Looking for the X Factor: the number of HR departments employing specialist mangers to run brand-boosting initiatives in a bid to recruit top talent has jumped threefold over the last four years.
Research undertaken among 104 companies across the world by brand consultancy People in Business revealed that the number of brand and talent managers hired to lead brand strategies within HR functions has leapt to 28% from 10% in 2006.
But the study entitled the ‘Employer Brand Benchmark Survey’ also indicated that only half of HR teams were given responsibility for leading such schemes. The number of chief executives driving them instead had likewise nearly tripled over the past four years, reflecting the growing importance now being attached to such projects.
Sophy Pern, director at People in Business, said: “Developing and harnessing the power of the employer brand helps bring focus to people management, providing a lens through which to test HR plans. This is enabling companies to get more with less, adding to both growth and profitability.”
As the importance of managing the brand was increasingly recognised, both senior management and specialist involvement was growing, she added.
About three out of five of those questioned said that a successful brand strategy boosted the organisation’s ability to attract the right kind of talent. Some 54% found that it helped foster more consistent employee communication across the company as well as improve its external reputation, while 43% believed that it helped boost employee engagement.
Two out of five respondents likewise indicated that they used their brand strategy to help shape their overall people management approach. Despite the difficult economic climate, the study found that an average of £5-6 per employee was spent on developing brand initiatives.
Pern said: “A cross-functional approach is absolutely key to success. But this type of strategy management is a long-term investment. It’s not a short-term project and HR managers need to continue to build capacity to maintain it.”