Employer Branding Key to Success

As the head of a human resources service firm, I feel there are gradual yet inevitable shifts occurring in both management and hiring trends among Japanese companies.

Many are expanding operations from the local to the global stage, which means they need talent to drive their international growth. These firms require an increasing number of specialist staff with particular experience and knowledge, rather than just generalists.

They need bright employees who can bring innovation to their business portfolio. We have also seen a noticeable shift from manufacturing to service-oriented organisations.

At the same time, many firms say there is a serious shortage of talent who can drive their business to reach the next level. Where are the engineering or financial specialists? Where are the global and sales-minded people?

Some employers claim it’s not possible to find the right candidates. But is this really true?

On a macro level and over the long term, yes, there is a shortage of talent, or at least that’s what we all read in the newspaper. That is exactly why the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is aiming for fundamental labour reform, and it seems we can anticipate that the country will move towards greater prosperity.

However, the impact of Abenomics will only be visible over the long term—so, shall we give up looking for qualified staff until then?

According to government labour statistics, some 2.6mn engineering specialists are currently employed in Japan. In finance and accounting, there are 1.6mn specialists, and 3.5mn specialists are working in sales. The point is that these people with specialised skill sets are out there, but perhaps they’re just not working for your firm.

So, how do you attract these qualified individuals? This is exactly where employer branding comes in.

Randstad has been conducting a global survey on this topic. The survey has revealed the most attractive firms and industries in each major market. We believe attractive employer branding not only is the key to successful HR management, but also heavily impacts the growth of a company.

Employer branding refers to an organisation’s reputation in the marketplace.

Of course, there is no single factor influencing the attractiveness of a firm; there are always multiple conditions and systems that contribute to people’s perceptions.

Some businesses have strong employer brands in terms of career progression offered, while others are appealing their commitment to work-life balance. Ultimately, financial health and job security determine the labour market’s preference for a particular firm.

Employer branding is also important because candidates tend to closely monitor a firm’s reputation when considering opportunities there.

Nowadays, social media has created new communication lines between organisations and the general public. One person’s opinion can significantly impact a firm’s reputation in many ways, both positive and negative.

It is now common for individuals to share their support of certain groups or organisations with friends and the public through various media outlets. The stronger the support a firm receives from its “fans”, the stronger its employer branding.

A company operating in multiple countries/regions/areas should bear in mind that the factors influencing people’s perceptions of employer branding differ by market. The extent to which a firm understands these factors will determine its degree of success in recruiting and retaining good employees.

Many Japanese firms offer excellent technology platforms, products and salary compensation schemes. They typically expand their global operations with a long-term vision focused on growth.

However, in many cases, potential candidates are unaware of the benefits that come with employment at these firms. Thus, all too often, Japanese companies are missing out on opportunities to develop employer branding.

To attract, engage and retain talented staff, employer branding is vital.

For more information about employer branding, visit www.randstad.co.jp/award/