Jul 2, 2006

More on employer branding

I guess you can't win them all :-)

My post about Orkut and repercussions on employer branding turned frequent commentators Ajit and Indian Blogger, disagreeing with my thoughts.

Ajit said:"If you think that Orkut groups and profiles can shape employee's perception about organisations then I guess you are taking your imagination too far. Social software will make an impact but not with frivolous and non-serious profiles like the one you've posted."

Maybe I did take my imagination too far. That picture was only an instance. No where did I insunate that Orkut is only misused to malign organizational images. There are umpteen number of organizational communities which are overwhelming positive about their organizations.

According to the Wikipedia, a brand "
is a collection of feelings toward an economic producer; more specifically, it refers to the concrete symbols for the brand, such as a name and design scheme. Feelings are created by the accumulation of experiences with the brand, both directly relating to its use, and through the influence of advertising, design, and media commentary. "

These feelings about an employer can be positive and negative. These are shaped by two factors. The individual's values and perceptions, and the organizations policies and processes. I agree that large organizations have got them both right most of the time, however, when either of the two is out of sync, then we have a dissatisfied employee. We can say as Indian Blogger says "The "cribbing" factor is very evident in freshers who join the place. It is more to do with the expectations mismatch.I am not sure if companies should really be bothered if there is talks like that about the organization."

I disagree, IB, I think companies need to be bothered. Because, in today's world, a dissatisfied employee has the power to communicate that dissatisfaction to a large number of people in a short span of time. We could argue, that is not what it should be or ought to be, but do recognize this is what they are like. (read more on Generations in the Workplace)

Companies have discovered, a dissatisfied customer who blogs or can communicate his/her dissatisfaction can have a vital dent on the companies' reputations online. Check out Jeff Jarvis' troubles and battle with Dell on "Dell Hell".

Yesterday, several dissatisfied employees could be spread over various functions and locations in an organization. Today they can form an "army of davids"

That is the one reason why organizations need to be aware of and monitor social software. If your company's name is CoolCompany search for "I love CoolCompany" and "I hate CoolCompany" on Google as well as blog search. Search for CoolCompany on Technorati, Icerocket and Bloglines. See what are people talking about CoolCompany. Search for it on Flickr. Any photographs that you would rather not see associated with your company? How about Youtube? Any weird videos of your project manager doing an embarassing dance there?


  1. The two main points are:

    * Do we really care about what is written online about us as employers (or guardians of the employment reputation)
    * Do we care whether there is an expectations mismatch, especially among new joiners

    The quick answers are yes, and most certainly yes.

    Discussions online about how it is to work for any big company have been going on for years, it's just that the medium has broadened. Sites such as Vault have considerable readership and a good history. There are also email discussion groups, message boards etc. Of course there are new technologies that are increasingly been used but my take is that the communication is nothing new, it's just that the platforms have shifted.

    How do those of us who are responsible for employment branding respond? We monitor, we develop crisis plans, we engage where necessary. If nothing else it should be treated as feedback.

    Expectations mismatch is a much bigger issue and should be one of the key metrics of the recruitment department. Look at any firm and do an analysis of resignations over time and you see a pretty constant pattern - lots of people leave in their first year and the chances of someone resigning after their 15th is probably under 1% each year. To reduce turnover your initiatives should focus on early on a career within the firm.

    Putting in a formal measurement of climate at regular stages in the first year is wonderful as a way of identifying issues and start correcting them. It gives people a channel to vent frustrations, but unlike the blog it probably helps get them fixed. Bloggers tend to vent publicly when they feel nobody internally will listen / it won't change matters.

  2. This is very much happenning in the west.

    Companies are sniffing the web to digg the histories of the people they are hiring.

    There was an article in new scientist about it. The link is here -


    I hve given some Indian matrimoney twist in my post here -



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