"To Become Employer Of Choice, Transform Workers Into Ambassadors"

Tatsuo Kinoshita, CHRO & VP, Mercari Inc, believes that to become an employer of choice, organisations should start by defining their core values & missions, eventually building a foundation for attracting individuals who resonate with and embody these values


In the fiercely competitive job market, where talented individuals are a valuable commodity, a company's image and reputation as an employer hold significant weight. This is where the concept of employer branding comes into play. Tatsuo Kinoshita, Chief Human Resources Officer & Vice President, Mercari Inc, explains that employer branding cannot be overstated, as it is the linchpin for attracting and retaining the right talent. He believes that it transcends mere monetary compensation, encompassing factors like company values, job satisfaction and growth opportunities. He delves into the core tenets of employer branding, offering insights into becoming the preferred destination for top-tier talent.

What does employer branding mean for organisations, and why is it important in today's competitive job market?

Employer branding, in the context of the industry, refers to the image and reputation that an organisation projects as an employer. It's about how a company is perceived by potential and current employees. In today's highly competitive job market, where talent is in high demand, employer branding is crucial. It helps organisations attract and retain the right talent by showcasing what makes them a desirable place to work. This goes beyond just monetary compensation and extends to factors like company values, job satisfaction and opportunities for personal growth.

What specific steps can organisations take to establish themselves as an employer of choice? What could be some concrete actions and initiatives?

To become an employer of choice in the industry, organisations should start by defining their core values and mission. This serves as a foundation for attracting individuals who resonate with and embody these values. Ongoing support and recognition for employees who uphold these values are essential.

Regularly assessing the company's attractiveness through surveys like the Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) helps gauge employee satisfaction and make necessary improvements. Fostering a conducive working environment that prioritises job satisfaction, flexibility and diversity is critical. Internal promotions and a focus on workability contribute to high engagement levels. Building a strong employer brand involves both online and offline strategies, such as utilising owned media, LinkedIn and employee referral programmes. Encouraging all employees to be recruiters and ambassadors can significantly impact branding success.

How can HR leaders align employer branding efforts with the organisation's overall business strategy and values?

HR leaders can align employer branding efforts with the organisation's business strategy by starting with a clear understanding of the company's mission and values. These should serve as guiding principles in recruitment and branding. It is essential that not only HR, but each individual employee understands and can articulate the company's mission and values. This becomes vital in creating a talent portfolio that aligns with the company's mission in the medium to long term.

Recognising the need to expand beyond domestic borders and build a global marketplace, organisations should invest in branding initiatives that resonate with a diverse talent pool. The active participation and growth of team members contribute significantly to the organisations branding and cultural development in the medium to long term. Therefore, it is important not to be fixated on short-term results.

Even if, in the early stages, you haven't encountered talent that perfectly aligns with the organisation's mission, analysing the long-term mission and purpose, integrating them into the business strategy and crafting messages that appeal to desired talent are crucial steps. Going through this process will attract individuals who resonate with the organisations mission, even if they come from different industries, making them interested in joining your organisation.

How can employer branding campaigns or initiatives positively impact talent acquisition and retention?

Employer branding campaigns, both online and offline, play a significant role in talent acquisition and retention. One crucial perspective is that recruitment involves not only the PR and branding team but the active participation of all employees. Employees are considered recruiters and ambassadors, encouraging proactive casual discussions and information sharing. The referral programme, a part of offline strategies, is highly effective in recruitment. However, its success requires motivated employees and an environment where all staff can contribute information. This differentiation sets us apart from other companies and contributes to our branding.

Online strategies using platforms like owned media and LinkedIn help communicate the company's message to a broader audience. However, reaching talent in countries where the organisation is less known may remain a challenge. Among them, it is crucial to consistently convey the message accurately because we can always find members who resonate with the organisations mission and values. A compelling mission and a positive working environment contribute to recruitment success and employee retention, creating a positive cycle.

What role does company culture play in employer branding efforts, and how can HR leaders maintain and improve organisational culture?

Company culture is vital in employer branding efforts. Culture represents the core principles and values of the organisation. It evolves over time and needs constant communication and interpretation.

Formalising cultural philosophy through documents and regular updates helps ensure that the essence of values remains intact. Different departments and business units may interpret values differently, so individual ownership and a commitment to facing challenges head-on are essential. The executive team also communicates how important the culture is as well.

Cultural alignment should be a focus in recruitment efforts, and all team members, not just HR, should understand and embody the company's values. A combination of online and offline strategies can be used to convey the culture and its impact effectively. Communication, alignment and continuous efforts to maintain culture are key to its success.


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