Brand and Employee Engagement

Brand management at corporations is usually handled by the marketing department. Most of the energy in defining and building a brand is to communicate the values of your company, its services and products, to potential customers, clients and other stakeholders. So I’m used to getting puzzled looks when people find out that I’m responsible for both brand and human resources at ING Americas. For some reason "your employees are your brand’s biggest ambassadors," can be a cliché, but people are still surprised when I point out the degree to which ING’s brand drives employee engagement at the company. Delivering on our brand promise externally begins with delivering the employee promise internally. The human resources function supports brand by providing mechanisms and processes that identify brand behaviors for employees, showing them how to "live" the brand and by also creating brand ambassadors. Likewise, brand supports human resources by creating a positive external brand image that helps to attract and retain employees. This integrated approach has created a brand-based, customer-focused, winning culture at ING that has enhanced data sharing, improved operating efficiency, leveraged cross utilization of talent/expertise, expanded career pathing, supported the stakeholder-driven strategy and nurtured employees who truly live the brand promise. In the end, an expensive external brand promise which cannot be actually experienced by your customers when they interact with your company—rings extremely hollow and could potentially backfire—not cool!

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  • Tory Clarke

    I agree with Mr. Waldron.

    It is true that corporate reputation–-social responsibility, employer branding, diversity, etc–-has to start at the top.

    But it is also true that cultural initiatives and employee attraction/retention should be the concern of every member of an organization, and it should fall to every employee to promote and perpetuate this reputation and a coherent employer brand. It is particularly crucial that the human resources team presents their organization as a reputable place to work –-both internally and externally, to both current and future employees.

    Those companies that have come to understand the value of employer brand, such as ING America, reap huge benefits from having their reputation promoted and reinforced by every employee.

    The bottom line is that if your employees believe in your employer brand, your bottom line will show it.

    As an executive search firm that focuses on the recruitment and retention of high-caliber diverse senior executives, thereby creating or strengthening companies’ brands as employers of choice, Bridge Partners LLC published a discussion of employer branding in June 2008. This edition and all others are available on our website (http://www.bridgepartnersllc.c...).