Public relations and employer branding: new ways to retain loyalty5 years, 10 months ago
Organisations’ biggest assets go up and down – in the elevator every day. Motivating employees and maintaining their loyalty has never been of greater concern. And it’s not all about the money. By Amybel Sánchez de Walther.
Increasing organisational performance is simply impossible without the energy, expertise and commitment of the workforce. Talented, hard-working employees are far from easy-to-replace commodities. Frequently they are what differentiates a company, as much if not more so than a cool logo or snappy advertising tagline.
After all, employees are at the heart of delivering customer service and ensuring an organisation lives up to its values and meets its aims. And they are at the heart of delivering business growth.
Of course in today’s highly competitive global marketplace awash with products and services, it’s far from easy to achieve solid growth. Faced with an abundance of information, prices and special offers, consumers tend to choose quality and excellence.
This simple and didactic description might be also transferred to the context of careers. Employees, particularly the younger generation of workers, individuals from Generation Y who are also known as Millennials, search for companies that share their ideologies. If they detect any changes, reengineering of processes or crises that may undermine the inherent bond they feel towards an employer, they will go to the competition. Taking their valuable knowledge with them.
The traditional mechanisms intended to reduce this migration are providing satisfactory compensation and extra payment upon achievement of specific purposes. These are generally financial and material proposals, and the relevance of these aspects is not up for discussion as they are essential when candidates consider career progression and concrete job offers.
However, reports point to the emergence of additional factors. Other essential features increasingly play a part in the decision-making process. They may compete with salaries and even exceed them in candidates’ minds. It is about more than the money.
In that respect, employer branding emerges as a strategy focussed on retaining employees´ loyalty through engagement and commitment based on support and connection through the development of tasks. On top of that, employer branding implies identification with the brand, values and the organisational culture aimed at turning the corporation into the employees´ ‘second home’ where they feel comfortable, fulfilled and completely recognised.
Understanding this point is a matter of importance. We know about a large number of employees who, despite earning enviable salaries, resign simply because they are not duly recognised by their employers. These ‘bad’ employers might be described as controlling and punishing agents; inflexible, resistant to change and new trends. They do not encourage participation and peer-to-peer communication. They impose their opinions and hierarchical positions instead of discussing issues and coming to an agreement. All of which gives rise to an unpleasant organisational atmosphere.
Such a situation is of course unfavourable when it comes to attracting new talent into an organization. But the other side of the coin is that there is a great opportunity at those organizations which are more open and forward thinking in the way they treat employees.
And PR professionals have a major role to play in spreading a human resources strategy that typifies a more open approach. One that is aware of the new thinking and lifestyles of the 21st century.
Today there is talk of ‘emotional salary’. Packages are increasingly being customised to feature benefits that go far beyond financial remuneration. These may include flexitime, working from home, support for specialisation, study opportunities for employees or their relatives in their country of origin or abroad, clearer and detailed induction, and changing processes.
PR practitioners can take advantage of internal communication channels to inform about a pleasant corporate climate and the possibilities of professional growth based on effort and talent. They can use internal comms channels to spread personal stories or testimonies and build figures worthy of note. In this way they can encourage the sense of belonging to, and pride in being a member of, the company. Moreover, PR practitioners can emphasise the purpose of the organisation under a social framework that could be shared, validated and internalised by the whole personnel.
An appropriate policy of internal communication joined to the benefits and conditions already mentioned may have a positive impact in the performance and development of the workers. The ideal outcome is that they will not only feel satisfied with their salaries or the performance of their duties but also with the climate, culture, messages, identity symbols and purpose of the organisation.
Dr. Amybel Sánchez is IPRA President for 2015. An IPRA member for eight years, she has been the representative member of the Latin American Chapter since 2010.
Currently, Dr. Sánchez serves as the Director of the Research Institute of the Professional School of Communication Sciences at Universidad de San Martín de Porres in Lima, Peru. She holds a PhD and MA in Communication and Public Relations. Her publications focus on the evolution of Public Relations in Peru within both an academic and professional context. As part of her contribution to the development of PR and communications, she serves as a jury member for several local and foreign associations.
Dr. Sánchez believes that an ever closer relationship between the business world and the academic community is essential in sharing knowledge and improving society.
Dr. Amybel Sánchez is IPRA President for 2015. An IPRA member for eight years, she has been the representative member of the Latin American Chapter since 2010.mail the author
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