Academic journal article Indian Journal of Industrial Relations

Employer Brand Image as Predictor of Employee Satisfaction, Affective Commitment & Turnover

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Industrial Relations

Employer Brand Image as Predictor of Employee Satisfaction, Affective Commitment & Turnover

Article excerpt


Employer branding has captured considerable attention in recent times. Academicians and practitioners have reported evidence of organisations expending considerable resources on development of employer brand programme indicating its value (Backhaus & Tikoo 2004). Employer branding as a concept is an extension of relationship marketing principles (Christopher, Payne & Ballantyne 1991, Kotler 1992, Morgan & Hunt 1994), which identify the need to build acquisition and retention strategies across a number of critical stakeholder markets through closer relationships. One of the most basic understandings about brand comes from the definition provided by the American Marketing Association which defines a brand as "a name, term sign, symbol, or design, or combination of them which is intended to identify the goods and services of one seller group or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors" (Backhaus & Tikoo 2004). The term employer branding is used for the application of branding principles to human resource management. The concept is being increasingly used for attracting prospective employees while engaging the present employees to the organisation.

In a seminal work on employer branding, also one of the earlier definitions on the subject, Ambler and Barrow (1996) defined employer brand in terms of benefits, calling it 'the package of functional, economic and psychological benefits provided by employment and identified with the employing company'. Further, employer branding or employer brand management involves internally and externally promoting a clear view of what makes a firm different and desirable as an employer. According to Backhaus and Tikoo (2004), employer branding is essentially a three step process. First, a firm develops a concept of the particular value it offers to prospective and current employees. This value proposition provides the central message that is conveyed by the employer brand. It is of key importance that this value proposition derives from a thorough audit of the characteristics that make the firm a great place to work. Once the value proposition is determined, the second step in employer branding consists of externally marketing this value proposition to attract the targeted applicant population. The third step involves carrying the brand "promise" made to recruits in to the firm and incorporating it as part of the organisational culture. In a sense the last step consists of internally marketing the employer brand. Human Resource consultants Hewitt Associates suggests five steps to developing a strong employer brand: (1) understand your organisation, (2) create a 'compelling brand promise' for employees that mirrors the brand promise for customers, (3) develop standards to measure the fulfilment of brand promise, (4) ruthlessly align all people practices to support and reinforce brand promise, and (5) execute the measure (Berthon et al. 2005). According to Ritson (2002) companies with strong employer brands can potentially reduce the cost of employee acquisition, improve employee relations, increase employee retention and even offer lower salaries for comparable staff to firms with weaker employer brands.

The present study focuses on the image audit step of the employer branding process because it is the basis on which other steps develop. Given the key role of image audit step, it should incorporate important stakeholder beliefs about the characteristics of an attractive employer. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine the relative importance of different aspects of employer brand

Review of Literature

Despite employer brand gaining considerable popularity in HR practitioner literature (e.g., Frook 2001) empirical research is still relatively inadequate (Cable & Turban 2001). Backhaus & Tikoo (2004) and Davies (2007) echo the same sentiments and feel that the advent of the employer brand as concept has been recent in academic field and its theoretical foundation is gradually being developed even though it is being considered and applied by practitioners for sometime now. …

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