Quantifying Employer Branding: a New Approach to Managing Human Resources

Digital Affair, a Human Resources tech start-up, approached us with the task of refining and validating a tool that could measure the strength of an organisation’s Employer Brand.

THE PROJECT
Management Consulting, Melbourne,
Digital Affair

PROJECT TEAM
Christian Sullivan, Bachelor of Commerce,Management and Marketing Major
Mads Wittendorff Feldt, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Project Management, Copenhagen Business School,Denmark
Ying Xiu (Daniela) Lim, Bachelor of Commerce, Accounting and Management Major
Yucan (Claire) Tang, Bachelor of Commerce, Accounting and Finance Major

Methods to increase acquisition of high performing employees have traditionally been performed through outsourced recruiting. Despite the benefits, recruiting through agencies can be an inefficient and expensive option. The concept of Employer Branding has emerged as a means to improve hiring processes, however most organisations fail to effectively build their Employer Brands due to a lack of expertise. This is where Digital Affair comes in - as the specialists in the field.

Over recent years the concept of employer branding has become increasingly popular, especially as a substitute for recruitment agencies. The search for high performing employees is a demanding process, which takes a lot of resources. Employer Branding seeks to remove traditional head hunting costs and outsourced recruitment, in favour of building an organisation’s brand as an excellent employer to attract new talent. Employer Branding is a valuable asset that generates growth in organisations. With a strong employer brand it's possible to achieve an increase in the pool of potential workers by 20%, a fourfold increase in commitment and a 10% decrease in costs from payrolls.

Employer Branding is a relatively new concept that applies marketing to recruitment methods and seeks to best understand what makes an organisation attractive to employees. Put simply, if we imagine a good consumer brand makes us more likely to purchase a product, then a good employer brand makes us more likely to apply for a position at that organisation.

The pre-existing tool asked organisations to provide their HR data in the form of a survey. Calculations are then performed to evaluate the inputs, and a score out of 100 is provided. This tool is the first of its type in the world, and it not only evaluates the strength of an Employer Brand but also draws attention to the concept of Employer Branding and what it is that Digital Affair does.

Management Consulting was the most exciting and challenging subject that I have taken at University. It provides the opportunity to use your talent to solve real business problems. Yucan (Claire) Tang

Our team came on board to research and determine if the metrics used in the tool were widely used by organisations, and if the score organisations were provided with was helpful in benchmarking their performance.

Digital Affair put us in contact with HR executives from GE and Ericsson who assisted us with our research and validating the tool. Through conversations with them, we discovered that organisations want more than just a score to measure their Employer Brand, they want insights. Backed by academic research, we discovered that an Employer Brand can be split into three areas: a psychological component; a functional component; and an economic component. These three components would then feed into how we report the results to organisations using the tool. In addition to an Employer Brand score, scores for each of these three dimensions were added to the tool.

We had autonomy in the project, which meant we could structure our time ourselves. We were in charge and could choose the direction for the project. Management Consulting is about taking control of your own work. It is important to be independent and to think outside the square. Mads Wittendorff Feldt

Following positive feedback on the changes with GE and Ericsson, we proceeded to survey ten HR thought leaders on how they thought each metric used in the tool’s score calculation would relate to each of the three dimensions. Using the results we reweighed each metric according to their relevance to each dimension. The result was that now organisations would be provided with a final Employer Brand Score as well as a score for each dimension.

Following refinement, the tool was trialed with five large organisations that were based both in Australia and overseas. The results showed that organisations still lacked some of the data we were asking for. This required us to change some of the metrics and to evaluate the way we asked each question. More surprisingly, however, was that these organisations, when unable to find data to answer a question, began the process of recording data on the metrics for future use. From this our group learned that this tool has the ability to effect changes in the way organisations measure their data and that it could be used in the future to establish best practices for organisations to record and report on their HR data.

We were constantly pushing boundaries and working to our fullest abilities…I was delegated significant responsibilities that I would not have been given otherwise. Ying Xiu (Daniela) Lim

To finalise our report we made a number of suggestions on how Digital Affair should proceed with development. We suggested that they change the way results are reported from a number of scores, to larger automatically generated reports that benchmark an organisation’s performance against their industry, country and among job functions. These reports will then provide a number of insights to organisations who have previously been unable to track the performance of their Employer Brand against their competitors.

The tool is now in full development with Digital Affair and will be available to organisations willing to assist with further testing in 2017.

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