In the service sector people are literally your business. A well-articulated Employer Brand and Employee Value Proposition is not a nice to have; it’s an inescapable fact. A point of view shared below by Abhinav Kumar, Chief Communications & Marketing Officer Europe, Tata Consultancy Services.
Abhinav Kumar Chief Communications & Marketing Officer – Europe, Tata Consultancy Services
‘As a services business with 378,000 employees worldwide, our human capital is literally the primary asset the company has. Our ability to attract, evolve and retain great talent is the most important contributor in our business’ success. This makes the Employer Brand central to the business of the firm since its conception. And it has only grown in importance since’.
TCS is a company that has experienced immense growth and success. Their ambitions also extend to Employer Branding. ‘Our vision is to be considered a Best in Class Employer in each of the 46 countries we operate in,’ Abhinav shared. ‘It is an important strategic goal for our Country CEOs and the business layer. Given that talent is one of the key parameters in our own clients’ buying decision matrices, these benchmarks are strategically important for us from a sales and commercial purpose as well.’
So, how does a company of this size and complexity deliver a compelling Employer Brand proposition? Abhinav explained that it is enshrined in their Employee Value Proposition with three simple thematic components: creating rewarding long-term careers, ensuring work-life balance and finding challenging/exciting/ambitious work for people to engage in. ‘While it is simplistic, almost a perfect coverage of employees in the company when polled agree that these are the primary reasons they continue to work in the company. So the rubber does meet the road on this.’
Advocacy is an important component for all businesses, however in the service sector again, it is integral in driving reputation and business success. Abhinav explained; ‘The two best advocates we have are our employees and our clients. We have strong referral programmes in place which are a major channel contributor to our recruitment efforts. We encourage our employees to be active on social media and share their and the company’s successes, which of course helps project the Employer Brand further to their own networks.’
For Edelman, the leading global communications marketing agency, attracting and retaining the industry’s very best talent is central to realising the company’s aspirations and implicit in their ability to deliver against their clients’ needs.
So, is it possible to translate the reality of what it takes to join a leading agency like Edelman? How does it translate into an Employer Brand proposition which is aligned with the actual employee experience whilst still being attractive? Nigel Miller, Edelman’s Chief Human Resources Officer, explained how they are addressing this challenge.
Nigel Miller Chief Human Resources Officer, Edelman
‘Honestly, I think our Employer Brand represents an aspirational view of our employee experience. As our industry’s leader and pioneer, we are a very attractive destination for anyone seeking a career choice in Public Relations. Our Employer Brand reflects our history, our continued independence, our leadership and scale, our clients and, to some extent, our values. However, while all of that is accurate, we can be better at depicting how challenging it can be to work at our firm, particularly for newcomers. We are client-centric, so really understanding our clients’ business and designing the best possible solutions are our highest priorities. We’re big, so understanding how to manage our matrix isn’t always intuitive. We strive for perfection, and that can be demanding. Many people thrive in this environment, and we need to find, excite and retain those who can and will. But we’re not for everyone, and we need to try and be as honest as we can about that.’
With Edelman building a communication business for the future, its UK team reinvented its graduate programme to attract a new breed of talent. They did away with the usual application form and, instead, invited potential applicants (anyone over 16 years old) to make their way through an online multi-platform hunt that included clues and codes scattered across social channels, online marketplaces, video screening platforms and a well-known music app. Candidates had to demonstrate their curiosity, tenacity, strategic thinking and creativity to make it to the end of the application.
‘We already had a prestigious graduate scheme in the UK, but we knew the application process needed to be updated to better reflect the new Edelman. If we wanted people to be game changers, our method of attracting and assessing them needed to be a little more game changing itself. By creating such a unique and intricate online hunt, bridging the world of physical and digital, the UK team were able to cast their net much wider. But at the same time, they also significantly narrowed the pool of applicants they ultimately invited for assessment days. The program not only spoke volumes about our Employer Brand, attracting attention across multiple social channels and attracting about 15 times the number of applicants to our previous program. But, with only 6% of applicants completing the hunt, we ultimately knew we’d be interviewing people who were highly motivated and savvy enough to get that far.’
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