Berna Özdemirkan

February 2016 – Brandmap: 

Turkish companies now have a new concern in the spotlight for about 5 or 6 years against which they seek to take actions. Let’s start with the definition of this new concept: Employer Brand, what is it? This term is defined by those who initially brought it into the spotlight in 1990s.

Simon Barrow defined the employer branding as: “the package of functional, economic and psychological benefits provided by employment, and identified with employing company.”

Backhaus and Tikoo said: “It represents a firm’s efforts to promote, both within and outside the firm, a clear view of what makes it different and desirable as an employer.”

Basically, the concept refers to “a company’s reputation in talent attraction.” Is this really a new concept? Or are we trying to dress up and revive some fancy names?

Let’s take a look at the concept’s history. Until 10 years ago, “organizational brand” or “product branding” was also considered equivalent to “Employer Branding”. Why? As it was, a company’s size and brand familiarity had tremendous impact to make it a coveted workplace. Largest firms would receive hundreds of job applications, so they could hire the best talent, causing a vicious circle: the most powerful choosing the biggest, and it is recruiting the most talented. Right at this point, we have noticed some significant shift for 10 years. “Managing Millennials” has become the main theme. This trendy subject had a lot of fans at business summits and training workshops. How would you address the next generation of workforce? Could we retain them? How to transform your HR strategy? You know, similar comments were popular about the youth even in ancient history, let’s say 400s BC. It is not a new situation; we have only achieved to conceptualize and create a brand new term.

So, why do we turn the spotlight on this concept? For years, financially powerful and leading companies had a “gift” for attracting the best talents. As they were powerful brands, it was easy for them to not only attract but also keep the talents. However, things change. The annual employee satisfaction surveys showed that these employees were getting less and less happy. Then, it showed that they were not that engaged. Social media made the companies realize that hundreds of employees criticized them in public platforms. When all the actions taken to improve the Employee Satisfaction failed, a brand new concept emerged: Employer Branding! In my next article I will mention the relation between the two surveys, however this rapidly rising new concept has increased the hope about employee retention and new talent attraction.

The need for Employer Branding to attract the best talents became the hottest news of Human Resources. Becoming a brand in the eyes of employees, being preferred and most desired workplace! And now we may mention another aspect of this topic. What is “Employee Branding”? It all starts with the “Brand”. Considering the classical branding approach, what can we say about the companies’ actions to ensure branding and its management? For long years, the marketing team, brand managers and top management made plans and work for their customers to have outstanding branding experiences. However, as these teams were only a handful of employees dedicated to the branding projects, it was nearly impossible for all employees to internalize the brand. Today, the correct branding strategy can be achieved through creating a free atmosphere not only for the customers or a small group of employees, but also for all employees to internalize, embrace and contribute to the branding management. 

As I was saying, the companies would like to become an “Employer Brand” because they want to attract and retain the best talents. In other words, the same strategy they pursued for their customers was now pursued for their employees. It is necessary to consider employees as customers and take actions accordingly. In other words, we need to utilize the same techniques to build an employer brand that appeals to our current or future employees.  This is the new approach in HR strategies.

The employer brand management consists of three pillars: a company’s corporate reputation, employee engagement/motivation and all the actions taken to attract talent to the organization. All these criteria are crucial in this process.

Let’s continue with the Employer Branding examples from Turkey and all around the world. The worldwide companies achieving the best employer brand management includes: Google, Microsoft, Ritz Carlton, Singapore Airlines. We did some research about the Employer Branding slogans and promises of Turkish companies. Here are some random ones:

Migros: “Good Job, Good Future”, We are a Corporate Family; We are the members of a long-established family – Our goal is the ultimate; We offer a long-term career planning with development opportunities – Innovative; As the leader of the industry we encourage innovations and we learn together as a team – Constantly Improving; We combine our experiences with future plans and help you improve professionally and personally.

Pegasus: “Let’s Fly into the Future Together” – We aspire to motivate our Family Members to the fullest in a democratic environment where they can share their thoughts freely and we enable a common target for everyone to work in cooperation.

Digiturk: “When we share the same hopes, the outcome turns out perfect.” – “Coming together is just the beginning, sustaining the unity is progress… Working together is the real achievement.” – “Happy Employee=Happy Service” formula is the main idea that leads to recruiting the right people for the right job. – For Digiturk, sustainability of the service is as important as providing it.
– Communication with our employees is one of the most important Human Resources processes that differentiates us from other organizations, boosts employee motivation and engagement in addition to creating a fun environment.

Borusan Mannessman “Always a step ahead – Right person for the right job” – There is no limit to the human potential. Success brings along the desire to do better. We invite you to a sincere work atmosphere that improves, motivates and drives you providing constant progress with the principal “Always a step ahead”.

Defacto: “Best Place to Start – Outrun to the Future” – We are here for the happiness and improvement of our employees. – “We are a big family that aspires to build the future together with you.”

ATÜ Duty Free: “Happy Employees, Happy Customers, Happy ATÜ”
– We believe that our employees are at the center of our business. The improvement of our employees is crucial to our success. We ensure sustainable quality, consistency and talent by ensuring an inspirational and rewarding work atmosphere.

Most companies’ motto and promises are related to the training/development of the employees. On the other hand, since those promises are similar and plentiful, none of them can stand out in the eyes of the workforce. In sum, when building your Employer Brand, it is always recommended to ask yourself these questions about your commitments/promises:  –

  1. Are they valuable/important for your target audience?
  2. Are they unique? Do they differentiate your company?
  3. Are they easy to imitate?
  4. Do you have the capability to fulfill them?