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Identity Crisis Question Mark

Is employer branding suffering from an “identity crisis”?

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With little consensus about who owns the process, and who is accountable for results, employer branding is suffering from an “identity crisis,” says a new report from Universum.

In the second installment of the 2020 Outlook series, the report analysed the causes for misalignment within firms’ employer branding strategies and what is obstructing them from attracting the best talent.

Polling more than 2000 senior executives worldwide, it found that CEOs are at odds with members of the talent management team over the role of employer branding.

While more than half (58%) of HR executives said HR owns employer branding, only about a third of CEOs agreed.

Even overall, just 34% of respondents listed HR as being primarily accountable for employer branding, making it a function that plays a “relatively passive role” in the process. Marketing and corporate communications functions each tied at 30% to emerge as those primarily responsible for the task.

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“Overall there is little agreement about what area of the organisation should own employer branding. “No one functional area gets more than 34% of responses,” the report stated.

It also revealed a direct relation between the lack of consensus about who owned employer branding and the amount of internal engagement around it in companies.

CEOs were most likely to report that they expect/prefer no change in engagement from top management in the next five years. Almost half (45%) said they expected no change while 26% said they expect only somewhat higher engagement from top management.

However, 46% of those in HR and recruiting said they expect/prefer somewhat higher engagement from top management in the next five years.

“Again, the difference of opinion between CEOs and their talent and branding teams shows an unhealthy schism. Those on the front lines want more engagement, while their CEOs largely do not see the need for change,” the report stated.

It also spotted room for improvement within measurement of the effectiveness of employer branding strategies.

Most KPIs used by companies today were identified as inward-facing: average retention rate (used by 46%), new hire quality (45%) and employee engagement level (45%).

External indicators like rankings and brand perception were only used by 20% of respondents.

“What is perhaps most startling is that many important KPIs – such as average retention rate – are being measured today by less than half of respondents and will not be measured by any higher share in five years either.”

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