Berna Özdemirkan

March 2016 – Brandmap: 

As you know, Employer Brand is one of the hip topics nowadays… Actually, it has mainly two components:

  1. What do you promise the employees?
  2. Do you keep your promise?

What do you promise?

Before a company make promises to employees, it is required to maintain a minimum level of contentment about the main aspects of employee satisfaction. After this is secured, it has to reach the best level (benchmark) concerning at least two of those aspects.  Employee satisfaction surveys can help take the first steps to build you as a well-known employer brand.

If a company is not performing employee satisfaction surveys or if the scores fall below average levels in Turkey, then it is not yet the time to develop employer branding. Rather, it is time to “make improvements and raise employee satisfaction to a certain level” by utilizing employee opinion surveys and focus groups. Trying to catch the trendy Employer Branding train without a ticket may result in getting off at the first stop.

So, let’s give some hints about the first step: Employee Satisfaction. Above all, please do not regard this issue as Human Resources’ responsibilities. HR teams can only support the improvement actions. It is mainly the business leaders’ responsibility. The business leaders or the management teams will position the company among the best in maximum 3 years if they take employee satisfaction seriously and make it their priority.  At this point, CEOs can ensure faster success by supporting and following up the process more and more. Therefore, it is the primary duty of the Human Resources to make sure all the company directors internalize this issue. After this process is finalized, you need to decide on your promises as an organization by focusing on the strongest aspects of employee satisfaction.  It is highly important for all the management team to stand behind the promises in those strong aspects. Making promises incompatible to the organization culture is like going to a gala with a rental dress. No matter how dedicated you look to your promises while hiring a new employee, it will be a huge disappointment if they find out that their direct manager is not committed to those promises. It is not enough for promises to be aligned with the organization’s culture, they also need to be authentic. Given that “making promises” is very trendy these days, unfortunately companies have been observed to be making same stereotyped commitments/promises. As a result; “both the competitors and your company make the same promises to the qualified talents.”

What lies beneath this is: All surveys reach the same target group: Students or graduates of the best universities, new recruits or the newbies. This makes it inevitable to come across with the same commitments/promises.

It’s all very well, but shouldn’t we have a self-knowledge as an organization? We have a culture and we have strengths. Is pretending to be something different okay? This is the main idea. It is not okay to give the target group whatever they expect. You should either strive to have the desired top qualifications or focus on your strengths, determining your promises accordingly.

If people’s expectations are your priority, you need to take a closer look at the issue with focus groups and surveys to analyze your current situation. Then you need to create projects and strive patiently to climb up to the top. After completing this first step of employer branding, we can move on to a more important and difficult step. “Keeping the promises.”

Can you keep your promises?

Now it’s time to dwell on the second component.  Can you keep your promises? Being able to keep your promise has a lot to do with how those promises were decided on. Enterprises should expect many problems when they make stereotyped promises, not complying with their organization’s culture. When employees find out the promises made during recruitment step are not true, they start to look for a new job. Even though your score was previously above Turkey’s average, this causes the Employee Satisfaction point to plummet again and it all starts over. Therefore it is extremely critical to make the right promise; you either need to offer what you have or try hard to become the best at whatever you promise.

Listen to your knights!

It is also important to remember the aim of all these efforts. We interviewed around 15,000 white-collar employees in 2014 & 2015. 54% of these are knights, which means one of every two employees are ready to fight on the front lines for the company. In the top companies (benchmark) this ratio rises to 85%.

If you designate your knights wisely and desire to increase this ratio, you need to take a look at your employer promises and whether or not you are keeping them. Your knights will lead you through this. You have to listen to them. Always remember that if it is about the employees, you first need to do segmentation among your current employees and then turn to potential ones. You need to develop a specific survey for your target group instead of using a general survey in order to understand the potential employees.

Let’s conclude with raising awareness about the imminent danger. We will gradually observe potential employees losing faith in the Employer Brand due to the increasing number of companies with promises not complying with their organizational values/culture. The effects will be just like bad product advertising, either useless or backlashing. That’s why Employer Branding must be handled very seriously. Never forget that it is best to move on with projects tailor-made for the values and culture of your own organization.

I would like to underline below the same questions from my previous article: Please ask yourself these questions to understand if your commitments/promises that you developed for Employer Branding are relevant or not:

  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?

When the companies have the right answers for these questions and develop their Employer Branding accordingly, they will be miles ahead of others.