Captivating Company: Dimensions of Attractiveness in Employer Branding

Pierre Berthon
Bentley College

Michael Ewing
Monash University

Li Lian Hah
MPH, Malaysia

INTRODUCTION

Until fairly recently, customers were seen to be only those external to the organisation. Indeed, many managers would argue that externally oriented marketing is difficult enough without introducing the notion of 'internal customers' (Ewing & Caruana 1999). The internal marketing concept argues that the organisation's personnel are the first market of any company (George & Gronroos 1989; George 1990), the rationale being that employees are internal customers and jobs are internal products. Job products must attract, develop and motivate employees, thereby satisfying the needs and wants of these internal customers, while addressing the overall objectives of the organisation (Berry & Parasuraman 1991). In fact, Kotler (1994) defines internal marketing as 'the task of successfully hiring, training and motivating able employees to serve the customer well'. The present study is concerned primarily with the successful 'hiring of employees' in Kotler's (1994) definition. It examines how astute employers can embrace the principles and practices associated with external brand management and marketing communication, internally. In other words, it extends beyond the HRM notion of recruitment advertising (Gatewood et al. 1993) and considers how firms might assess the degree to which they are considered to be 'employers of choice' and in the process, attract the highest-calibre employees. It is generally recognised that intellectual and human capital is the foundation of competitive advantage in the modern economy. Accordingly, the contest among employers to attract and retain talented workers takes place in a world where technological advances and global competition are driving widespread change in employment patterns (Osborn-Jones 2001). This paper begins by considering the effect of an organisation's advertising on its own employees. Next, we broaden the focus to internal branding and employer branding. We then introduce and define the concept of employer attractiveness and develop a reliable and valid scale to assess the construct. Implications of the approach are then considered, limitations noted and future research direction outlined.