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How to become an employer of choice



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John McAlpine, managing director and head of human resources for Australia/New Zealand and SE Asia at J.P. Morgan, shares the strategies the firm adopts to maintain its reputation as an employer of choice.

Having been with J.P. Morgan for about five years now, the large, global and very professional organisation offers many opportunities for new hires.

This, in itself, makes us unique and very attractive to prospective candidates.

In general, the J.P. Morgan culture provides lots of opportunities for people because of our strong global brand.

They have the opportunity to be brand ambassadors across the whole of the organisation. It’s not an expectation, but it is the result of the employees’ experiences here. It is part of the DNA of the organisation.

Additionally, not only is the culture in the bank very open and collaborative, but it is also home to a lot of great professionals and talent.

One of the things we do to retain our talent is to invest in targeted learning and development programmes across the organisation and, of course, the graduates who are joining us are able to join these highly intensive programmes.

In general, the J.P. Morgan culture provides lots of opportunities for people because of our strong global brand.

We also invest in technology, whether it’s the way we work or the way we communicate and the firm is constantly upgrading to ensure we have top quality technology. This might come in the form of client-facing technologies such as J.P. Morgan Markets or our remote working technology that allows staff to access their desktop from anywhere.

Another aspect embedded in the organisation is the ability to develop a local and global network to travel and attend different forums across the firm.

From a HR perspective, both regionally and globally, we have a really strong team.

This can be credited to our candidate-centric approach which has helped acquire this great group of talent, and differentiate ourselves in the market.

It also enables us to ensure we are building programmes that graduates actually want to do and will find beneficial to their careers and personal development.

J.P. Morgan’s employer branding strategy

The candidate-centric approach starts by understanding what candidates are looking for and then building a corresponding branding strategy.

Complementary to this, we spot trends. That means to analyse what our potential candidates will look for every year.

Armed with this knowledge, we identify the best medium to communicate with them.

Here, we use lots of different platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, all of which are supplemented by our strong internship programmes.

Over the years, the electronic channels have proved to be more and more successful.

Regardless of the medium, what is important is ensuring that you have clarity and consistency in terms of the message.

From where we were to where we are, it’s just a matter of keeping up with the trends, with how our candidates are thinking and viewing the world in terms of whatever they do.

Regardless of the medium, what is important is ensuring that you have clarity and consistency in terms of the message.

It is also important the message is constant in terms of whatever communications we are using across the organisation such as in our media engagements or marketing efforts.

Measuring the effectiveness of employer branding strategies

I think the Universum ranking is a good measure for us year-on-year in terms of our attractiveness as an employer in Singapore.

We really do read into those survey results and it helps us to develop our strategy as we look to move forward into the next year’s programmes.

With some of the other mediums used, we also track web analytics, our social media engagement and the event participation.

Globally, as an organisation, we have our employee opinion survey that we look at.

With regards to who should be responsible for formulating an employer branding strategy, I think there should be a partnership between marketing and HR divisions in companies.

While our HR division contributes significantly to formulating the strategy, we adopt a collaborative approach when we actually execute programmes in place.

From a HR perspective, we look at the various sourcing strategies and build strong relationships with the various schools. Then we work with the marketing divisions to help us cultivate them in the most effective way.

Whether it’s from a HR perspective or marketing, or from the business, our message has to be consistent and it has to have clarity in terms of the way we approach it.

With regards to who should be responsible for formulating an employer branding strategy, I think there should be a partnership between marketing and HR divisions in companies.

As a firm, we have been in Singapore for more than 50 years, so we are demonstrating a commitment to all the countries that we are in. What we need to really do is just continue to attract and retain the best talent.

This requires consistency in terms of the way we go about building a stable workforce – diverse, inclusive and with people from different backgrounds.



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