The Role of HR in Organizational Branding

Instructor: Debra Douma-Herren

Debi is a human resources leader for a large organization. She holds a master's degree in Administration with a specialty in Organizational Leadership.

This lesson focuses on the role that human resources can play in organization branding. It will walk you through the organizational branding process and demonstrate the relationship between employer brand and the overall company brand.

Human Resources plays a critical role as a strategic business partner within an organization. When HR is involved in building the organizational brand, it moves away from being a transactional support department to a facilitator, aligning a company culture to its brand.

Building the Brand

Branding is an all-encompassing marketing concept in which organizations differentiate themselves from each other. This can be in logo design, name selection and/or messaging. These marketing efforts tell a story to attract and retain customers. Organizational branding tells customers what to expect. An organization maintains a competitive edge with a consistent and proper branding strategy.

Long gone are the days that a company hands over their branding to consultants or marketing departments to create in a vacuum. Branding is accomplished these days from the inside out. Companies are now interested in building their brand from within by leveraging the company's strengths. This can be accomplished by utilizing all employees and departments as a company exists internally first then externally.

Human Resources becomes a critical piece to this branding process. From recruiting the necessary talented workforce to retaining high-performance employees, HR has the potential to make or break the company's branding. Having the right people at the right time propels a company's image.

Involving Employees

Involving employees in the branding process from initial conception is essential. Employees fulfill the promises made by company branding. An employee's engagement and behaviors drive the organizational brand. Employees can offer a diverse perspective that may appeal to different customers. When employees are involved in the branding process, it increases employee engagement. An engaged workforce is more likely to report positive feedback of the organization. Research confirms that companies with higher employee engagement levels have higher earnings. Collaboration between Human Resources and Marketing can benefit the organizational brand since both departments are in the business of motivating others.

Timely communication to employees can ensure they are up to speed on the brand. Tools used in communicating branding to employees include company meetings, training, the onboarding process and the company intranet. Employees can be educated on brand usage guidelines and identity standards, such as logo placement on documents or including the mission statement in the signature of an email. Organizations can solicit feedback on the brand and host focus groups to develop the organizational brand.

Employees can be the biggest brand advocates for an organization. When the branding process is properly aligned with the expectations of the employees, they are often the company's largest sales force. Today's interconnected world allows employees to share experiences with friends and potential customers all over the world. Social media can provide insight into the true picture of an organization and access to opinions of the organization. When employees are satisfied, social media provides an opportunity for positive organizational branding.

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