughout the analysis I will be discussing two models (figure 1.1 and figure 1.3) presented in the literature review and check validity of these models against my data. Figure 1.3 highlights the key point that corporate vision shapes the corporate culture in the employer branding process. Standard Charterer’s vision as stated by the group chief executive is to be the catalyst for change. “We have a key role to play in stimulating economic and social development through the services we provide and by being a force for good. The success of our business depends on this”. [Peter Sands, 2007] This vision statement of Standard Chartered holds certain deviations from other banks’ vision. Beside economic development the mention of being socially responsible also sends a strong message across to the employees about not just caring for the bank but for the environment as well. From this we can derive that right from the start employees are given a message as to how they have to act and be. The recent visit of CEO Peter Sands to Standard Chartered Pakistan showed that they want the vision to be communicated from the top management to all hierarchical level.
  26. 26. Employer Branding Page 26 “Standard chartered has a bright future. Couple of weeks ago Peter Sands group CEO was here and he had a lot good things to say about the bank and people of Pakistan. He was very optimistic. We have a lot of scope of growth.” [Employee A] This discussion of the organisational vision is important because the model proposed Rosenbaum- Elliott et al. (2011) talks about how corporate vision leads to the development of a corporate culture which in turn affects the corporate image and is communicated outwards as a source of corporate reputation. As vision and mission statements are important parts of representing an organization so Standard Chartered has a well-crafted mission statement that mentions the provision of exceptional values to their staff. “To create exceptional value for our clients, investors and staff; through market leadership in providing innovative Leasing Products & Solutions, and by adopting and living our core values.” [Standard Chartered Bank, 2013] It was interesting to note that the mention of core values in the mission statement was highlighted by every respondent. This signifies that the mission statement was communicated well to employees at almost every level. Now let us examine if there is a connection between the value purposed and the organizational culture. “As you know that are bank is here for good. So everything revolves around this brand promise. Here for good, prosperity, long run and for people. This brand promise reflects in each of our services. Basically around this brand promise there are five values which are unique to our culture and these five values which need to be basically obliged by every employee is courageous, responsive, international, creative and trust-worthy. So basically these are the five values of the Standard Chartered bank for it employees which every employee need to follow these values” [Employee B] As previously argued by Sullivan(2002) the value proposition is created on the foundations of organisational culture. Another respondent when asked about the culture of the organization particularly mentioned the strong use of values in the development of the culture in Standard Chartered. “Well the organizational culture of chartered was pretty good. It was friendly, it was open, I mean you can challenge anything; virtually you can challenge your boss and colleagues. The courageous value it stands to know what is not right and anything equivalent. If there is something that you think and your belief is not in accordance with rules and regulations and policies of the bank which is your responsibility being courageous and notify” [Employee E]
  27. 27. Employer Branding Page 27 For these values to be the part of the organisational culture is of utmost important to internal branding, which has a deep impact on the developmental stages of expectations. Standard Chartered here provides its employees with the power of voice and in doing so express the importance of their employees regardless of their hierarchical position. Another respondent mentioned that there is a constant check if assess whether these values are being followed by the employees. “We have a very strong culture in that way, in fact these values are constituted as a part of our rating system as well” [Employee C] However it is important to investigate that if these values are communicated outwards in order to have impact on the perception of potential graduates. This is important because if the values are not transferred outside the workplace , it won’t impact the external audience. “It is definitely portrayed the way the organization is from inside through the career office, through their international graduate program that is run every year and there is complete three months campaigning that HR guys run”. [Employee E] From this we could see a pattern whereby the vision and mission statements results in the creation of values which are further inculcated deep into the culture that is strongly communicated outwards through different recruitment tools. The campaigns Standard Chartered does for recruitment have a strong agenda for spreading those values outside the boundaries of organization. This is very important in Pakistani context as people are very conscious about where they and how strong is the companies name in the labour market. In Pakistani social setting there is a huge psychological pressure applied by the family members and peers to work in a place which is well recognized. Recognition is often attributed as respectful. If these values are communicated outside then it will result into a stronger brand image and a more desirable place to work. The interesting relation was that instead of organizational culture laying the foundations for the brand image, interviewees highlighted some other factors that contributed in building brand image for Standard Chartered Bank. For example, most of the respondents mentioned the strong brand image of Standard Chartered is associated with its ability to withstand tough economic situations and not stop hunting for talent. The troublesome banking industry in Pakistan is marked by the perception of not a stable place to work in. So standard chartered wants to provide this secure feeling to override the negatives associated with the banking sector which is explained by the quotes below “Standard Chartered brand was (the) most attractive brand to all the students completing their education in banking, finance or economics that has not changed and what I felt is that bank has been involved in putting up a very strong brand image that Standard Chartered never closes its
  28. 28. Employer Branding Page 28 doors and it has the aptitude to look for talent even in the worst of times that what a brand needs to be.” [Employee D] Another respondent replied when he was asked about the driving factor to apply for the job, “Every foreign bank left but this bank is here to stay. That’s what instilled a though into my mind” [Employee A] Till now we are assertive that not only corporate vision but also mission has an impact on value creation. These values lay the foundation for the organizational culture in the employer branding process. The model proposed in existing literature which highlights that culture shapes the brand image did not hold true in the case of Standard Chartered. However, there were some arguments that indirectly supported culture leading to brand image and image differentiation such as “Organizational culture is very fast, technological, competitive and much digitalized. Things happen in minutes and seconds because everything is computerized. This is an advantage SC has over other local banks because they are not as adaptive to technology as we are”. Here we are looking at both the external and internal context of Employer branding. The relation of organizational culture remained important to the existing employees rather than impacting the external environment of Pakistani job market. It was clear that the major factor that affected the image was the job security Standard Chartered has provided for its employees over time that ‘we are here to stay’. At this stage my data slightly deviated from the previously proposed model that highlighted the direct impact of culture in shaping the brand image. While studying this employer branding process a key finding was that values had a significant impact on the external audience as compared to culture. This means the organizational values which are propagated have a significant impact on the expectations created in the minds of potential employees. Though in Pakistan the technology has been receiving a lot of attention and other local banks are not as advanced still the economic conditions has made people to expect better from the safer organizations. This shows that though Standard Chartered Culture is technologically advanced still its primarily getting benefited due to a secure place to work. Furthermore this research project discovered that the next step in the model which is brand reputation was more linked to the culture, as highlighted by the quote below, “In local economy it has a very good reputation and people basically in terms of choices. Standard Chartered comes at the top among all the local banks and international banks which are currently operating in Pakistan. First choice for any person who wants to work in banking in Pakistan, his first choice would be Standard Chartered because of the overall culture of the bank” [Employee B]
  29. 29. Employer Branding Page 29 It is interesting to note that besides corporate reputation, brand image in the minds of employees can lead to very different associations. This provides us with a thought-provoking comparison between the two previously proposed models - whereby one talks about how brand image leads to corporate reputation and the second one talks about the corporate reputation leading to employer associations. In Standard Chartered employees expressed the direct relation of brand image with the employee association rather than employer association. There was no link developed of reputation leading to employer association. “I associate with the brand standard chartered is self-promotion and attitude of people working with, it’s a very cordial working relationship that I associate with the brand image it’s a marriage of basically a lot of professionalism and own career aspiration. So I associate the flexibility which allows you to venture and be what you want to be.” [Employee D] This also supports the contention proposed in the prior model that brand associations create different employee beliefs in relation to a brand. For example, one of the interviewees association of flexibility with Standard Chartered led him to believe that he can explore with Standard Chartered and develop himself along with the organization. So this becomes the integral part in employer branding where you are converting what employees are thinking about the brand to what now they believe a certain brand can do to them. When a respondent was asked what he associates with Standard Chartered he stressed upon the association of values with the brand. “We employees at Standard Chartered really believe in that brand and the values associated with it. The values are preached every day”. [Employee C] In employer branding process it’s important that this culture is communicated outwards in order to establish a link between brand image and employee association. “Yes when like our presentations and our advisements and when we go to different universities and event we organize in these universities they are different compared to local banks. We try to portray our culture and how our bank is different from other banks and what is our approach. We present these things to our prospective graduates that is what is different about and this is what is unique about us. Yes we do portray these values and culture outside of the bank.” [Employee B] On the basis of these two observations a connection can be made that by communicating the culture outwards, Standard Chartered tries to shapes the perception of potential employees which leads to the development of expectations. Eshoj (2012) argued about how brand message can lead to different associations and formation of beliefs in the mind which finally leads to expectations. It is worth mentioning that associations with a particular brand are not the only thing that leads to
  30. 30. Employer Branding Page 30 expectation but also how the particular sector of industry is performing as well. For example, the relatively recent boom and fall of the banking sector also shapes what potential employee would expect from Standard Chartered. ‘A lot of times it happens in the banks especially when banking industry is full of bonuses and compensation’ [Employee D] Longsdon and wood, (2002) mention the effect of social-political factors on consumer expectations but in banking industry the economic situation was effecting the potential applicants expectations as well. This was another important contribution made to the concept of employer branding that the macro-economic variables also have implications for employer branding. In Pakistan the banking industry has not been performing well since the last decade that has forced the banks to opt ‘pay for performance’ strategy. This also raises the expectation of applicants sitting outside that would get high compensations if worked hard. By examining the empirical evidence, there was connection developed about how brand associations are developed through culture and values which becomes a part of your brand image and reputation. Trends regarding previous literature were also seen to be true for Standard Chartered apart from a key deviation that instead of brand image leading to employer association its leads to employee associations. Moreover, values had more of an impact on affecting external audience than the internal culture. It was also found that beside social-political factors, the external economic situation of the business sector also played a part in developing expectations. 4.2 Mismatch between job expectations and organizational reality and its repercussions. In this section I will take the concepts of the previous section further and address how a lack of alignment between what employees expect from the job and the organizational reality is created. I will also discuss how Standard Chartered handles such situations. Moreover, I will look at the results of this conflicting behaviour and try to address the existing literature gap on post-employment dissonance. As was previously argued that through employer branding organizations develop expectations in the mind of their employees. In the process of developing expectations organizations are faced with the risk of not being able to fulfil the brand promise. One of the respondents mentioned that the brand promise made by Standard Chartered revolves around the five core values which are the ‘roots’ of the organizational culture. “The brand promise reflects in each and every presentation, our advertisements, our products, services and everywhere. Basically around this brand promise there are five values which are unique to our culture” [Employee B]
  31. 31. Employer Branding Page 31 The interesting finding was that though every respondent stressed the importance of a set of core values, some of the respondents could not remember the name of these exact values. A respondent who could not identify these values had also developed some negative associations about the organization. Moreover, this situation resonated with what Trank et al. (2002) argued that students who are attracted to employers during the stage of recruitment can also be most disconnected shortly after hiring. This is usually because of the mismatch between the motivational profile and the organizational experience. An interview with an ex-employee of Standard Chartered highlighted that, “I think they claim here for good which to a certain extent is proved. Honestly speaking all these organizations in the end want to make profit. So is the case with the Standard Chartered.” It is worth mentioning that this mismatch does not only depend upon the negative association but also on the sense-making of the employees. Weick (1988) while giving an international perspective on MNCs argued that the national culture influences the sense- making of employees and can get precedence over the organizational culture. However, my data showed that the culture of Standard Chartered was maintained across borders but the working style of employees can differ significantly if they are working in separate countries. There is a possibility that the working style of employees is not very adaptive to the culture of the organization . This can also result in conflicting behaviours that can lead employees to not work at their optimum performance levels, “One thing that really strikes me is the culture of the company remains the same whether you are in Pakistan or you are in UK. That shows the company is transferring their values across the borders the policies, the framework, the way of working is quite similar across geography. The only difference I would say about working in Pakistan and working in UK is the level of professionalism we see in a lot of individuals. In Pakistan we see a lot of laid back attitude and what I have noticed in London that people here are more driven and more motivated and that is something more on Individual basis” [Employee D]. This respondent had previously studied in London and then returned to Pakistan post-study. It is important to note that his experience in a foreign university and subsequent working experience in Pakistan would have been a radical shift compared to people who studied in Pakistan and working there as well. Despite the organizational culture remaining the same Pakistan was perceived as having a more laid back working style which posed problems for him. Till now we have established that wrong associations and a mismatch of culture and working style could lead to conflicting behaviours but the important part is to highlight what happens as a result of this mismatch. When employee expectations about the brand image do not match the reality it creates frustration and motivational issues.
  32. 32. Employer Branding Page 32 “When I joined chartered initially I was really frustrated the way things were preceded” [Employee E] “Yes if it (Organization) does not meet your expectation you will have performance and motivation issues” [Employee C] One respondent mentioned the shift of expectations is always there when you are moving from an academic environment to a professional working one. “When you’re just a student and starting out your professional life it’s never actually what you expected to be it is different and in some cases expectations falls sort in some expectations it exceeds” In case of Standard Chartered some respondents mentioned that they never expected the working environment to be so stressful. That was something which created problems for certain employees. As previously discussed that international banking sector in Pakistan is downsizing which is continuously chopping the jobs. This makes the banks apply more pressure on their employees. It’s apparent that the strong brand image of Standard chartered ignores the fact of stress associated with it which will cause conflict of expectations. “I didn’t think that the sales pressure and all of those things would be so high and my line manager would be on my case all the time to do sales” [Employee A] “I think at times it is very aggressive and tough. Specially the people in the operation areas they have a very tough working environment. I would be very happy is Standard Chartered show more compassion to its people. At times you have to relax a bit, its good thing to drive people but you can’t continuously stretch them for long period of time.” [Employee C] The intentions to quit are generally a repercussion of job stress and lack of commitment to the employer (Mellor et al., 2004). If Standard Chartered is unable to solve this conflict between the amounts of work employees expect to do with what they actually face up with this could result in loss of talent. Even though Standard Chartered does provide initial training in its induction and international graduate program but if a certain employee struggles with his expectations during the course of his/her work , then Standard Chartered was perceived as unlikely to do anything about it. “They stretch their employee to work hard and one thing that is associated with Standard Chartered is the extra pressure for no reason. That is the biggest negative thing of Standard Chartered. That is the reason why I left Standard Chartered”. [Employee E] “It’s necessary that you get maturity as well that this world is not a fairy-tale, you don’t get always what you expect.” [Employee C]
  33. 33. Employer Branding Page 33 This can also be due to the implication of Pakistani mind-set that from very early age we are told that when we will start doing our post study work, it is going to be tough. As it was said by the respondent as well that you don’t always get what you expect. It means that we enter the organization with a pre-set mind that something wrong is going to happen. This also can result into conflicting behaviour even if the things are right in the organization. According to a respondent Standard Chartered has a very professional procedure to go about if a certain employee is treated unfairly at a workplace. The respondent claimed that employees are given the power to voice conflicts in Standard Chartered and actually the concerned manager’s performance is dependent upon how well they address these employee issues. “If people who speak to their line managers are not happy, they have an option to speak with the HR as well (…) Conflicting opinions coming throughout the year and its not that its strikes you and its left high and dry and there is ample opportunity to speak about your grievances and basically people try to sort it out, if you don’t sort it out they will leave the bank.” [Employee D] Another respondent mentioned that though he pretty much got what he expected from Standard Chartered still he mentioned about an incident that took place with his co-worker that changed how he previously expected things to be. Despite being a top performer, his co-worker was treated very harshly when she slightly breached a small compliance issue. “It was very demotivating for her of course but then at the same time it’s a lesson learned for all of us to be extra conscious and vigilant about things that usually (one) does’t really pay much heed to”. [Employee A] A mismatch between expectations and reality can be beneficial for an organization despite having its negatives. From the employer perspective sometimes people do not pay attention to how they are expected to work and behave in a working environment. The above example was a classic illustration of how, if employees forget what was expected from them can be a lesson learned for the other employees. Though Standard Chartered mentions its value for people still if something goes against their policy they are less likely to address employee needs. This was the most crucial finding and contributes to the literature in the sense that previously negative connotations were attached to conflicting behaviour but my data showed also the positive impacts of it. A respondent who moved from working in Standard Chartered Pakistan to Standard Chartered London argued that the conflict of expectations is dependent upon individuals and there are some people who could even get motivated as a result of that the conflict. This was due to the increase in responsibility you feel to address your conflicting expectations and develop yourself as an individual. Ratan (1993) also exclaimed that not providing new graduates with responsibility and challenge can pose problems.
  34. 34. Employer Branding Page 34 “Initially when I joined the office in Pakistan directly after studying from London, to be honest in the first initial years or so you are a bit lost you do feel that the high inspiration what you thought about yourself has not been materialised and this is a problem and this happens. But the thing is that the key to this is patience (…) I felt after four years in the bank that I have learned much more and really grown as an individual and so now I don’t have any complains” [Employee D] If these conflicting expectations are met with patience, Standard Chartered believes in boosting the responsibility of an employee by making him climb up the hierarchy level. The same employee when was asked about this career opportunity, he said “I would describe it as immense career opportunities. Because starting from Pakistan and moving in two years to London and that on an expatriate package and sort of a perks and advantages” This practice was also considered crucial by (Trank et al , 2002) that good succession planning helps in attracting and retaining and attracting the talent. The key finding of this section was that the lack of alignment of expectations and reality despite having palpable negatives may also result in positive developments. However, apart from complaining to the line manager or HR , the Standard Chartered employee were not given any post training to align their expectations to the organizational needs. Moreover, the initial trainings they get about values and culture has to be followed and anything that contradicts with their belief was dealt with patience by the respondents until they climb up the hierarchy level. 4.3. Various recruitment practices that shape employer branding to impact talent acquisition. In previous sections we established the concepts of employer branding and its impact on expectations. However, this section will highlight the application of recruitment practices in order to enable employer branding impact the talent residing inside and outside of the organization. There is a very little literature present that tests the recruitment practices in the Pakistani banking sector. So this section contributes to the knowledge in a way that in order to engage the right candidate, one needs to know the effectiveness of different recruitment channels a company uses. Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan uses various recruitment methods which are a mix of both traditional and contemporary channels. “I found about how you apply to the organization via a newspaper. I saw HR email address where I started corresponding with the person who is responsible for hiring first stage of screening” [Employee A] “Well I got to know about this job actually is through a career fair of my university” [Employee D]
  35. 35. Employer Branding Page 35 “Well in my case personally one of my professors referred me for this job who has this network in this banking sector. Usually we as university fresh graduates we use this electronic media websites and all online job portals” [Employee E] Every respondent exclaimed that they knew about Standard Chartered and it was a well reputed bank. They only differed on how they got idea to apply for a job at Standard Chartered. In prior research Bucalo (1983) talked about newspapers being an ineffective method for attracting desired talent. This was the case with Standard Chartered as well. The respondent whose first step to the application was via newspaper did not remember much about the ad apart from some sketchy details. “The most important thing about the ad was the mention of the email address with which you can apply. As far as I remember the newspaper ad wasn’t for only new recruits it was also a general ad for the bank” [Employee A] Though newspaper might not seem an effective way of modern recruitment still it had an impact on employer branding of Standard Chartered. As argued previously by Hatch and Schults (2000) corporate identity is symbolized through logo. The newspaper ad of Standard Chartered had created the same impact on the respondent. While discussing about the importance of logo a participant explained “So when you talk about Standard Chartered what I presume that the first thing which come to people mind is C-L-A-S-S , its safety , security and good secure feeling that something is here to say. On newspaper ad there was something on those lines so the image is instilled further in the minds of the reader” However, as the ad was not specifically designed for recruitment, so this point supports the view of Wells (1997) that in well-established organizations attracting talent using newspaper is low. Two respondents, one from Pakistan and the other from London provided the same opinion about the exposure they got about applying to Standard Chartered was through a career fair in their university. The career fair at Standard Chartered is aimed at selecting candidates through their International Graduate Program. “So I used to meet that team and they educated about this program and created awareness about and I also get to meet different international graduate alumni which were from my university and this was another motivating factor to apply for this program” [Employee B] It is important to note that the prior study of Baloch and Awan (2012) rejected the hypothesis that “publicity as a component of employer brand equity is positively associated with the decision making
  36. 36. Employer Branding Page 36 about the employer, amongst the fresh graduates of Pakistan”. However, in my case study a respondent clearly mentioned that his motivation to join the bank was due to the awareness created through the publicity of this program. “When start to work in Standard Chartered for the first time he does get some weeks of training and our training camps all around Pakistan. We basically educate and brief them about our culture, what are our values and how important these values are for Standard Chartered. How employee work to basically fulfil and abide by these values” [Employee B] In order to make their recruitment effective at this stage they make the successful candidate go through set of training periods which affects their understanding about the employer brand. This understanding is created by inculcating the values at that stage. This supports the point of view of Stevens (2002) that publicity will shape the general perception of the firm and there would be a greater effect on the employee attitudes. This form of recruitment programs is actually targeted at formation of employer branding at very initial stages where you try to profile the attitudes of employees through the brand development. While discussing the effectiveness of these programs a respondent exclaimed that, “A job posting will be very limited to a particular division or a department but these programs attract very wide variety of people who want to be associated with the bank” [Employee D] This also highlights the weakness of job postings through newspaper. As previously argued the brand associations are an integral part of employer branding, so these targeted programs are an effective way to make potential employees relate with the bank and thus affect their understanding of the brand. Anderson (2007) argued that direct communication though recruitment fairs can have a lower impact on brand image than using interactive methods like hosting placements in companies. However, Standard Chartered has their presence in recruitment fair due to the fact that they want new applicants to join their placements. So a greater effect could be generated if these recruitment fairs are held in order to the make the placements at company visible. Beside the graduate program, the data proved that participants have been engaged to the company through the visit to these career events and has led to certain employee associations. “A particular job opening is something which might not even attract that much of an attention a program which has a complete package to offer actually gets more attention of the applicant” [Employee D] If we compare this statement of the respondent with model given by CIPD (2010) we could safely assume that if these programs garner greater attention then more awareness should be created and
  37. 37. Employer Branding Page 37 as a result better communication and psychological alignment is made. Both these factors again have a high impact on employer branding, thus increasing its effect on talent acquisition. “Yes fresh graduates in International Graduate program and internship are a good way to recruit. As far as senior positions are concerned with certain level of experience, those are filled using different portals, through linked in, through rozi.pk and so on so forth.” [Employee E] It is interesting to note that recruitment practices have a different impact on employees at different levels. So the varying effect of employer branding at different levels will produce unique effects depending on the hierarchical position of the employee. We previously considered the criticism about job postings as compared to recruitment fairs and graduate programs. But this relation does not hold true for hiring at a very senior level in Standard Chartered. The respondent E who initially said that job portals were used by the freshly graduated applicant denied its effectiveness later in the interview. While this statement supports the argument made by Fondeur (2006) that job boards could be used to address the larger public but the empirical data showed that it is not a very effective idea for applicants applying for different positions. However, if we compare it with the study of Bondarouk et al (2012) who said corporate websites actually moderate the relationship between employer branding and organizational attractiveness, we could hypothesise that this relationship exists for hiring at senior positions. In short the recruitment practices through job portals and websites positively affects the employer branding and impacts the talent at senior levels. However another participant did not believe in any form of external hiring for senior positions in Standard Chartered. He exclaimed “When I said that they discourage external hiring, I meant was that they discourage hiring for a very senior position. What they try to do is to promote people within the bank in order to assume responsibility and reward for the fact that they have been in the bank for longer time”. [Employee D] If we consider internal hiring as a recruitment practice for senior positions then it does have an impact on employer branding as it builds loyalty (Davies, 2007). This strategy of employer branding retains the talent through good succession planning (Trank et al , 2002). With the passage of time the brand loyalty is created which enables emotional attachments (Davies , 2007) this again contributes positively in terms of employer branding. However, the external hiring for talent acquisition will have a different impact altogether on employer branding which might lead to conflicting situations as explained by the quote below. “If we hire a person who is coming from let’s say city bank , HSBC or Morgan Stanley where the culture the attitude , the degree of risk-preference for that sort of individual is conditioned in completely different setting would be a little different of what we go through”. .” [Employee D]
  38. 38. Employer Branding Page 38 Now as proven earlier that disharmony between your expectations and the conditions you are provided with can lead to a conflict so it is more likely that the employees who are conditioned in different organizations can be a victim of this conflict. This conflict can be a source of negative word of mouth which degenerates the organizational image and has a powerful influence on the targeted audience (Herr et al., 1991). So external hiring has an implication that it can result in conflicting behaviour which as a repercussion can affect the employer reputation through negative word of mouth which in turn impacts potential talent residing inside and outside the organization. One participant also mentioned about informal channel of recruitment which was through using personal contacts. “I was introduced to Standard Chartered by my neighbour who was working in Standard Chartered he told me about the opening and gave him my resume”. [Employee C] A respondent who was recruited that way believed less in the mission and vision of the company and actually said that “These statements sound pretty on paper” [Employee C] It was quite evident that employer branding had a very small impact on his decision making in that case. While answering the value creation process he also did not mention the set of values being practiced in Standard Chartered. This clearly shows that the informal recruitment methods had a relatively smaller impact on the formation of employer branding and even if he gets hired, he works because of the pressure of survival rather than associating with the brand. “Even if we are stressed out we need to work more on more to survive” [Employee C] Another respondent who was hired through a professor recommending him to join Standard Chartered left the organization after a couple of years. Therefore, it shows that people hired through these informal channels are affected less by the employer brand and if leaving the organization is not an option, they work under stress. Overall after I compared my findings with the previous literature review, it was observed that some concepts were in harmony while other slightly deviated in the Pakistani context. While studying the expectation developmental processes through employer branding I figured out that values impacted more on the external audience then the culture. This finding had a slight deviation from what from Rosenbaum-Elliott et al. (2011) studied who concluded that culture has more significance on brand image. Another major deviation was that brand image led to employee association rather than employer association (Eshøj, 2012). In addition to previous literature which showed the impact of social-political factor on expectation (Longsdon & wood, 2002) I also found out that macro-economic
  39. 39. Employer Branding Page 39 conditions of Pakistani banking industry also shape up the employee expectations. The argument by (Sullivan, 2002) was supported by the organizational culture of Pakistan that culture lays the foundations for the value proposition. This value proposition leads in the further development of expectations in Pakistani job market. In the second research question a big gap of post- employment dissonance was filled in which I found out that work-expectation conflict can lead to performance issues and can be source of stress. This conflict can be due to many several reasons such as wrong associations developed due to miss communication of values that leads to mismatch between motivational profile and the organizational experience (Trank et al., 2002). Conflict can also happen because of the difference in the organizational culture and the working style of the country in which organization is operating. Moreover conflict can also be a result of organization applying high pressure due to macro-economic reasons. Despite of the palpable negative, its worth to mention that conflict can result into something positive as well. I found out that these conflicting expectations can actually challenge and individual to develop himself according to the organizational parameters. It can also motivate him to perform better so that s/he can climb up the hierarchical level and address his issues. In third question I studied different recruitment practices we figured out that every channel affected employer branding differently so it generated a unique impact on talent. The key finding was that the international graduate program was the most effective employer branding technique. Moreover, it was interesting to observe that employer branding had a varying impact on employees at different hierarchical level.
  40. 40. Employer Branding Page 40 CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION This chapter summarises all the key points about the research gaps and contributions made in that regard. Moreover some recommendations about the company as well as future research is provided with its cost implications. My dissertation investigated the impact of Employer branding strategies on Talent acquisition in the banking sector of Pakistan. The Relationship of employer branding and talent acquisition was not taken in isolation and in fact the variables that affect employer branding was studied too. This was primarily because the variable that surrounds employer branding enables it to have a distinguishing effect on talent acquisition. In order to provide the study with practical grounds I conducted a case study of Standard Chartered branches spread across Pakistan. The main reason for studying employer branding done in Standard Chartered was that banking industry is suffering from big blow in Pakistan due to fluctuating economic conditions. In such situations banks find it hard to not even attract and motivate the talent but also retain that. Tough banking conditions not only can stress the employees but make them leave the organizations. This strengthens my case to study that how employer branding is practised around standard chartered and what are the misalignments within the bank. The analysis of employer branding implication on standard chartered allowed me to study the effect of branding inside and outside of the organization and hence contribute to the established theory. A deep understanding of the employer branding concept was created while studying the prior literature. The literature review part of the dissertation talks about how the whole process of employer branding works. From advertising values to shaping culture and then developing brand reputation , all the steps were thoroughly studied that formed the foundation of research analysis and the findings. While studying the literature, several key gaps were identified which include. The need to study about post-employment dissonance which happens when certain expectations are created as a result of employer branding and the organization fails to meet them. Secondly the relationship between employer branding and how it leads to expectation wasn’t developed before with a Pakistani context. Lastly the only study I found on employer branding and recruitment with Pakistani perspective studied traditional form of recruitment channels only. So for filling these research gaps I arranged five semi-structured interviews from the employees of Standard Chartered who were not only different in their Job areas but in hierarchical level as well. This gave us an interesting point of view that how employer branding is perceived by a fresh employee as compared to someone who is working in organization for years. The crux of research lied between three key questions. First two allowed us to study how employer branding shape up the expectation and the misalignment of expectation and reality. The last one was concerned about the

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