Employer Brand Measurement

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  • http://vis.sagepub.com/Vision: The Journal of Business Perspective

    http://vis.sagepub.com/content/14/1-2/25The online version of this article can be found at:

    DOI: 10.1177/097226291001400103 2010 14: 25Vision: The Journal of Business Perspective

    Pallavi Srivastava and Jyotsna BhatnagarEmployer Brand for Talent Acquisition: An Exploration towards its Measurement

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    Pallavi Srivastava and Jyotsna Bhatnagar

    This paper addresses the concerns associated with talent acquisition and how employer brand can overcomesome of them. Based on the literature review and supported with the first stage sequential mixed methodexploratory research, the paper summarises and aggregates the results of a pilot study conducted on asection ofprospective employees ofIndia. The study contributes to the sparse academic and empirical workon employer branding. The empirical results are initial steps towards the development ofa scale for measuringemployer brand in a later stage. The current study willfurther facilitate development ofthe unique employeevalue proposition based on the person-need fit of talent. The research is based in an Indian setting whichmakes it all the more relevant in current economic scenario. The paper concludes with theoretical andpractical implications followed by directions for the future research.

    Key Words: Employer Brand, Staffing, Talent Acquisition, India


    The current business environment is marked withchallenges of intense global competition, rapidtechnological changes, growth of the knowledgeeconomy, and the need for flexibility and expertise inthe workplace (Catteeuw et al., 2007; Wickham andO'Donohue, 2009). This has resulted in the changing skillsand competency requirements. Concomitantly, due to thepressures of a changing demographic base, the demandfor intellectual capital-a cadre of highly skilled,independent, internationally marketable and mobileindividuals-is exceeding the available supply (Ewinget al., 2002; Ployhart, 2006). The tight labour marketgives highly competent employees many choices(Srivastava and Bhatnagar, 2008) especially inprofessional, information / knowledge based, technicaland service driven organisations (Ewing et al., 2002).Prospective employees are as particular about choosingthe right organisation as about choosing the right job(Rynes and Cable; 2003). Hence, organisations areincreasingly trying to assess and enhance theirattractiveness to prospective applicants (Highhouse et al.,

    1999). This has critical consequences for the recruitingorganisations (Rynes, 1991) as it leads to the mostpressing problem of talent acquisition- of attractingpeople with the right skill set and competencies who alsofit the need and the culture ofthe organisation (Bhatnagarand Srivastava, 2008). Organisations that attract a largerapplicant pool and more qualified applicants obtaingreater utility in their selection systems (Boudreau andRynes, 1985) and a potential competitive advantage (Ladoand Wilson, 1994).

    India, one of the world's largest economies, hasmade giant leap in its economic and social developmentin the past two decades and has proven itself to be a majoreconomic and intellectual power (Kapur and Ramamurti,2001). It is the major source ofthe world's largest Englishspeaking low cost workforce, with a high level technicaland managerial talent fuelled by world-class institutes inIndia like Indian Institute ofTechnology (IITs) and IndianInstitute of Management (IIMs). Being industrious, hardworking and focused on merit based and educationdependent advance, Indian human skills are in greatdemand (Nath, 2008). Indian workforce is most sought

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  • 26 Srivastava and Bhatnagar

    after by the multinational giants because of the globalrecognition of its people, their management capabilitiesand innovativeness. This has resulted in a large numberof Indians finding place in the payrolls of differentmultinationals. The availability ofnew jobs for the Indiantalent resulting in a higher turnover (Budhwar et al.,2006), has made the organisations to sit back and revamptheir recruitment strategy to attract and retain the toptalent.

    A consequence of the anticipated permanentshortage of competent workforce referred above is theneed for a strong recruitment strategy after finding outwhat differentiates the organisations from the competitorsand then market the unique employment proposition itcan offer (Ewing et al., 2002; Keefe, 2007). Employerbranding (Ambler and Barrow, 1996) is one such relevantHR strategy in the context of employment, especially ina knowledge based and service economy wherecompetent employees are often in short supply. Wheretraditional recruitment strategies are short-term, reactiveand subject to job openings, employment branding is along-term strategy designed to maintain a steady flow ofskills in the organisation.

    India, a hierarchical society, is considered to be highin power distance and collectivism (Deshpande andFarley, 1999). Earlier studies on similar studies onemployer brand have been conducted on Belgian army(Lievens, 2007), university students in the U.K. (Knoxand Freeman, 2006) and Australia (Berthon et al., 2005)etc, which differ from India on the cultural dimensions(Hofstede and Hofstede, 2005). We propose that in India,the factors that build up a strong employer brand,attractive enough for its talent pool are different fromthe other parts of the world as they differ in their culturaland managerial environments. It is precisely thesedifferences that raise the issue ofwhether earlier researchon this subject is generalisable to India. Since the Indiantalent is in great demand globally, the multinationalorganisations need to understand the perspective of anIndian talent to develop their employee value propositionaccordingly. It is necessary to understand the dimensionsof employer brand in the Indian setting in order to helpthe global organisations to model their recruitmentstrategies for India.


    Employer branding has emerged from applying marketingprinciples to the field of personnel recruitment (Maureret aI., 1992). Ambler and Barrow (1996) were among thefirst ones to bring together the domains of Human

    Resources Management and Brand Marketing into asingle conceptual area by coining the term employerbrand. Employer branding is a specific form ofmanagingcorporate identities. It does so by creating both, withinand outside the firm, an image of the organisation in twoforms - first, as a distinct and desirable employer (Amblerand Barrow, 1996; Backhaus and Tikoo, 2004) andsecond, as a good place to work (Bergeron, 2001). Thevarious definitions of employer brand as given inliterature are summarised in Table 1.Table 1: Some Definitions of Employer Brand as Found

    in LiteratureAmbler and Barrow "The package of functional, economic and(1996: p.187) psychological benefi ts provided by

    employment, and identified with the employingcompany."

    Ewing et al., (2002: "Building an image in the minds of the potentialp.12) labour market, that the company above all others,

    is a great place to work."

    Lloyd (2002) as cited "The sum ofa company's efforts to communicatein Berthon et al., to existing and prospective staff that it is a(2001: p.152) desirable place to work."Backaus and Tikoo

    "Process of building an identifiable and unique(2004: p.502)employer identity... concept of the firm thatdifferentiates it from its competitors."

    Knox and Freeman "Image associated with an organisation,(2006: p.697) uniquely in its role as an employer."Kimpakom and "An organisation's image as seen through theTocquer(2009: p.534) eyes of its actual and potential employees."

    To sum it up, we can say that an employer brand isabout giving an identity, image and distinctiveness to theorganisation as an employer in order to attract itsprospective employees and to motivate, engage and retainits current employees.

    Importance of Employer Brand

    As in the initial stage of the decision making process theinformation about the organisation is limited. Thereforeinitial application decisions are heavily based on thegeneral impression of the attractiveness of theorganisation (Rynes, 1991). Any information that jobseekers view builds their impressions of the employerorganisation and can become cues for what it would belike to work for it (Turban et al., 1998). Thereforeorganisations have to make extra efforts to maintain theirimage before the prospective applicants as an attractiveemployer (Bergeron, 2001). When a firm reaches a higherlevel of external recognition by developing an employerbrand, it becomes much easier for it to attract new talent(Bouchikhi and Kimberly, 2008). It is an effective toolfor effective recruitment, employee engagement andretention (Barrow and Mosley, 2005).

    VISION-The Journal of Business Perspective Vol. 14 Nos. 1 & 2 January-June 2010

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  • Employer Brandfor Talent