Hvem ejer dit employer brand?

Vi har fundet en interessant artikel, der behandler spørgsmålet om, hvem der egentlig ejer og driver en virksomheds employer brand – et spørgsmål mange virksomheder nok har temmelig svært ved at svare på.

Who owns employer branding?

By Mike Devile (recruitment extra)

I’ve recently been following a number of online fora (plural of forum – I know, I know, I chose Latin over Geography at school), and I’m intrigued at the number of people within HR who are still debating who should own employer branding within organisations.

The reality of course is that it’s ultimately down to the performance, attitudes and behaviours of every person representing that organisation, from top to bottom and all things in between. Starting with the CEO. To some extent it’s like fleas arguing over who owns the dog.

The point I think they are debating is who should have ultimate responsibility at Board level? And it almost always seems to come down to a battle for territory between HR and Marketing. This is understandable at one level. HR gets the people side of the proposition and Marketing knows how to launch and run appropriate brand strategies. But who should it be? Of course, the answer is more complex than the question indicates. Broadly generalising, HR and Marketing haven’t traditionally seen eye-to-eye. Going back a few decades now, the Marketing community viewed recruitment advertising (as we used to call it) as an unavoidable necessity – well down the pecking order – and, consequently, succeeded in either pulling the rug from anything creative or constructive HR was trying to achieve, or simply deciding to assume responsibility for that activity and converting everything people-related to look exactly the same as their existing product or service communications. Either way, it hasn’t been constructive. You can see where the term ‘Brand Police’ (and worse) came from.

That said, HR was often no better. And not helped, I’m afraid to say, by recruitment consultants who were unmotivated to think longer term. It’s a bums-on-seats game and targets are targets. So, chess pieces anyone? Pictures of earnest suits shaking hands across a Board table? Tired but fulfilled mountaineers planting a flag on top of a snowy peak? Rowers pulling together? All equally unconstructive, horribly clichéd and no help to the client’s brand.

As an employer brand specialist, I still marvel at the regularity with which I attend client meetings that start with representatives from these two disciplines arriving and having to introduce one another. In my experience, the sad truth is that neither community is fully equipped to have long-term responsibility for proactively running and supporting an employer brand. So who else? Internal Communications? External Affairs? Corporate Responsibility? PR? All are important players with much to offer but the most success we’ve had has been when we can present a business case to the relevant FD. Now that’s when things start to happen. A good one can see the long term benefit of striving for that mythical queue of informed and engaged candidates waiting at the door, thus significantly reducing the amount spent on agency fees (sorry) and expensive job advertisements. So how does that happen? It’s by reputation. People talk and compare notes, so you have to be clear, open and honest about what you are selling, warts and all. If you overdo the spin or fail to deliver on your corporate promise in any respect, you can be sure that Facebook, Twitter, Glass Door, Whirlpool or the guys in the local boozer will find you out.

That means Customer Service must be key as, to some extent, is every other part of the organization. Which does put in context the question as to whether HR or Marketing owns the employer brand. There is an interesting emerging trend that is genuinely encouraging. Largely lead by the challenger brands – those companies that have committed themselves in time and resources on the enormously expensive set-up phase of their operation and now need to deliver – there is a growing acceptance that a company’s people really are its brand. However, that doesn’t mean HR is solely responsible for them. HR is still primarily focused on supporting the day-to-day running of the business. Equally, Marketing in this context stopped being relevant a while ago. People buy brands and brands are dynamic and interactive. Your brand is in the hands of anyone with a mouse or a mouth. Anyone who buys the product or service or supplies the same to the company. Anyone who has been a candidate, an employee, a local resident or shareholder. Everyone. I believe that we are inevitably going to witness the rise of the HR/Marketing hybrid, the ‘Reputation’ Director. Someone who absolutely understands the importance of their organisation’s brand through the eyes of all stakeholders. Someone sitting somewhere between traditional HR and Marketing. Someone who has a passionate belief in the user experience – candidate, supplier, customer or local resident – and its indisputable impact on the bottom line. Someone who can end this debate once and for all.

Jesper Munch Toldam Linkedin profil Mere om forfatteren
Jesper Munch Toldam (f. 1975) er oprindeligt cand. mag. i engelsk og filosofi, men har arbejdet i bureauverdenen siden 1996. Først med public relations, siden med product branding og BtC, før det hos core:workers blev til en karriere inden for strategisk job- og medarbejderkommunikation. Jesper er som kreativ chef ansvarlig for, at løsningerne er både innovative og effektive, så de skaber den ønskede værdi for kunderne.


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