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Employer Branding in The Age of Technology

By Adele Png, Head of Talent Acquisition, KONE Asia Pacific (HEL: KNEBV)

Adele Png, Head of Talent Acquisition, KONE Asia Pacific (HEL: KNEBV)

War for Talent

About 92 percent of people would consider changing jobs if offered a role with a company with an excellent corporate reputation (CR Magazine) and 79 percent of job applicants use social media in their job search (Glassdoor). Almost 87 percent of active and passive candidates are open to new career opportunities (Linkedin).

Ask any hiring manager or recruiter and they would share with you on the ongoing a war for talent globally, and nowhere in the world is this more acutely felt than in Asia where there is a scarcity of skilled talent, especially in newly/ young industrialized economies.

The fast pace of change in technological advancements and in the workplace have also resulted in rapid evolution of jobs and the creation of new jobs with educators and the job market struggling to play catch up. This has contributed to a significant gap between demand and supply of talent.

"A great employer brand is authentic (what our employees experience), aligns with company culture, values, is easily relatable to our employees, and attracts your target audience who identifies closely with what it stands for"

The above reality shows the importance to companies about paying attention to the strength of its Employer Brand, externally and internally. Externally, to better attract talents and internally, as a link to employee engagement, which, in turn, influences retention. Every successful organization understands that one of the keys to success is retention of your best talents.

Employer Branding and Employer Value Proposition

Firstly, what is Employer Branding?

Employer brand describes an employer’s reputation as a place to work and their employee value proposition, which is different to the corporate brand reputation and value proposition to customers.

A great employer brand is authentic (what our employees experience), aligns with company culture, values, is easily relatable to our employees, and attracts your target audience who identifies closely with what it stands for. It is a myth that an Employer Brand can be created and packaged to attract. An employer brand can be likened to a product. If the purchaser experiences cognitive dissonance upon purchasing it, the disappointment arising from it can create an extremely negative experience with far-reaching consequences.

Similarly, candidates accepting a job offer will have the expectations that the company they choose to join delivers on what the employer brand promises. Should bigger than expected deviations from the promise occur, it will inevitably result in disengagement, distrust, and eventually, exit.

Imagine how damaging it would be to your company reputation when this former employee decides to take his or her negative experience online and share it with a global audience. For example, writing a scathing and negative review on Glassdoor about his or her experience.

With the ubiquity and reach of social media, we have all seen how a simple message gets viewed, commented, and shared almost instantaneously, globally. So you can imagine the amount of damage that can be done by negative word-of-mouth being shared digitally, demolishing all the previous work put in to build up the employer brand.

Technology in Employer Branding

An individual chooses to take the first step into an organization’s recruitment process depending on how they perceive the employer brand. This perception can be shaped by when they first come into contact with the brand, by their experience in the process and even more so when they join the organization.

With technology becoming an integral part of every communication between the individual and the organization, of every aspect of work and of the workplace, it also plays a critical part in building and promoting the employer brand.

Now more than ever, we see the key focus of potential employees revolve around a few key issues in their consideration of future employers. What are the company culture and values? How is the company contributing to green and sustainable initiatives? Is the company being a responsible corporate partner in the countries and societies that it is based in? Technology, especially social media has become the almost de facto search engine of choice other than Google, to find out more about prospective employers. In order to not lose out in the war for talent, companies have to step up their game in co-opting technology into their outreach and talent acquisition efforts. Demonstrating a certain level of technological savviness here further burnishes the credibility of companies, who are able to reach their target audience in the channels where they are at.

How does management ensure that key strategic messages and directives get communicated clearly to an increasingly geographically-diverse base of employees? How do companies ensure smooth and efficient collaboration between teams situated in different physical locations, which is more often that not, the key to the successful execution of business projects. Here again, technology in the form of applications like WhatsApp, Skype, Microsoft Teams come into the picture in providing a stable communication and collaboration platform for employees to be able to work smoothly and efficiently together, no matter the location and physical distance from each other.

Scale and Effectiveness

Recruiters are very busy people, and recruitment is very much a numbers’ game at its core—how many candidates you can source and engage, how much time you have for interviews and assessment. Then, time invested to ensure the right candidate signs the offer and is kept engaged before joining.

In this context, it is no wonder that candidates complain about a poor experience or not getting timely feedback.

With advancement of technology, there are now a plethora of applications that can help recruiters be more effective and less time poor.

Scaling up of recruitment efforts is an area in which technology has been a real boon for recruiters, enabling them to become more effective and efficient in their sourcing, screening and engagement of candidates.

There are applications like chat-bots that can help with candidate engagement, who can hold conversations with candidates answering questions and these bots can also help assess hundreds of candidates at a fraction of the time it would take a human recruiter to assess.

Data privacy and Power of Human Judgement

In conclusion, whilst Technology can aid us in many ways for employer branding and in recruiting, I cannot stress enough on the need to consider data privacy laws and policies for the safety and security of both the candidates and company reputation. The other consideration is that whilst Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be extremely helpful in assessments, it is also important to understand that human bias can creep in as human recruiters are responsible for training AI to assess candidates. On the flip side, human judgement is invaluable in making sense of seemingly unrelated data and observations of human behavior that AI might not be able to properly access and analyze without prior machine learning. These are a few points worth considering about when evaluating the impact of technology on the practice of talent acquisition and management.

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