Corporate culture: How to maintain a healthy people resource and corporate profile

by HCA20 May 2009

The last century has seen a significant shift in the importance of different kinds of resource to business. A hundred years ago, the key resource for business was the capital that bought the raw materials, land, factories and transport needed by businesses to thrive. People, although important to the whole process, made little difference to the productivity delivered by the machines that capital was able to buy.

Today, up to 85% of the economy in developed countries is based on human interaction on a whole variety of new levels. Management today is about getting your employees to deliver the right service in ever more complex and confusing situations. People have become a big part of business and need to be at the heart of any strategy. Well skilled, experienced and 'best fit' talent is the essential resource in business today.

Although we are facing the challenges the market is throwing our way, we need to be mindful of the importance of not only managing our people resources effectively but also maintaining a favourable corporate identity - both internally and externally.

The most important brand relationship in an employee's life is unlikely to be their choice of breakfast cereal, mobile phone or car, but the brand they work for - ie, your employer brand. Who you work for represents an extremely important brand choice. This is the brand relationship that takes up most of your time. It's probably the brand with which you're most intensely involved, the brand about which you have most to say (good and bad), and if you're lucky it's a brand with which you'll proudly identify for a majority of your life.

From the organisation's perspective, the employer brand sums up the key qualities current and prospective employees identify with you as an employer, whether economic (compensation and benefits), functional (eg, learning new skills) or psychological (eg, sense of identity and status). Whether you've defined it or not, you already have an employer brand. The key question is whether you're clear about the distinctive benefits you'd like people to associate with you (commonly described as your Employee Value Proposition), proactive in communicating and delivering against this promise, or happy to live with an unclear and inconsistent employer brand by default.

How people feel about their employer brand is increasingly critical to business success or failure - especially today. Leading companies realise their importance in attracting and engaging the people they need to deliver profitable growth. They also recognise that creating a positive brand experience for employees requires the same degree of focus, care and coherence that has long characterised effective management of the customer brand experience.

The three major benefits of strengthening your employer brand identified in separate studies are cited as being:

There is significant evidence to suggest that a strong employer brand associated with stronger attraction and higher than average levels of employee engagement will ultimately contribute to better financial results.

In the current market we are all making strategic decisions that will directly affect our people resource and, inadvertently, our corporate profile. When making the tough calls in the name of long term survival, it is worthwhile remembering that people and your employee brand are critical in not only maintaining performance but also in retaining your talent. When things start to improve economically, those brands that have enhanced or maintained their employee brand and performance reputation will benefit in the long term.

About the author

Craig McCallum is general manager marketing specialist recruitment & consulting services at Chandler Macleod Group. For more information Tel: 02 9269 8879 or e-mail