Interview: When HR meets branding, miracles will happen.


Costin Oane Founder BroHouse

How important is the brand in the HR activity? There are many discussions about the concept of “employer brand”, what does it mean and how do you think it is recognized in Romania? 

A strong brand not only attracts loyal clients as well as valuable candidates and each company’s brand becomes more and more relevant in the process of recruiting “talents”. The “employer brand” is described as one of the most important trends for the moment, but it is in the last places when it comes to implementation, understanding and investing money. In the Romanian labour market, the concept of employer brand is an evenly new one, which has received increased attention especially among the multinational corporations operating on the Romanian market. I could not say that the “employer brand” is the exclusive privilege of the big corporations because there are also examples of Romanian businesses and start-ups, which develop their own employer brand nicely.

Making a strong employer brand is not a “magic recipe” but it is a long-term strategy with multiple effects, which can translate to attracting well-trained employees and increasing retention rates. Many corporations and organizations in Romania, seem to be discouraged and powerless in starting the construction of the employer brand, this process is a long one, and which needs to be carefully consolidated and maintained. The bad news is that it never ends and the seduction of the “public” must be kept alive all times.

Certainly, poor management will never support such a process, which is not a concrete, tangible, material product and which is built from your mental elements: perceptions, opinions, beliefs about a particular company.

To which department are the activities related to the creation of the employer brand and its own management subordinated?

It is a legitimate question and probably the answer to many managers would be: the HR department. In the opinion of many corporations, the development efforts are to a certain extent the HR department, which is why the principle ” if HR isn’t, nothing is” it continues to operate obstinately in the management of many businesses. Obviously, it is an exaggeration of the role of this department. Such thinking belongs to the field of the past and the responsibility for the construction and development of the employer brand which is not entirely the responsibility of the HR department.    

When HR will help with branding, miracles will happen. The effects of branding actions are also visible in the use and performance of HR in the hiring arena. The life of the HR department could be much easier and more efficient, with the promise that HR will focus a serious partnership with an internal or external branding expert, and followed by the most frequent and direct participation of the management.

What would be the benefits of developing such a process, but also the risks? How do small companies at the “beginning of the road” do not have the financial strength and reputation of multinational companies?

For mature and traditional brands, the first benefit would be low HR costs, due to employee loyalty, the firm does not have to replace existing employees with new ones, retention costs being lower than HR costs. Probably the most important benefit is the high level of involvement that makes the employees work better and be more careful with the company’s assets and values.   

Even young companies at the “beginning of the road” that did not have time to build a well-established, can use employer branding to attract suitable talent. A feature of the employer brand of these start-ups is that they are formed rather organically and are often a direct extension of the founder’s personality.    

An erroneous and extremely common practice in Romania, both in the construction and development of a brand and the employer brand, is setting unrealistic and often false expectations. In many cases, the image created before hiring does not correspond to the reality inside the company, and thus there is the risk of creating incorrect and over-promising expectations on both sides. No more, no less, the brand of any organization must communicate the recognized values ​​within the company. 

This interview was offered for PR Romania. Take a look!