Employer branding: Five secrets from SA’s top employers
South Africa’s current certified Top Employers 2017 share some of their best tips for developing a positive employer brand
Employer branding is about your total employer identity. The goal is for your employer brand to be viewed as an organisation that offers a great employee experience. We asked some of South Africa’s current certified Top Employers 2017 to share some of their best tips for developing a positive employer brand.
“Branding is a promise to your customers. Employer branding is a promise to your current and future employees.” — Kathryn Minshew, author of The New Rules of Work
“Employer branding”, a term not so new to the HR industry, is making an enormous impact in the marketing world. Take for example Heineken’s “Go Places” recruitment video. This video is on trend to a typical consumer ad and was featured on Adweek. You might be asking yourself: “But wait — HR made headlines in marketing?” You’re not alone.
HR has traditionally been viewed as a cog in the wheel to strategically manage people as a business resource — dealing with HR policies, contracts, employee development, etcetera. However, HR has become much bigger than that; today it plays a critical role in shaping and defining the employer brand.
A healthy employer brand is critical for engaging with your staff and attracting quality prospective employees. With the labour market becoming increasingly competitive HR has had to adapt to the changes, and not just play a tactical role, but step up to being a strategic partner in building and maintaining the organisation’s employer brand in order to attract, retain and engage talent.
We interviewed five of South Africa’s Top Employers for their secrets to successful employer branding. These Top Employers have been certified for providing excellence in employee conditions.
1. Mercedes-Benz South Africa: “Marketing and PR work hand-inhand to create the employer brand.”
Mercedes-Benz recognised early that the collaboration between HR and marketing was becoming critical to employer branding. The car manufacturer used key maroutstanding keting insights to develop employee value proposition messages for the right target market and branched out to digital tools to maximise creativity and appeal.
Marketing helps increase the visibility of the employer brand and attractiveness through channels, media and platforms traditionally used for brands only. Digitisation has also expanded opportunities for creative employer branding. For example, the use of virtual reality technology to provide prospective talent with an experience of the employer’s value proposition without having to physically visit MercedesBenz’s facilities is an example of how marketing and HR collaboration is driving employer branding.
2. Sanlam: “LinkedIn is a powerful platform for Employer Branding.”
As most of Sanlam’s professional staff are LinkedIn members they strategically decided to incorporate LinkedIn into their employer branding strategy. Sanlam use Work with Us, a bespoke LinkedIn employer brand methodology to leverage their employees’ networks on this platform. Using LinkedIn as a prime platform the brand ambassadors are able to engage with internal and potential external talent by positioning the Sanlam brand. In order to achieve this, Sanlam has selected 10 brand ambassadors and works on creating content with these brand ambassadors, e.g. through photo shoots and stories. This content is then shared on their internal career page and on their LinkedIn career page.
Sanlam has also developed a website specifically dedicated to their employee value proposition, the golden thread in all of Sanlam’s employer branding campaigns.
3. Transnet: “Nothing beats belonging”
“Wouldn’t you agree that the biggest driving force behind any organisation is its people and that companies that perform extremely well, do so as a result of their inspired, empowered and enabled colleagues?” Ogotlhe Dolly Sathekgem, general manager: group talent management and transformation for Transnet.
Transnet recognises that in order for the company to consistently achieve their strategic objectives and to be an employer of choice, it needs to create an enabling environment in which people feel that they belong. Their formula for success is: “I am empowered, I am enabled, I am inspired: iBelong.”
Sathekgem says: “Empowered employees are confident about taking action, and most importantly, have the authority to do so. Our leadership is committed to inspiring and empowering employees to take action to serve our customers, a critical part of why we exist. We value our people and enable them to grow through training and development programmes that will allow them to add value too, and become an invaluable asset to us and to our country. In this high-performance and enabling environment, our total reward structures are market leading, and we encourage and recognise our employees for their excellence and innovation. “
4. Clicks: “Link your employer brand to your employee value proposition.”
The Clicks Group recognises that employer branding is a key mechanism used to attract talented individuals able to thrive within their high-performance, fast-paced environment as well as to inform their employee engagement interventions aimed at retaining both top and scarce talent. In order to maximise return on investment, the Clicks Group needs to ensure that their employer branding reflects their employee value proposition and supports their organisational vision and mission.
Measuring the success of their employer branding activities has put the Clicks Group in good standing, with the organisation achieving seven Top Employer Certifications. The Clicks Group has shared its wealth, with 10% of its issued share capital in the hands of their employee share trust. The group has also made a R95-million investment in the development of their employees, as well as having spent R22-million on sustainable community initiatives in 2016 alone.
5. Wipro: “Employee involvement is critical to developing brand ambassadors.”
Wipro has recently rebranded, incorporating a new logo and re-affirmed values. This new brand was largely birthed from within the Wipro family, based on Wipro employees’ own vision of what the spirit of Wipro entails and what they believe Wipro stands for. The Wipro brand, as it now exists, is a collaboration between expert design and the Wipro family’s passion for the spirit of Wipro.
The brand is centred around its core values, drawn from the people expected to be brand ambassadors — Wipro’s employees. These values are: be passionate about clients’ success; be global and responsible; treat every person with respect; and unyielding integrity in everything it does. The Wipro family believes in its brand and continues to uphold it and its values.
Empowering its employees to continue to be brand ambassadors is an ongoing process, one which is revisited annually when conducting the employee perception survey. In each survey, the Wipro family’s belief in the brand is evaluated; assessed to see what has changed; changes are incorporated; new beliefs and values are discovered; and pride in the brand is reaffirmed. Recently recognised as a Top Employer, Wipro Africa’s business head Gavin Holme says: “We firmly believe that people form the foundation of an organisation. Companies need to invest in nurturing their employees and promoting an environment which fosters trust, growth, ideas and innovation. Happy and motivated employees are important to drive organisational growth.”