The logic unfolds as follows. The business world moves forward furiously and is ruthlessly competitive. If then as a company you want to keep up, or even attempt to set the pace, you must invest in the capabilities of your people. Only then can you count on their collective abilities, and team synergies, to carry the company forward to greater heights.
And of course, you want to tell the world that you are taking care of your employees, to further attract and retain them. But be careful… if your employer branding is disconnected from your real company behaviour, then this “greenwashing” can backfire and employees are highly likely to become disengaged.
Dr. Mirna Korican Lajtman and Elisa Jensen speak about cutting edge practices. The LSB, created to provide, promote and advance top quality international business education, may just have found the secret sauce.
It is a company’s willingness to give space and time for their managers to learn how to be authentic in living the brand.
Dr. K. Lajtman, author of “Introducing Human Resource Management (HRM) to the 21st century”, and Professor at the Luxembourg School of Business, cuts to the core of what is important in Human Capital and Employer branding. It is a company’s willingness to give space and time for their managers to learn how to be authentic in living the brand.
“For example, employer branding and the EVP (Employee Value Proposition) are the promise you make as an employer to your employees in return for their commitment. It is what you tell the employees about what they will get out of working for you. It is why a company can hope to attract, retain and motivate their people. The EVP is the essential part of an employer’s brand. An employer’s brand faces out to the world and shouts about what it is like to work for your company”, says Dr. K. Lajtman. Which is why it is critical that a company practises what it preaches. Call it being authentic if you will.
Take the scenario of a junior employee, who is good at their job, so gets rapidly promoted to being a ‘manager’. All of a sudden the new manager is overseeing, checking work and leading a small team. At his/her performance reviews time, it will be team performance that will be factored heavily into their assessment rather than just their personal expertise! New managers invariably struggle with people management skills.
“This is understandable”, says Elisa Jensen, director of the LSB Career Center, "Developing excellent people management skills takes time and practice”.
Developing excellent people management skills takes time and practice.
Companies may, as part of their employer branding, advertise investing in people, encouraging entrepreneurial spirit, rewarding hard work, learning from mistakes, supporting ‘speaking up’, excellent work life balance, etc. However, if managers are struggling with their people management skills, and cannot authentically practise the advertised values, then employees become disillusioned with all the talk and no action.
For Dr. K. Lajtman, the MBA programme acts as an important “action learning” journey that helps focus her weekend students to work on what is important in inventing themselves and their teams.
“Teasing out the personal values and needs, and practising the soft leadership skills, helps our MBA intrapreneurs to better synchronise and authentically meet their employer’s needs, and understand the EVP better.”
As an expert in HR, business psychology, and management, Dr. Lajtman uses board games and simulations to instil lessons on team dynamics, for self-understanding and for organisational setup. Her sessions provide opportunity to reflect, discuss, incorporate and better innovate. “We bring out who they are, what they need to do in the workplace, and then we give them a safe environment in the classroom to test the waters”, says Dr. Lajtman. “Then, back at the office, they can apply and see how it impacted their teams, their KPIs. We have seen a wonderful turn around and shift in our students, in terms of career, in understanding themselves, in making them better leaders. And the feedback is, they want more! They tell us they need continuous learning and upskilling.”
If we are to be the change that we want to see in the world, if we want employer branding to be effective, let’s all sharpen our people acumen. Let managers live and breathe the brand. The numbers and KPIs will follow suit!