Friday, May 12, 2006

Branding to Attracting Talent

Firms around the world are always on the lookout for hiring highly talented people. In India, companies are planning to hire aggressively - and are competing for talented people. Accenture plans to hire 20,000 in India for the year 2006, Infosys is planning to hire 25,000, TCS is preparing to hire 30,000, Microsoft wants to hire 7,000, and list goes on.

The key challenge for these firms is not in hiring in such quantity, but in hiring the right talent as they reach out to various universities, engineering colleges and other institutes. Hiring the right talent is not a task for HR alone. To get the right talent, marketing department also has to pitch in and the resulting task is called as "Branding to attract Talent"


In my earlier blogs, I had written about retaining talent - both managers and engineers. This article is more about attracting talent - How to make employees (present & prospective) think of your firm as their first choice to work at. Attracting talent via effective marketing plays a major role in retaining talent within the organization.


Marketing for Talent


Competition for talent will intensify. Companies will compete aggressively to hire valued candidates. As a result many companies are trying to market themselves to recruits, by applying branding techniques to the recruitment process. Companies have to market themselves to:

  • To retain their current employees (and to maintain/Improve morale & team cohesion)
  • To attract recent college graduates
  • To attract experienced talent from other firms

Marketers have to develop new brand attributes to attract talents. Marketers use sophisticated market analysis tools to identify competition for talent, identify what corporate attributes matter most to specific types of recruits and then develop a strategy to reach out to that talent.


Popular Brand Attributes

Several surveys have been done to identify various corporate attributes which will attract talent. I have made a condensed list of these popular (brand) attributes and are listed below in the order of their popularity.

  1. For People Like Me
  2. Fun place to work
  3. Innovative Company
  4. Training Opportunities
  5. Attractive work location
  6. Career growth opportunities
  7. High Salary or other monetary benefits
  8. Familiarity with tasks or Opportunity to do what I want to do
  9. Expect success at the task
  10. Work-life balance

The order of these attributes may vary a bit, but in an average most surveys have ranked them in the top-10. The top five attributes are universally applicable to both recent graduates and experienced employees, while the last five attributes are more specific to experienced employees.


Identifying the competition is an important starting point for a company trying to decide which attributes it should emphasize at what stage of the recruitment process. Traditional recruiting focuses on functional employment benefits, such as job security; opportunities for creativity and individual growth; and compensation. But an employer's intangible, emotional associations—"it's fun to work at this company," "we have a passionate and intelligent culture," "there is a strong team feeling here"—are just as important to recruits as similar associations with branded consumer goods are to potential buyers. So companies would do well to compare themselves with their peers on both functional and intangible dimensions.


Reaching out to Talent


Companies then formulate the appropriate marketing messages and carryout various tasks to get its branding message out to the public. But these branding activities should not collide or undermine the company's product/service marketing strategy. Marketers therefore must not apply conventional brand-building techniques. Instead, HR in collaboration with marketing must take the lead to craft specific messages that best distinguish a company in the eyes of its recruits can improve the cost-effectiveness of its recruiting pitch.

Some of the most common marketing strategies or messages used to attract talent are:

  • Internships, Joint Projects with universities
  • Seminars, events, workshops for students at universities
  • Scholarships, awards for excellent students
  • Campus presentations, Career fairs
  • Mentorship programs
  • Direct mail or permission based email campaign (job opportunities notification emails)
  • Direct response marketing
  • Referral program - Get candidates through employee referrals
  • Press releases for publicity for white papers and patent filings
  • Mass media advertisement campaigns - Print/TV/Internet


Closing Thoughts


As competition for talent heats up, the ability to attract and retain key talent becomes one of the tools for gaining competitive advantage. Corporate branding helps to attract the right kind of talent, but retaining talent is the lead indicator for the strength of the corporate brand. High rates of employee attrition tells that either the company attracted the wrong type of people or the corporate brand is not living upto its promise. Collaboration between HR & Marketing can lead to the development of a strategy to brand the company with the intention of attracting and retaining the highly valued human talent.

Also see:

  1. Use Marketing to Hire and Retain Talent
  2. Retention of top managers
  3. Retaining People in Technical Jobs
  4. Role of Leadership in Team Building
  5. International Staffing Strategy

3 comments:

sangita said...

Sir,
i saw your bog on attracting talent and found it very useful in understanding what are the various factors a grad looks for in a job. i am currently doing aproject on finding how to attract an MBA to join your company, ie, how shud the company focus its communication(ppts, etc) to the student to attract the right talent. My company also requires MBA's to work in a factory for the initial few years, so how do I find out during an interview that we are picking up the right candidate and find out what an MBA in India looks for while joining a company.
Thanks
Sangita

Yoma Multinationalsolutions said...

Nice and amazing article on Branding .I really like this post.Regards Employement Branding India

Adam Wojnar said...

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