Few Employers Measuring the Impact of Workplace Branding

Nearly two-thirds of the employers polled in a recent Bernard Hodes Global Network research initiative support employer branding initiatives, but less than one quarter of them have metrics in place to measure the effectiveness of such programs on recruiting and retention.?

“The study reveals that a key driver for employer brand development is the need to acquire talent in a competitive global market,” says Alan V. Schwartz, president and CEO of Bernard Hodes Group. He adds: “Our HR partners [must] develop their employer brand and meet their talent needs as well as define metrics to illustrate the value that these initiatives bring to their company’s bottom line.”

The Hodes research effort used both quantitative and qualitative methodologies to assess the state of employer branding globally. The survey, offered in four languages, produced 20 one-on-one interviews and 487 online surveys among HR leaders in 25 countries.

One of those leaders, Netherlands-based Jo Pieters, global vice president of recruitment for Philips, says it’s important to include and measure both internal and external elements of an employer branding exercise. “Each and every employee should act as an ambassador of your brand and that requires a strong and recognized internal and external employee value proposition,” Pieters says.

While employer branding is an important key to recruiting and employee retention success across industries, it may be critical to addressing the staffing shortages faced by recruiters of RNs and allied healthcare professionals.

Tom Zinda is system director for recruitment and employment branding for Wheaton Franciscan Services, a Catholic, not-for-profit health care and housing organization with more than 100 health and shelter service organizations in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Wheaton is the largest health provider system in Illinois.

Zinda is leading his organization’s effort to create an employer brand, and he says that he’ll be spending the next several months tracking the impact of Wheaton’s employment branding program on five recruitment metrics. They include time to fill, turnover, and vacancy, as well as its employer of choice survey and any shifts in sentiment shared in employee opinion surveys.

The Hodes study found that 79% of respondents believe HR is one of the key stakeholders in the management of the employer brand. But, Zinda says, it’s not just HR’s responsibility. “It’s leaders in the organization who are hiring, whether it’s in the interview process or other meetings with candidates,” he says.

What’s most important, Zinda says, is that everyone within the organization recognize how employer branding can help sustain its human capital edge and how positive, accurate storytelling about the employee experience can help recruit and retain talent. “That’s the key to building competitive advantage. But you have to be true to that. You can’t just make something up,” Zinda adds.

For more information on branding, the June issue of the Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership was devoted to the subject. There’s also an online discussion group on branding.

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