I don’t know about where you work, but in our company we receive a yearly employee satisfaction survey. It asks a lot of questions about what I think of my career prospects, management, coworkers, and the direction of the company. Based on my responses, it appears that I’m a pretty happy guy, albeit with serious underlying issues regarding desk clutter and the tendency of our office plant vendor to rely too heavily on dracaena.
In other companies, employees are subjected to engagement surveys and culture surveys. Each of these provides valuable information to management. Some organizations even supplement these surveys with focus groups and other studies.
What does this have to do with developing an employer brand? Very little. And that is precisely the point I’m coming to (about two paragraphs ahead of schedule I might add). When developing an employer brand, we rely heavily on research, both qualitative and quantitative. Invariably and understandably, companies want to reduce the scope of their employer brand projects in order to reduce both time and cost. In their efforts to do so, some organizations insist on force-fitting data into places it just doesn’t belong. (“I really don’t understand why we can’t use our ‘Bring Your Pet to Work’ survey results as a basis for our brand position!”)
The problem with this is that the aforementioned research doesn’t address the primary points that need to be understood when creating an employer brand strategy. Some of these are:
– Company attribute performance and importance
– Job attribute performance and importance
– Candidate propensity to change jobs
– Candidate motivation
– Consideration criteria
– Decision criteria
There are lots of ways to get to this information – as long as your research methodology is actually designed for it. It’s also important to understand the role of qualitative research, quantitative research, and how these support each other.
Quantitative research is about breadth and prevalence. It is the outline for the picture you are trying to create. Qualitative research provides depth and context. It is the color that goes within the lines. Try creating an employer brand position without quantitative research and you end up with a sprawling mess of poorly defined tones and voices. Try it without qualitative research and all you have is an outline absent of any vitality.
But research isn’t the entire solution. There is also analysis and strategy development – at least that’s what 78% of respondents in our latest survey stated.
What’s with elevating mobile phones to romantic gift status?!? The introduction of Motorola’s new pink Razr phone was positioned as “just in time for Valentine’s Day!” I’m incredulous. I can just imagine presenting a phone to my wife as a sign of my unending devotion. (“You got me a phone for Valentine’s Day – what, were they out of toasters?”) No wonder the divorce rate is high.