The paper seeks to explore the role of the employer brand in influencing employees' perceived differentiation, affinity, satisfaction and loyalty – four outcomes chosen as relevant to the employer brand.
A multidimensional measure of corporate brand personality is used to measure employer brand associations in a survey of 854 commercial managers working in 17 organisations. Structural equation modelling is used to identify which dimensions influence the four outcomes. Models are built and tested using a calibration sample and tested on two validation samples, one equivalent to the calibration sample and another drawn from a single company.
Satisfaction was predicted by agreeableness (supportive, trustworthy); affinity by a combination of agreeableness and (surprisingly) ruthlessness (aggressive, controlling); and perceived differentiation and loyalty by a combination of both enterprise (exciting, daring) and chic (stylish, prestigious). Competence (reliable, leading) was not retained in any model.
Further work is required to identify how appropriate improvements in employee associations can be managed.
The findings emphasise the importance of an employer brand but the results also highlight the complexity in its management, as no one aspect has a dominant influence on outcomes relevant to the employer. At issue is which function within an organisation should be tasked with managing the employer brand.
Employer branding is relatively new as a topic but is attracting the attention of both marketing and HR academics and practitioners. Prior work is predominantly conceptual and this paper is novel in demonstrating empirically its role in promoting satisfaction, affinity, differentiation and loyalty.
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