Take Employer Branding to the Next Level

 -  9/12/12

Branding one’s company as a most-admired employer may require marketing, but HR executives play a key role by focusing on early identification and leadership development programs.


How to Extend Employer Branding Online

In the ever-expanding realm of social media recruiting, employer branding remains one of the most critical aspects to engage top candidates.

Enter the Googleplex, headquarters of the world’s largest search engine in Mountain View, Calif., and one is transported to a utopia that appears more Willy Wonka than Wall Street. The 500,000-square-foot complex features employee lounges outfitted with pool tables and snack bars. Outside, employees can take a break at the beach volleyball courts or take a dip in one of the two swim-in-place pools. Hungry employees enjoy up to three free gourmet meals a day, and they can take advantage of subsidized haircuts and massages.

Every part of the Googleplex, from its interiors to policies that let employees bring their dogs to work, exemplifies Google’s well-established work-hard, play-hard mentality. This has become a cornerstone of the company’s employer brand, and likely helps Google perennially garner a top spot on Fortune magazine’s list of the World’s Most Admired Companies. Last year, Google finished second.

Fifteen years after it first collaborated with Fortune to put together the most admired list, the Hay Group, a global management consulting firm, commissioned the study “Lighting the Path to Success” to look at the driving factors in the continued prominence of companies such as Apple and Starbucks that regularly land at the top of the list.

“Most Admired Company respondents were considerably more likely to indicate that their companies had developed an explicit employer brand,” said Mark Royal, senior principal at Hay Group. “It’s something that Most Admired Companies are focusing on from a branding standpoint.”

Eighty-eight percent of the companies on the Fortune list developed an explicit employer brand, compared with 67 percent of their peers.

A Cultural Shift
Employer branding refers to a company’s reputation as an employer, and it isn’t new to the workplace. Simon Barrow, chairman of People in Business, the employer brand consulting subsidiary of recruitment agency TMP Worldwide LLC, first introduced the term at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s annual HR conference in 1990.

But the concept of employer branding remains important today in the war for top talent, said Kortney Kutsop, an employer brand specialist at employee branding company Universum. The company surveys some 500,000 people annually, including 65,000 college-age students, to find out what traits they find most attractive in an employer. Like Fortune, Universum comes out with its own list, the Top 100 Ideal Employers.

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