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Employer branding: Who are you? And what do you stand for?

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Employer branding: Who are you? And what do you stand for?

In today’s business environment, managers are increasingly challenged to achieve the best performance from their employees. Productivity is driven hard and is supposed to be underpinned by innovativeness and creativity, but many argue that this cannot be achieved in a productivity-driven environment.

For some, the issue of employer branding seems irrelevant unless you are a technology driven, creative, young business. However, increasingly, employees are influencing market perception of a brand or product and companies need to manage the impact of this closely if they wish to achieve the desired results that come from a committed, focused team of people.

Companies are urged to consider the individual needs of all of their employees and to ‘reasonably accommodate’ all of their employee groups. At the same time, our teams now reflect a diverse set of skills, experience, education, backgrounds and cultures. As the world becomes smaller through the use of technology, globalisation and the shifting trend in business to chase opportunities rather than customers, we see that intellectual and human capital become the foundation of competitive advantage.

If we picture our organisations as a puzzle, the pieces each look different and are shaped differently, but all make the picture come alive when they are correctly positioned. Whereas previously, dress code and operating norms were defining factors and so we insisted that everyone look the same to give credibility to the brand, we now see passion, service culture and commitment to the brand as the glue that holds that pieces together.

Several opportunities exist for companies to positively manage their brand on a practical level.

Using social networking as a means to capture a larger audience and gain commitment to growth, technology, news and opportunities is a powerful tool that many companies have not yet adequately understood, and not yet assigned to a department or individual.

Retrenchment processes provide an opportunity to engage with labour, to provide opportunities for re-skilling, retraining and working with employees to set up small businesses or switch careers. If managed correctly, this allows the demand for downsizing to become a positive opportunity for brand messaging.

BEE programmes, delivered effectively, communicated widely and managed strategically, provide competitive advantage through bursaries, community development, supplier programmes, employee retention and skills development, mentorship and graduate programmes

In our Africa division, we see the ongoing challenge to try and ensure that African operations emulate their global sponsors. The behaviour and attitude of staff members can undermine the credibility of advertised messages and so the commitment to the brand is a powerful collaborator within teams that culturally and otherwise have very little in common.

Recruitment drives, internal skills development, community development, employee engagement and wellness programmes, internal communications strategies, balanced scorecard models and many other mechanisms exist to ensure that the brand is positively positioned and that key people are taken care of, but amidst all of this, lies the ongoing challenge to manage diversity in such a way that it aligns with the brand and converts potential into excellence.

Last modified on Wednesday, 10 October 2012 08:32
Dionne Kerr

Dionne Kerr

Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Siyakha Consulting, Dionne Kerr has actively advised both public and private sector clients in Transformation, Development and Strategy since leaving the banking industry in 1998. Working in BEE and Transformation since 1999, she has spoken at more than 20 conferences in the last two years on a number of issues and is a regular contributor and thought leader on key elements of people, sustainability and aligning strategy to be locally relevant. With a strong portfolio of local and multinational clients, Dionne has also served on several executive committees and is an activist on issues of change and development.

An avid believer in community development, Dionne remains actively involved in entrepreneurial development, community development, job creation, disability support programmes and youth development and is a past recipient of the DIVA Africa award for her involvement in SMME development.

Her prestigious CV has also ensured Dionne’s selection as a judge for the Black Business Quarterly (BBQ) Awards, the Top Women Awards 2010 and 2011, the Achiever Awards 2010, and the Metropolitan Olivier Empowerment Awards for three years consecutively.

Previous Chairperson of the National Association of BEE Consultants (NABC), Dionne currently serves as Vice Chairperson and Head of the Ethics and Discipline portfolio. Previous Board member of the British Chamber of Business, Dionne actively advises investors from Spain, France and the United Kingdom on investing on the African continent and has recently been appointed as one of two “Catalysts” representing South Africa through UK Trade and Investment.

Website: www.siyakha.co.za

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