Employer Branding in the Digital Era

Employer Branding in the Digital Era

Aslı Kuşçu (Yeditepe University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1618-8.ch002
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Organizations are embracing employer branding now more than ever as a tool to retain, motivate, and attract a valuable competitive asset, namely talented employees, as they play a vital role in organizational success. Recently, new digital technologies, particularly social media, have replaced the traditional communication channels and made it harder for companies to achieve their employer-branding objectives. Most organizations are now employing digital technologies at a great extent to get in touch with all their key stakeholders. This chapter initially provides an overview of research on employer branding and its longterm strategic benefits to organizations. The author discusses the use of digital technologies, particularly social media, for employer branding. A framework is introduced covering all the topics mentioned and providing insights to organizations on how and in what form employer brand value should be communicated within the digital media.
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Times are tough, which is the case unfortunately for all businesses without any exemption. As competition increases, companies are struggling more to develop strategies to differentiate themselves from the competitors and to gain competitive advantage in the eyes of the consumers. Strategy researchers and more specifically the resource-based view (RBV) (Barney, 1991) for long define employees as one of the resources for competitive advantage that provide value to consumers, are superior to those of competitors, and are difficult to imitate or substitute (Barney, 1991; Dyer & Singh, 1998; Grant, 1991; Hunt & Morgan, 1995). This view is also in line with the internal marketing perspective, which argues that “the organization’s personnel are the first market of any company, the rationale being that employees are internal customers” (Berthon, Ewing, & Hah, 2005). Thus, internal marketing constructs a workforce that is difficult for others to replicate. By systematically revealing employees the employer’s brand value proposition, a unique “workplace culture” is created allowing the company to excel at its own business and thus achieve corporate goals through its unique way (Backhaus & Tikoo 2004). The value proposition of the organization perceived by the employees is enhanced through the prestige or image of the organization reflected to the society, which is termed as the employer brand (Barrow & Mosley, 2011). Employer branding generates a compelling image and positive associations not only among the current employees but also among other key stakeholders (Minchington, 2010) as well as among the prospective employees (Kuscu & Okan, 2010; Cappelli, 2001) and it is mostly shaped by the external organizational communication (Smidts, Pruyn, & van Riel, 2001).

The digital era is changing everything, and brands are also benefiting from the digital technologies as they enable brands to develop stronger bonds with their target audiences. Laswell (1948)’s traditional one-way communication model with a source and a receiver is now obsolete and has been replaced with two-way and many-to-many communication. Organizational processes such as attracting, selecting, recruiting and retaining talent are no exception. Recently, new digital technologies, particularly social media, which are defined by Kaplan and Hänlein (2010, p.101) as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of the Web 2.0 and that allow the creation and exchange of user generated-content” have replaced the traditional communication channels and made is less effortless for companies to achieve their employer branding objectives. Most organizations are now employing digital technologies at a great extent to get in touch with all their stakeholders. Further, Dabirian et al (2016) suggest that employees’ expectations with respect to employers and employer brand perceptions are shaped, when “work-related experiences” are shared over social media. Hence, not only do companies use these digital tools to communicate their value but they also encourage their employees to share their unique employer and work-related experiences with others.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Employer Value Proposition: The combination of tangible and intangible benefits developed, enhanced, and communicated by an organization. Employer value proposition is what makes an employer attractive to current and prospective employees and the public in general.

Digital Technologies: Technology, where information is coded in a binary form of digits of 0 and 1. Revolutionary devices such as computers, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones and the applications within them use digital technology.

External Communication: External communication includes any communication between an organization and its stakeholders outside the company such as customers, suppliers, intermediaries, investors or society in general.

Employer Branding: Employer branding is the combination of strategies used by organizations to develop and promote a distinctive and valuable employer image within the minds of both internal and external audiences.

Internal Marketing: Internal marketing views employees as internal customers and states that they should be targeted in the same way as external customers. The major aim of internal marketing to enhance employees’ engagement, identification and advocacy towards the overall goals of the organization. As these mostly appear to be important in services, internal marketing was initially termed within service industry.

Social media: Social media use digital technologies and are a combination of interactive, interconnected, and interdependent networks to assist the creation and dissemination of information between individuals and organizations.

Competitive advantage: Competitive advantages enables companies to gain a superior and therefore advantageous position than their competitors in the marketplace.

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