Employer Branding Article

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Employer Branding through Social Networks Preeti Dave and Amresh Sharma, XIMB ConQuest Online January 2013 Edition www.iims-conquest.in

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Employer Branding, Branding, Atitude

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Page 1: Employer Branding Article

Employer Branding through

Social Networks Preeti Dave and Amresh Sharma, XIMB

ConQuest Online

January 2013 Edition


Page 2: Employer Branding Article

ConQuest, IIM Shillong Consulting Club



The world is changing fast, with 1.01 billion 1 active users on Facebook (September 2012),

500 million registered users1 as of 2012 on Twitter, generating 340 million tweets1 daily,

more than 175 million1 registered users in more than 200 countries(June 2012) on LinkedIn,

and the count is increasing faster than the tick of the clock. In a recent Kelly Global

Workforce Index survey, it is showed that 53% of the North Americans considers a strong

employer brand to be a major force for selecting a particular employer. This growing interest

and power of social media, its viral and transparent nature, is being leveraged by the

employers for their branding and recruiting prospective employees.

Branding in True Sense

Brand is not only what others feel about the image of the company but also the emotional

quotient that people attach with the company. The brand can be a true competitive

differentiator if there is congruence between the message what the employer conveys and the

message what the employee, the breathing, living ambassadors of the company, gives. A

strong employer brand has several advantages which include:

Difference between Organization Brand and Employer Brand

Organization Brand is the image how the industry looks at the organization, its products and

services. Whereas, the Employer Brand is focused corporate image putting forth the value

proposition to its current as well as prospective employees to become an employer of choice.

As shown in the below figure, a Strong Employer Brand will lead to attracting better match

candidates which further leads to increased market share. It is about delivering an authentic

and enriching experience to various stakeholders within and outside the organization, living

and breathing the values and the culture of the organization

Increased market share

Increase in business and referrals

Better service =>Satisfied Customers

Enhanced job performers

Highly engaged employees

Higher Quality hires

Larger quality applicant pool








1Source: http://thesocialskinny.com/216-social-media-and-internet-statistics-september-2012/

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Thus, we can see Employer Brand from 3 dimensions:

1. Value Proposition: Demonstrating clearly what the brand offers. It is the shared

basic understanding of the company values, benefits, culture, experience that will be

given to its employees. It is the commitment by the employer that value will be

delivered and the belief of the employees that the value will be experienced.

2. Internal Marketing: It is changing & reinforcing employee behavior, building a

workforce difficult to imitate to gain a sustainable competitive advantage. It provides

a consistent experience at every level of the company

3. External Marketing: Putting forth the value proposition to reach out the target

audience, allowing the potential candidates to picture themselves in the company for a

perfect job fit, person fit and organization fit to acquire distinctive human capital.

Social Media Importance: What began as a medium to interact on a social level has evolved

to give businesses a place to connect and grow their network, changing the dynamics of the


All organizations want to employ preferably the top 20 % of the talent pool. Therefore HR

professionals and strategists have been expending enormous amounts of time, energy and

other resources to earn the “employer of choice” tag for their organizations. It is not

about product positioning but “employer positioning”.

Source: http://www.wipro.com/Documents/Social_Media_Report_Feb_2012.pdf

Usage of Social Media by

organizations Usage of Social Media by industries

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Places like Second Life provide opportunities to interact and communicate with users

which could not be achieved through the traditional methods. It has been leveraged

by Hewlett Packard for screening prospective hires.

According to figure above, as per a survey conducted by the HR consulting arm of Wipro,

around 63% of the respondents say that they use social media in their business processes,

where as 27% say they do not. The usage of social media is maximum in the IT and ITES

sector followed by Telecom sector.

Even the employees in the organizations feel that utilizing social media makes the employer

an “employer of choice”. 58% of the respondents felt that they would rather work with a

company that utilizes social media tools. This can be proved by the below report from APCO

Worldwide and Gagen MacDonald, survey on the State of the U.S. Workplace.

There are 6 facets of social media that organizations use for their branding:

1. Collaborative projects: Collaborative projects are the most popular, renowned

manifestation of user generated content and allows the joint creation of the content by

many end users. For example, WIKIPEDIA.

2. Blogs: It is a form of social media which will provide a channel to express opinions,

facts and thoughts.

3. Content communities: These have the main purpose of sharing content between

users, including text (Book Crossing), photographs (Flickr), videos (YouTube).

4. Social Networking Sites: It enables users to connect by creating personal information

profiles. Emphasis should be laid on consistency and engagement which positions the

company as authentic and sought after.

5. Virtual Games: These include platforms that replicate 3- dimensional environment in

which users appear as personalized avatars and interact with each other as if in real

life. Example: World of Warcraft.

6. Virtual Social Worlds: These are the extensions of Virtual Games wherein the

avatars have a little more freedom of action and move without any other restriction.

Example: Second Life.

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Linking Social Media and Employer Branding

All these facets of social media can be linked to the three dimensions of Employer Branding.

For example, the following figure illustrates how Social Networking Sites cater to the 3

dimensions of employer branding.

Implementation Examples

1. Starbucks:

700,000 followers in 2010 to 3317833 followers in 2012

It has its own version of social network, where in employees can give in suggestions

about a particular flavor of coffee or a change, and if such changes are implemented, the

person is given credit, thus giving a sense of belongingness.

2. Adidas:

In 2011, Adidas had an employee strength of 40000 out of which 1/3rd were based in

Asia Pacific. They had a goal of creating a talent pool for Asia Pacific.

• Creation of organization profile depicting the culture

• Knowledge Sharing

• Building a trustworthy image

Value Proposition

• Formal and informal communication

• Thereby strengthening tiesInternal Marketing

• Represents the company to the outside world

• Filters information for specific target groupsExternal Marketing

Starbucks on Twitter: Answers questions, re-tweets: open one-one communication

Starbucks on Facebook: Uploads videos, photos, blog posts, invites people to events

Starbucks on YouTube: Allows people to embed videos anywhere they like on the


Starbucks on Instagram: Interspersed store images with coffee images, images of

Baristas who work, images of corporate sponsored promotions. This has helped the

company to place themselves in the job market as a place where working is cool and


Recruitment Agencies

Post job descriptions on

Adidas job board and job

portals Traditional Practice

Higher recruitment


Long recruitment


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Applications of successful Employer Branding through Social Media

Let us now discuss the applications of a successful employer branding through social

networks. Apart from talent acquisition employer branding through social media can be

viewed from a different perspective. Successful employer branding should aim at using

social media analytics for behavior analytics, HR and customer.

Selection of Social

Network Type like

SNSs, Blogs,

Virtual Worlds

Analysis of pattern

and frequency of

sharing: Posting,

Sharing, Messaging

Extracting behavior


HR Analytics

Motivational Dimensions

Personality Dimensions

Big 5 Model

Feedbacks and surveys

Employee Life Cycle:




HR processes: Hiring,

Engagement, Branding

Sentiments and predictive


Social Media helped Adidas to reach out passive candidates.

Make direct contact with people, make them engaged and excited about job

opportunities Great candidate experience.

Better communication of value proposition in areas of career development and training,

discussion on company future plans and other benefits

Quality candidates with close match to requirements

Reduced average time-to-fill from 70 days (2011) to 52 days (2012)2

Slashed hiring costs (HKD1.3 million (US$167,700) to the fraction of same)2 where it

recruited 9 employees through social media tool, LinkedIn.

2Source: www.linkedin.com

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Future of Social Media for Employer Branding

Current vs. Future Intentions

As per the latest review by the Harvard Business Review magazine, organisations are keen on

investing on social media for various purposes as shown below.

Source: Harvard Business Review Analytic Services surveyed 2,100 Harvard Business

Review magazine


Although the importance of social media cannot be denied for getting good talent but it has

its limitations and it should be recognised as a tool not as a wholesome replacement for every

other activity required to attract and retain potential and current employees. Employers

should be cautious when reviewing and using information from these sources during the

recruiting and hiring process, as it may expose them to claims of discrimination as it contains

information about the caste, religion. These claims could seriously tarnish the employer’s

image and can attract legal actions.

Legal Aspect

Social media legislations blocking the employer access to employee social media accounts is

gaining traction in US. California is the latest state to pass legislation which forbids

employers from requiring /requesting employees or job applicants to provide their social

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media user names and passwords (Assembly Bill 1844, sponsored by Nora Campos (D-San

Jose)). The bill also states that it is unlawful to threaten, fire or discipline an employee who

refuses to disclose this information.

From the Indian perspective, employers can take into account the IT Act for framing social

media strategy. For Example:


The emergence of Social Networks has compelled the organisations to redesign the way they

communicate their brand to present as well as future employees.

Consistency: Convey the same message on all the channels

Authenticity: Being true to the organization and the world

Planning: Concrete strategy with tangible and measurable objectives

Not an advertising campaign: More than recruitment, emotional quotient in the minds of the people

Respond: Two way communication to increase reliability

Section 499 Indian Penal Code: Defamation:

Whoever by words either spoken or meant to be read makes/publishes any

imputation concerning any person intending to harm, defame the person

Section 66(A) of IT Act

Punishment for sending offensive messages via electronic mail message

Any electronic mail message that is grossly offensive or is menacing

Any false info causing annoyance, insult, danger

Causing inconvenience

Deceiving or misleading recipient

New Guidelines: No less than a police officer of a rank of DCP will be allowed

to permit registration of a case under provisions of the Information Technology

Act that deals with spreading hatred through electronic messages

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In our opinion, employer branding through social networks is just one facet of the many.

Completely relying on the social networks would be a grave mistake that the organisations

may commit. On the contrary, not leveraging social media for the employer branding would

not be rosy either. Thus social networks do play a major role in positioning the employer

brand to the target audience.




By: Ray, Augie. Baylor Business Review. Fall2012, Vol. 31 Issue 1, p22-23. 2p.

2. “How Social Media Can Spur Organizational Transformation.”

By: Savitz, Eric. Forbes.com. 12/17/2012, p31-31. 1p.



By: Hunt, Kristin Gunderson. Journal of Property Management. Nov/Dec2010, Vol.

75 Issue 6, p36-40. 5p.

4. “Social Media Privacy Laws Stymie Financial Firms.”

By: Mont, Joe. Compliance Week. Dec2012, Vol. 9 Issue 107, p16-17. 2p.

5. “Social Media, the Law, and You.”

By: THOMPSON, MIKE. EContent. Dec2012, Vol. 35 Issue 10, p8-10. 3p.

6. “Views on Applying NLRA Principles to Social Media Shared.”

HR Focus. Dec2012, Vol. 89 Issue 12, p10-11. 2p.

7. http://www.defence.gov.au/pathwaytochange/docs/socialmedia/1.%20Social%20medi


8. http://www.brandchannel.com/papers_review.asp?sp_id=1269

9. http://www.sas.com/resources/whitepaper/wp_23348.pdf

10. http://www.randstadtechnologies.ca/downloads/072711_Build_your_employer_brand


11. http://www.intel.in/content/www/us/en/legal/intel-social-media-guidelines.html

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The Team

Conquest Online is the online

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The ConQuest Team includes

Aritra Nayak |

[email protected] Arpit V Tripathi | [email protected] Nimesh Nair | [email protected] Pochineni Shalini | [email protected] Rishi Gupta | [email protected] Shirish Prakash Jain | [email protected] Sunayna Agarwal | [email protected] Tarun Gupta | [email protected] Anurag Gupta | [email protected] Ashish Singla | [email protected] Deepanwita Datta | [email protected] Divya Kommi | [email protected] Neha Gupta | [email protected] Ujjwal Shankar | [email protected] Vikash Ranjan | [email protected]