Ana Tkalac Verčič
Faculty of Business and Economics
University of Zagreb
In the current business world, competition to attract and retain the best employees has increased. This has forced organizations to differentiate themselves from their competitors based on being great places to work. They strive to become an employer of choice (both for prospective employees with superior competences and for their high-flyers) and therefore seek to creatively engage in employer branding initiatives. Although the importance of corporate communication for employer brand advocacy has been theoretically problematized, one of the areas that has not yet been fully explored is the potential of internal communication in building attractive employer brands. In a study conducted by Nina Pološki Vokić, Dubravka Sinčić Ćorić and me, the aim was to explore which internal communication satisfaction dimensions (e.g., satisfaction with feedback, communication climate, quality of communication media) are most important for good employer brands.
We conducted a questionnaire-based field research study on a sample of 3457 employees. Internal communication satisfaction was assessed using UPZIK (Tkalac Verčič, Pološki Vokić, & Sinčić Ćorić, 2021), while the EmpAt scale (Berthon, Ewing, & Hah, 2005), was used for assessing employer attractiveness. Our findings reveal that respondents’ overall satisfaction with internal communication is positively related with the overall attractiveness they assign to their employers. All explored ICS dimensions were significantly related to overall employer attractiveness, and each ICS dimension was significant for at least one EA dimensions.
These results support the assumption that employer attractiveness relies partially on the quality of internal communication and consequent employee satisfaction with internal communication. In other words, employees who are satisfied with internal communication are likely to see their employers as more attractive. Specifically, our results show that all dimensions of internal communication satisfaction (except “satisfaction with communication during meetings”) are statistically significant for overall employer attractiveness. The most relevant dimensions are proven to be “satisfaction with feedback” and “satisfaction with communication climate”, which respondents associate with the highest levels of attractiveness in terms of interest, social, economic, development and application value that their employers provide. This is in line with Itam’s et al. study (2020), which confirmed that one of the most important elements in creating a meaningful and differentiated employer brand is the immediate responsiveness of top management. They support this with their finding that employees should feel good about the organization they work for, as well as believe that the company requires and recognizes that their hard work adds value to the growth and success of the company.
Our results highlight the importance of understanding what forms employer brands from an organizational context. As the effects of good internal employer branding are increasingly recognised – more competent employees, favourable employee attitudes, higher employee productivity, employee/knowledge retention, greater customer satisfaction/loyalty, etc., it is clear why it is important to enhance the employer brand. To achieve that, as Sharma and Kamalanabhan (2012) pointed out, human resources and internal communication functions should work together. Activities, processes, and systems that help form positive employer brands, such as internal communication, should be understood. These results may help strategic internal communicators to better understand and manage internal communication dimensions with a greater impact, as well as to revise and improve their internal communication practices accordingly.
- Berthon, P., Ewing, M., & Hah, L.L. (2005). Captivating company: dimensions of attractiveness in employer branding. International Journal of Advertising, 24(2), 151-172.
- Itam, U., Misra, S., & Anjum, H. (2020). HRD indicators and branding practices: a viewpoint on the employer brand building process. European Journal of Training and Development, 44(6/7), 675-694.
- Sharma, N., & Kamalanabhan, T.J. (2012). Internal corporate communication and its impact on internal branding – Perception of Indian public sector employees. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 17(3), 300-322.
- Tkalac Verčič, A., Sinčić Ćorić, D., & Pološki Vokić, N. (2021). Measuring internal communication satisfaction: validating the internal communication satisfaction questionnaire. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 26(3), 589-604.