Employee Brand

 Literature Review 1
Employee Brand
Employee brand had its inception in the 1990s which basically referred to the reputation
of an organization as an employer towards its employees. The global management community
has since then adopted this terminology. The image of the organization has been challenged by
the introduction of branding. Ideally, the intents and purposes held there in is to make the
workplace a better place for both the key stakeholders and the employee at large (Denning, 2007,
pp. 5-25). This is indeed an art and science that is concerned with maintaining, attracting,
engaging and retaining initiatives which the organization targets to promote the welfare of the
employee brand. In a similar way through which a product is defined from the customer brand
proposition, the employee brand proposition which could be regarded as employee value
proposition is the key definition of the offer of employment in an organization. Various methods
have been employed in branding employees by different organizations. One of these major
methods is storytelling.
Storytelling and Branding
According to Boje (1991, pp.106-126), storytelling has been an effectual process in
promoting organizations’ branding of employees. Storytelling has been a decisive foothold in the
deliberations that have been made concerning how future brands are being shaped. All the same,
there is still a conspicuous absence of critical understanding as to the way and the reason why
storytelling could promote a difference in organizations and companies. For quite a number of
companies, storytelling has been an abstract concept; many think it is purely reserved for Public
Relations and executives in advertisement department and at worst, taken as wishy-washy
rubbish having no tangible value. Many have not seen the sense in telling stories and what
exactly contributes to a good story that will be of significance in any organization to assist in
management. Among the many disciplines of marketing linked to branding together with the
management of branding which have found a lot of application in human resources and
management of talent to attract, retain and engage talented candidates as well as employees is
storytelling. Storytelling has been very instrumental in directing the flow of goods and services
from the company or organization to the customer.
However, management in organizations and companies has always been faced with the
challenge of establishing how to go about storytelling as explained by Sole and Wilson (n.d, pp.
10-33). The approach of branding through storytelling is an ever growing field which triggers a
challenging environment to all who are committed to realize success in the organization. The
storytelling process is not just an aimless activity but rather is meant to support the brand of the
Company. This is how the reality of storytelling is felt in branding the employees. Therefore,
storytelling is an integral part of what differentiates human beings from other creatures.
Sociologists together with social scientists have proved that there is an increased fragmentation
level in modern society. The systems of value that have in the past served as directives for us are
undone, in part. There is therefore the absence of dominating authority like science or religion to
direct on the values that members of the organization should adhere to.
Human beings navigate the world in which they exist through the use of symbols together
with visual expressions that have a great role in signaling their personality and the values they
uphold. Strong brands is therefore one of the ways through which this can be realized and
especially in an organization. Strong brands consequently are realized through such ways as
those of storytelling. The goal of storytelling in an organization therefore is to create a difference
in the performance of the organization. The West is a world which has realized success in
Literature Review 2
materials. In the world of business, we are moved from one point to another with choices, while
companies are ever manufacturing goods and offer services that are basically similar. These
manufacturers have failed to comprehend that what is needed is not more products and that
demand is going to the direction of goods that offer customers with unique experiences; goods
and products appealing to the dreams and emotions we posses while giving meaning to what we
pursue; good life.
While employee brand defines what individuals presently associate with a company,
employee branding has been described as the total efforts of the company to make known to the
existing and probable staff what things make the company an appropriate workplace and the
active role of management of an organization’s image as clearly seen through the eyes of the
associates and the prospective hires. The realization of such a move has been through such
activities as those of storytelling; the secret language of leadership. Therefore, storytelling has
come to offer another alternative other than what organizations and companies have been putting
to use like the habitual thinking together with business as visual methodology according to Fog
et al. (2003, pp. 11-23). This has been particularly with the organizations which are wholly
driven by their products frantically seeking rational arguments as to why people must prefer
buying their products to others. In the end, this has been regarded as folly.
A quality good at a price that can be afforded is never a decisive factor or benefit that will
guarantee success. The implementation of storytelling in any organization would take into
account four elements: the message; conflict; characters and; the plot. The message is what the
company or organization wants to communicate to the employees and the stakeholders. Conflict
is a very imperative element that acts as the driving force of a good story. In the case of
organizations, conflict highlights the views and opinions of all bringing them into a useful
conclusion after consideration. The reason for this is that, human beings instinctively search for
harmony and balance in life. The organization having its employees will not like getting out of
tune. It is very important that the storytelling process has some conflict which will assist in
containing all in the environments in which they are found.
The moment harmony is disrupted; people could do all that is in their capacity to restore
the situation in order to do away with undesirable conditions, stress or nervousness. If there is an
unresolved issue in the organization and more in particular with the employees, it bothers the
company till the air is cleared to a harmony state. Therefore, storytelling has all through played a
significant role in promoting a collaborative atmosphere of employees in an organization. When
a problem is realized in the organization, the managers will commit themselves in finding a
solution and therefore causes all to act. Being part of storytelling, conflict has triggered minds to
deep thoughts concerning what best could be done to the success of the organization. Speaking
generally from this, a successful conflict requires a hero together with a villain with agendas
which oppose one another. Managers have realized the usefulness of conflicts in organizations
and used them in promoting the welfare of the organization. As a theory, storytelling has won a
decisive foothold.
Employee Brand Management
The management of employee brand is also achievable through storytelling as supported
by Boje (1991, pp.106-126). Management of employee brand in the end expands the range of
brand intervention far much beyond communication to include all aspects of experience in
employment, and the people processes of management and practices. These are in most cases
referred to as touch-points which usually shape the evaluations of both current and potential
employees. Therefore, employee brand management has been used to address the authenticity of
Literature Review 3
the experience of employment and not just its presentation. In the end, external recruitment is
supported by enabling the selection of the right talent being sought out by the company to attain
its goals, and eventual desire for effective engagement of the employee. This is the much
storytelling has contributed in promoting effectiveness in management and the maintenance of
the company’s good image and retention of employees.
Storytelling according to Boje (1991, pp.106-126) might be thought to present the image
of a passive sitting paying attention to the storyteller with persuasive power in entrancing them.
Story telling has a well thought-out story which has been developed to carry the organization to
someplace and change the thinking of all while they are at the place where the story has taken
them. To quite a number of managers, storytelling apparently is a dream which has come true.
All the same, to many people it has taken time to make sense. Storytelling unfolds matters which
promote strong bonds through interactions. In a company, charismatic persuasion together with
the ability to direct the thinking of a person smacks more of propaganda and cults in
contemporary-day practices in the workplace. The thought that these cults are ineffective and
typically blind and not resilient has been proved wrong.
The actual power as well as opportunity for employing stories in companies is in the
keenness to listen to stories, assisting others come up with their own real stories and coming up
with something sensible in the stories which have been told according to Boje (1991, pp.106-
126). Research as well as honing of practice, good departments of communication is skilled in
delivering vivid messages, clear copy and direct values or mission statements (Boje, 1991,
pp.106-126). Having a well defined direction, good data together with evidence of what is to be
done is not enough. Neuroscience has proved that people solemn come up with decisions
founded on rational data analysis in most cases. When people are stressed or being measured
against a particular target, or being asked to change their way of living, rational argument
together with values have nothing to do in persuading them.
Having other thoughts is making an attempt of levering the behavior of human beings and
the organizational culture into a process that can be analyzed, arranged and redone. People come
up with decisions according to the patterns of cognition they have put in their minds. Definitely,
people don’t even come up with decisions according to the most suitable pattern, but rather to the
initial pattern that the apparent condition conforms to. These same patterns can be seen as
internal, individual stories and comprehending these stories will take us a long way in the
direction of comprehending behavior patterns in the organization. By sharing different stories,
and assisting people view the world through the standpoint of a diverse story, the possibility for
others to shift their worldview is opened up and consequently their behavior.
The anticipation by many managers to see participation as a one-sided communication
where employees are entirely engaged is an empirical evidence of an outdated mindset Power,
the making of decisions together with control has been found high up in a given company
according to Ambler and Barrow (1996, pp. 185-206). The people who come lower in the
hierarchy ladder are only expected to obey. Storytelling has been very useful in doing away with
this kind of misconception which has cost many companies and organizations a lot. The kind of
engagement that has been realized in the past is that of merely presenting a method of persuading
individuals whilst offering an illusion that the choice belongs to them. The view as held in the
past is being faced out and replaced by a strong branding concept in modern organizations
through storytelling. Over a decade now, people found in organizations have gone through
transformation and change. The historical days of a compliant, willing workforce were just but
Literature Review 4
an illusion. The fact was ever clear that companies have no control over the individuals, only
levers through which influence comes. No more ready to embrace the value of the things told to
them in the organization, employees have a deeper access to information than in the past, and
many more methods of expressing their views.
As supported by Ambler and Barrow (1996, pp. 185-206), employees in the workplace
have more experience in deconstructing any communications of the organization. These have
made them masters of skepticism when it comes to the normal parade of internal
communications messages and tools. In the 1980s and 1990s, much of what was the intention of
internal communication was to give an inspiration of loyalty within the organization. Questions
of why employees were not loyal to the organizations were a talk of every day. All the same, the
idea of loyalty inspiration was basically flawed; it is a two-process thing. The moment the
organization could prove that it was not loyal to a specific employee as many did over and over
again through re-engineering and downsizing, it became as though loyalty to the company was
not a long-term prospect of security.
These kinds of engagement had completely abandoned organizational loyalty concept and
have been through internal branding and currently on to engagement. Now, the main challenge
that has remained to the management has been coming up with methodologies of engaging the
employees. Engagement in the organization is a two-way contract. Therefore, managers are
seeking to ensure that the employees are engaged and determining the level of engagement in the
organization. Engaging the employees has been made effective through storytelling. Until a
company becomes engaged and more concerned on the welfare of its employees, engagement
will forever remain a limited concept. To increase the benefits of absolute engagement,
storytelling has recognized the importance and usefulness of employees. While loyalty has failed
in the past, managers should make sure that engagement does not fail. This will be made possible
through storytelling; otherwise, it will be doomed to fail.
Storytelling supports knowledge held in management that engagement can only be
through volunteering and not really conscripted. Storytelling helps achieve this by creating a
level of honesty and trust. This is because storytelling builds trust trough a sense of being heard
and seen. Many have said that storytelling is magic buckshot that inspires engagement amongst
employees and promotes change for the better. Different approaches have been employed in
applying making use of stories. A good story within the organization is founded on involvement,
discovery as well as a continued adaptation and participation instead of authoritarian, top-down
arrangements. Such an approach saves on time, budget and energy, but it could feel
uncomfortable to such people who are used to procedures of management, hierarchies as well as
six sigma-kinds of programs.
Working with Stories
Initially, the use of stories in organizations and companies was about crafting some
stories to help in communicating messages. However, this role has been absolutely dispensed
with as the practice and use of stories is advancing as highlighted by Boje (1991, pp.106-126).
Storytelling starts with the general sense of the chance that is present although what would be
considered as the first move is gathering material needed to map the present evaluations and
culture; gathering authentic, real stories which are told naturally or telling them in the very initial
stages. A single story cannot be relied upon to give the precise image of the organization;
instead, the patterns of the organization will be seen emerging from various stories, the shapes of
beliefs and events, the archetypical characters that come from them are what offer the most
powerful chances to see the world as other people would.
Literature Review 5
In a similar manner, not many single stories will engage with the people in the
organization. It will be helpful to support them with various viewpoints and evaluations on a
situation, and eventually facilitate them comprehending their individual roles and stories in
advance. Moreover and most importantly, diagnostic events or even listening generates a lot of
expectations among the people listening. Each and every diagnostic is indeed an intervention.
Having this material therefore, there is indeed the need for having exercises which make sense
for the chief members of the entire organization. The pattern that emerges may be indicative of a
gap in the material which could amount to more story collection. The pattern could also have
implications for initial force for whatever the project which could later require re-scoping or
even reshaping.
Figure 1. Narrative Engagement Process.
Re-asses the
Makes sense
of the
pattern and
Defining the
Gather Clarify/
gather more
leverage points
Identify positive
pattern to reinforce
Identify negative
patterns to dispute
Literature Review 6
Having a greater knowledge of the culture as well as the opportunity or the need for
engagement, it becomes possible to point out the leverage points in the organization or company
where the relatively small actions will in a great way produce huge results. Still during the
process, patterns will have come up that are good or even bad and these could be reinforced or
done away with respectively. From this point, all the scope of human resources, change together
with tools of communication can be brought to stand on the matter with narrative vividly having
a contribution with that.
Cognitive Patterns
Among the biggest communications assumptions is the one where if people provide clear
data and instructions, they will certainly change. Human beings process information to come up
with decisions. However, modern advances as found in neuroscience, this is not right. Instead,
human beings now process patterns and not actually information. This has crucial connotations
for the typical internal communications model and the engagement of the employee. It nullifies
the conservative practice of vivid messages which are well-written copies; far less the recurrent
approach and methodology of data quantities to ascertain hypothesis. If a belief concerning how
the universe works is already held in the organization, a significant qualitative and quantitative
data will be required to shift that.
The inclination of human beings is to re-arrange the data and information we have been
offered to fit in our pre-conceived notions. It is not till there is a measurable difference between
the data compared to our model that the members of the organization begin to open up to the
possibility of the model being used to be wrong. Therefore in communicating efficiently while
engaging with the employees within the organization, managers must look out for ways and
methodologies of bringing the cognitive patterns to the awareness of all. This is not meant to
change them but permit the possibility of greater comprehension and same negotiation of a
common viewpoint. These patterns of cognition are from one perspective, just stories or even
scripts that predict the outcomes and inform behavior as well as decisions. Perspective filters are
determinant of the manner in which we see the universe.
Another core reason for using stories in the organization is the lack of traditional value
lists together with mission statements as tools of communication. Corporate values, belie 

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