Given the hyper-competitiveness of today’s employment environment, organisations have had to invest a lot of resources on strengthening the employer/employee relationship. From employer branding to engagement surveys, HR has been at the centre of developing new strategies to increase employee retention. Grace Munsayac, Thailand HR Director at Yum! Brands, hosted ChapmanCG and 22 other HR leaders to discuss “why people join and why they stay” and how organisations can effectively use employer branding to affect attrition.

External Employer Branding

Those in attendance broke the discussion up into two parts and first looked at external employer branding, specifically how they can overcome building an interest in their brands. Wisan Sirikul, Commercial HRBP from RB Group, says it’s not about the mission or the vision posted on the website, but is about social media and engaging with a larger audience. “And don’t be afraid to borrow good external ideas and then make them your own,” suggests Neil Russell, Global HR Lead from RMA Group.

  • Engage with your LinkedIn and Facebook audiences with a sense of humour.
  • Share and post relevant information that will strengthen your brand.
  • Spend money on your product itself. It is a powerful tool on its own. When customers have a good product experience, it in turns gives them a positive glimpse inside the company.
  • Keep the focus on the employee experience, not a tagline or a slogan.
  • Encourage employees to get involved as external employer branding is a shared responsibility.

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Internal Employer Branding

All the HR leaders in attendance agreed that to achieve successful external employer branding, you first had to start with internal branding. Sirikul suggests creating brand ambassadors within the organisation. “Internal branding is a key component of building good external branding and it is all about getting the message out of the door,” he says. No matter how much positive changes have taken place within the organisation, a pre-transformation image/reputation of the organisation will remain in the market so long as employees are not spreading the word externally.

Host, Munsayac says: “Empower your employees and get them involved. When they have a say in creating solutions—and not always relying on management—they’ll naturally have more engagement.” She shares a story how empowering employees, allowing them to own problems as well as solutions increased engagement from 58% to 85%.

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But is all attrition bad?

Many of the HR leaders agreed that not all attrition is bad. There needs to be a healthy percentage of employee turnover. While no organisation wants to be revolving door, it’s important to note that former employees can be brand ambassadors as well. They leave and gain valuable experiences, and if you treat them well, they can return armed with new knowledge that can have a positive impact on your business.

Jeffrey Lee, Global Head of People Operations and Talent from Agoda, says, “Employees will leave and so the key is to focus on the ones you wanted to keep, but couldn’t. If you let them have an impact, train them even though you know they’re going to leave one day, they will be an ambassador for your company down the road.” He reiterated that employees “want experiences, not slogans. They want to feel productive at work and make a difference.”

Lee also says that in this age of explosive technology, attrition isn’t something he overly worries about. “In e-commerce, the pace is too fast. We started off with the majority of Thai locals and those were familiar with desktop and the lower types of technology. And if we had focused too much on attrition—on retaining them—then we wouldn’t have kept up with the market or the pace at which technology is changing. You have to know your business and your industry. Sometimes, a revolving door is okay.”