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Unpacking Employer Branding in the Information Technology Industry
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Industrial Marketing and Entrepreneurship.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1304-5211
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Attracting and retaining the best talent is a concern, particularly for knowledge-based firms in high-turnover industries, which rely on a limited supply of highly qualified individuals (Ewing, Pitt, De Bussy, & Berthon, 2002). In 2014, 36% of global employers criticized talent shortages, and in a 2015 study, 73% of CEOs reported being concerned about the availability of workers with key skills (Mosley, 2015). Employer branding is a key human resource and marketing strategy that contributes to the company’s brand, enhances the firm’s reputation as a great place for employees to work, and attracts a new workforce (Ahmad & Daud, 2016). An employer brand’s and its employer branding value propositions’ (EBV) ability to attract new employees and increase retention will provide benefits for the entire organization.

EBV defines the employer’s attractiveness (Berthon et al., 2005), is a key aspect of the employer branding process, and provides differentiation for the firm (Alnıaçık & Alnıaçık, 2012; Backhaus & Tikoo, 2004; Berthon et al., 2005; Leekha Chhabra & Sharma, 2014; Moroko & Uncles, 2008) to attract and retain employees. Existing research viewed employer branding and its EBV from one or two views—employee or employer—and lacked multiview approaches to employer branding and employer attractiveness. This research focused on a holistic approach and addressed the question: “How do different EBVs affect the perceptions of employer attractiveness? To answer this question holistically, the following research subquestions emerged:

 

RQ1: How do employees perceive the EBV of employer attractiveness?

RQ2: How do current and former employees perceive the EBV of employer attractiveness?

RQ3: How do potential employees perceive the EBV of employer attractiveness?

RQ4: How do employers manage how employees perceive EBV?

 

This research consisted of four empirical papers and focused on the information technology (IT) industry context. The first study focused on employee views from all industries, whereas the second study concentrated on the IT industry and compared current and former employees. Study 3 considered potential employees in the IT industry and operationalized the employee attractiveness construct and EBVs. The final study explored EBVs from the employer’s view in an IT firm and compared its employees’ views regarding the psychological contract. The design of this research is a mixed approach with descriptive and exploratory methodologies. IBM Watson’s artificial intelligence content analysis was used in Studies 1, 2, and 4.

Contributions to the body of knowledge includes operationalizing the employee attractiveness construct as a set of EBVs. This research viewed EBVs holistically and extended the set of EBVs from five to eight value propositions for the IT industry. It also defined employer brand intelligence as a tool for practitioners to develop insights for their employer brand.

The document is organized with an introductory chapter describing the overall research approach, followed by a literature review chapter, methodology chapter, and summary of findings and contributions. The four papers are included in the final chapter.

Abstract [sv]

Att attrahera och behålla de bästa talangerna är ett bekymmer, särskilt för kunskapsbaserade företag inom sektorer med hög omsättning som förlitar sig på ett begränsat utbud av högkvalificerade individer (Ewing, Pitt, De Bussy, & Berthon, 2002). Under 2014 kritiserade 36% av de globala arbetsgivarna brist på talangfull arbetskraft och i en studie från 2015 rapporterade 73% av de verkställande direktörerna att de var oroliga för tillgången på arbetare med nyckelfärdigheter (Mosley, 2015). Employer branding är en viktig HR- och marknadsföringsstrategi som bidrar till företagets varumärke, förbättrar företagets rykte som en utmärkt plats för anställda att arbeta och attraherar ny arbetskraft (Ahmad & Daud, 2016). Ett arbetsgivarvarumärke och förmågan hos employer branding värdeerbjudandena (EBV), att attrahera nya anställda och öka bibehållandet av personal, kommer att ge fördelar för hela organisationen.

EBV definierar arbetsgivarens attraktivitet (Berthon et al., 2005), är en viktig aspekt av employer branding-processen och förser företaget med differentiering (Alnıaçık & Alnıaçık, 2012; Backhaus & Tikoo, 2004; Berthon et al., 2005; Leekha Chhabra & Sharma, 2014; Moroko & Uncle, 2008) för att attrahera och behålla anställda. Befintlig forskning såg employer branding och dess EBV från ett eller två perspektiv – som anställd eller arbetsgivare - och saknade strategier med flera synvinklar för employer branding och arbetsgivares attraktivitet. Denna studie fokuserade på en helhetssyn och adresserade frågan: ”Hur påverkar olika EBV:er uppfattningen av arbetsgivares attraktivitet? För att holistiskt besvara denna fråga etablerades följande forskningsunderfrågor:

 

FF1: Hur uppfattar anställda EBV:et för arbetsgivarattraktivitet?

FF2: Hur uppfattar nuvarande och tidigare anställda EBV:et för arbetsgivarattraktivitet?

FF3: Hur uppfattar potentiella arbetstagare EBV:et för arbetsgivarattraktivitet?

FF4: Hur hanterar arbetsgivare hur anställda uppfattar EBV?

 

Denna studie bestod av fyra empiriska artiklar och fokuserade på kontext inom branschen för informationsteknik (IT). Den första studien fokuserade på anställdas perspektiv från alla branscher, medan den andra studien inriktades på IT-branschen och jämförde nuvarande och tidigare anställda. Studie 3 handlade om potentiella arbetstagare inom IT-branschen. Den slutliga studien undersökte EBV:er från arbetsgivarens synvinkel i ett IT-företag och jämförde de anställdas åsikter och det psykologiska kontraktet. Designen för denna studie baseras på en blandad forskningsansats med deskriptiva och explorativa undersökningsformer. Studierna 1, 2 och 4 använde en stor mängd data från Glassdoor.com:s webbplats för medarbetarrecensioner och använde IBM Watsons innehållsanalys framtagen via artificiell intelligens för att utveckla insikter. Studie 3 utvecklas och färdigställdes med hjälp av studenter som läste datorvetenskap och informationsteknik på ett stort universitet i västra USA. I Studie 4 genomfördes semistrukturerade intervjuer med en arbetsgivare i Silicon Valley i Kalifornien.

Studie 1 har bidragit till att utvidga de fem värdeerbjudandena: ekonomiskt, socialt, tillämpnings, utvecklings- och intressevärde för arbete framtagna av Berthon et al. (2005) till sju genom att identifiera två nya värdeerbjudanden: balans mellan arbete och liv samt hantering för alla industrier. En 2x2-matris för sju värdeerbjudanden utvecklades för varje värdeerbjudande. De två eller tre främsta värdeerbjudandena stod för 65% till 83% av anställdas kommentarer. Studien definierade en arbetsgivares varumärkesintelligens som ett nytt verktyg för chefer för att utveckla insikt och studien identifierade även sju konsekvenser för ledarskap.

Studie 2 har bidragit till att utvidga de sju värdeerbjudandena i Studie 1 genom att identifiera ett nytt värdeerbjudande; varumärkesimage eller organisationsimage inom IT-branschen. De sociala och ekonomiska värdena är nyckelfaktorer för beröm från både nuvarande och tidigare anställda medan värdet för ledarskap är en stor klagomålsfaktor för tidigare IT-anställda. Varumärkesimage är en annan primär klagomålsfaktor för både nuvarande och tidigare anställda.

Studie 3 bekräftade att de åtta värdeerbjudandena som är viktiga för nuvarande och tidigare anställda också är viktiga för potentiella arbetstagare. Studien operationaliserade arbetsgivares attraktivitet, utvecklade ett instrument för att mäta EBV:er samt utvecklade och testade ett nytt, mer omfattande instrument för att utvärdera EBV:er.

 

Studie 4 bekräftade att de åtta värdeerbjudandena som var viktiga i studie 2 också är viktiga för arbetsgivaren. Däremot finns det stora skillnader mellan arbetsgivaren och nuvarande och tidigare anställda, vilket kan bidra till att det psykologiska kontraktet bryts och problem med att behålla personal. Arbetsgivaren bryr sig mer om sociala värden än vad nuvarande anställda gör. Det finns ett betydande gap mellan arbetsgivares och anställdas uppfattning angående intressevärdet. Ett annat gap finns mellan arbetsgivares och anställdas uppfattningar för utvecklingsvärdet. Nuvarande anställda bryr sig mer om varumärkets imagevärde än vad arbetsgivaren gör.

Dokumentet är organiserat med ett inledande kapitel som beskriver den övergripande forskningsansatsen, följt av ett litteraturkapitel, metodkapitel och en sammanfattning av resultat och bidrag. De fyra artiklarna ingår i det sista kapitlet.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm,: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2020. , p. 121
Series
TRITA-ITM-AVL ; 2020:9
Keywords [en]
Employer branding, employer branding value propositions, employer attractiveness, human resources management, recruitment, retention, psychological contract, IT industry, IBM Watson, artificial intelligence
National Category
Economics and Business
Research subject
Industrial Economics and Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-268843ISBN: 978-91-7873-469-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-268843DiVA, id: diva2:1411572
Public defence
2020-04-21, Stockholm, 15:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2020-03-23 Created: 2020-03-04 Last updated: 2020-03-23Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. A great place to work!?: Understanding crowdsourced employer branding
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A great place to work!?: Understanding crowdsourced employer branding
2017 (English)In: Business Horizons, ISSN 0007-6813, E-ISSN 1873-6068, Vol. 60, no 2, p. 197-205Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The benefits provided by employment and identified with a specific employing company are referred to as employer branding. We argue that when employees use IT to share and access work-related experiences openly across organizations, their expectations and assessments of workplaces change. We collected 38,000 reviews of the highest and lowest ranked employers on Glassdoor, an online crowdsourced employer branding platform. Using IBM Watson to analyze the data, we identify seven employer branding value propositions that current, former, and potential employees care about when they collectively evaluate employers. These propositions include (1) social elements of work, (2) interesting and challenging work tasks, (3) the extent to which skills can be applied in meaningful ways, (4) opportunities for professional development, (5) economic issues tied to compensation, (6) the role of management, and (7) work/life balance. We clarify that these value propositions do not all matter to the same extent and demonstrate how their relative valences and weights differ across organizations, especially if institutions are considered particularly good or bad places to work. Based on these findings, we show how employers can use crowdsourced employer branding intelligence to become great places to work that attract highly qualified employees.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2017
Keywords
Crowdsourcing, Glassdoor, IBM Watson, Employer branding, Employee engagement, Employer attractiveness, Artificial intelligence, Human resource management
National Category
Work Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-205499 (URN)10.1016/j.bushor.2016.11.005 (DOI)000398009000006 ()2-s2.0-85010698083 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20170510

Available from: 2017-05-10 Created: 2017-05-10 Last updated: 2020-03-04Bibliographically approved
2. Employer Branding: Understanding Employer Attractiveness of IT Companies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Employer Branding: Understanding Employer Attractiveness of IT Companies
2019 (English)In: IT Professional Magazine, ISSN 1520-9202, E-ISSN 1941-045X, Vol. 21, no 1, p. 82-89Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Attracting and retaining IT talent remains challenging for IT ecutives. The limited supply of highly skilled candidates, combined th high workforce mobility, results in considerable hiring, training, d developing costs. To help IT employers overcome these challenges, e authors discuss employer branding as one strategy to manage firms' putations as "great places to work." Based on a content analysis of arly 15 000 employee reviews, this article identifies and describes ght values that IT professionals care about when evaluating IT ployers, highlights which values are most important, and provides commendations for how IT firms can use employer brand intelligence to tract and retain IT talent to remain competitive.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE COMPUTER SOC, 2019
National Category
Computer and Information Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-247573 (URN)10.1109/MITP.2018.2876980 (DOI)000460753900012 ()2-s2.0-85062699309 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20190325

Available from: 2019-03-25 Created: 2019-03-25 Last updated: 2020-03-04Bibliographically approved
3. Enticing the IT crowd: employer branding in the information economy
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Enticing the IT crowd: employer branding in the information economy
2019 (English)In: Journal of business & industrial marketing, ISSN 0885-8624, E-ISSN 2052-1189, Vol. 34, no 7, p. 1403-1409Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to develop an instrument to measure employer branding in the information age. Firms increasingly migrate from matter-intensive business models to information-intensive models, where value lies in information rather than the physical objects. This shift has, in turn, led to a change in employee work skills. This is particularly true in the information technology (IT) sector, where firms rely on a limited supply of skilled labor. Employer branding, a firm's reputation as a place to work, is an important strategy to attract and retain employees. Design/methodology/approach From the literature, the authors developed and refined an instrument to measure key value propositions of employer brands. The potential IT employees surveyed in the study were students enrolled in the disciplines of computer science and information systems at a comprehensive university in North America. The study went through three stages resulting in an instrument for psychometric properties. Findings This research revealed eight employer branding value propositions that future IT employees care about. These dimensions are important for both IT firms and industries competing for skilled IT labor to understand and manage. Originality/value This paper extends the work of Berthon et al. (2005) on employer branding to the information intensive age and particularly the IT sector. It allows executives to manage and measure their employer brand so as to maximize competitive advantage in attracting and retaining skilled employees.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
EMERALD GROUP PUBLISHING LTD, 2019
Keywords
Human resource management, Retention, Recruitment, IT, Employer branding, Personnel management, Branding
National Category
Economics and Business Human Aspects of ICT
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-262992 (URN)10.1108/JBIM-11-2018-0333 (DOI)000489029000002 ()2-s2.0-85071533418 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20191031

Available from: 2019-10-31 Created: 2019-10-31 Last updated: 2020-03-04Bibliographically approved
4. Employer Branding: An Employer View of Value Propositions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Employer Branding: An Employer View of Value Propositions
(English)In: Journal of Product & Brand Management, ISSN 1061-0421Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Purpose

 

Employer branding is a complex and multifaceted process. It is critical to understand what employer brand value propositions are offered and maintained by the employer during employee tenure. The purpose of this research was to study employer brand value propositions from employers and contrast them with the perceptions of current and former employees.

 

Design/Methodology/Approach

 

The study uses semistructured interviews with managers from a highly ranked IT company in Silicon Valley to understand how employers view employer brand value propositions. In addition, reviews from the same firm were downloaded from the social media site Glassdoor.com to compare employer perspectives to the perspectives of current and former employees.

 

Findings

 

This research discovered different views of employer brand value propositions between the employer versus current and former employees. These differences violate the psychological contract between employee and employer and could yield lower employer retention.

 

Originality/Value

 

This research focused on comparing employer versus employee perspectives of employer brand value propositions for a highly ranked IT firm. It explored implications for employer branding, particularly the psychological contract, as a core contract in the employer branding literature.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Keywords
Human resource management, retention, employer branding, information technology, psychological contract, electronic word of mouth, employer brand value propositions
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-269101 (URN)
Note

QC 20200304

Available from: 2020-03-04 Created: 2020-03-04 Last updated: 2020-03-04Bibliographically approved

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