Key role of HR in branding

A corporate brand is the sum total of several ideas. It encompasses your organisation’s philosophy, culture, and approach to business as well as its reputation among its customers. A brand is reflected not just by the belief system of the top management but by each and every cog in the establishment’s wheel.

For people who like to see the world in boxes, HR managers are merely tools for ensuring a good flow of talent into the company, and have little bearing on the brand. However, a closer look at the interconnected aspects of branding will prove that HR managers are key to the organisation’s branding. They not only ensure compliance with labour laws and employment ethics, but also make sure that people in the organisation are in sync with the brand image and value of the establishment and also reflect it externally. A brand is the identity of a company in the eyes of its customers. To put it more precisely, it’s the promise that customers associate with the experience, value and quality of the services extended by the organisation.

If the promise is not delivered to the customers each and every time, the brand image suffers. Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, famously said that organisations should look after their employees, who in turn will automatically look after the customers and maintain the brand value. This is why the role of HR managers is important and key to the brand image.

By being the vanguard of an organisation’s culture, by moulding the environment of the organisation, by instilling the right values in new employees and bringing them in sync with the organisation’s core values and beliefs, HR professionals determine the continuity of the organisation’s brand at every level.

In this manner, they also act as brand ambassadors of the company they represent. More precisely, they ensure that each employee becomes a brand ambassador of the company.
Competitive pressure in today’s business environment has catapulted the HR department from an administrative overhead to the fountainhead of innovative solutions to cultivate and nurture talent, and act as the conduit between the top management and the ground level executers. This is how the core philosophy of brand flows from top to bottom internally.

Learning about the standards and trends prevalent in the industry is the key HR solutions provider as it helps organisations keep pace with the changing needs of time. For example, companies today are adopting employee friendly measures such as flexible timings, work from home options, paternity leaves and longer paid maternity leaves to make working more amenable and happy experience for employees.

Better retention results

Companies that take lead in adopting such friendly measures will automatically rank higher on employee preference and will have better retention results. Happy employee translates into the most suitable brand ambassador of an organisation as he/she act as an influencer in the industry and persuades more talented indi-viduals to join the firm.

Today, HR managers need to think like marketers and know how to market USPs of their organisation to potential talent. Their role is crucial in explaining their company’s work culture and benefits to prospective candidates. It’s also crucial in retaining experienced candidates as they seek job security. Hence, the importance of retention, particularly of quality talent is key to maintaining the organization’s brand value.

HR is often characterised as a faceless part of the organisation. However every HR should work as an integral part of the business. Innovation is the crux of every business nowadays. Companies should work to strengthen their R&D departments. HR manager can play a crucial role in this aspect also.

An organisation should be like a home where employees would desire to return again and again. It’s the HR’s job to take care of various activities which make the office set up more desirable to employees. The office premises should have a cafeteria where employees can enjoy healthy meals.

Further, games should also be arranged as it helps to keep employees in shape. Organising tours and camps also count as important aspects of a HR’s job and is a major way of developing a healthy relationship and a friendly ambience within the organisation. Further, such practices help employees to rejuvenate and be more focused on their job.

The HR’s job is to support top performers while encouraging others to expand their areas of expertise. The HR can help an organisation excel and enhance its brand value to a large extent.

(The writer is Vice President-Human Resource, Sun Life Financial Asia Service Centre, India)

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