Beyond Leaflet and Tarpaulins: Taking Level Employer Branding to the Next Level
While the vast majority of enterprises are concerned about employer branding—pertaining to how they market themselves to job seekers—there are very few like semiconductor company Nexperia that care about employee branding. Instead of solely advertising itself as the best place to work in, the organization also actively thinks about and prepares for how its employees are perceived and received upon leaving the company.
“When a Nexperia employee goes out into the world, other companies should be able to immediately identify them. They just know this person comes from Nexperia. That’s the kind of branding I find ideal,” said Monette Lasala, a senior director of human resources at Nexperia.
As a global brand—the company is headquartered in the Netherlands and has factories in Germany, England, Philippines, Malaysia, and China—there are four official values that current employees and Nexperia alumni should exhibit: passion, perseverance, professionalism, and performance. Lasala localized these values to make it more relatable to Filipino talent.
For Lasala, the process of creating a strong employee brand begins as early as orientation. During the two-day onboarding, the company provides them training in relevant tools, guides them with a designated buddy, and even conducts a focus group discussion with all the new hires.
“I pay special attention to onboarding because first impressions are really important. Companies often spend so much time recruiting and hiring these people, only for them to leave after one month. Why? Because they did not give them a full onboarding experience,” said Lasala.
From there, Nexperia goes into values formation, which is a stark contrast to the vast majority of organizations that just leave their values as slogans painted on a wall. The company refers to this as CORE, short for customer obsession, owner’s mindset, removes obstacles, and exemplifies engagement. “We want them to understand what our values are because these are what we would want to see from them here and beyond,” said Lasala.
This concern for how outgoing team members are viewed might strike some in the HR field as strange, but this is how Nexperia feels could create strong employee branding. These values could also help shape employees into future leaders.
Because Nexperia wants its outgoing employees to be known as ready leaders, it’s important that the organization develops a culture of mentorship. Lasala believes that if you let this happen organically, it’ll happen more frequently. Part of the problem is the Filipino psyche: Sometimes we may feel threatened by new talent and thus be unwilling to share their knowledge.
Lasala argues that it’s therefore important to institutionalize mentorship by requiring team members to engage in knowledge-sharing both vertically and horizontally.
“You have to have a structure for them to share. If you expect them to go out of their way to have a one-on-one sit down, this system will fail. Even good people will come up with excuses to avoid these meetings. But if you make sure there is a venue for them to share their knowledge, the mentoring and coaching will follow,” she said, noting that this system is particularly crucial for passing on technical knowledge since the core competency of Nexperia is its products.
In assessing its team members, Nexperia has a talent identification matrix that classifies each person into one of six blocs. It’s a matrix rather than a pyramid because each category is not better or worse than any other. “It’s very neutral in the sense that you are not telling the employee that he has no chance at the organization. You’re instead telling the employee what their particular opportunities are,” she said.
An employee classified as high potential can move up vertically many levels, while someone labeled advanced has the capability to move laterally or into a position of greater scope. People who are categorized as high professional or proficient are generally happy where they are, but they are not penalized for wanting to stay there (as they would be at other organizations).
Talent can also be labeled as either newly promoted or a placement opportunity. These are people who need more time to grow, or who may be in a wrong position where their talents are not currently being maximized.
The talent identification matrix not only helps Nexperia prepare employees for what they need to be successful during their tenure with their organization, but what it will take for them to become the leaders they want all company alumni to be known for.
“There is a strong awareness of each and every employee here that anything they do is very important. There’s dignity in every work. To us, we are an inverted triangle, we are the ones who are supporting our operators not the other way around because at the end of the day they are the ones who make the product,” she said.
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