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Employer branding is a term used to represent a firm’s reputation as an employer and to highlight the overall image of a business as a great place to work in the minds of current staff members. Existing employees are considered as the most important resource; without which it is not possible for businesses to survive in the market (Sivertzen, Nilsen and Olafsen, 2013). It is also defined as the long term use of marketing tools by businesses with the motive of enhancing and differentiating the set of tangible and intangible gains that a business promises to provide for its current and prospective staff members. These gains may be economic or psychological (Mosley, 2014)
The focus of the present paper is on a case of a chain of restaurants known as Las Iguanas. This chain has been widely known as an employer of choice, however, the recent presence of a controversial pay to work policy has tarnished its reputation. Las Iguanas has been in the Sunday Times’ list of 100 Best Companies to work for twice in the last 3 years.
The link between employer branding and recruitment and retention of talent within Las Iguanas will be scrutinised. Further, the damages which have been suffered by the business due to the “pay to work” policy and the overall impact on the retention and recruitment strategy will be discussed. Apart from this, recommendations are provided regarding the ways to reposes the brand image of the business.
Providing an appropriate employer brand supports in informing others about the mission, values, vision and overall aim of the organization. It is necessary for individuals to understand the message being conveyed; this can be achieved with the help of feedback from staff members and detailed analysis. Individuals who have the intention to apply for a specific position in an organization tend to have some sort of expectation, which can be satisfied if the employer brand is positive in the market (Das and Ahmed, 2014). As per the view of Chhabra and Sharma (2014); satisfied employees help prospective employees in knowing that the business will work in favour of them, therefore, current employees may help organisations attract the targeted individuals. Further, companies tend to be known in the labour market through the image they build and on that basis, individuals determine whether to approach an employer (Chhabra and Sharma, 2014). A successful employer brand is one which is constantly measured against predetermined benchmarks, to assess strategy development (Davies, 2008). Mosley (2014) argues that a successful employer brand is one in which the overall practices of human resource “HR” within the workplace which involve retention and recruitment are in accordance with the marketing strategy of the business. Organisations must also ensure that their employer brand assists in reflecting the reality of the company (Mosley, 2014), in order to become an employer of choice.
On the other hand, before applying for a job in an organization candidate or any other individual take advice from other and in case if employer branding is effective and positive then it has favourable impact on business.
According to Grünewälder (2008) employer branding plays a significant role in recruitment and selection when a business is well known in the market for its good management of the workforce; as talented and skilled individuals can be easily recruited. Therefore, through employer branding; businesses can highlight their capabilities to provide comfortable environments for their staff members; along with other types of benefits, to exceed individuals’ expectation levels (Chhabra and Sharma, 2014). When executed properly, skilled candidates may pursue organisations which possess a good reputation, due to their positive perceptions of these organisations; therefore, through being an employer of choice, organisations may be able to select skilled candidates who willingly approach them (Sivertzen, Nilsen and Olafsen, 2013). Employer branding also helps in allocating the right person to the right job, through specifying job requirements and organisational culture in job advertisements. This allows prospective employees to apply self-selection methods, which can help them determine their suitability for available positions.
Apart from this, employer branding facilitates retaining the most talented employees who are capable enough to handle crucial operations in the business. For most organisations, retaining the right individuals is an ultimate aim behind the development of recruitment processes (Kelly, 2016).
For businesses to sustain their profitability in the market in the long term, it is necessary to have effective recruitment and retention practices (Keohane, 2014). Las Iguanas carries out operations on a wide basis; and its targeted customers are pre-family individuals and office workers. Employees at Las Iguanas are also young individuals between ages of 18 years and 45 years. With the motive of attracting its customers and employees, Las Iguanas strongly relies on social media and online recruitment. Current openings within the organization are posted on the recruitment website of the company. Apart from this, the management has developed a page on YouTube named Iguanas people. The organization is efficient enough in providing true and fair information regarding its current openings. The management of Las Iguana offers a five week training program to the new managers appointed within the workplace (Savitz, 2013). It also offers 25% discounts along with a chance to win a trip to another country for 28 days. Moreover, appropriate training and development opportunities are provided to the existing workforce. An effective reward scheme has been introduced by the management; which is one of the main reasons behind the rise in satisfaction levels of existing employees. As per the view of the management of Las Iguanas, staff members working in the business are provided wages at or above the minimum wage. Each and every individual is provided an opportunity to take part in the community work. This highlights that the human resource element is considered as an asset within the workplace (Kelly, 2016). The business has been rewarded an investor-in-people “IIP” Gold award in 2015 and holds the IIP Champion status.
Recruitment within the business takes place through different sources; such as recruitment websites and other external agencies. The main stress of the business is on providing a good platform for its employees to operate efficiently. Skills along with knowledge of staff members are utilized properly; through this the company is able to gain maximum benefit. Apart from this, retention is done with the help of reward and recognition programmes. Las Iguanas has been considered as a model of best practice in relation with the reward policy introduced by the organisation (Davies, 2008). Effective reward strategies have been undertaken with the motive of boosting satisfaction levels of employees; as this acts as a development tool for the business. The overall reviews given by employees of the company on different websites highlight that the management strongly focuses on providing a convenient environment to its workforce. A level of similarity between Las Iguanas’s job advertisements and actual practices can be observed, therefore, it can be said that the organization has well maintained accuracy in its job adverts, except for the mention of the tipping policy. In the views of Scullion and Collings, (2010) the reward and recognition are the two main tools that can be used by business entities to not only retain the best talent within entity but also to attract the competent candidates to apply for the vacant job post. Eden and Ackermann, (2013) also state that company should highlight the benefits it is rendering to its current employees so as to attract maximum audience to apply for the vacant job post and thus build positive image in market.
According to Savitz (2013) an employer brand plays a significant role in the recruitment and retention of talented individuals. Further, it assists businesses in carrying out overall operations in an effective manner; to achieve organisations’ objectives; and it also has a positive impact on organizations. Adverse employer brands attract criticism and disapproval of advocacy groups. It can be said that when a brand of an employer is damaged in the market; the business can lose its reputation in the market; which can directly act as a hurdle when managing human capital within the workplace (Savitz, 2013). Las Iguanas has been adversely affected due to the pay and tipping policy controversy. The business has developed a specific policy which states that when customers pay a discretionary tip; around 3% of the server’s sales are shared with other employees; in the form of i incentives and investments in training. The business is currently facing pressure from its employees in relation with the ineffective tipping policy. This had an adverse impact on the brand image of the business; and the company has started to involve customers to change its tipping policy (Kelly, 2016). A survey which was carried out represented that the majority of the customers along with staff members are dissatisfied with the policy being utilised by the business. Further, several staff members have left their jobs at Las Iguanas due to this policy; this is because whenever they were not able to collect tips from customers; they had to pay the 3% from their pockets. This led to frustration and in turn affected employees’ ability to perform efficiently at work. This shows that ineffective development of policies within organisations has an adverse impact on the overall image of businesses (Das and Ahmed, 2014). It also has the ability to lead to financial losses (Sivertzen, Nilsen and Olafsen, 2013). Las Iguanas was strongly criticized on the social media; leading the management to carry out an employee satisfaction survey; the results of which encouraged the restaurant to alter its policy.
The overall negative employer brand may make an organisation less attractive for future employees; and can also lead to loss of customers. On the other hand, if the management takes an initiative to alter its tipping policy; it may be possible for the restaurant to attract more staff members in the near future (Davies, 2008). As per the view of Keohane (2014) when current staff members are not satisfied with the pay scale; they tend to prefer to leave their jobs; therefore, it can be argued that current staff members at Las Iguanas may prefer to leave the organization; as they are not satisfied with the tipping policy. The restaurant has been given a rating of 4 out of 5 on an online recruitment site named Indeed and has won an IIP award. In case if employees of the organization are not delivered favourable environment to work then they will not prefer to take initiative for the betterment of business (Keohane, 2014).
Apart from this, pressure groups along with media are efficient enough to destroy a brand image of an organization if it does not perform ethically, or in a satisfactory level (Foster, Punjaisri and Cheng, 2010). Therefore, this has strongly encouraged the firm to take an initiative in the form of developing a new tipping policy. If La Iguanas does not resolve this issue in a proper manner; several challenges can be faced while recruiting individuals within the workplace. It may suffer from a large decline in the overall productivity levels of staff. To resolve this issue; it is necessarily required for Las Iguanas to take corrective actions for satisfying the needs of its staff members, as well as its customers and the community. Further, granting monetary reward for employees on the basis of their expectations can be fruitful for the business; and through this, recruitment along with retention may become easy. Apart from this, it can lead to an enhanced employer brand and the business can easily obtain favourable outcomes; which is for the benefit of business enterprise (Keohane, 2014).
From the discussion above, a correlation between recruitment and retention of talent within Las Iguanas and employer branding had been identified. The tainted reputation of the restaurant due to the tipping policy may affect its ability to attract and retain staff. Therefore, below are recommendations through which the challenges can be addressed. The company is recommended to encourage further communication in the future, in terms of applying policies which have the ability to affect staff; and as a result can affect the organisation as a whole. Through this; it is possible for the organisation to gain feedback on possible improvements. It can also enhance levels of engagement along with team work in the restaurant. Also, for enhancing the brand image in the market; the business can shed light on its ethical trading and its contributions to communities. This will have a favourable impact on customers; and can enhance the company’s ability to retain its current staff; and to attract talented individuals in the future. All these recommendations provided should assist in dealing with the issues faced by Las Iguanas; as a positive employer brand has the ability to support achieving effective recruitment and retention policies and practices.
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