Source: eKapija | Tuesday, 06.03.2018.| 15:48
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Good bosses back in style – What makes employment branding increasingly important

(Photo: Kzenon/shutterstock.com)
What used to be called simply a good boss is now – employment brand. This is distinct from a company's brand, as everyone who buys certain (excellent) products and services, but would never work for the company which produces them (due to a bad reputation), knows.

Seen by some as a fad and by others as a necessity, employment branding has become increasingly important in the past years. It is not HR people that came up with it – it existed before, though perhaps under different names. Employers have always found it in their interest to have their companies be considered great places to work at. As professional workforce is leaving the country, there's an increasing need for new professions. Due to the fact that there are fewer young people in Serbia and that certain “old” professions are having more and more trouble finding workers, employment branding is becoming even more important. Just a few days ago, we learned that Serbia is slowly losing – drivers. It's not just programmers or doctors, then, that are leaving for greener pastures.

Internal and external strategies companies prepare in order to create good employer brands are gradually becoming the obligatory item on the agendas of HR departments in Serbia as well. Employment branding is one of the strongest assets in the process of hiring employees.

It's important to find good workers, knowledgeable and willing to work, and then keep them as well. It's important to find those who can make a contribution to the company – extraordinary and talented people in any field, from welders to engineers and surgeons.

As HR professionals agree, talented people are a special sort. They are not merely looking to make money, but would also like to be happy, fulfilled and proud of what they do, all this in Serbia of all places. Of course, it's not like anyone, given the choice, would choose to be unhappy in their workplace, but this tendency is especially pronounced in talented workers, HR experts agree. It is more likely for above average professionals, no matter how well paid, to look for another job, if they are not happy at the current one, sooner or later. They are willing to do so even if the new employer pays them less.

What can an employer do to please them and how much should they be paid? Moreover, what can the employer do when they can't raise their salaries any further? How can one make oneself into an employment brand?

Good reputation

Important changes are taking place in the Serbian labor market, and the unanimous conclusion reached at the HRM Congress, recently held in Belgrade, bringing together over 250 leading HR experts from Serbia, was that companies will have to react accordingly.

Among the scarcest occupations in Serbia are mechanics and electricians, whereas manual workers are the hardest to find in the areas of Subotica, Sabac and Ruma.

– We have 200 job contests open at the moment. In 2016, we placed 24,000 job ads, and then 31,000 in 2017, a huge increase in only a year – says Milos Turinski, PR Manager of Infostud, the biggest employment web platform.

(Photo: lOvE lOvE/shutterstock.com)
The leading HR managers also point out that it is candidates, not employers, that dictate the terms of employment increasingly more often, that the unemployment rate in certain towns is far below what it used to be, that it is increasingly harder to finds candidates for a job and that workers leave their jobs in the first year increasingly more often, especially young workers. As the majority of the participants in the Labor Market Panel agree, these changes will result in an upwards shift in salaries, and companies need to find additional ways of motivating candidates. That's where branding comes in.

An employer has a range of tools available to them to create a good reputation, says Marija Tatarevic, HR Manager at Victoria Group – cooperation with faculties, associations, providing opportunities to develop and learn, various motivation systems...

– It's important to create an employment brand both internally and externally. Externally, by taking care about how you communicate with the job candidates, making sure your website is well designed, replying to all applicants and being fair in choosing workers. Internally, by taking care of the employees and communicating all the positive examples inside the company clearly.

Employment branding is not just important in the system of selecting and hiring workers, it reflects much further, says Ivana Jevtic, HR Manager at Tehnomanija.

– Just like we want to establish bonds with our clients, we want to do the same with our employees – Jevtic adds.

Aleksandra Dutina, HR manager at Carlsberg Srbija, agrees that the importance of EB goes beyond merely attracting new, young and talented people.

– We need to create a synergy between experts and talented young people – Dutina says and adds that it is important for an employment brand to expand internally, as it is then easily reflected externally as well. Your employees, both the current and the former ones, should become your brand ambassadors and, accordingly, you need to treat them as family:

– To have it be okay even when they leave.

(Photo: Atstock Productions/shutterstock.com)
Human to human

Dragan Marceta, Vice President of the HR Division for Eastern Europe at Tarkett, says that the need for employment branding was there before, but that we've only recently become truly aware of this need.

– The leaving of the labor force has caused people to start thinking about employment branding more intensively.

Tarkett is taking a range of measures to that end. Among them are regular analyses of employee satisfaction through surveys in all categories, based on which various action plans and strategies are created so as to benefit everybody.

– The additional value is what will make your employees run an extra mile – Marceta said, providing possibly the best conclusion of the entire HR forum: give more and you will receive more.

What would the message to employers be? First, as the participants in the panel dedicated to employment branding agree, and as our readers will probably agree as well – don't lie. Be honest with yourself and to your employees as well. Be capable of standing in front of your workers at any time and saying eye-to-eye what you communicate externally. That you have a good brand externally will not help you a lot if those on the inside know it's all a farce. Furthermore, realize that there are material and non-material benefits and that one can't do without the other. (A smart employer once said: “How can an employee be happy if they can't buy a washing machine in case the old one breaks down”). Finally, as the title above says: “There is no B2B or B2C business. There is only H2H - Human to Human”.

M.M.
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