Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts

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LIGNMENT OF INTERNALLY AND EXTERNALLY AIMED

EMPLOYER BRANDING EFFORTS

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CASE STUDY OF

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ORDISK EMPLOYER BRANDING

PROGRAMME

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HANGING

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AREERS

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ACHELOR THESIS

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PRING

2011

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UPERVISOR

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RANCES

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ØRGENSEN

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TUDENT

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USANNE

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OLLE

– 300142

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LIGNMENT OF INTERNALLY AND EXTERNALLY AIMED

EMPLOYER BRANDING EFFORTS

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CASE STUDY OF

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ORDISK EMPLOYER BRANDING

PROGRAMME

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BSTRACT

To make profits, and thereby please the shareholders, companies strive for competitive advantage. To create competitive advantage has though become increasingly difficult because a lot of parameters of differentiation are easy to imitate for competitors. Therefore, there has been an increasing focus on the human resources, as the human capital is one of the ways companies actually can differentiate themselves. Attracting, training, developing, and retaining the talented employees with the right skills needed in the company has become a key issue. This is especially because of the increasing competition in the market for labour, where skilled employees are in high demand. But the right organisation can lead to sustainable competitive advantage. Further, the stakeholder view has contributed to businesses caring more about other stakeholders than just the financial owners of the company, including the current and potential employees.

Employees are important for the business, because employee performance will in the end influence customer satisfaction and the final bottom line.

Companies have, due to the increasing competition in the labour market, had to deal with a paradigm shift from being buyers of labour to being sellers of jobs. Therefore companies have had to put forward employer value propositions to make employees chose exactly their company. Not only must they make potential employees aware of themselves as a great place to work, they must also make sure, that it is the best applicants that make it successfully through the recruitment process. And further, the company must also retain the employees and make sure that the employees understand and commit to the company goals to get a return on the investment in the human capital. The changes in strategic focus and the paradigm shift has led to a merger of practices within the areas of marketing and human resource management. And employer branding have been found to be advantageous for the companies in their search for the right employees.

A solid foundation of existing knowledge is outlined in the thesis reviewing relevant literature, including literature on the terms internal marketing, employee branding, and employer branding, before a case study of the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk. The aim of the study was to find out whether alignment of internally aimed and externally aimed employer branding efforts

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 1

would be recommendable, as this is not clear from prior literature. To find out whether an alignment would be recommendable, a study was planned to illustrate how and by what potential and current employees’ perception of the employer brand of Novo Nordisk were influenced. And for that purpose, a sample of a potential employee, a current but recently hired employee and a current employee, who have been with Novo Nordisk since before the initiation of the employer branding project, was selected for a qualitative case study of the company.

Focused interviews were conducted, and in the analysis of the interviews, it was found that the three interviewees had similar perceptions of the employer brand even though they had been influenced in different ways. The sources which had been affecting the interviewees most were the sources intended to influence them in their given situation, and other communication had only little influence. The interviewees, as a result of their interaction with the company, had a perception of Novo Nordisk being a successful, professional, credible and committed company with an employee focus offering possibilities, a good work-life balance, a job to be proud of, and working towards a greater goal.

An important finding was that the consistency of the communication had played a role for all interviewees in the perception of the employer brand. This was despite the fact that Novo Nordisk have not formalised internal employer branding of the company but only the externally aimed employer branding effort. However, the consistency could be due to Novo Nordisk basing their externally aimed employer branding efforts on the internal values in the company, which has been possible, because the company has a quite strong internal employer brand. The aim of the Novo

Nordisk employer branding project is therefore initially, to increase the awareness of Novo

Nordisk as employer in the external market for potential employees.

From the results of the study, however, it was found to be recommendable to fully align the internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts for Novo Nordisk. This is especially due to the importance of the consistency in communication, and because internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts are in fact two sides of the same coin. They can to some extent function separately, but if the two processes are not aligned consistency will be missing and the credibility of the employer brand will therefore decrease. To ensure consistency alignment is therefore key and this is a step in the direction of utilising the full potential of the employer branding efforts.

To secure the continuous alignment it is recommendable to follow up the employer branding efforts by measuring them with key performance indicators maybe even incorporated in the balanced scorecard of the company. But not much knowledge exists about which key performance indicators are the most effective to use when monitoring employer branding efforts. It is though suggested to both monitor recruitment and retention.

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C

ONTENTS

Abstract

1.

New tendencies in human resource management

1.1.

1.2.

Internal marketing

Employee branding

2.

1.3.

Employer branding

Marketing Aspects of employer branding

3.

Human resources management aspects of employer branding

4.

Definition for reference within this thesis

5.

Why use employer branding

5.1.

Employer branding as a strategic initiative

6.

The ‘how to’ of employer branding

6.1.

The role of communication in employer branding

7.

Aims of this study

8.

7.1.

Problem formulation

Methodology

8.1.

The case study

8.2.

8.4.

Novo Nordisk

8.2.1.

8.3.

Life changing careers

Sampling

Interviews

8.4.1.

8.4.2.

8.5.

The interview guide

The technical aspects of interviewing

Analysis of the data

8.6.

Limitations of the study

8.6.1.

Criteria of qualitative research

8.6.2.

Limitations of methodology applied in the study

9.

Results

9.1.

The potential employee

9.2.

The current employee hired after initiating the employer branding project

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Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 3

9.3.

9.4.

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The current employee hired prior to the employer branding project

Comparison

Implications of the results

Learning and Recommendations

Conclusions

Bibliography

Appendix I – The Novo Nordisk Way

Appendix II – Analysis of interview with potential employee:

Appendix III – Analysis of interview with current employee hired after initiation of employer branding project: 57

Appendix IV – Analysis of interview with current employee hired before initiation of employer branding project: 58

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Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 4

A

LIGNMENT OF INTERNALLY AND EXTERNALLY AIMED

EMPLOYER BRANDING EFFORTS

– A

CASE STUDY OF

T

HE

N

OVO

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ORDISK EMPLOYER BRANDING

PROGRAMME

‘L

IFE

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HANGING

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AREERS

All companies seek to gain competitive advantage compared to other companies in their respective industries. This is done because gaining competitive edge is a step towards creating profit and pleasing shareholders, which is the traditional aim of doing business. However, as

Kroager and Schmidt (2002) put it; “it has become increasingly difficult to sustain or establish significant competitive advantages through either skilful financial management or through purchasing new machines or new equipment, as this can be copied or bought relatively easily today” (translated from Danish, quoted in Engelund, Buchhave 2009, p. 20). And Van Hoye (2011) adds that for a company to experience success and even just to survive in the harsh business climate today, attracting and retaining the most talented employees is crucial. Therefore an increasing focus has been put on human capital, as this is still a parameter with possibility for differentiating the company and building a gap to competitors. And if companies understand to use their human capital and organisation optimally, this can be very hard to imitate for competitors (Backhaus, Tikoo 2004).

Building up a human capital that can give the company the very important competitive edge is easier said than done because of a global tendency of change in the demand and supply of labour.

Skilled workers who can add value within the company, the so called pool of talent, can be hard to tap into in developed as well as developing economies ((Turban, Forret et al. 1998), (McKenzie,

Glynn 2001), (Rousseau 2001), (The Conference Board 2001), (Ewing, Pitt et al. 2002), (Lloyd

2002), (Berthon, Ewing et al. 2005), (Moroko, Uncles 2008)). This has led to companies putting a bigger focus on human resource management, including employer branding. Potentially, the firms that embrace employer branding will gain competitive edge. Indeed the motivation to implement strategies to attract and retain staff is high as financial markets are increasingly recognising human capital or the skills, experience and knowledge of employees as a source of value to the company and therefore also to the shareholders (Moroko, Uncles 2008).

The value of distinctive human resources is derived from the resource based view, which is a strategic view of creating value within companies. The organisation is in the resource based view regarded as a bundle of resources, amongst these the employees who constitute the human

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 5

capital of the company. In the resource based view resources must be valuable, rare, imperfectly imitable and imperfectly substitutable to accumulate a sustainable competitive advantage for the company (Bowman, Ambrosini 2007).

Furthermore, new views of what to focus on when running a business have come to the surface.

And one new way of looking at the aim of business includes the stakeholder view, which implies that companies have an obligation to all groups and individuals with a legitimate stake in the activities of the firm. This means that not only the shareholders and other investors who own the company financially are in focus (Ewing, Pitt et al. 2002). Bergstrom and Anderson (2000/1) agree that addressing multiple stakeholders both inside the company and external to the company will be critical when communicating a brand effectively. Therefore they state that managing the relationship between internal and external stakeholders is very important (Bergstrom, Anderson

2000-2001). This statement is derived from the ‘employee-customer-profit chain’ developed by

Sears, that showed a relationship between employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction and in the end bottom line results (Bergstrom, Anderson 2000-2001).

Companies have had to deal with strategic shifts in focus and simultaneously in a paradigm shift from being buyers of labour to being sellers of jobs (Engelund, Buchhave 2009). In the past there was a sense that people should be grateful to have a job, and this has changed tremendously

(Lloyd 2002). This paradigm shift has led to employees, who are sought for by competing companies, and potential employees to demand more and ask questions such as “what is in it for me, my employability, and my career” (McKenzie, Glynn 2001, p. 22) or “now that I am working

50-60 hours a week with this company, what is the social infrastructure like, what access do I have to facilities I need? How will my job depth and scope be developed? And will I learn new skills or go overseas?” (Lloyd 2002, p. 64). And therefore companies have had to put forward employer value propositions that makes employees chose exactly their company (Lloyd 2002).

The companies therefore face quite big challenges with regards to staffing. Not only must they make potential employees aware of themselves as a great place to work, they must also make sure, that it is the best applicants that make it successfully through the recruitment process. But this is not the end, the company must also retain the employees and make sure that the employees understand and commit to the company goals (The Conference Board 2001). Employer branding will though be helpful for the employers to engage in when facing such challenges to build up a distinct and skilful human capital to ensure the future success of the company. In this thesis a solid foundation will be outlined reviewing relevant literature within this area before the problem will be formulated. This is to make sure that the point of departure is taken in existing knowledge in the area. This will, furthermore, illustrate existing gaps in the theory, which can be looked into via the case study, which will be introduced later in the thesis. First, though, a look at how the term employer branding came about, from where the thesis will depart into a theoretical discussion of the different aspects of the term employer branding, before stating a definition for use in the study and a problem formulation to investigate.

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 6

1.

N

EW TENDENCIES IN HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

From the companies point of view the changes in strategic focus and the paradigm shift has led to a merger of practices within the areas of marketing and human resource management. At the same time research in this new hybrid area is appearing, and several new terms have seen the light of day. Now companies should no longer only focus their branding efforts only towards product branding or corporate branding, but now also towards branding the company for stakeholders, among these employees. Therefore branding activities have moved into the area of human resource management, and such efforts have been labelled internal marketing, employee branding and employer branding.

The three terms are all related to different aspects of employee attraction and retention, though the first two originally emerged as more or less pure branding initiatives aimed at improving the organisational image perceived by the customers as a part of the rise of the branding of services

((Kotler, Keller et al. 2009) & (Foster, Punjaisri et al. 2010)). However, an employee experience is far more complex than any service experience (Mosley 2007), and this has led to the development of the third term employer branding, which as a broad umbrella covers quite a few perspectives of employee attraction and retention, with aims moving beyond pure customer satisfaction. To reach an understanding of how the term employer branding came about, it is important to consider internal marketing as well as employee branding too. Hence, the point of departure of this thesis will reflect the chronological development, thus an introduction of internal marketing. But before giving the final definition of employer branding for the use in the study of this thesis, the marketing and human resources management aspects respectively will be introduced.

1.1.

I

NTERNAL MARKETING

Initially the term internal marketing was used in relation to marketing of services, a phenomenon that appeared in the 1970’s (Kotler, Keller et al. 2009). But Berry (1981) was one of the first to mention internal marketing as marketing towards employees and opposing external marketing. He defines internal marketing as “applying the philosophy and practises of marketing to the peopleresources that serves the external customer so that (1) the best possible people can be employed and retained and (2) they will do the best possible work” (Berry 1981, p. 15), a view that is not far from the idea of employer branding today. Berry (1981) was also amongst the first to define employees as internal customers and jobs as internal products with the point of companies having to design the internal products - jobs - to meet the needs of the internal customers - employees.

Ambler and Barrow (1996) states that ‘employers do not provide employee benefits altruistically any more than they provide products to customers purely for customer satisfaction’ (Abler,

Barrow 1996, p. 191). This is a statement, which really do put the above statement in perspective, because viewing employees as internal customers and jobs as internal products in the end will be beneficial to the company. As Ambler and Barrow put it earlier in the same article; “continuous good relationships between the company and its customers necessarily involves employees”

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 7

(Abler, Barrow 1996, p. 185), and “improved employee motivation should lead to improved employee performance which should, in turn, lead to improved customer relationships” (Abler,

Barrow 1996, p. 188).

According to Kotler, Keller et al. (2009) internal marketing was used to engage employees, to minimize tensions between marketing people and other employees, and to bring a unified approach to the customers of the company mentions.

Kotler (1994) had in his earlier version of the same book defined internal marketing as “the task of successfully hiring, training, and motivating able employees who wants to serve customers well” (Kotler 1994, p.

22).

FIGURE 1

(Kotler 1994)

In fact Kotler (1994) suggests that internal marketing must precede external marketing, as he argues that the company cannot promise excellent service before the company’s staff is ready to provide excellent service. This he illustrates with the following example; “Bill Marriott tells the job candidates that the hotel chain wants to satisfy three groups: customers, employees, and shareholders. … Bill Marriott reasons … Firstly, the company must satisfy its employees. If the employees love their work and feel a sense of pride in the hotel, they will serve the customers well. Satisfied customers will return frequently to the Marriott. The repeat business will in turn yield high profits for the stockholders” (Kotler 1994, p. 23). In Figure 1 the interaction between key stakeholders as well as internal and external marketing can be seen.

Marketing of services was indeed the kick starter of internal marketing, however, it has developed since the 1970’s and Rafiq and Ahmad (2000) describe the development of the internal marketing concept through three phases. In the first phase, in the 1970’s, the focus was put on employee motivation and employee satisfaction. This was due to the belief that “to have satisfied customers, the firm must also have satisfied employees” (George 1977, p. 91), and it was seen as a way to align employee and company goals and objectives. It was also in this first phase that companies started viewing jobs as ‘internal products’ offered to employees (Rafiq, Ahmed 2000). This is a view that has followed through to the contemporary literature of employer branding where jobs are described as employment experiences ((Ewing, Pitt et al. 2002) , (Mosley 2007), (Foster,

Punjaisri et al. 2010)).

In the 1980’s and the beginning of the 1990’s the second phase of internal marketing shifted the focus from the employees to the customers. In this phase the internal marketing was used to create customer oriented employees, who would also be sales minded. Performance was key and

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 8

internal marketing was a tool for improving the performance of the employees in the company

(Rafiq, Ahmed 2000). Third phase, which is also the most recent phase that started in the late

1980’s or early 1990’s overlaps time-wise with phase two. This phase of the development of internal marketing has broadened the scope to strategy implementation and change management and has become an important tool for such actions (Rafiq, Ahmed 2000).

After reviewing the three phases of literature on internal marketing Rafiq and Ahmad suggests the following definition; “Internal marketing is a planned effort using a marketing-like approach to overcome organisational resistance to change and to align, motivate and inter-functionally coordinate and integrate employees towards the effective implementation of corporate functional strategies in order to deliver customer satisfaction through a process of creating motivated and customer oriented employees” (Rafiq, Ahmed 2000, p. 454).

Ewing, Pitt et al (2002) also views jobs as internal products and employees as internal customers.

They argue that these “job products must attract, develop, and motivate employees, thereby satisfying the needs and wants of these internal customers while addressing the overall goals of the organisation” (Ewing, Pitt et al. 2002, p. 10).

As it is also seen from the above definitions internal marketing focuses largely on the adoption of the branding concept inside an organisation to ensure that employees deliver the brand promise to the external stakeholders (Foster, Punjaisri et al. 2010). Mosley (2007) supports this by stating that internal marketing is “the task of ensuring employees understand the brand promise and their part in delivering an on-brand customer experience” (Mosley 2007, p. 128). Though he adds, that internal marketing, therefore, can be seen as putting on a show for the customers rather than a natural extension of a deeply rooted brand by employees.

Boyd and Sutherland (2006) suggests that companies who are good at internal branding treat the consumer and the employee brand as two sides of the same coin and integrate their communication accordingly.

1.2.

E

MPLOYEE BRANDING

Employee branding has been defined a number of times by different researchers, and it moves beyond internal marketing in including more specifics on human resource management. For instance Miles and Mangold (2004) suggest that “employee branding goes beyond attaining customer satisfaction through internal marketing as it utilises all the organisational systems, including internal marketing methods, to motivate employees to project the desired organisational image” (Miles, Mangold 2004, p. 68). Thus, employee branding moves beyond internal marketing, but it is still described as a tool of branding the company towards customers via the employee.

Though, here the motivation of the employee does also play an important role.

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 9

Miles and Mangold’s (2004) conceptualisation of the employee branding process,

which can be seen in Figure

2, includes four elements.

The first element, being the sources or modes of messages, which can be internal as well as external and formal as well as informal.

The second element is the employee perceptions with regards to the psychological

FIGURE 2

(Miles, Mangold 2004) contract (a term further

elaborated on in section 3. Human resources management aspects of employer branding)

between employee and company, and whether it has been upheld or not. These two elements leads to an interpretation of an employee brand image which in turn can affect the employee turnover, employee satisfaction, service quality, customer retention and the word of mouth communication. A positive influence on the latter should be the effective outcome of a successful employee branding process. This model, though, is rather general and do not just consider the aim of branding towards employees for the sake of the customers of the company. Later in 2007

Mangold and Miles specified their definition of employee branding to be; “the image presented to an organisation’s customers and other stakeholders through its employees” (Mangold, Miles 2007, p. 424).

Furthermore, it is also mentioned by Boyd and Sutherland (2006) how a corporate culture can be supporting of or different to the employee branding initiatives. They found that companies must create a culture and value set, which views employees and their training and development as a focus area to successfully obtain employee commitment to living the brand of the organisation.

Competing for the best talent is not enough. And the company must create such a culture and keep the culture relevant rather than changing it sporadically based on dipstick monitoring.

Additionally, the study supports making employee branding a key business priority and to communicate and live by a clear set of values (Boyd, Sutherland 2006).

1.3.

E

MPLOYER BRANDING

The trend in literature about internal marketing, employee branding and employer branding has been to move from using the terms internal marketing and employee branding to using the term employer branding. However, the term employer branding covers more concepts and includes both the internal marketing aspects and the human resources management aspects of employee

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 10

branding. Jobs are still seen as internal products offered to internal customers, and there is still a focus on motivating employees like in employee branding (Boyd, Sutherland 2006). Now though, a broader focus has been laid out. Backhaus and Tikoo (2004) suggest that employer branding is a practice that is based on the assumption that human capital can bring value to the company as discussed in the very beginning of this thesis. The assumption is that if the company invests in its human capital it can enhance the company’s performance. They thereafter divide the employer branding efforts into external and internal marketing of the employer brand as two different processes.

The focus of the external marketing of the employer brand is according to Backhaus and Tikoo

(2004) to be able to attract a distinctive human capital on the base of establishing the company as an employer of choice. This distinctive human capital is then shaped by the internal marketing of the employer brand with the aim of creating at a workforce that is difficult for competitors to imitate. And according to Backhaus the first step in developing competitive human capital in a company is attracting the appropriate applicants. Appropriate or ‘right’ applicants may be the best and the brightest, but it may also be the ones who fit the organisation the best, and here employment branding plays a big role (Backhaus 2004). Backhaus and Tikoo (2004) define the employer brand as “the process of building an identifiable and unique employer identity”

(Backhaus, Tikoo 2004, p. 502), which should then be a part of the process of differentiating the employer from its competitors.

Engelund and Buchhave (2009) suggest the following definition of employer branding, which opposed to the above is not divided into two different processes; “Employer branding is the strategic process of trying to influence the company’s brand as an employer so that the real employer brand will be as close to the employer brand wished for as possible. The primary driver in the process is the work with the company’s employer profile, and through that strengthen the dynamics between the company profile, identity and image as an employer” (translated from

Danish, Engelund, Buchhave 2009, p. 28). When discussing the employer profile, Engelund and

Buchhave refer to the way the company presents itself as employer. The company identity is how the organisation within the company experience the company as employer and the employer image is how the outside world sees the company as employer. Again both intentional and unintentional communication will have an influence on the employer brand, as it is based on efforts and opinions from the inside of the company as well as perceptions from the outside of the company.

Working with shaping the employer brand is the employer branding process, and it is important to keep in mind that an employment brand needs constant follow-up as it is dynamic and develops with changes in the in the company’s business, employees’ wishes, market developments, external stakeholder views, trends etc. This is supported by Martin (2009) who writes that it previously have been seen as a positive thing to have a stable employer brand, however now it is important

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 11

to have flexible organisational identities that can cope with the rapid changes seen in today’s world.

An employer brand is not just a slogan or a logo, though according to Bergstrom and Anderson

(2000-2001) these are often used as verbal and visual aids to communicate the brand to the employees. The brand communicated to the employees can be a separately established employer brand, but it can also just be translating the brand used externally to a relevant message for the employees (Bergstrom, Anderson 2000-2001).

In their report on engaging employees The Conference Board (2001) states that employer brands establishes “the identity of the firm as an employer. It encompasses the firm’s values, systems, policies, and behaviours toward the objectives of attracting, motivating, and retaining the firm’s current and potential employees” (The Conference Board 2001, p. 10). Backhaus (2004) elaborates by stating that such a definition indicates that employer branding involves promotion activities, both within and outside the firm. The Conference Board (2001) further suggest that an effective employer brand is holistic and applies for both the internal and external markets of employees.

More precisely the employer brand should be:

Known and understood throughout the company

all employees know the brand’s

 message and (more importantly) how it applies to them.

Known in the employment market place

candidates will be familiar with the brand and will be applying to the company on the strength of the brand.

(The Conference Board 2001, p. 31)

Whereas the above definitions put emphasis on both external and internal aims of employer branding, Mosley (2007) defines employer branding as a tool for internal use with the aim of

“providing a coherent framework for management to simplify and focus priorities, increase productivity, and improve recruitment, retention and commitment” (Mosley 2007, p. 130).

Bergstrom and Anderson (2000-2001) add that to improve overall retention, employers use branding techniques to help applicants screen companies for the correct match between their values, priorities, and work styles and those of the organisation (Bergstrom, Anderson 2000-2001).

This is similar to the definition presented by Ambler and Barrow (1996), which is that “the employer brand can be defined as the package of functional, economic and psychological benefits provided by employment, and identified with the employing company” (Abler, Barrow 1996, p.

187). This definition is based on the assumption of the employee – employer relationship being a series of mutual exchanges of benefits.

Lastly, Engelund and Buchhave (2009) state that employer branding is a multidimensional discipline which pulls together efforts from many areas within the company. As it is not specifically placed in one function of the company or in one area of research, different definitions have been developed, some of which have been mentioned above. It is also important to notice that employer branding is a process whereas an employment brand is the outcome of the employment

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 12

branding process. Backhaus and Tikoo (2004) defines functional benefits of the employer brand as salary, benefits, and leave allowances, whereas symbolic benefits of the employer brand are perceptions about prestige, and social approval.

2.

M

ARKETING

A

SPECTS OF EMPLOYER BRANDING

As the term employer branding originated out of a merger of marketing and human resource management theories there are significant parallels to the marketing discipline, which has also been mentioned by quite a few authors ((Ewing, Pitt et al. 2002), (Backhaus, Tikoo 2004), (Mosley

2007), (Moroko, Uncles 2008), (Engelund, Buchhave 2009)).

Engelund and Buchhave (2009) as one example hereof mentions that there are significant overlaps between employer branding and other branding activities in the company, and that there therefore can be big synergy effects, a relationship depicted in

Figure 3. They point out that one significant difference is the target group, which for employer branding is current and potential

E

MPLOYER

BRANDING

C

ORPORATE

BRANDING

P

RODUCT

BRANDING

employees (Engelund, Buchhave 2009).

Backhaus and Tikoo (2004) agree with this to some extent, but mention that employer branding can be combined with product or corporate branding. Whether or not this should be the case, they point out that it is

Figure 3

Inspired from (Engelund, Buchhave 2009) important that the employer branding is aligned with both product and corporate branding activities. This can be formulated generally as done in Lloyd (2002) “you have to have an alignment between what is seen externally and what happens internally” (Lloyd 2002, p. 66). This is in accordance to the emphasis on always delivering a consistent and distinctive brand experience, which has always been the aim of brand managers (Mosley 2007). However, Martin (2009) disagrees, as he mentions that successful employer branding depend on an analysis of the internal and external employer brands. If the analysis proves the brands to be in agreement, then internally aimed efforts should be aligned with externally aimed efforts.

In The Conference board’s survey from 2001, they state that ‘in practise a radical split between the corporate and employer audiences is obviously a bad idea’ (The Conference Board 2001, p. 12) but that companies with less strong corporate brands tended to make a bigger distinction than companies with very strong brand identities (The Conference Board 2001).

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Ewing et al. points out the paradox of having a bipartite target group, which in marketing consisting of current and potential customers, is very similar to employer branding. They point out that unfortunately, in practise, the desire to reach potential new users has dominated both creative and media planning strategies (Ewing, Pitt et al. 2002). Transferred to employer branding, this means that there would be a bigger focus on branding the company towards potential employees via the externally aimed employer branding processes than at the current employees via the internally aimed employer branding processes. Lloyd (2002) agree that this has been the situation, but state that companies are realising that the internal target group, current employees, are equally important.

Moroko and Uncles (2008) point out that the aim of differentiation and several characteristics of employer branding are consistent with consumer and corporate branding. Brand awareness is important, and being known and noticeable is therefore key. Relevance and resonance are also important and so is being differentiated from competitors (Moroko, Uncles 2008). Backhaus and

Tikoo (2004) agree that employer branding is a process that allows the company to differentiate itself from other employers competing for talent and to attract applicants who ideally possess similar, if not the same, values as the organisation, and thereby highlight the unique aspects of the company’s employment offerings. Though Backhaus (2004) found that, when looking at the employer brands in a study done using the UK online recruitment site monster.com, the brands differed between industries, but employer brands tended to be similar within industries. This once more highlights the importance of employer branding efforts - in this case externally aimed employer branding efforts, as it is important to separate the company from its competitors and stand out for the potential employees.

It became obvious from the very first paragraphs of this thesis that talent matters. But Martin

(2009) argues that the company should not only attract talent and arbitrarily including them in the organisation. Managing talent differently can be very important to ensure that different types are managed according to their values and attitudes. Furthermore, he states that some talent is more important to the company than other, and therefore it is important to pay special attention to the most important employees within the organisation so that they do not leave the company. This is also due to the fact that some talent have far bigger influence on the company reputation than other employees. This is, though, not as simple as just that, because both top talent and other employees must feel appreciated for them to experience job satisfaction, to avoid creating winners and losers, and to avoid barriers for teamwork within the organisation (Martin 2009).

This leads to another parallel to marketing of having sub-segments within advertisement campaigns, whether this will be for product branding, corporate branding or employer branding.

And such sub segments should be followed closely as they can change over time. And as early as

1981 Berry already suggested that “marketing research can be used to identify employee needs and attitudes just as it can be used to uncover consumer needs and attitudes” (Berry 1981, p. 15).

And further he states that it is possible to divide employee markets into segments and that should

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 14

be done, when doing internal marketing and can therefore also be used when engaging in employer branding.

3.

H

UMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT ASPECTS OF EMPLOYER BRANDING

Martin (2009) argues that it is through leaders’ actions or failing to act that employees experience the true organisational identity rather than through formal corporate messages and internal marketing. Thereby the leadership styles of the managers within the company become important for the organisational image in the way that they must be consistent. Gaps between rhetoric and reality can weaken the image in the eyes of the employees, and their resistance to change will increase (Martin 2009). The leadership in the company is also is an important part of managing the psychological contract between company and employees.

The psychological contract is constructed between the current or potential employee and the employer, and it can be very important for the employer brand. The psychological contract is named so because it is not a written contract, but rather it is an implicit set of obligations and expectations of what the individual and the organisation expect to give to and receive from each other. The psychological contract can be motivating for the employees if upheld, and it can be demotivating for the employees if breached ((Brooks 2009), (Jørgensen 2010)).

In the above description the psychological contract is something that exists for both employees and employers, though, they may not be identical. However, Mangold and Miles (2007) disagree and state that it is important to notice that the contracts do only exist within the employees’ mind, and that employers may not be aware of them. They also mention that both formal and informal communication can influence the psychological contract, and that a formation of a psychological contract starts already in the recruitment phase.

According to Rousseau (2001) every worker has his or her own psychological contract, but this does not mean that the employees are actually treated any different by the company. The psychological contract is therefore an expression of the difference in perception but not necessarily a difference in treatment.

However, different treatment can be a contributing factor to different psychological contracts, and different treatment of employees can under-

FIGURE 4

(Rousseau 2001)

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 15

mine trust and cooperation in the company (Rousseau 2001). Rousseau (2001) suggests that

several things can influence the psychological contract of the individual as seen in Figure 4.

According to Mangold and Miles (2007) two critical issues are defined with regards to whether an employee will reflect the desired brand image of the company whether the employee know which image they are expected to reflect, and whether the psychological contract has been upheld

(Mangold, Miles 2007). For now, it is not crucial for the argumentation whether the psychological contract is only present for employees or whether companies can also have non-written expectations for the employees. The important thing is to be aware that implicit expectations can influence the view of the credibility of the employer brand.

Not only an upheld psychological contract can motivate employees to work effectively and efficiently for the company. Mitchell (2002) also argues that “when people care about and believe in the brand [employer brand], they are motivated to work harder and their loyalty to their company increase” (Mitchell 2002, p. 99). And loyal, motivated employees can act as natural ambassadors for the company in their externally aimed employer branding (Engelund, Buchhave

2009). Another way of interpreting motivation via employer branding is touched upon by Turban,

Forret et al. (1998). They draw on expectancy theory, a process theory of motivation ((Brooks

2009), (Buelens, Sinding et al. 2011)). According to the expectancy theory applicants will be more attracted and employees will be more motivated by jobs that provide more valent outcomes than jobs that provides less valent outcomes ((Brooks 2009), (Buelens, Sinding et al. 2011)). And according to Tuban, Forret et al. studies have shown that positive organizational attributes such as compensation, the work environment, and the type of work can have a positive effect on attraction due to the valence (Turban, Forret et al. 1998). These are just some of the company attributes, of which the perception can be influenced by the use of employer branding.

According to the regression of attractiveness made by Berthon, Ewing et al. (2005) there are five factors influencing attractiveness of a company. The first factor is the interest value of the company, which refers to the extent of exciting work environment, novel work practises and use of creativity the employer provides. The second factor identified, is the factor of social value, which covers the work environment and atmosphere similar to what Turban, Forret et al. (1998) pointed out above. The third factor affecting attractiveness is made up by the economic value of the employment. The economic value of the employment could be an above average salary, the compensation package offered, the job security or the promotional opportunities. The development value is the fourth factor of attractiveness, which refers to the extent of which the employer is providing recognition self-worth, confidence and career-enhancing opportunities.

Lastly Bethon, Ewing et al. (2005) find the application value to be a factor of attractiveness. The application value factor covers the extent of application of what the employees’ previous learning

(Berthon, Ewing et al. 2005, p. 159-162). All of these can be motivating factors if they are valent outcomes for the employees according to the expectancy theory as mentioned above.

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 16

4.

D

EFINITION FOR REFERENCE WITHIN THIS THESIS

From the definitions of the three terms it can be seen that the employer branding term is broader than the two other terms and can act as an umbrella of the notion of employee attraction and retention theories. Therefore this term will be the main term used in this thesis. For this thesis the definition of employer branding will be:

Employer branding is the strategic process of trying to influence the company’s brand as an employer so that the real employer brand will be as close to the employer brand wished for as possible. It is an interdepartmental process with the objective of attracting, motivating, and retaining the firm’s current and potential employees, and securing the correct fit between employees and organisation.

An employer brand should therefore be relevant, in line with corporate and product branding, and differentiated from competitors, as the employer brand establishes the identity of the firm as an employer, and it encompasses the firm’s values, systems, and policies.

To separate efforts aimed at current employees and potential employees, they will be referred to as externally aimed employer branding efforts towards potential employees, and internally aimed employer branding efforts towards current employees.

5.

W

HY USE EMPLOYER BRANDING

The Conference Board (2001), who in 2001 did a survey amongst affiliated companies, states the following reasons for companies to engage in employer branding, which comes from the companies themselves:

Achieving a reputation as an employer of choice

Facilitating integration following mergers and aquisitions

Helping employees internalise the company’s values

Recruiting employees

Retaining employees

With a more theoretical view of employer branding, Engelund and Buchhave (2009) explicitly state that all companies have an employer brand, whether it is a well-known brand or not. It may be so that the external environment of the company and thereby also potential employees are not aware of the employer brand, but as a minimum the current employees have a perception of the company as employer and thereby a brand perception (Engelund, Buchhave 2009). So if all companies have an employer brand, which is also the logical conclusion of the definition above, then the companies might as well try to influence it and the potential to create awareness of the brand via employer branding activities.

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 17

That all companies have an employer brand may be one way of justifying the need for managing it.

However, Engelund and Buchhave (2009) list several further reasons for why employer branding is not just another business buzz-word but a strategic initiative with, if done right, has positive consequences such as:

Lower recruitment costs due to the streamlined processes, the use of common tools that can be produced centrally and then be used by all parts of the company, and the opportunity to look for potential employees for more than one specific job via the employer branding activities. This should ultimately bring down cost per newly hired employee and also the time spent per newly hired employee.

More qualified applicants for positions with the company and through this less unsuccessful recruitment processes.

Lower employee turnover.

More satisfied employees, which in turn can lead to a better performance by employees and in the long run the company itself.

Positive spill-over effect on the corporate brand and product brands.

The internal employer branding can furthermore support the experienced quality of employment and thereby contribute to the retention of employees. This is the effect of the employer brand equity, which is the result of successful employer branding activities (Backhaus, Tikoo 2004). And as loyalty can be earned in product or corporate branding, so can the company gain employer brand loyalty, where the employees commit themselves to their employer (Backhaus, Tikoo 2004).

Employer branding can be a part of developing employees, which according to Bergstrom and

Anderson (2007) is crucial for the company to be successful. Furthermore, the company must according to Bergstrom and Anderson (2007) recognise that current employees can be a valuable source of new employees. This is because loyal employees can act as ambassadors in externally aimed employer branding activities as mentioned above.

Moroko and Uncles (2008) suggest that employer brands will fall in one of four categories with regards to the attractiveness of the employer brand and the agreement of the external perception and the internal experience of the employer brand. These categories are shown in the figure below.

The axis Unattractive

Attractive relates to whether the employer brand is known, noticeable, relevant, resonant and differentiated from competitors’ employer brands. Whereas the axis

Aspirational

Accurate relates to whether the company with its employer brand also is fulfilling the psychological contract that is formed on this basis, and do not have unintended appropriations from a different corporate brand or product bands. Unintended appropriations of brand values is when current or potential employees transfer brand values from corporate branding or branding of specific products to apply to the company as employer. If the employer brand is not aligned

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 18

with these other branding efforts then misleading psychological contracts can be formed (Moroko,

Uncles 2008).

FIGURE 5

(Moroko, Uncles (2008)

Moroko and Uncles further suggest that the situation can be managed according to the category that the employer brand falls in. The most attractive category to fall in is the attractive and accurate category, and it is desirable to move the employer branding in that direction. If the employer brand falls in the accurate but unattractive category, the company should adopt a strategic integrated approach to the employer branding communication to make the employer brand more attractive i.e. more known, noticeable, relevant, resonant, and differentiated. If the employer brand falls in the aspirational and attractive category the company should try to communicate their employer brand more realistically compared to the internal experience, or the company could rework the internal experience of the company as employer so it reflects the external promotion of the brand. Lastly, if the employer brand falls in the unattractive and aspirational category, the company must both look at making a new promise when communicating to potential employees to make the company more attractive, and reworking the internal experience to fit the new communicated promise (Moroko, Uncles 2008).

5.1.

E

MPLOYER BRANDING AS A STRATEGIC INITIATIVE

Engelund and Buchhave (2009) suggest that employer branding should be a strategic initiative rather than done through ad-hoc communication, and they suggest making the employer value

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 19

proposition the message platform. An employer value proposition is the unique selling points as employer (Engelund, Buchhave 2009). The employer value proposition should therefore be the focal point of the strategic process of branding the company, as the employer value proposition should reflect the unique selling points of the company as employer.

Looking at employer branding in a strategic point of view, it is argued that employer brands work best “when they are credible (which is at the heart of all good external and internal communications), aspirational (embracing a distinctive focal point and ‘big idea’), and sustainable”

(Martin 2009, p. 26). Martin (2009) further argues, that it is becoming an increasingly important issue to manage corporate reputations, amongst other things because there is emerging empirical proof of a strong link between corporate reputations, brands and financial performance. And

Backhaus and Tikoo (2004) have suggested that the increasing use of employer branding is due to its power to attract new employees and at the same time making sure that these new employees are engaged in the culture and the strategy of the firm (Backhaus, Tikoo 2004).

Engelund and Buchhave (2009) also suggest a five step model, which focus more on how to develop an employer brand than the employer branding process itself. First they suggest that it is made clear what the goals of the employer branding initiative are. These, both short term and long term goals, should be based on the main goals of the company.

When the goals of the initiative have been made clear, Engelund og Buchhave (2009) suggest to make it clear what the target group of the employer branding will be. This will often be both potential and current employee segments, but it may be necessary to focus on one of the two groups initially if there is an issue with either recruitment or retention. The message developed for the employer branding of the company should be aligned with the aims and the target groups of the employer branding, and should as such be a product thereof.

As the message, the channels chosen for the employer branding communication should also be aligned with the prior stages.

When these things have been analysed, an action plan with concrete milestones about what, when and where can be laid out

(Engelund, Buchhave 2009). The action plan

T

M

ARGET

GROUP

G

OALS

C

HANNELS

ESSAGE

A

CTION

PLAN

will be similar to a marketing plan for a product in the company.

FIGURE 6

Inspired from: (Engelund, Buchhave 2009)

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 20

6.

T

HE

HOW TO

OF EMPLOYER BRANDING

To get started on the employer branding process Engelund and Buchhave (2009) suggest that a central employer branding function is established in the company, and that if this is not possible, then to form a project group, with the responsibility of developing and implementing an employer branding strategy. One of the first things for such a function or group to focus on is defining which qualifications and human capital are critical for the company to attract, develop and retain to reach the strategic goals of the company, and whether any of these are particular hard to attract, develop or retain.

Engelund and Buchhave (2009) further suggest that the employer branding process must be aimed at employees in the entire employee life-cycle. This is important because the first building blocks of the psychological contract are mainly formed in the first faces of the employee life-cycle, but it is maintained through the following faces of the employer life-cycle. Farrell (2002) supports this argument by stating that to ensure an effective corporate branding of an organisation, the company must ‘walk the talk’ (Farrell 2002). He further argues that actions speak louder than words, and that employees believe what they see being implemented in the company rather than what they are told will be implemented. Therefore the communication in the company should be two-way communication recognising the employees’ contributions to build respect and trust within the company. The main point being that the promises the company keeps means more than the promises the company makes (Farrell 2002).

This is agreed to by Hildebrand and Stadil

(2007) and Sanne Frandsen, both cited in

Engelund and Buchhave (2009). Sanne

Frandsen states that it is important for both parties to balance the psychological contract in the first phases of the employee lifecycle, but that “a lot of people forget that the psychological contract is revised every day –

A

TTRAC-

TION

R

ECRUIT-

MENT

I

NTRODUC

-TION

and the employer branding efforts of the company towards the current employees does often play an important role in making the employees feel that the psychological contract is upheld” (translated from Danish,

Engelund, Buchhave 2009, p. 54). Hildebrand

P

ARTING

R

ETENTION

&

DEVELOP-

MENT

FIGURE 7

(Engelund, Buchhave 2009, p. 53) and Stadil (2007) states; as a company “you must reappoint every day. Every day you must earn the right to your employees staying with the company” (translated from Danish, Engelund,

Buchhave 2009, p. 21).

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 21

When this is done the level of existing internal and external recruitment and employee directed communication should be outlined and compared with the needs defined above. When doing this comparison it will be possible to find out whether the company is attracting and retaining the right people, with the right messages and through the right channels. On this foundation a business

case can be prepared using the strategic model portrayed in

Figure 6

in section 5.1 Employer branding as a strategic initiative.

McKenzie and Glynn (2001) suggest an inside out approach to employer branding. The base should be found via asking current employees ‘what is compelling and differentiating about working here’, then a recruitment strategy should be inspired by the question; “how do we get the message across to potential recruits in a way that demonstrates the reality of what we have to offer” (McKenzie, Glynn 2001, p. 23). The recruitment story should in other words reflect what the company offers new employees when they join the company.

Similarly, but in more detail, Backhaus and Tikoo (2004) suggest a three step approach after reviewing relevant literature within the field. First the company should develop an employer value proposition, which should be based on information about organisational culture, management style, qualities of current employees, current employees’ image, and impressions of product or service quality of the company. This employer value proposition should make it clear what particular value the company can offer to potential or current employees, and it is important that it is a true representation. Secondly, the firm should use this employer value proposition in their externally aimed employer branding, aimed at potential employees, recruitment agencies or the like. The third step in the process of employer branding, according to Backhaus and Tikoo, is internal marketing. Here they choose to incorporate the term of internal marketing into the employer branding process because they find it is important to incorporate the brand promise as a part of the organisation. This is essential for the experience to live up to what was promised potential employees (Backhaus, Tikoo 2004).

Mitchell (2002) suggests that the company ask itself the following questions when it want to start working with managing the employer brand:

What do employees think of the company?

What do we want them to think?

What will convince them of this?

And why should they believe us?

(Mitchell 2002)

And Mitchell further suggests that natural turning points for the company (even when created by the company itself) can be used to implement employer branding because resistance to change is lower at these times. Examples of turning points can be challenging survival, new leadership, new marketing strategy or similar situations (Mitchell 2002).

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 22

When engaging in an employer branding process, as with any other business improvement initiative, it is important to be able to measure progress. This is one of the topics that has barely been touched upon in literature. Though, it is suggested in both Engelund and Buchhave (2009) and Bergstrom and Anderson (2000-2001) that this can be integrated into a balanced scorecard, which is a business tool that already have an existing people aspect built in. In Bergstrom and

Anderson (2000-2001) specific key performance indicators are even suggested such as; effectiveness of new employees, effectiveness of training, percentage of employees trained, voluntary separation rate, and time per recruited new employee, which was also mentioned as one of the reasons to engage in employer branding above. But this is still an area with no clear outline in the literature.

6.1.

T

HE ROLE OF COMMUNICATION IN EMPLOYER BRANDING

Ewing, Pitt et al. argues that advertising may become an important tool in the battle of acquiring and retaining skilled employees with the current shortage of skilled employees. This is due to the fact that advertising can create employment brands, and thereby build sustaining employment propositions that are compelling and different (Ewing, Pitt et al. 2002). Berthon, Ewing et al.

(2005) agree that advertising may become very important. However, they consider non-employer branding related advertising important too as it may also influence both current and potential employees, and it is therefore suggested that externally aimed advertisements also are considered in an internal perspective. This is furthermore helpful as employees’ behaviour can either reinforce brand values or undermine the credibility of the advertised messages (Berthon, Ewing et al. 2005).

Backhaus and Tikoo (2004) find it important to have a coherent brand image with consistency between internally and externally aimed employer branding. And according to Mosley (2007) this view has recently begun to gain grounds. This is not only with regards to an alignment between the internally aimed and externally aimed employer branding processes but also, as mentioned to be important above, with regards to an alignment between employer branding and corporate and customer oriented branding.

Successfully recruited employees develop assumptions about the company as employer that they carry into the company via creation of a psychological contract between employee and employer.

Such employees will be committed to the values they experienced in the externally aimed employer branding process. This makes alignment very important for the employee to experience the psychological contract being upheld. It is possible for the company to manage the psychological contract through message consistency, and therefor formal and informal communication must be aligned with the mission statement, values and the desired brand image of the company

(Mangold, Miles 2007).

As both company controlled sources and sources not controlled by the company can influence the employer brand associations it is important to pay attention to both formal and informal channels

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 23

when building the employer brand. Formal channels of company communication can be presentations, job descriptions, print or web write-ups and advertising, whereas informal communication covers face-to-face interactions outside formal settings from co-workers, managers, customers or acquaintances, often also referred to as word-of-mouth communication

((McKenzie, Glynn 2001), (Mangold, Miles 2007)). It is important to remember that informal sources are not directly controlled by the company, but that it is possible to influence them indirectly through other recruitment and communication activities (Van Hoye 2011).

Van Hoye (2011) has proved that informal sources are important in a study with particular focus on word-of-mouth communication. She concluded that with regards to company attraction, the time spent receiving information via word-of-mouth explained more variance than all other sources controlled for in the study (being recruitment advertising, recruitment events and publicity), which may be due to the high credibility of word-of-mouth communication. And in particular it seemed that word-of-mouth communication had an effect on employees, which were in high demand (Van Hoye 2011). Therefore Van Hoye (2011) suggests making accurate information about the company as well as information about vacant positions easily available for all employees, making companies able to influence the word-of-mouth communication. This is in line with the discussion above about being able to use current employees as ambassadors for the company. If they feel loyalty towards the company, they will then engage in positive word-ofmouth communication, which may be very beneficial to the company.

As seen above, the use of word-of mouth communication should not be underestimated, whether its source is internal or external to the organisation. Word-of mouth communication is highly credible, compared to the organisation’s formal communication and the messages that come through media advertising, resulting in a substantial effect on employees’ expectations, attitudes, and perceptions of fairness (Miles, Mangold 2004). As word-of-mouth communication has high credibility, it is important to pay attention to, as current employees have a potential for creating either extremely positive or extremely negative images of the company via word-of-mouth communication (Mangold, Miles 2007). Van Hoye and Lievens add that negative word-of-mouth communication can have a larger impact than positive word-of-mouth communication, why this is important to be aware of (Van Hoye, Lievens 2005).

The framework developed by Miles and Mangold (2007), which is depicted in Figure 2 in the

section 1.2 Employee branding, implies that organisational messages are the fundamental building

blocks. Therefore it is suggested that some guidelines are followed with regards to organisational communication. Amongst suggested guidelines are the following:

Messages directed towards external constituencies must be in line with the messages sent to employees.

Messages directed towards external constituencies should be sent internally as well.

The design of recruitment and selection systems should incorporate messages that consistently and frequently reflect the brand and organisational image.

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 24

Accurate and specific job previews should be given to new employees so that realistic expectations are incorporated into their psychological contracts.

(Miles, Mangold 2004)

7.

A

IMS OF THIS STUDY

As the employer branding is still a fairly new research area, articles have been written about the matter, but many aspects still have not been treated by researchers ((Ewing, Pitt et al. 2002),

(Engelund, Buchhave 2009)). Some of the areas, which has been touched upon, have been done by reviewing literature about the topic adding literature about related issues and making conclusions based on this ((Rafiq, Ahmed 2000), (Backhaus, Tikoo 2004), (Miles, Mangold 2004), (Mosley

2007), (Martin 2009), (Foster, Punjaisri et al. 2010)). Other studies have produced empirical results using students as units of analysis ((Turban, Forret et al. 1998), (Van Hoye 2011)). Only few studies are based on real life cases including companies ((Boyd, Sutherland 2006), (Moroko, Uncles 2008)), which is why a case study have been chosen here.

As mentioned above Backhaus and Tikoo (2004) divide the employer branding efforts into external and internal marketing of the employer brand as two different processes. But there has been some inconsistency with regards to whether internally aimed employer branding efforts and externally aimed employer branding efforts should be aligned.

Ewing et al. (2002) argues that there is a bigger focus on branding the company towards potential employees via the externally aimed employer branding processes than at the current employees via the internally aimed employer branding processes, but does not reflect on whether such branding is aligned or not. Mosley (2007), however, does. He argues that brand managers always aim to deliver a consistent and distinctive brand experience, and that this aim can be transferred to the employer branding process. Also Backhaus and Tikoo (2004) find it important to have a coherent brand image with consistency between internally and externally aimed employer branding. On the contrary, Martin (2009) mentions that successful employer branding depend on an analysis of the internal and external employer brands. And he then suggest that if the analysis proves the brands to be in agreement, then internally aimed efforts should be aligned with externally aimed efforts.

Therefore the motivation of carrying out this study is to gain further knowledge of the interaction between the internally aimed employer branding processes and the externally aimed employer branding processes. Are they in fact two sides of the same coin or are they overlapping or complementing processes that can function separately or in cooperation with each other? It is interesting to be able to use the employer branding processes to their full potential both with regards to internal and external effects. And how are potential and current employees affected?

Are they only affected by the communication that is aimed at them? There has not been put much

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 25

focus on this in previous literature, but I find the influencing factors to be an important piece of the puzzle in knowing how important the alignment is.

7.1.

P

ROBLEM FORMULATION

To find out whether alignment of internally aimed employer branding efforts and externally aimed employer branding efforts should be aligned, it is a primary objective is to find out how internally aimed and externally aimed employer branding efforts affect current employees and potential employees. A secondary issue is to find out which forms of communication that affects current and potential employees view of the company and how this affects the expectation forming. These issues are important to gather knowledge about to be able to say whether an alignment of internally aimed and externally aimed employer branding processes would be of advantage, when looking at the application of employer branding in a real life case company.

The above questions will be addressed on the basis of the review of existing knowledge, which has been produced, and will then be further illustrated by studying a company, who engage in employer branding activities combined. Therefore the thesis will be a study on the alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts through a case study of the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk’s employer branding programme ‘Life Changing Careers’.

8.

M

ETHODOLOGY

As application of employer branding from the company’s point of view is the main aim of this thesis, it will be relevant to do a case study of a company. This is supported by Ewing, Pitt et al.

(2002), who suggest that case studies regarding employer branding would add considerable value in this early stage of empirical discovery in particular. Furthermore, this is also supported by Flick

(2009) by the statement that “qualitative research is oriented towards analysing concrete cases in their temporal and local particularity and starting from people’s expressions and activities in their local contexts” (Flick 2009, p. 21). This means that it is possible to start with tendencies and transform these into research programmes with qualitative research, and thereby gain understanding of the researched phenomenon from different perspectives.

When doing research, qualitative and quantitative methods are appropriate in different situations, and they may even complement each other in some studies. When doing qualitative research, the possibility to reflect the perspectives of the participants and their diversity is bigger than when doing quantitative research. This is because the results are not quantified, but also because the researcher reflectivity is a part of the study, what critics would call a disturbing variable (Flick

2009). However, if a process or a complicated phenomenon is under study, as in this thesis, qualitative research methods may be more open for understanding the view of the units of analysis of all aspects of the phenomenon since they have more opportunity to answer freely. If this should be measured on a quantitative scale, the selections of questions to answer will have to

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 26

be more specific and therefore the researcher would have a higher influence on which aspects of the phenomenon that are illustrated.

The qualitative method therefore opens up the possibility to understand phenomena from different perspectives. This is more important in this case, than understanding the exact impact measured quantitatively. Therefore the case study in this thesis will be using qualitative research methods, which have become increasingly important in understanding social relations, contexts, and perspectives especially due to the increasing individualisation, pluralisation and diversification

(Flick 2009).

Furthermore Flick (2009) suggests that when dealing with one of many new research areas constantly surfacing now, it is most appropriate to use an inductive approach. However Berthon,

Ewing et al. (2005) disagree to some extent and argues for a mix of the deductive and inductive methodology. They argue that a study can be based on a deductive foundation, and taking a point of departure in known theory (deduction), then discovering new aspects of the given research area (induction). This will also be the approach of this thesis. A deductive foundation has been built by reviewing previous literature on the topic and choice of model, which will be followed by an inductive approach seeking to gain new knowledge in the study area.

8.1.

T

HE CASE STUDY

The study in this thesis will be an exploratory study of the employer branding processes in the multinational pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk. It will be a study of one case but with three embedded units of analysis to gain an in-depth knowledge of the case, but at the same time reflect the variety of the issue. Furthermore, it is convenient to do a case study since an interesting and relevant problem is at hand.

Doing a case study is relevant when using a problem based approach, which is the situation here.

The relevant problem that Novo Nordisk is facing is the end of their three year employer branding project, which has been run by a project group in the corporate human resources department. The formal work project was started in the summer 2008 and will finish in the summer 2011, and it has focused on the externally aimed employer branding of Novo Nordisk. Therefore the company is now assessing whether to implement employer branding as an aligned strategic initiative with both internally aimed employer branding and externally aimed employer branding, or whether it should keep the focus on the potential employees (Page, Kolle 2011).

Therefore this study has the aim of discovering in practice how the different employer branding efforts with regards to potential and current employees influence other than the targeted segment, and whether an alignment of internally aimed and externally aimed employer branding efforts will be of advantage. From this focused case study it will be possible to derive some specific knowledge and recommendations for Novo Nordisk as well as an example for how companies in similar situations can act. This approach is supported by Flyvbjerg (2006) who states that “one can

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 27

often generalise on the basis of a single case, and the case study may be central to scientific development via generalisation as supplement or alternative to other methods. But formal generalisation is overvalued as a source of scientific development, whereas ‘the force of example’ is underestimated” (Flyvbjerg 2006, p. 228).

A further advantage of a problem-based case study is that the results are more easily applicable, but the learning from single case studies is how the case can be compared to previous knowledge

(Stake 2000). Stake (2000) later adds that “perhaps the most unique aspect of case study in the social sciences and human services is the selection of the cases to study. Intrinsic casework regularly begins with cases already identified” (Stake 2000, p. 446). He further argues that opportunities to learn is the primary influencing factor when choosing a case. This is also the situation here. Novo Nordisk have been chosen because it is a company, which have published that they are running an employer branding programme, and the availability of such a case outweighs the criteria of random selection.

8.2.

N

OVO

N

ORDISK

The case company of this thesis, Novo Nordisk, is a pharmaceutical company providing treatment options for diabetics, haemophilia patients, people with growth hormone deficiencies, and for women experiencing the symptoms of menopause. However, the main area for the company is the diabetes care area, in which the company is the global leader measured by volume. This is also a main focus in the innovations of the company (Novo Nordisk 2011), who have a proclaimed aim of defeating Diabetes and finding the cure to the disease, which is now considered a chronic disease (Novo Nordisk 2010).

A key characteristic of the company is their reporting which is done according to the principle of the triple bottom line - balancing financial, social and environmental considerations in a responsible way. A model suggested by Lise Kingo, the Chief of staffs at Novo Nordisk, who also points out that the stakeholder interests of the company, goes all the way back to the beginning of the company’s history (Becket 2010).

80.000

60.000

30%

20%

40.000

The company has performed impressing results.

Novo Nordisk has reached double digit sales

20.000

10% growth rates in the recent years (Novo Nordisk

2010) and the company reached a turnover of

-

06 07 08 09 10

0%

60.8 billion DKK in 2010. A considerable amount of this, 9.6 billion DKK, was spent on research

Turnover Net profit R&D costs and development, but there still was a profit of

14.4 billion DKK (Novo Nordisk 2011).

FIGURE 8

(Novo Nordisk 2011, p. 14)

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 28

Novo Nordisk is a multinational company competing globally. It has Danish origin, and its headquarters are still placed in Denmark. It is a company that has experienced an impressive growth since it was formed in the 1920’s, which is obvious when walking down the main street of the headquarters with the variety of buildings occupied by the Novo Nordisk group, now covering quite a proportion of Bagsværd, a suburb of Copenhagen. This is where the headquarters are placed and this is also the main site in Denmark, though they have sites scattered around the country. In the Bagsværd site you pass the impressive amount of buildings occupied by the Novo

Nordisk group, which does not only house employees working on various projects, but also such things as a library, a fitness centre and a child care centre.

When entering the main building you are met by big posters showing the diverse workforce of

Novo Nordisk under the header ‘The Novo Nordisk Way’, which is the core value-base that the company operates by (see the full section on ‘the Novo Nordisk Way’ from the 2010 annual report in Appendix I). This was formulated a decade ago after the then newly appointed CEO, Lars Rebien

Sørensen, had spent time talking to various stakeholder groups of Novo Nordisk such as patients, health care providers, and employees. He did this again in 2010, after tripling the workforce and the turnover of the company, and the ‘Novo Nordisk Way of Management’ has been updated to be more precise, but the message is still the same. The framework is put in place to provide guidance for all employees, but also to hold everyone in the company accountable for their actions, and therefore this is also a focus during training of employees (Novo Nordisk 2011).

‘The Novo Nordisk Way of Management’ is also important for other stakeholders of the company, but especially for the employees. As it is stated in the annual report of 2009 it is important to their ability “to attract employees who want to work for a company that prioritises ethical behaviour and social and environmental responsibility” (Novo Nordisk 2010, p. 5). This systematic focus on values and the fact that the values are expressed through all of the company’s employees, has led to Novo Nordisk being compared to a religious society. But the chief of staffs explains that this is because the employees at Novo Nordisk have consciously chosen to work for a company, which reflects their own values (Becket 2010).

8.2.1.

L

IFE CHANGING CAREERS

Novo Nordisk has more than 30,000 employees in 74 countries worldwide, 2,700 of which are working in the corporate headquarters in Bagsværd. The company markets their products in

further 100 countries ((Becket 2010) ,(Novo Nordisk 2011)). As can be seen in Figure 9 they have

managed to stop the steep increase in employee turnover, though there was a little rise again in

2010. This was though deemed acceptable as it was mainly found to be in the area of International operations, which does have a higher employee turnover than the other geographical areas of the company (Novo Nordisk 2011).

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 29

Lars Rebien Sørensen states in his opening letter in the annual report of 2010 that succeeding in future growth “requires that we attract, retain and engage the most talented people to support global growth” (Novo Nordisk 2011, p. 4). In relation to this there is also a separate section in the annual report called ‘Attraction, retention and development of our people’. In this section it is stressed that talented employees are critical

40.000

30.000

20.000

10.000

-

06

Employees

07

15%

10%

5%

0%

08 09 10

Employee turnover to sustain the growth of the company, and that the company therefore has developed an employer branding programme under the slogan

FIGURE 9

(Novo Nordisk 2011, p. 15)

‘Life Changing Careers’ (Novo Nordisk 2011, p. 19). This has been necessary despite the fact that

Novo Nordisk are constantly being named among the most attractive places to work in Denmark, and also have been recognised as being among the top places to work in countries such as

Argentina, France, Poland, South Africa and USA (Novo Nordisk 2010).

The company’s employer brand is inspired by the three strategic value drivers which are the main focus for Novo Nordisk; globalisation, innovation and leadership, but also by the people strategy and the branding strategy in the company (Engelund, Buchhave 2009). A project group was formed in the organisation falling under the people department of the company (Page, Kolle

2011). The global implementation of the employer brand was divided into several phases. Phases, which the global project team were responsible for was:

Formulating goals, purpose and project design

Analysis and data gathering

Formulating employer branding proposition

Development of the guiding concept of the company’s employer branding efforts

Development of tools to be used in employer branding efforts

Phases, which should be carried out by local brand agents, to make sure the effort is fitted to the local needs and culture:

Identifying target group

Fitting employer value proposition to local culture and needs

Developing strategy for which sources of communication to be used in the local employer branding efforts

(Engelund, Buchhave 2009, p. 132)

The project group carried out an analysis of the internal situation, but chose to leave the competitor analysis to later. This was due to the fact that the project group found that the

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 30

company had many different competitors with regards to employment in many different industries. However, the company did compare the final employer value proposition to competitors in the pharmaceutical industry to make sure it was differentiated from them. In the internal analysis the project group found that employees were mostly attracted by the opportunities in the company, but that the main retention factor was the possibility to make a difference. The possibilities with the company were only a secondary retention factor (Engelund,

Buchhave 2009).

As the employer brand had to be aligned with the overall corporate branding concept ‘Changing

Diabetes’, the final employer brand was headed by the slogan ‘Life Changing Careers’ and have four subheaders; ‘The Novo Nordisk way’, ‘making a difference’, ‘my opportunities’ and ‘a successful company’ (Page, Kring 2009). The aim of Novo Nordisk’s employer branding efforts is to increase the awareness of Novo Nordisk as employer, as they found to have a bigger present challenge in their hiring than their retention mainly, because 75% of new hires should happen outside Denmark in the future, where the company is less known (Engelund, Buchhave 2009).

Therefore the initial focus of the employer branding has mostly focused on potential employees.

8.3.

S

AMPLING

As mentioned above the study will be a study of one case company, Novo Nordisk, but with three embedded units, current and potential employees, to gain an in-depth knowledge of the issue, but at the same time reflect the variety of the case. This is also called stratified sampling, which is dividing the population into clearly separable strata, and sampling from these strata to be able to generalise for selected subgroups within the population (Flyvbjerg 2006). By including few cases but with great variety it discloses the variety in the field and it allows us to gain understanding of the researched phenomenon from different perspectives.

Therefore, the structure of the study includes some a priori definitions of the strata of the population. This was done to make sure to reflect the variety of the employer branding within

Novo Nordisk, and it was found to outweigh the limitation of having a subjective starting point.

Furthermore, in theoretic sampling, which is used for qualitative studies, sampling is done according to relevance rather than representativeness, which is the aim of quantitative sampling.

The a priori definitions of population strata was given as follows:

One interviewee must represent the strata of potential employees and therefore not be a current employee of Novo Nordisk.

One interviewee must represent the strata of current employees of Novo Nordisk, who was hired after the initiation of the employer branding programme. This employee must be a current, but recently hired employee of Novo Nordisk not hired more than three years ago.

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 31

One interviewee must represent the strata of current employees of Novo Nordisk, who was hired before the initiation of the employer branding programme. This employee must be a current employee of Novo Nordisk, who was hired not less than three years ago.

For convenience the potential employee was made up of a third year bachelor student of Aarhus

School of Business, whereas the two current employees were randomly chosen by the department of people support in Novo Nordisk.

Sampling should stop when theoretical maturity is reached, which means that no further value adding knowledge can be derived from additional data. This is the ideal, however, it is also important to consider resources, as limited resources may determine when to stop the sampling too. This is relevant in this case where only one representative of each stratum was chosen. This was due to the fact that it is very resource demanding to do qualitative research as much time is spend on the interviews - both at carrying them out but also on the transcription and the analysis of the interviews. In this case it was decided that the amount of knowledge gained in by adding further units of analysis would not outweigh the allocation of the limited resources.

8.4.

I

NTERVIEWS

Interviews were chosen instead of observations, as they would lead to bigger possibilities of gaining understanding of how the employer branding processes are working. The processes of employer branding and the effect it has on potential as well as current employees will be an internal process, where it can be very hard or close to impossible to observe.

The role of the interviewer must be considered when entering the field. The interviewer will in some way intervene in the social system they enter. This can be experienced in both defensive behaviour or in the actors in the system becoming aware of the system itself (Flick 2009). In this case the intervention related to the interviews may be the interviewees becoming more aware of the fact that the company is branding itself towards them, or they may see the interviewer as someone who is checking up on whether they are saying the right things. The aim of the interviews is to enter as neutral as possible with the aim of not developing any negative feelings during the intervention.

When interviewing it is preferable to be able to interview good informants, who are characterised by having “the necessary experience and knowledge, the ability to reflect and articulate, the time, and be ready to participate” (Flick 2009, p. 123). In this study the interviewees were considered to fulfil most if not all of these criteria. The interviewees did not need to have knowledge about the theories of employer branding, but knowledge and experience with their own perception of the employer branding of Novo Nordisk. They volunteered their time and agreed to participate in advance as well as signing an informed consent after being briefed on the interview.

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 32

To leave some room open for gaining new knowledge during the interviews and letting interviewees elaborate on the aspects they find important, a semi-structured interview was found to be preferable. This leaves freedom to change order or wording of questions to fit the individual interview situation, but still induce a structure that ensures that the relevant questions are covered in the interview. This gives preference to the focused interview, which includes a stimulus as well as a series of questions and it falls in the category of semi-structured interviews. The aim of the interviews was to gain insight to how the different approaches used by Novo Nordisk towards potential and current employees influences the interviewees.

In addition to the use of stimulus, which will be elaborated upon in section 8.4.1 The interview guide, there are four criteria for the focused interview; non-direction, specifity, range, and depth

and personal context. The criteria of non-direction entails that unstructured, semi-structured, and structured questions should be used when conducting the interview, but leaving space for the interviewee to elaborate. This can be done by starting with broad questions and then move towards asking more specifically. To fulfil the criteria of specifity the interviewer must ensure that he / she brings out the specifics of the effects of employer branding and their influence on the interviewees. Range refers to the interviewer making sure that all relevant aspects are covered during the interview. The basis for this is a well prepared interview guide with questions for the

interviewee, which will be further elaborated upon in section 8.4.1 The interview guide. Last but

not least, the criteria of depth and personal context is the goal of getting self-revelatory answers from the interviewee (Flick 2009). As this process is mostly going on inside the head of the potential and current employees this is important for understanding the process of employer branding with reference to Novo Nordisk.

A limitation of the focused interview is that it is hardly ever used in its pure form, and adjustments are often necessary to fit the interviews around the individual studies. However, this limitation may be turned into a strength if the researcher understands to conduct the interview in the spirit of the pure focused interview. Though, the interview must be worked around and fitted to the specific research as this process can enhance the quality of the data. In this case the stimuli did not appear till the questions started narrowing down to become very specific. This can be done as the focused interview is very flexible, though it still reflects the pure form of the focused interview

(Flick 2009).

8.4.1.

T

HE INTERVIEW GUIDE

An interview guide was developed for the interviews. It was developed on the background of the problem formulation and was also inspired by the questions companies must ask themselves according to McKenzie and Glynn (2001):

What is compelling and differentiating about working here?

How do we get that message across to potential recruits in a way that demonstrates the reality of what we have to offer?

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 33

These questions were reformulated to be asked the potential and current employees and became:

What is your perception of Novo Nordisk as employer? Do you have any expectations to

Novo Nordisk as employer?

On what do you base your perception and expectations of Novo Nordisk as employer?

Which sources?

(Both translated from Danish, as the interviews were conducted in Danish.)

Another inspiration for the interview guide was the model proposed by Miles and Mangold which

was already introduced as Figure 2 in section 1.2 Employee branding. Both questions above and

further questions were asked to illustrate the process according to the model. An example of one of these questions is the following:

Have you noticed if there is a difference in how Novo Nordisk is branding themselves as an employer towards current employees and towards potential employees?

(translated from Danish)

A feature of the focused interview is the use of stimulus. In the interviews conducted for the research of this thesis, the slogan used by Novo Nordisk for their employer branding programme

‘Life Changing Careers’ as well as the four sub headers making up the employer value proposition of the employer brand, was chosen to be used as stimuli. The slogan and the subheaders are

depicted in Figure 10 and they are developed to create both an emotional as well as a rational

appeal. But what are the perceptions of the potential and current employees?

These stimuli were chosen because this will make it possible to compare the general content of the interview with the intended perception of Novo Nordisk as employer.

When using stimuli in a focused interview, the meaning of this should be analysed before doing the interviews, and this will function as the objective meaning, which can be compared to the subjective meaning found when analysing the interviews. The stimuli were analysed using the three categories of employer brand advertising suggested by Ewing, Pitt et al (2002). The three categories are; transnational, mission to

Mars, and the ‘local’ (Ewing, Pitt et al. 2002).

FIGURE 10

(Page, Kring 2009, p. 13)

The transnational category of employer branding advertisements is focusing on status and mobility, that it is a global company and that it is big and successful. The employment proposition is described as “we’re big, we’re stable, we’re multinational and we’re a respected and admired

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 34

company - why look any further?” (Ewing, Pitt et al. 2002, p. 13). The mission to Mars category of employer branding advertisements focuses on excitement and new experiences. The employment proposition here is “what we do is so exciting – join us and be ahead of the herd” (Ewing, Pitt et al.

2002, p. 13). Lastly the ‘local’ category of employer branding advertisements focuses on identification, that there is some source similarity. The employment proposition is described as

“these are the kinds of people who succeed in our organisation – if you’re the same ilk, join us and succeed too” (Ewing, Pitt et al. 2002, p. 14).

When analysing the stimuli used for the interviews on the above given background, they do not fit into just one category. The statements ‘the Novo Nordisk Way’, ‘my opportunities’ and ‘a successful company’ are all examples of statements of a transnational brand signalling status and mobility. The ‘making a difference’ statement though come closer to a mission to Mars characteristic. This statement together with the slogan heading the campaign ‘Life Changing

Careers’ are both creating excitement and directly related to Novo Nordisk’s mission to Mars – to find the cure. It can therefore be concluded that Novo Nordisk is with their employer brand and employer value proposition trying to signal status and mobility of their global company, which is both big and successful and at the same time to create excitement and expectations of new experiences.

The full interview guide can be found on the attached CD also containing the informed consents of the interviewees, the sound recordings of the interview and the transcriptions of the interviews.

8.4.2.

T

HE TECHNICAL ASPECTS OF INTERVIEWING

The interviews were recorded with only the sound, as this is less disturbing than for instance using video equipment. However, it is important to be aware that electronic recording equipment can have an influence on the interviewees’ willingness to share, even though the least invasive recording instrument has been chosen (Flick

2009).

8.5.

A

NALYSIS OF THE DATA

Strategies of action / interaction

For the analysis of the data the interviews were transcribed and then coded. The interviews were coded separately first as suggested by Flick in Flick (2009) using

Strauss and Corbins approach. The separate coding is done when a priori defined groups exist such as in this case. Strauss and

Corbins approach to coding is to start out with open coding of the interviews, where key meanings are applied to sections of the

Causal relations

PHENOMENON

Context and intervening factors

Consequenses

FIGURE 11

(Flick 2009)

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 35

interview. This is done in a very systematic way line by line or sentence by sentence. Then axial coding was applied to these key points identified in the open coding. This is the second step in

Strauss and Corbins approach to coding. When doing the axial coding Flick (2009) suggests using

the paradigm model, which is depicted in Figure 11, but also Miles and Mangold’s (2004)

conceptualising model of the employer branding process was used. This model was supplemented with additional types of sources; presentations and website from McKenzie and Glynn (2001) and additional consequences; more qualified employees, less unsuccessful recruitments, and positive spillover effect on corporate or product brand from Engelund and Buchhave (2009). The final

model can be seen in Figure 12.

SOURCES OF

MESSAGES

• Internal

•Formal

• HRM systems

• PR systems

•Informal

• Culture

• Coworker influence

• Leaders / managers

• External

•Formal

• Advertising

• PR

• Website

• Presentations

•Informal

• Customer feedback

PERCEPTIONS

• Employee psychee

• Psychological contract

INTERPRETATIONS

• Employer brand perception

CONSEQUENSES

• Employee turnover 

• Empoyee satisfaction 

• Service quality 

• Customer retention

• Positive word-ofmouth communication

• Recruitment costs 

• Qualified applicants 

• Unsuccessful recruitments 

• Positive spillover effects on corporate and product brands

FIGURE 12

Inspired by: (Miles, Mangold 2004), (McKenzie 2001) & (Engelund, Buchhave 2009)

When doing the axial coding it is a constant switch between inductive thinking, finding new aspects of the phenomenon, and deductive thinking, checking these new aspects against passages that differ. The last step in Straus and Corbins approach to coding is the selective coding where the findings of the analysis are formulated (Flick 2009). Following the procedure described above, the analysis of the interviews were done individually. First open coding was used to apply key words as described above, and then axial coding was used according to Strass and Corbins approach. In the axial coding process the key words found in the open coding was applied to the paradigm model as suggested in Flick (2009), but also the model for employer branding suggested by Miles and

Mangold (2004) which has been referred to several times in the thesis. Illustration of the application of the key words to the models can be found in appendix II-IV. Using the paradigm model the analysis was applied to the phenomenon being the perception of Novo Nordisk’s employer brand. Then causes of the perception, the context or intervening factors, the interaction strategies and the consequently perception was analysed from the data of the interviews. The

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 36

main parts used for analysis from Miles and Mangold’s (2004) conceptualisation of the employment brand were the sources and the interpretations of the employer brand. This was due to the fact that the sources functions as the input in the model, which is then perceived by the employee according to the psychological contract theory, and then produces interpretations, which functions as the models output, that has a set of consequences portrayed in the last box in the model. That the employee, current or potential, perceives the output and bases interpretations on the psychological contract strengthens the individual interpretation of the efforts.

Both of the above mentioned models were applied because they shed light on different aspects of the process of employer brand perception. One focuses on what causes the perceptions and the other focuses on how the perceptions came about. Further, the actual perception is not the most important here but the factors influencing the perception according to the problem formulation, as the aim is to understand whether alignment and integration of the external employer branding efforts and internal employer branding efforts is recommendable. Finally, a comparison was made of the objective meaning and the subjective meanings of the stimuli used for the interviews. To conclude, the coding selective coding was applied to find tendencies within individual interviews and when comparing the interviews.

8.6.

L

IMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

Before looking at the results of the analysis it is important to be aware of the limitations of the study. This is because limitations may influence the applicability and generalisation opportunities of the results.

8.6.1.

C

RITERIA OF QUALITATIVE RESEARCH

When doing qualitative research there are certain criteria that must be fulfilled according to Flick

(2009). One criterion important to consider is that of reliability – reliability in the way of whether the interviewees actually say what they think about the processes due to both conscious and unconscious reasons. As mentioned above the interviews were recorded with only the sound, as this is less disturbing than for instance using video equipment. But this can have an influence on the interviewees’ willingness to share, especially for the current employees, as they may be concerned about giving ‘the wrong answer’, since the interviews have been facilitated by the company they work for. However, since the interviews are done by a researcher external to the company the hope is that the reliability is ensured this way.

As there have only been conducted interviews in this study, reliability cannot be ensured by method triangulation - the use of different methods to complement each other and cover blind spots or using different kinds of data. Triangulation is important for qualitative research as this heightens the quality of the findings. Triangulation can happen via comparison of observations and statements, or being two or more researchers with different theoretical-methodological

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 37

backgrounds. As this is not the case here the only triangulation possible in this thesis is the comparison of statements to previously constructed models within the area of employer branding.

In qualitative research it is also relevant to consider validity as there are not the same possibilities for control as in quantitative studies. The research findings are second degree constructs – constructs based on the constructs of the interviewees. But if they are well-grounded and supportable then the findings can be deemed valid (Flick 2009), which is believed to be the case in this study.

8.6.2.

L

IMITATIONS OF METHODOLOGY APPLIED IN THE STUDY

As mentioned above some a priori definitions of the strata of the population was used for sampling. This was done to make sure to reflect the variety of the employer branding within Novo

Nordisk, and it was found to outweigh the limitation of having a subjective starting point. Further though, one must have in mind that the sample of this study was rather limited due to the time constraints that applies because the study was done singlehanded and over a limited period of time.

Focused interviews were used for the study and a limitation of the focused interview is that it is hardly ever used in its pure form, and adjustments are often necessary to fit the interviews around the individual studies. In this case the stimuli did not appear till the questions started narrowing in to become very specific. This, however, can be done as the focused interview is very flexible, and it was therefore found to still reflect the pure form of the focused interview. This was found to be upheld even though one of the criteria of the focused interview, depth and personal context – to get self-revelatory answers from the interviewee, was questioned. This criteria was questioned, as the process of perceiving an employer brand is going on inside the head of the interviewees.

The interviews were conducted in Danish for the convenience of the interviewees, and then transcribed in Danish too. Not until the process of coding were the underlying meanings translated into English. This procedure was followed to mitigate the risk of wrong interpretations. Further, errors arising from cultural differences should be minimal as both interviewer and interviewees were of Danish origin. Also, as interviewer I had an extended opportunity to understand references made to the corporate culture of Novo Nordisk, since I am myself a former employee of the company. This however, can also be seen as a limiting factor as some statements may be ‘over interpreted’.

9.

R

ESULTS

As it was stated in section 8.5 Analysis of the data the interviews were analysed individually first.

Therefore the results of each interview will be accounted for below in separate sections and a comparison will be summing up similarities and differences of the findings. To see the full applications of keywords to models please see appendix II-IV.

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 38

9.1.

T

HE POTENTIAL EMPLOYEE

When looking at the potential employee, the strategies of interaction affecting the perception, that had been most effective in the interviewee’s consciousness, were not advertisements but the face to face interaction. With regards to face to face interaction the formal interaction, such as events and speeches, proved to have made a bigger impression of the company’s employer brand than the informal interaction with friends. An intervening context factor would be that the pharmaceutical industry was found to be an interesting line of business, which is likely to influence the employer brand perception of Novo Nordisk, a large player in the pharmaceutical industry, in a positive direction. With this in place it is time to look at the causes of the perception of the Novo

Nordisk employer brand. The perception of the company as employer was that it is a successful company in growth with an aim of making a difference and finding the cure (to diabetes). There was also perceived to be multiple focus areas for the company (internally in Novo Nordisk referred to as the triple bottom line).

The consistency in the communicated message from the company coupled with the absence of bad publicity or bad word-of-mouth communication led to the consequent perception of Novo

Nordisk being a professional company experiencing success and growth. It is seen as a company with integrity and the moral in the right place that has credible values, though it was questioned whether these were too soft. The company was also seen to offer a career with big impact, development possibilities and at the same time caring about and appreciating the employees and providing a good work-life balance. The perception of Novo Nordisk’s employer brand was prevailingly positive.

Turning the attention to Miles and Mangold’s (2004) conceptualisation, face to face interaction was found to be the far most important influencer. The interviewee had had some informal face to face contact with friends, but mostly emphasised the partaking in events with speeches and possible interaction with Novo Nordisk employees. Furthermore, the absence of negative press, an external source, or word-of mouth communication from inside the company supported the consistency of the brand. When moving on in the model it can be seen that the communication that reaches the potential employee shapes and is perceived according to the psychological

contract. The potential employee does not work for the Novo Nordisk, but as argued in section 6

The ‘how to’ of employer branding, the formation of the psychological contract starts already in

the early phases of the employee life-cycle which are attraction and recruitment.

The interpretations of the company’s employer brand are still that Novo Nordisk is a professional company experiencing success and growth. It is a company with the moral in the right place and with integrity that has credible values that might be too soft. The company was seen to offer a career with big impact, development possibilities and care about and appreciate the employees, providing them a good work-life balance. The most relevant consequences of this positive employer brand perception by the potential employee are positive word-of-mouth communication

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 39

and lowered recruitment costs via amongst other parameters more qualified applicants and less unsuccessful recruitments. In addition, there can be possible positive spillover effects on corporate and product brands too.

The key words applied to the stimuli was career with big impact, inspiring company, possibilities, creating or improving something bigger, leaving a positive mark on the world, and possibility for choosing employer with matching values. This is in line with the objective meaning of the stimuli found when analysing it before the interviews and show a perception of both status and mobility but especially excitement. This perception again is in line with the results gained from the analysis of the interviewee’s perception of the Novo Nordisk employer brand above.

9.2.

T

HE CURRENT EMPLOYEE HIRED AFTER INITIATING THE EMPLOYER BRANDING PROJECT

Moving on to the current employee hired after the initiation of the employer branding programme at Novo Nordisk, there is an important context factor. She was hired just as she finished her education and was therefore highly targeted by potential future employers, amongst these Novo

Nordisk. When looking at the strategies of interaction and affecting the perception of Novo

Nordisk as employer, again advertisements had, according to the interviewee, been very little effective, as she described herself as very little receptive. One can speculate, whether the low effect of advertisements was due to her being new in the job market. This important intervening context factor of being a new entrant in the job market means that she was targeted with advertisements from a number of potential future employers. Instead and quite similar to the potential employee, event participation was a very important form of interaction with regards to influencing the interviewee’s perception. She had also been influenced by the company website though it was perceived to have more abstract than tangible information given the situation. And then it was also a factor that it is a company that is well-known from the media.

Having accounted for the context factor and the strategies of interaction we can move on to the causes of the perception of the Novo Nordisk employer brand, which were described as follows.

Novo Nordisk is a company of a certain size that therefore offers internal job rotation, but also the possibility of specialising in one area. Further, the recruitment process also showed that the company care about finding the right person for the right job. Additionally, it is a well-known employer with happy employees that feel challenged professionally. Such employees did, during the events participated in by Novo Nordisk, answer honestly to questions about for instance number of hours worked during the week, which led to the perception of Novo Nordisk being a professional company offering a good work-life balance but at the same time offering an environment for living out ambitions. It is also seen as a company, which put emphasis on choosing the right employees and focus on the development of the employees. The employees at

Novo Nordisk are seen to be proud of working there, and because the employees are seen as important assets that should be taken care of, there is a sense of community, stating that no one

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 40

could be spared and that everyone is important as they are working towards a greater aim (finding the cure of diabetes).

Then looking at Miles and Mangold’s (2004) conceptualisation the sources are in focus. The internal human resources management system was important with regard to putting emphasis on matching the person and the job, but formal external sources were the most prominent. Via public relations efforts the company is a well-known employer. The company also offers recruitment information on the company website, which did also play a role in the perception, but the most important source was once again the face to face interactions at presentations and events for students. The perception of Novo Nordisk as employer was, as described above, a professional company offering an opportunity for living out ambitions, but at the same time offering a good work-life balance. The employees at Novo Nordisk were perceived to be proud of working there, because they are important assets in the community of workers, where no one could be spared, as they are by joint efforts working towards a greater goal.

The most relevant future consequences will in this case be an increase in employer satisfaction and service quality, positive word-of-mouth communication and a decrease in employee turnover.

However looking back highly relevant consequences of the employer branding was an increase in qualified applicants and less unsuccessful recruitments.

It is obvious from the results of the coding that the interviewee has changed the perception of

Novo Nordisk very little since she was hired. Therefore it is reasonable to assume that the psychological contract, which was initially formed during the attraction and recruitment phases, is still upheld, and that there is consistency between the image communicated to the potential employees and the actual employment experience at Novo Nordisk.

With regards to the stimuli used in the interview the key words attached to these were focus on employee development, making employees feel important, and a sense of community working for a greater aim. This is very much symbols of status and mobility, and some excitement can also be identified. This is in line with the objective meaning of the stimuli found when analysing it before the interviews. This perception is therefore again in line with the results gained from the analysis of the interviewee’s perception of the Novo Nordisk employer brand above, but with a slight difference in the emphasis compared to the potential employee.

9.3.

T

HE CURRENT EMPLOYEE HIRED PRIOR TO THE EMPLOYER BRANDING PROJECT

The interviewee representing the third strata, the current employee, who was hired before the initiation of the employer branding project at Novo Nordisk, felt that being present at the workplace every day was the thing most affecting her. Further strategies of interaction included job advertisements noticed and meeting other Novo Nordisk employees outside the company and experiencing, which types of people they are. No intervening context factors were obvious from the interview. Causes of the perception of the employer brand of the company were mainly the

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 41

open and attentive attitude that gave the employees the possibility to work independently, and the mutual respect between the employer and the employees. Furthermore, the consistency in image internally and externally was also a causing factor, as it shows that the company is not just trying to sell itself with empty words but is actually following through. The perception, which this leads to, is that Novo Nordisk is a credible, open, attentive and modern company. And a job at

Novo Nordisk is a job to be proud of and a job that will make you happy. Additionally, the company was seen to be ambitious, committed and sympathetic.

In Miles and Mangold’s (2004) model several sources were influencers of the interpretation of the employer brand. When looking at the internal sources the open and attentive attitudes can be linked to the formal human resource management system of the company. Informally, there was a co-worker influence with both friends and acquaintances being employed by the same company.

But also just the fact that the probability of randomly meeting other colleagues not known in advance is somewhat bigger than most other employers due to the size of the company. External sources were only represented by job advertisements, which the interviewee had noticed, but the consistency in the internal and the external communication was important for the experienced employer brand perception.

When turning to the stimuli used in the interviews the key words for this interviewee were a job that will make you happy every day, a good job and a sympathetic company. This subjective meaning deviates a little from the objective meaning of creating excitement and signalling status and mobility, but looking at the three categories defined by Ewing, Pitt et al. (2002) the transnational employer brand does come closest of the three with the characteristics being that it is a global company and that it is big and successful and an employment proposition is described as “we’re big, we’re stable, we’re multinational and we’re a respected and admired company - why look any further?” (Ewing, Pitt et al. 2002).

9.4.

C

OMPARISON

When comparing the analysis of the three interviews, the actual perceived employer brand of

Novo Nordisk is quite similar. So they reach more or less the same result but are influenced by different sources, causes and strategies of interaction. Surprisingly the third interviewee, the current employee that had been with the Novo Nordisk group for eight years and thereby since before the initiation of the employer branding programme, was the only one of the interviewees to have noticed job advertisements. She was also the only one to recognise co-workers’ influence on the perception of the identity of the company as employer. The potential employee and the current employee hired recently were both very influenced by events and face-to-face communication with employees of the company, and more so in formal settings than informal.

The similarity in the way these two interviewees were affected may be due to the perception of the current, but recently hired employee was formed mainly in the recruitment phase and had not changed much since then, as stated above.

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 42

Both of the current employees had been affected by the human resource management within the company, which is only reasonable to assume to be a general tendency for employees. The human resource management of the company is exactly there to manage the people of the company. But according to The Conference Board (2001), the objectives of a company’s human resource management systems are in very close connection to the employer branding activities of the company.

Another general tendency was the fact that both the potential employee and the current employees were mostly influenced by sources or strategies of interaction actually aimed at the segment they belong to. Furthermore, all of the interviewees agreed that the consistency between the internal and external employer branding was important for them, and this was a contributing factor to their perception of the employer brand of the company.

All of the current and potential employees’ subjective perceptions of the stimuli used, the slogan

‘Life changing careers’ and the four subheaders; the Novo Nordisk way, making a difference, my opportunities and a successful company, were similar to the objective meaning found by analysing the stimuli prior to the interviews. It can therefore be concluded that all of the three interviewees had similar perceptions of the employer brand of Novo Nordisk, perceptions roughly equal to the objective employer brand of the company. But these brand perceptions were not interpreted on the background of the same sources.

10.

I

MPLICATIONS OF THE RESULTS

Going back to the problem formulation of the study the main aim was to clarify

whether alignment of internally aimed employer branding efforts and externally aimed employer branding efforts should be aligned

and to do that

find out how externally aimed employer branding efforts affect current employees and how internally aimed employer branding efforts affect potential employees.

A secondary issue was therefore as a consequence of the primary issue

to find out which forms of communication that affects current and potential employees’ view of the company and how this affects the expectation forming.

As can be seen above when comparing the interviews, different forms of communication affected the interviewees with regards to their perception of the employer brand of Novo Nordisk. Mostly the interviewees were affected by communication targeting their segment (current / potential employee). But even though the sources of influence were different, both the potential employee and the current employees were affected in similar ways and had positive perceptions of Novo

Nordisk as employer. Several key words were also repeated in the different interviews such as successful, professional, credible, committed company, possibilities, work-life balance, a job to be proud of, employee focus and working towards a greater goal. So even though the interviewees were in different situations and even in different stages of the employee life cycle, they had a similar perception of Novo Nordisk as employer. This was confirmed when comparing objective

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 43

and subjective meanings of the employer branding of the company used as stimuli in the interview.

Novo Nordisk has not formally aligned their internally aimed and externally aimed employer branding efforts. They have a formalised externally aimed employer branding programme, but not a formal internally aimed employer branding programme (Page, Kolle 2011). However, the externally aimed employer branding process is based on the internal perception of the employer branding. They have used the so-called inside-out approach when building their branding

platform, as suggested by McKenzie and Glynn (2001). As mentioned in section 6 The ‘how to’ of employer branding, McKenzie and Glynn (2001) suggest basing the externally aimed employer

branding process on knowledge gained when asking current employees ‘what is compelling and differentiating about working here’, and devising a recruitment strategy inspired by the question

“how do we get the message across to potential recruits in a way that demonstrates the reality of what we have to offer” (McKenzie, Glynn 2001, p. 23). These questions were also used as an inspiration when making the interview guide for the interviews, and the main idea of this approach to employer branding is that the recruitment story should reflect, what the company offers employees when they join the company.

It has been possible for the company to take an inside out approach to employer branding process, because they have a strong internal employer brand both in Denmark but also abroad, and therefore the main aim of the employer branding project has been to create a higher awareness of the Novo Nordisk employer brand especially abroad (Engelund, Buchhave 2009). If linking this to the strategic five step model suggested by Englund and Buchhave (2009) outlined in

section 5.1 Employer branding as a strategic initiative and in Figure 6, this is the first two steps of

the model. First the aim of the initiative should be made clear, which in this case is to increase the awareness of Novo Nordisk as employer. Ambler and Barrow also identified awareness as a key factor to be able to recruit the best people (Abler, Barrow 1996). Then the target group should be decided upon. Here Novo Nordisk chose to focus on potential employees as they found to have a bigger present challenge in their hiring than their retention mainly because 75% of new hires should happen outside Denmark in the future, where the company is less known (Engelund,

Buchhave 2009). So far Novo Nordisk has mostly focused on potential employees, which according there to Ewing, Pitt et al. (2002) has been a tendency to do when having a bipartite target group.

Though Lloyd (2002) argued that companies are starting to realise that the internal target group is equally important, which also seems to be the case with Novo Nordisk.

The employer branding process was described as a three step approach by Backhaus and Tikoo

(2004), which is relatively similar to the inside-out approach of McKezie and Glynn (2001).

Backhaus and Tikoo (2004) state that an employer value proposition should be developed in the first phase based on the organisational culture, management style, qualities of current employees, current employees’ image and impressions of product or service quality of the company. This employer value proposition should make it clear what particular value the company can offer to

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 44

potential or current employees and should therefore be a true representation of the above mentioned parameters. The employer value proposition should then be used in the externally aimed employer branding in the second step of the employer branding process. Where Backhaus and Tikoo (2004) separate themselves is with the third step of their employer branding process, which is the internal marketing of the employer value proposition to make sure the organisation lives up to their promise made to potential employees.

So according to Backhaus and Tikoo’s (2004) outline of the employer branding process Novo

Nordisk has been through step one, is still working on step two and have not yet implemented step three. And here the company find itself at a crossroads of its employer branding. Should the company stick with the inside out approach, or should it implement the employer branding to the cover internally aimed processes also and thereby fully align its employer branding efforts?

According to Backhaus and Tikoo (2004) the company should take the further step and implement internally aimed employer branding efforts of the employer value proposition to make sure it can live up to the promises made to potential employees. However, according to the findings, consistency was not only important to the potential employee but also for the current employees.

Therefore some sort of alignment must be said to be important. Novo Nordisk has already a relative high alignment, because they have based its employer value proposition on the internal values of the company, but to have a continuous alignment it may need to take the step further and implement the internally aimed employer branding efforts of the employer value proposition.

11.

L

EARNING AND

R

ECOMMENDATIONS

If aiming for continuous alignment between external and internal employer branding efforts this must be monitored in one way of another. This is an area in which recommendations in the literature is very scarce, though it has been suggested that such measuring can be implemented in the balanced scorecard ((Bergstrom, Anderson 2000-2001), (Engelund, Buchhave 2009)) – a strategic management tool already used by Novo Nordisk. Bergstrom and Anderson (2000-2001) goes a step further and suggest using key performance indicators such as:

Effectiveness of new employees

Effectiveness of training

Percentage of employees trained

Voluntary separation rate

Time per recruited new employee

Additionally the consequences from Miles and Mangold’s (2004) conceptualisation can be translated into the following key performance indicators:

Employee turnover

Employee satisfaction

Service quality

Customer retention

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 45

Potential for positive / negative word-of-mouth communication

Recruitment costs

Qualified applicants

Unsuccessful recruitments

Positive spillover effects on corporate and product brands

((Miles, Mangold 2004), (McKenzie, Glynn 2001), (Engelund, Buchhave 2009))

The key performance indicators of the above that are most relevant for ensuring continuous alignment will probably be recruitment time and costs, unsuccessful recruitments, qualified applicants, employee turnover, the voluntary separation rate, employee satisfaction, and potential for positive or negative word-of-mouth communication.

With regards to the recruitment of new talent to the company, suggested key performance indicators as unsuccessful recruitments, number of qualified applicants for positions and recruitment time and costs are relevant. Even though unsuccessful recruitments and number of qualified applicants can give an indication of whether the company is perceived positively as employer externally to the company or not, it may though also be influenced by the general financial situation in the markets and the unemployment rate. Furthermore, it only reveals information on how the company is seen from outside the company and is therefore only telling half the story.

To gain the full insight in the employer brand perception of the company, it is also necessary to look at the internal situation in the company. Employee turnover, which is already being measured by Novo Nordisk, and the voluntary separation rate will give a clear picture of the retention of employees, which is also an aim of the employer branding. If employees are furthermore asked for their reason when leaving the company, this will give more information on whether or not it is due to a misalignment in the internally and the externally aimed employer branding efforts. It is important to measure the retention of employees in the company, because it cost money to recruit and train the best people, so if they do not stay with the company, the company does not get a return on the investment in human capital (Abler, Barrow 1996).

However, it is also possible to get indications of a possible misalignment does not require anyone leaving the company. In the annual employee satisfaction survey eVoice the company measures the satisfaction of their employees (Page, Kolle 2011). This survey can therefore reveal dissatisfaction amongst employees. Questions, regarding whether expectations to the company as employer, are fulfilled or not can be included in such a survey. And it can even be possible to get an indication of potential for positive or negative word-of-mouth communication by asking for instance whether the employees would recommend Novo Nordisk as employer. These are very similar measures to market surveys for products and fit well with the mind-set of employees being internal customers and jobs being internal products. The area of key performance indicators for

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 46

use in measuring employer brand perception, as well as alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts, is an area with lots of potential for future research, since this has not been tested and given clear guidelines for. So far, the report from The Conference Board

(2001) suggest that employers have chosen to measure what was easiest to measure, because it have not been easy to pinpoint exact key performance indicators, which can measure the success of the employer branding effort.

A continuous alignment will also be an advantage with respect to Novo Nordisk’s employees functioning as natural ambassadors of the company, which has been the case so far (Engelund,

Buchhave 2009). Because loyal, motivated employees can act as natural ambassadors for the company and be a valuable source of new employees, they can act as ambassadors in externally aimed employer branding activities ((Engelund, Buchhave 2009), (Bergstrom, Anderson 2000-

2001)). As the interviews revealed that face-to-face communication, even though mostly so in formal settings, was very important, this is definitely something that Novo Nordisk should invest in. And it looks, as if the company takes the final step and implements the internally aimed employer branding effort of the employer value proposition, the employer branding efforts of the company can become a self-reinforcing process.

Two things that can become obstacles for the employer branding effort are budget and management issues. This was reported by The Conference Board (2001), who further stated that

“fears and habitual attitudes of management were frequently reported as obstacles of branding success” (The Conference Board 2001, p. 27). This is because management have the final say in approving budgets and strategic initiatives. Engelund and Buchhave (2009) also mention that it is crucial to have management support when engaging in employer branding. Ambler and Barrow

(1996) also thought that management commitment was very important because building up a brand is a long-term effort. And not unlike product or corporate brands, what takes years of investments to build up can be vulnerable to critical incidents and experience crippling damage if not managed correctly.

12.

C

ONCLUSIONS

The aim of this thesis was to gain further knowledge on specific aspects of employer branding and doing it via a real life case study using a company as case, as much of the previous literature was based on studies involving students or literature reviews. Using Novo Nordisk, the multinational pharmaceutical company originating from Denmark as case, the aim was to find out whether alignment of internally aimed and externally aimed employer branding efforts would be recommendable, as this has not been clear from prior literature. To find out whether an alignment would be recommendable, a study was planned to illustrate how and by what potential and current employees were influenced with regards to their perception of the employer brand of

Novo Nordisk.

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 47

A qualitative case study of Novo Nordisk was chosen to find empiric evidence for the above mentioned purpose. A sample of a potential employee, a current but recently hired employee and a current employee, who have been with Novo Nordisk since before the initiation of the employer branding project, was selected. Focused interviews were conducted using the employer branding slogan ‘Life changing careers’ and the four subheaders describing the Novo Nordisk employer value proposition being: The Novo Nordisk way, making a difference, my opportunities, a successful company used as stimuli. Before the interviews the stimuli was analysed and found to be signalling status, mobility, and excitement according to Ewing, Pitt et al. (2002). The interviews were analysed using both the paradigm model suggested by Flick (2009) and the Miles and

Mangold’s (2004) conceptualisation of employee branding. Lastly, the perceived employer brand from the stimuli was compared to the objective meaning found in the analysis before the interviews.

In the analysis of the interviews, it was discovered that the three interviewees had similar perceptions of the employer brand even though they had been influenced in different ways. Both the potential employee and the recently hired current employee had been influenced mainly during Novo Nordisk events, whereas the top influencer of the current but not recently hired employee was the workplace itself. The sources which had been affecting the interviewees were therefore the sources intended to influence them in their given situation. The interviewees, as a result of their interaction with the company, had a perception of Novo Nordisk being a successful, professional, credible and committed company with an employee focus offering possibilities, a good work-life balance, a job to be proud of, and working towards a greater goal. Thus both the triple bottom line and the proclaimed aim of finding the cure for diabetes, two highly important issues for Novo Nordisk, are evident in this description.

An important finding was that the consistency of the communication had played a role for all interviewees in the perception of the employer brand. This is despite the fact that Novo Nordisk does not have a formalised internal employer branding effort but only a formal externally aimed employer branding effort. However, this could be due to the fact that Novo Nordisk based their externally aimed employer branding efforts on the internal values in the company using the insideout approach suggested by McKenzie and Glynn (2001). It has been possible for the company to use this inside-out approach because the company has a quite strong internal employer brand.

The aim of the Novo Nordisk employer branding project is to increase the awareness of Novo

Nordisk as employer – especially abroad where 75% of the future new employees should be hired.

When referring to Backhaus and Tikoo’s (2004) three step approach in employer branding, Novo

Nordisk has not yet taken the third step of fully aligning the internal and external employer branding efforts by implementing internal branding of the employer value proposition. However, from the results of the interviews it is recommendable to do this for Novo Nordisk to fully align their internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts. This is especially due to the importance of the consistency in communication, which was a key point found in all of the three

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 48

interviews. A full alignment can also make sure that Novo Nordisk employees will keep being good ambassadors for the company, because it can become a self-reinforcing process. It can become a self-reinforcing process because natural ambassadors will represent the company well in both formal and informal settings and can also be a source of new employees.

A further advantage of the full and continued alignment of the internally and externally employer branding processes is that employees when recruited carry the expectations into the company and will then feel that the psychological contract is upheld, if the branding is consistent. But to secure the continuous alignment it is recommendable to follow up the employer branding efforts by measuring them with key performance indicators maybe even incorporated in the balanced scorecard of the company. Interesting key performance indicators to look at could be recruitment related measures such as unsuccessful recruits, qualified applicants, and recruitment time and costs per hire. But also retention related measures such as employer turnover, voluntary retention rate, and employee satisfaction through the yearly satisfaction survey. In this survey questions about whether expectations have been met and whether employees would recommend Novo

Nordisk as employer can be incorporated to gain further knowledge. Though the area of key performance indicators with regards to employer branding is an area with very little recommendations in the literature and is therefore an obvious area for further research.

It can be concluded that internally aimed and externally aimed employer branding efforts are in fact two sides of the same coin. They can to some extent function separately, but if the two processes are not aligned consistency will be missing and the credibility of the employer brand will therefore decrease. Furthermore, if the processes are not aligned and the internal and external employer brands are different, this may lead to newly recruited employees not finding the psychological contract being upheld and therefore feel less motivated and less loyal to the company. Ensuring consistency alignment is therefore key and this is a step in the direction of utilising the full potential of the employer branding efforts.

13.

B

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A

PPENDIX

I – T

HE

N

OVO

N

ORDISK

W

AY

T

HE SECTION ON

THE

N

OVO

N

ORDISK WAY

FROM THE ANNUAL REPORT

2010:

The Novo Nordisk Way is the foundation of the values-based management system in Novo

Nordisk. It describes who we are, where we want to go, and how we work. Its origins can be traced back to when the company was founded in the 1920s, and while the wording has been updated over, the essence remains the same.

The continued relevance of the Novo Nordisk Way was reaffirmed during 2010. On the occasion of the company's ten-year anniversary as a focused healthcare company and coinciding with his own ten-year tenure as CEO, Lars Rebien Sørensen took the opportunity to revisit the document. With an open mind and no predetermined outcome, he set out on a journey to engage with employees and stakeholders to seek their inputs on what to retain and what to renew. The journey took him to 7 destinations and face-to-face meetings with more than 350 employees and 100 patients, healthcare providers and other stakeholders. The response was consistent across geographical borders, organisational boundaries and external partners: The messages and the values embedded in the Novo Nordisk Way were not to be changed. On the contrary, there was a strong wish to reinforce the existing business principles and values. More specifically a more explicit focus on patients needs and TBL to ensure that the Novo Nordisk Way clearly mirror our actions. The values-based management unifies a strong corporate culture and guides behaviour in all parts of the organisation.

While our values have not changed, the components of the Novo Nordisk Way have been shortened and simplified, presenting the company's ambitions and values in a format that is easier to understand and more accessible for all employees.

Importantly, as the company continues to grow and onboards several thousand new employees each year, emphasis has been put on framing a list of ten Essentials which describe how the values are put into action. Like before, a follow-up methodology helps us assess and manage the degree to which the Novo Nordisk Way is actively put into practice throughout our company.

In 2011 the new Novo Nordisk Way was introduced to the organisaiton, with a range of activities and tools that will help strengthen a unified culture around our revised ambitions, setting a clear direction for the next decade.

T

HE

N

OVO

N

ORDISK

W

AY

In 1923, our Danish founders began a journey to change diabetes. Today, we number thousands of employees across the world with the passion, the skills and the commitment to continue this journey to prevent, treat and ultimately cure diabetes.

Our ambition is to strengthen our leadership in diabetes.

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 53

We aspire to change possibilities in haemophilia and other serious chronic conditions where we can make a difference.

Our key contribution is to discover and develop innovative biological medicines and make them accessible to patients throughout the world.

Growing our business and delivering competitive financial results is what allows us to help patients live better lives, offer an attractive return to our shareholders and contribute to our communities.

Our business philosophy is one of balancing financial, social and environmental considerations – we call it the Triple Bottom Line.

We are open and honest, ambitious and accountable, and treat everyone with respect.

We offer opportunities for our people to realise their potential.

We never compromise on quality and business ethics.

Every day we must make difficult choices, always keeping in mind what is best for patients, our employees and our shareholders in the long run.

It’s the Novo Nordisk Way.

T

HE

E

SSENTIALS

The Essentials are 10 statements describing what the Novo Nordisk Way looks like in practice. The

Essentials are meant as a help to managers and employees in evaluating to what extent their organisational unit acts in accordance with the Novo Nordisk Way, the degree to which we 'walk the talk'.

The Essentials are helpful in identifying actions which business units may take to further align processes and procedures with the thinking and values that characterise the Novo Nordisk Way.

We create value by having a patient-centred business approach

We set ambitious goals and strive for excellence

We are accountable for our financial, environmental and social performance

We provide innovation to the benefit of our stakeholders

We build and maintain good relations with our key stakeholders

We treat everyone with respect

We focus on personal performance and development

We have a healthy and engaging working environment

We optimise the way we work and strive for simplicity

We never compromise on quality and business ethics

Read more about the Novo Nordisk Way on our corporate website.

F

OLLOW

-

UP METHODOLOGY

Novo Nordisk uses specific follow up methods to ensure ongoing and systemic documentation of performance. These include financial, social and environmental reporting, succession management and organisational audits.

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 54

To evaluate the extent to which each business unit operates in accordance with the Novo Nordisk

Way of Management, we use an internal facilitation process. Facilitations are conducted by a team of senior people with deep understanding of our business and business environment.

All units undergo a facilitation at least once every three years. Observations from this process are reported to the Board each December.

As part of the follow-up methodology, we have a global facilitator team consisting of senior people with deep understanding of our business and the business environment.

They evaluate the extent to which business units operate in compliance with the Novo Nordisk

Way of Management. Areas identified for increased focus include future business direction and prioritising process improvement initiatives.

In 2010, 93% of all action points, based on a three-year average, were closed in a timely manner, which is consistent with 2009.

(Novo Nordisk 2011)

NOVO NORDISK, 2011-last update, Novo Nordisk Way [Homepage of Novo Nordisk], [Online].

Available: http://annualreport2010.novonordisk.com/governance/novo-nordisk-way.aspx

[20 APR

2011, 2011].

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 55

A

PPENDIX

II – A

NALYSIS OF INTERVIEW WITH POTENTIAL EMPLOYEE

:

T

HE PARADIGM MODEL

Participating in events

Face to face contact

(formal / informal)

Absence of negative press

Consistancy in communicated image

Telling a good story about the company

Employee focus

More than one focus area

(tripple bottom line)

Perception of

Novo Nordisk's employer brand

Sucess & Growth

Professional

Compny with integrity

Trustworthy company

Care about employees

Making a difference

Possibilities

Maybe too much focus on soft values

Pharmaceutical industry

M

ILES AND

M

ANGOLD

S

(2004)

CONCEPTUALISATION

SOURCES OF

MESSAGES

• External

•Formal

• Advertising - low influence

• PR - No negative press

• Presentations of high importance - telling a good story about the company

• Consistancy in communication

PERCEPTIONS

• Employee psychee

• Psychological contract

INTERPRETATIONS

• Professional

• Successful

• Growth

• Moral in the right place and integrity

• Credible values

(though maybee too soft)

• Career with big impact

• Development possibilities

• care about and appreciate employees

• good work-life balance

CONSEQUENSES

• Positive word-ofmouth

Communication

• Recruitment costs

• Qualified applicants 

• Unsuccessful recruitments 

• Positive spillover effects on corporate and product brands

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 56

A

PPENDIX

III – A

NALYSIS OF INTERVIEW WITH CURRENT EMPLOYEE HIRED

AFTER INITIATION OF EMPLOYER BRANDING PROJECT

:

T

HE PARADIGM MODEL

Big company

Possibilities for internal job rotation

Possibility to specialise in one area

Well known employer

Happy employees

Challenged professionally

Care about finding the right position for the right person

Honest answers from current empluyees wbout Novo Nordisk as employer

Partaking in events for students

Arranging own event and choosing students to participate with professional challenges and info about company

Known from the media

Website - abstract

Perception of

Novo Nordisk's employer brand

Professional

Work-life balance

Possibility to live out ambitions

Put emphasis in chosing the right employee

Proud emploees

Focus on development of employees

Sense of community - could not spare anyone

- everyone are important

Working towards a greater goal with joint efforts (finding the cure)

Employees an important asset to be taken care of

Just finished education and looking for the first job, when hired, therefore higly targeted by potential future employees

M

ILES AND

M

ANGOLD

S

(2004)

CONCEPTUALISATION

SOURCES OF MESSAGES

• Internal

• Formal

• HRM systems - focus on hiring the right person

• External

• Formal

• PR - well known from media

• Website - abstract

• Presentations - events for students

PERCEPTIONS

• Employee psychee

• Psychological contract

INTERPRETATIONS

• Professional

• Work-life balance

• Possibility of living out ambitions

• Put emphasis in chosing the right employee & focus on development of employees

• Proud emploees

• Sense of community

- could not spare anyone - everyone are important

• Working towards a greater goal with joint efforts

(finding the cure)

• Employees an important asset to be taken care of

CONSEQUENSES

• Employee turnover

• Empoyee satisfaction 

• Service quality 

• Positive word-ofmouth

Communication

• Recruitment costs

• Qualified applicants

• Unsuccessful recruitments 

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 57

A

PPENDIX

IV – A

NALYSIS OF INTERVIEW WITH CURRENT EMPLOYEE HIRED

BEFORE INITIATION OF EMPLOYER BRANDING PROJECT

:

T

HE PARADIGM MODEL

Being present in the workplace - internal communication

Meeting Novo Nordisk employees outside work

Job advertisements

Open and attentive attitude

Possibilities of working independently

Mutual respect between employee and employer

Consistent image

Perception of

Novo Nordisk's employer brand

Credible, open, attentive, and modern company

A job to be proud of

A good job that will make you happy

Ambitious and committed company

Sympathetic company

M

ILES AND

M

ANGOLD

S

(2004)

CONCEPTUALISATION

SOURCES OF MESSAGES

• Internal

• Formal

• HR systems - open and attentive

• Informal

• Coworker influence

• External

• Formal

• Job advertisements - a job to be proud of

• Consistancy in internal and external communication

PERCEPTIONS

• Employee psychee

• Psychological contract

INTERPRETATIONS

• Open & attentive

• Credible

• A job to be proud of

• Modern company

• Ambitious & committed company

• Sympathetic company

• A job that will make you happy every day

CONSEQUENSES

• Employee turnover

• Empoyee satisfaction 

• Service quality 

• Customer retention

• Positive word-ofmouth communication

Alignment of internally and externally aimed employer branding efforts | 58

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