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Charlotte Housden Bernard Hodes Group. Strategic Human Resources Conference 7 th February 2007 Geneva. Using Employer Brand to attract talent. Or… have I stumbled into a Marketing presentation?. So, as we’re talking about brands….

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Charlotte Housden Bernard Hodes Group

Strategic Human Resources Conference

7th February 2007


or have i stumbled into a marketing presentation

Using Employer Brand to attract talent

Or… have I stumbled into a Marketing presentation?

so as we re talking about brands
So, as we’re talking about brands…..
  • Do you know which are top 10 Best Global Brands in the world (Interbrand 2006)?
  • Or which are the 10 most Respected companies in the world (PWC 2004)?
  • Or which are the top 10 MBA Employers in the world (Universum 2006)?
Best Global Brands

1 – Coca Cola

2 – Microsoft

3 – IBM

4 – GE

5 – Intel

6 – Nokia

7 – Toyota

8 – Disney

9 – McDonalds

10 – Mercedes

World’s most respected Co’s

1 – GE

2 – Microsoft

3 – Toyota

4 – IBM

5 – Coca-Cola

6 – Dell

7 – Wall-Mart

8 – Citigroup

9 – Procter & Gamble

10 – Hewlett-Packard

working age populations
Working age populations

Working age taken as 15-64 years


Reduced talent pool

Aging populations

Decreasing birth-rates

Increased life expectancy

There will be “a significant exodus of talent and experience in the next two decades and a dearth of new employees to step into roles that require specialized skills”

Accenture (2005)

global employee engagement levels
Global employee engagement levels

Towers Perrin global workforce study (2005)


Declining employee tenure in the USA

  • 1/3 in jobs less than 2 years
  • 2/3 in jobs less than 5 years
  • 1/2 employed on Interim/Contract basis
  • 3.5 years average

Years of Service

Depression Survivors

Pension Seekers

“Free Agent Nation”



US Department of Labor, Employee Tenure Surveys, (1995-2000)


Baby Boomers:


Generation X: 1961–1981

Generation Y:


bigger meaning the australian leadership foundation
Bigger Meaning: The Australian Leadership Foundation

When looking for a job Gen Y’ers want (in this order):

  • Training
  • Management Style
  • Work flexibility
  • Staff activities
  • Non financial rewards
  • Salary

A less interested talent pool

Aging populations

Decreasing birth-rates

Increased life expectancy

Reduced talent pool

Declining tenure


Drop in engagement

together an attraction and retention issue
Together… an attraction and retention issue
  • CIPD 2006 recruitment, retention and turnover survey:
    • 82% of organisations reported difficulties in recruiting
    • 69% reporting difficulties in retaining
  • RightCoutts 2006, in Management Issues 2006
    • 41% of Senior HR professionals thought retention of key staff was their most critical HR issue
  • Accenture on-line survey 2006
    • 67% of senior directors in N. America, Europe and Asia think the inability to attract and retain the best talent is one of their top 3 threats to success
some hr levers
Some HR Levers

Employer Brand

“what do people think of us?”

Performance Management

“where is our talent in the organisation?”


and Team





Talent Management

“how do we manage our talent?”

Values and




Core Work


Recruitment Processes

“how we do attract talented people to us?”


Team and Job


Reward & Recognition

“what keeps our talent with us?”


“how do we talk to our talented people?”

what is it
What is it?
  • “The package of functional, economic, and psychological benefits provided by employment, and identified with the employing company”, Ambler & Barrow 1996
  • A long term strategy that establishes an organisation’s identity as an employer
  • Which differentiates them from competitors in the employment market
where do you start
Where do you start?
  • The development of an employee value proposition (EVP)
  • Capturing in one statement, the sum of “everything that people experience and receive while they are part of the company”
  • It must be aligned to the overall brand and reputation
who is it for
Who is it for?
  • Potential employees – to persuade more and better applicants to apply and accept offers
  • Current employees – to reduce turnover, increase employee motivation, a sense of belonging and align behaviour to the organisation’s needs
  • Consistency of messages across both groups is vital as the organisation has to deliver what it promises
  • Projecting an unrealistic image may improve recruitment but can increase attrition

Brand Strength

Brand strength

Attraction of the rightcandidates

Employee engagement and retention

Differentiation from competitors

Customer engagement and retention

Employer Brand

The unique and differentiating promise a business makes to its employees and potential candidates

Employee experience

Actual delivery of the promise throughout the employee lifecycle


  • Attraction of high quality employees is a competitive necessity
  • Engagement of high quality employees is a bottom line issue
employer brand a three step process
Employer brand – a three step process

1.Brand insight

2. Brand development

3. Implementation

  • Competitor analysis
  • Brand positioning vs competition
  • Understanding vision for the business and employees
  • Understanding best of the current employee experience and improvements
  • Alignment of the consumer brand/ employer brand
  • Concept development
  • Concept testing
  • Refinement and development
  • Recruitment guidelines and roll out for recruitment advertising
  • Design of internal launch process
  • Production of comms materials, internally and externally

Employee Value Proposition

Brand book

Communication strategy

Communication tools

Employee vision


Key messages

Strengths/areas to improve

employer brand benefits
Employer brand benefits
  • Significant decreases in cost per hire
  • Reduced cost of recruitment - efficiencies maximised throughout the recruitment process
  • Reduction in recruitment marketing costs over time
  • Greater numbers of higher quality applicants
  • Higher performing employees
  • Increased retention rates
  • Stronger reputation in the marketplace
  • Increased ability to attract specialist talent in a difficult market
employer brand benefits at our clients
Employer brand benefits at our clients
  • Diageo - Began with an attrition rate of 18%, costing £4 million. In 14 months they reduced attrition rates to 7%, recouping the costs of the initial research 30 times over.
  • GSK - applied the proposition and guiding principles to their recruitment process, increasing the number of offers accepted from 83% to 96%
  • Philips - are now receiving 10 times as many quality applications from graduates and MBAs
philips the background
Philips: The background
  • 2002 global recruitment redesign programme found quality of service could be improved and needed to focus on proactive talent recruitment
  • Identified inconsistent positioning of messages to prospective employees – not addressing them as “One Philips”
  • They weren’t reaching targets they’d set to attract/ retain the best talent
  • They also wanted to find out how potential employees regarded the company as an employer
philips their vision
Philips: their vision
  • “To be certain that we are able to attract, recruit and retain the sort of talent that will give our business competitive edge.”
  • “To be sure that our employer experience will enable and motivate our talent to work in a way that is ‘one Philips.’ Providing maximum satisfaction for both the organisation and the individual.”
the research
The research
  • 29 internal focus groups
  • 18 external focus groups
  • 3500 internal survey respondents
  • 1000 external survey respondents
  • Both Sales/Mktg and R&D people, different ages, length of service
  • Netherlands, Germany, France, UK, Poland, USA, India, China
some of the outputs
Some of the outputs
  • Employees didn’t not know the full range of products/services
  • Everything Philips makes impacts every aspect of consumers’ lives, something to be proud of and make more of
  • Philips could be too formal – there needed to be more personality in the way the brand was communicated

They wanted Philips to be

  • One company – all working together, united in one purpose
  • Proud and confident about what it does, passionate
  • People and products could have equal and united prominence
  • Offer great reasons for coming to work everyday
  • An “icon of innovation”
  • Global and diverse
touch lives every day
“Touch Lives every day”
  • “ Is not only a description of how Philips should approach prospective and existing employees, but also a call for managers to ensure the company delivers on its promises “
  • Jo Pieters, Global Vice President Recruitment, Philips, The Netherlands
philips touchpoint wheel
Philips Touchpoint Wheel















Career site


Application Experience

Employer Brand







Informing /





Application Experience










building brands from the inside out
Building brands from the inside out

“ Winning the war for talent means primarily focusing on the retention of your current talent and [then], building a strong position in your key labour markets…

…a brand that is only visible in external communications is less valuable than a brand that is truly lived inside.

Each and every employee should act as an ambassador of your brand and that requires a strong recognized internal and external employee value proposition ”

Jo Pieters, Global Vice President Recruitment,

Philips, The Netherlands

lessons learned
Lessons learned
  • Don’t underestimate the size of such an initiative
  • Even if you have clearly defined the scope, focus and approach, you have to make tough choices along the way about what to keep in or leave out
  • Getting the whole organization behind the Employer Brand is critical to making it a success
  • You must get commitment and involvement of people beyond HR, particularly in marketing, and get it early on!
so what does this mean for you
So what does this mean for you…

…and your Employer Brand?

some final questions for you
Some final questions for you
  • Do you know what your organisation represents?
  • Have you tested out your values, your culture?
  • Have you looked at your brand values?
  • What does this say about your organisation?
  • Who is the real competition in the employment market (not just

the ones you know or think it should be?)

  • Is your brand attractive to new recruits?
  • Does it help you present a strong employer brand in the marketplace?
  • Who manages your Employer Brand – HR or Marketing?
  • What are you going to do with this information when you get home?