Recruiting And Retaining Employees: Employer Branding At Standard Chartered Bank

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Question :

What is the role of employer branding in recruitment and retention of employees: Case of Standard Chartered Bank

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Answer :

Chapter 1: Introduction 

1.1 Introduction 

Employer branding is understood as a process of promoting employer of choice, to the desired target group, one that a company wants to recruit and retain. It is used as a widely adopted mechanism in the present scenario. The concept of employer branding is used for communicating company’s ability to attract, recruiting and retaining new and existing employees. The improved or enhanced positioning of the company helps in recruiting and retaining top talents and securing achievement of company’s business plan. It is said that company having an identity as true, credible, relevant, distinctive and aspirational succeeds in attracting future and retaining current employees. To achieve this, employer branding is the process of depicting and positioning the company as an employer of choice to the desired target group.

Earlier the concept of employer branding was concerned merely with endearing the customers for a product or services and maintaining a long-term brand loyalty. However, the need and importance of employer branding to attract and retain talent across the organization was taken for granted. The increasing research work conducted in the field of employer branding made it quiet a major issue in relation to strategically attracting and engaging employees who believe in the objectives and aspirations of the organization and are efficient to use the resources to ensure further success of the brand.  

As available from factsheets of CIPD (2015) employer brand can be used by the organizations to effectively compete in the labour market and drive loyalty of employees through effective recruitment, engagement and retention process. Every organization has an employer brand, regardless of whether they have consciously sought to develop it. Their brand is based on the manner they are perceived as a ‘place to work’ by would be recruits, current employees and those leaving he organization (CIPD, 2015). Therefore, recruitment and retention are two major areas affected by employer branding and these are the areas to be explored under present study in the context of Standard Charted Bank. 

            Employer branding is an attempt of depicting and positioning the organisation as a ‘Great place to work’ in the mind of current and future employees. The organisation is dealing with a wide number of active and passive stakeholders in internal and external market environment. These stakeholders are customers, employees, suppliers, government authorities, etc. It is necessary to position the image of an entity capable of attracting, engaging and retaining personnel. 

1.2 Background of the study

The concept of employer branding is holistic by nature and evident across the lifecycle of the organisation from employee hire to retire. In theoretical terms, this concept is viewed as a straightforward principle, however, in reality, it is a complex process. This is so because there is a dramatic rise in the number of more audible employees and candidates. The availability of a wide number of the platform as social media and other digital mediums posed increased challenges for companies but also provide opportunities to employees for presenting their views and perspectives. Previously, employers are in an improved position of controlling employment messages to their target audience. In simple words, employees can’t easily circulate or publicise message regarding employment status and condition prevailing in an organisation to the marketplace. The employers control these messages to a large extent. However, in present time, employees are having increased opportunities as well as freedom of publicising employment message in the marketplace. Such publication of employment message creates a significant impact on organisation’s image and prospective personnel in the labour market. 

 Employer branding is a new academic concept having its beginning traceable to the mid and late 1990s. It is a practice of establishing and improving organisation’s image or reputation through aligning recruiting and external HR practices. In simple words, it is a process of establishing the reputation of identity or ‘branding’, which the organisation wants to have in the eyes of desired target group. The main idea behind this is to not only attract potential employees but retaining ideal ones. 

 In the past years, there exists business and exchange relationship between employer and employee, fulfilling the need of each other. This presumption is no longer valid in current scenario emphasising the need of emotional relationship between employer and employee. The emotional relationship is radiating out from the core of organisation’s philosophy to other stakeholders, to the community at large and obviously to potential employees. It can be defined as a targeted long-term strategy for developing awareness and building positive perceptions among existing employees, potential employees and related stakeholders. 

 The statement holds true that concept of employer branding has derived from marketing, but became an integral element for human resource professionals in recruitment. It can be said that employer branding is nothing but an HR strategy borrowed from marketing. The concept is borrowed from marketing for attracting new talents and retaining existing ones. The main notion is to make the organisation as an employer of choice. This positive image plays a great role in creating a positive image in the minds of current employees and key stakeholders. 

1.3 Choice of organisation 

Standard Chartered Bank is a leading international player in banking industry committed to building a sustainable business over a long duration of time. The bank operates in several dynamic markets of the globe and has been operational for over 150 years. There are several products and services offered by the bank to personal and business customers across 70 markets. More than 90 per cent of the revenue of the bank is achieved from Asian, African and the Middle Eastern markets. Considering the governing body of the bank, there is a board of directors with 17 members including one chairperson, 5 executive directors and 10 non-executive directors and a company secretary. There are six board level committees operations at SCB where each is assigned with some specific roles and responsibilities. However, the major purposes of these committees include audits, board risks management, brand and values management, remuneration management, nominations and governances.

The recruitment of new employees and retention of ideal ones is discussed in context to Standard Chartered Bank. It is renowned multinational bank headquartered in London with more than 1200 branches and outlets in more than 70 countries around the world. The workforce size of the Standard Chartered Bank is quite wide and includes 87,000 people. The vast size of the bank makes it a suitable topic for studying and analysing human resource topic. The ranking of the organisation is also good thereby providing an opportunity to gain insight regarding recruitment and selection process. Standard Chartered has ranked 28th largest company on the London Stock Exchange in 2016. This displays that organisation enjoys the position of a great place to work. Therefore, it seems necessary to gain insight regarding recruitment and selection procedure prevailing at the concerned organisation. Such review is done with the help of employer branding literature. It has analysed how Standard Chartered has succeeded and positioning itself as a great place to work through employer branding strategy. Therefore, it forms a major area of research in the present study. 

1.4 Research objectives

  1. To understand or analyze role of employee      branding on recruitment and retention processes
  2. To analyze employee branding at SCB
  3. To describe and analyze recruitment and selection      process at SCB
  4. Recommending improvements in recruitment and      retention at SCB

Structure of research 

Research Structure

The above-depicted figure shows that present study is organised into six chapters-introduction, literature review, methodology, data analysis and findings, conclusion and references. In the first chapter, the introduction is provided on employer branding concept for gaining initial insight. Chapter two consist of literature review, which will provide a detailed discussion on employer branding, the framework of employer branding, implications, etc. Chapter three present research methodology and manner of collecting data and information. In chapter four, data analysis and findings based on selected organisation is presented. The fifth chapter deals with concluding remarks derived on the basis of analysis and findings. 


 Chapter 2: Literature review

This chapter sets the foundation of the research study through exploring a research topic in light of different literary sources. The literary sources used for exploration purpose are academic books, research papers, scholarly papers, etc. The main purpose behind using a comprehensive set of literary sources is to evaluate different possible perspectives and having detailed insight on the concept of employer branding and its applicability to selected human resource function. For this purpose, different themes are prepared in this section.

2.1. Introduction to employer branding 

Research studies evidenced the fact that human capital is one of the significant assets creating a competitive advantage for business firms. Backhaus & Tikoo (2004) imply that there is a shortage of competent, versatile and intelligent workforce capable of yielding exceeded performance. Such shortage in global labour market outlined the importance of attracting, recruiting, and retaining competent and talented employees. In this context, employer branding is visualised as an instrument positioning company as a preferred employer (Backhaus & Tikoo, 2004). In detailed terms, employer branding is used as a mechanism for communicating characteristics of the workplace and manner through which firm differentiate itself from other organisations as an employer thereby accruing competitive advantage. In general terms, employer brand is used for attracting potential employees and at the same time maintaining current employees dedicated and committed towards the organisation (Backhaus & Tikoo, 2004). 

Uthayasuriyan & Vijayalakshmi (2015) fostered study on conceptualisation and researching of employer branding and emphasised that brands are believed as firm’s most valuable assets and brand management is considered as a key activity area. In the past years, business firms are focussing on branding efforts towards product development and corporate brand. However, in present years, branding has also been applied in the area of human resource management. In this way, adoption and application of branding concepts and principles to the field of human resource management is termed as ‘employer branding’ (Uthayasuriyan & Vijayalakshmi, 2015). Increasingly, business firms are applying the concept of employer branding for attracting and recruiting new employees and assuring that existing employees are also engaged in the culture and strategy of the firm. It is a targeted, long-term strategy strived at maintaining and managing awareness and perceptions of employees, potential employees and related stakeholders (Uthayasuriyan & Vijayalakshmi, 2015). 

The employer brand facilitates organisation in putting forth an image showing organisation as a great place to work and survive. Many business firms have positioned employer branding as an interesting and effective program for sustaining and growing in the marketplace. There are numerous articles available on the topic of employer branding in business and practitioner press. Every year, Google, Yahoo and other Internet searches hits 3000 for the term ‘employer branding’ (Uma & Metilda, 2012). Firms are found to spend considerable resources on employer branding campaigns indicating firms’ inclination and value orientation in practice. As per the findings of Conference Board report on employer branding, organisations are finding employer branding as a tool leading competitive advantage helping employees in internalising company values and contributing in employee retention (Uma & Metilda, 2012). 

The literature named human resource practitioner has described employer branding as a three-step process. Firstly, a firm is strive towards developing ‘value proposition’ using several brand elements named organisation’s culture, management style, qualities and competencies of current employees, current employment image, the impression of particular product or service, etc. All these brand elements serve to be a true representation of what the firm is offering and intends to offer. In other words, value proposition depicts central message to its targeted employees, recruiting agencies, placement counsellors and many other (Uma & Metilda, 2012). 

External marketing is the second element of three step process of employer branding. This element is concerned with attracting target population, and at the same time supporting and enhancing product or corporate brands. Thirdly, internal marketing is also crucial aspect carries the brand ‘promise’ intends to recruit the desired workforce. This aspect of employer branding is embedded into organisation culture for providing the workforce with a set of values making them committed for organisational goals established by the firm. 

This three step process stipulate the fact that employer brand is consistent with the firm’s product and corporate brand. Both employer brand and corporate brand aims at characterising firm’s identity as a good employer. Both internal and external audiences are targeted and aimed to keep satisfied through employer brand and corporate brand concept. In some case, it has identified that concept of employer branding is rolled together with the product and corporate brand campaign (Barrow & Mosley, 2011). It can be understood with the help of an example. UPS has introduced a new brand campaign named ‘Brown’ in the USA for promoting flexibility and professionalism aspect of their delivery service and strengthening opportunities they are offering as an employer. The opportunities here refer to chance available to current and potential employees of learning and maintaining the principle of flexibility and professionalism in their career prospects is also depicted by this campaign (Barrow & Mosley, 2011). 

2.2 Recruitment

Recruitment refers to attracting a pool of right candidates to apply for the positions cvacant in an organization. Such attraction of candidates is done through several internal and external sources, like advertisements, recruitment firms, job postings, campus recruitment, etc. Employer branding is the key to any strategy of recruitment as a strong brand image can help right, suitable and skilled candidates to apply for the open positions as well as meet the criteria during the selection process. 

An important model of recruitment is proposed by Knox and Freeman (2006) explaining the perception of potential recruits and recruiters on the employer brand image of an organization. The model explains the key role played by interpersonal communication between workers and external groups to shape the image and attitude of people (Dowling, 2002). Here the organization will have to ensure that the brand of the company is capable of attracting right candidates and that the brand image reinforces the right kind of culture. Such experience achieved due to employer branding intends to develop distinctive brand attitude, generate distinctive behaviour related to brand and also reinforce the service to customers in a manner that it can add value to experience of customers and create a distinctive position of the firm among competing firms.


 Employer brand recruitment process model

Figure 1: Employer brand recruitment process model (Knox and Freeman, 2006)


Recruitment if directly associated with employee value proposition (EVP) that is relevant to talent acquisition people in particular. The most common approach to engaging and enabling the recruitment team is to produce some form of employer brand toolkit that contains a detailed description of the Employee Value Proposition, Employer brand identity guidelines,, brand personality, messaging framework, campaign elements, content marketing guidelines, impact on recruitment marketing and candidate. Depending on the degree of change involves, the recruitment teams current level of sophistication, and previous involvement in the development process, the toolkit may also require additional briefing and/or training sessions. 

2.3 Retention of Employees

Along with attracting right candidates it is also important for a company to retain the existing talent over a long duration (Hausknecht et al., 2009). Retention is focused on maintain the talent that contributes towards the organizational success (Buenger, 2006).  Well recognised fact in the business world is that retention proves to be much more cost friendly as compared to recruitment of new employees and at the same time it acts as an effective strategy to attract better talent for the company (Allen et al., 2010). 

There can be several factors resulting in voluntary turnover of employees and major causes can be push factors (dissatisfaction) or pull factors (external opportunities) (Glebbeek and Bax, 2004). While discussing the reasons of employee retention, Taylor (2002) and Tanova and Holtom (2008) have emphasized on organizational culture, psychological contract and employee engagement. Organizations will strong culture have an experience of long term retention of employees as it helps in increasing their satisfaction level and commitment towards work (Wheeler et al., 2006). A positive organizational culture results in influencing activities of human resource giving rise to a positive psychological climate enhancing the commitment and retention of employees (Kopelman et al., 1990). 

Further, Rousseau (1996) introduced the concept of psychological contract explaining it as beliefs of individuals related to terms and conditions of the exchange agreement between the organization and the individuals. Such a contract is expected to create emotions and attitudes forming and controlling the behaviour (Armstrong, 2006) and is linked to commitment, culture of the firm and unmet expectations too (Lee, 2001). The influences of psychological contract on turnover depend on its perceived nature; is it transactional or relational. Transactional contracts emphasise monetary and short term benefits as relational focuses on long term relationships between employer and employee (Lee G., 2001). For example in case of of hourly workers, the contract is often considered transactional, as the main goal is to earn money (Moroko and Uncles, 2009). However it has been claimed that the nature of the psychological contract is changing, in response to the external and internal environment (Armstrong, 2006) due unpredictable markets, employers inability to make life long promises to employees resulting in changing perceptions of employment.


2.4. Theoretical framework of employer branding

Under this section of the literature review, two selected theoretical frameworks are discussed. The detailed discussion on these two theoretical frameworks is provided below:

1) Employer branding implementation framework 

This framework is inspired by the idea of understanding employer branding concept as a three step process-value preposition, internal marketing and external marketing. The idea of value preposition is sustained by the underlying framework with the replacement of external and internal marketing with external and internal communication. The main aim of the replacement is to pursue the goals of attracting ‘right applicants’ and retaining existing ones and increasing their level of organisational commitment (Rosethorn, 2012). The designation of ‘right applicants’ refers to the applicants sharing organisation values and ‘fit’ with the culture thereby demonstrating loyalty and commitment. The framework is depicted below:


Theoretical model of employer branding

Figure 1: Theoretical model of employer branding

Source: Rosethorn (2012) The Employer Brand: Keeping Faith with the Deal



There are four elements of the above framework-brand identity, employer value prepositions, communicating employer brand in the form of external and internal communication, and implication or result of interaction between external and internal communication. 

a) Brand identity

From above depicted figure, it can be said that employer branding is based on employer branding value proposition forming the basis of internal and external marketing efforts. However, Rosethorn (2012) argues that organisation needs to begin with Aaker brand equity model. There are four elements of Aaker brand equity model, which need to be considered for developing a brand identity and making employer-branding concept as specific. These four brand identity elements lead organisation to determine and consider who they are as an employer and what they expect to stand for in preferable terms. The clear determination of all these aspects enables an organisation to get an idea of how organisation differentiate itself as an employer in the race of competition. 

            In this regard, the author has fostered discussion on four elements of employer brand identity. These four elements are ‘brand as product’, ‘brand as organisation’, ‘brand as person’ and ‘brand as symbol’. The first element named ‘brand as product’ throws light on characteristics and attributes prevailing in the organisation and serves as a subject of differentiation (Rosethorn, 2012). The second element named ‘brand as organisation’ concerned with communicating organisational values, mission and vision statement, and statement of corporate social responsibility on environment and society. These values are communicated describing and communicating organisation’s philosophy. The third element named ‘brand as person’ deals with personality traits possess by the organisation. This element is used as an opportunity for describing organisation culture and current employees and workforce prevailing in the organisation. The fourth element, i.e., brand as symbol corresponds with visual imagery, metaphors and heritage shown in the form of ‘logo’. Among all the four elements, an organisation can correspond or utilise any of the element as an opportunity of differentiation (Rosethorn, 2012).

b) Employer value prepositions

This is next step of the framework emerges after the creation and development of employer brand identity. Brannan, Parsons & Priola, (2011) mentioned that employer value preposition is the most important aspect of creating differentiation. This is believed to be the first promise made by the organisation regarding employment. The notion of employer value propositions necessitates the formation of a psychological contract between employer and employee. It is necessary to stipulate employment terms and conditions in an honest and truthful manner enabling employees to decide employment prospect. 

            In general terms, there are three benefits need to be communicated for strengthening employer image and reputation. The first set of benefit is a functional benefit which is highly similar to Aaker’s brand equity model of considering ‘brand as product’.  The organisation need to depict characteristics, features, i.e., salary structure, benefits programs, compensation schemes, working hours, typical working assignments and much more (Brannan, Parsons & Priola, 2011). These attributes speak a lot regarding benefits likely to avail by an employee on working in the particular organisation. These benefits are also termed as functional benefits providing strong ground to the organisation for differentiating itself from competitors. 

            Emotional benefits are a second integral element of employer value prepositions concerned with addressing applicant’s emotional aspect. This attribute of employer value proposition is the combination of the attributes ‘brand as person’ and ‘brand as organisation’ explained by Aaker brand equity model. Lastly, a final benefit is a self-expressive benefit, which is believed to be the combination of ‘brand as person’ and ‘brand as symbol’ (Brannan, Parsons & Priola, 2011). 

            On the basis of above discussed benefits of value proposition, it can be said that it depicts values and opinions of the organisation. It provides an opportunity to the employee for identifying themselves and expressing through employment in the organisation. On comparing three benefits of employer value propositions, it has identified that emotional and self-expressive benefits are most important. The successful designing of employer branding value proposition creates foundation map for the implementation of the further strategy (Brannan, Parsons & Priola, 2011).

c) Internal and external communication 

Both external and internal communication element of employer branding framework are different and serve different purposes. The interaction between both the elements is central to the framework and it is necessary on the part of the organisation to identify and understand the manner of effective and successful communication. It is necessary to consider proper channels of communication in both external and internal communication. The choice or selection of channels depends on the desired target group and value it adds to employer branding (Backhaus & Tikoo, 2004). There are several modes of external communication like career fairs, company website, radio-spots, sponsorship, written media or any other. It is necessary to consider and select the appropriate channel of external communication among all available options. Likewise, it is advisable to consider the manner of communication in internal communication. The employees are communicated regarding ceremonies, rites, stories, language, and other elements shaping organisation identity and communicating same to current and future employees (Backhaus & Tikoo, 2004). 

d) Result of interaction between internal and external communication 

The interaction of external and internal communication generates two resulting assets in terms of attracting ‘right applicants’ and maintaining loyal and committed employees in the organisation. There needs to be a perfect synergy between these two assets as attracting right applicants and imbibing them with a high sense of loyalty and commitment acts as a critical factor in positively influencing organisation culture and developing the notion of ‘organisation-person fit’. The attraction of right people ensures success as right personnel brings a desirable level of commitment and loyalty towards organisation process (Backhaus & Tikoo, 2004). In this case, it becomes easier to start and take charge of the process. The lack of synergy between external and internal communication give rise to negative turn as it selects wrong people having disloyalty and lack of commitment. 

2.5 Few other relevant models of employer branding

According to CIPD (2010) there is a fundamental need to understand how much you need a certain employee to associate themselves with the organisational brand. Engagement surveys show that the biggest gaps lies between what the employer needs the employee to understand about the organisational brand and what the employee actually understands. This is when we find the concept of psychological contract very useful. The concept of psychological contract develops our understanding about the relationship between the employer and the employee and the implied expectations or obligations they share with one another (Eshøj ,2012). The research of Eshoj (2012) found that the employer brand message leads to employer associations and formation of some beliefs about a brand in the minds of potential applicant. This relationship depends upon for how long the applicant is exposed to a particular brand. The following diagram illustrates how various components of employer brand such as message, reputation, marketing and publicity etc., which leads to different associations, is ultimately dependent upon individual employees’ mental schema. This process then carries the development of the psychological contact where the expectation between employer-employee relations is determined.

 Expectation to the employment relationship

Source: Eshoj, A.N. (2012). MACC master Thesis


Another model of employer brading explaining the relationship between epmployer brand associations and emplotee attraction and retention is provided by Backhouse and Tikoo (2004). This model suggests that a high degree of loyalty, leads to prouctivity within the company. Employees that are committed to the organziation tend to stay longer, since they feel attached to and identify with the organziation and its culture. 


Value and Potential of a Player

As argued by Backhaus and Tikko (2004), the theory of recruitment explains the influence of brand image on the future attraction of employee towards the firm. A strong brand image of the company aligned with the personal values of the candidate results in increased attraction to the firm. Therefore, a controlled exposure of the value preposition to potential employees can help in shaping image of the brand of the company. This will further help in attracting right candidates through experience of shared values and will add value to the human capital of the organization (Backhaus and Tikoo, 2004). The phenomenon is clearly depicted in the above discussed model where organizational identity and culture as influenced by employer branding results in long term loyalty of employees and improves their level of productivity. 

Further it is to be noted that the relationship between employer branding and employer associations resulting in long term employe commitment is studied and considred in an efficeint manner. 

The correct establishment of this relationship is crucial because if it is not communicated or done properly then it might lead to post-employment dissonance. Post-employment dissonance in HR perspective would refer to a state when there is a mismatch between employee’s perception and organizational reality which will lead to conflicting attitude at workplace. 

So it can be implied that post-employment dissonance can lead to conflicting beliefs in the workplace which can in turn affect the external image of the company through word-of-mouth. Berthon (2005) suggest that there is a need for researchers to determine how ‘employer brand’ affects the post-employment dissonance and to establish whether an increase in job satisfaction through employer branding can decrease post-employment dissonance. 

2.6 Comparison of theoretical models

The first model as introduced by Rosethorn (2012) proposes employer branding to be a three-step process, namely, value preposition, internal marketing and external marketing. Here the major idea is to attract right candidates, retaining existing ones and increasing their level of commitment towards the organization with the help of employer branding, i.e. the brand image and brand value as provided by the employer. Therefore, the focus under this model is on internal as ell as external communication, which comes from brand identity and employer brand and results in recruitment and retention.

In another model as provided by Eshoj (2012) the focus is on developing the psychological concept that helps in understanding he relationship between employer and employee. Here brand message communicated by employer, gives rise to employer associations and formation of beliefs in minds of people or applicants. These developments gives rise to expectations in employment relationships. 

Finally, there is the model as suggested by Backhouse and Tikko (2004) where employer branding affects organizational identity as well as culture that in turn gives rise to brand loyalty and improves productivity of employees. At the same time employer branding also influence brand associations forming an image of the employer making it an attractive employer.

Comparing all the three models, it can be said that employer branding influence value preposition (employee value, employee commitment, employee objectives) as created by organization and communicated by brand message. It is the culture of the organization as well as the identity of the organization that is influenced by employer branding resulting in employee associations and mental schema. These factors in turn give rise to long-term employee retention and a positive employment relationship. A detailed framework acting as the foundation of present study that comprise of combined factors of three major models of employer branding is depicted in the following figure:

 Theoretical framework explaining foundation of present study

Figure: Theoretical framework explaining foundation of present study


Chapter 3: Research methodology

3.1 Research philosophy

The four key philosophies of research are available for selection and include the philosophy of positivism, realism, interpretivism and pragmatism. The philosophy of positivism aims to observe and collect data on the basis of expanding the hypotheses that is to be tested during the procedure of research work (Pope et al., 2000). Here the research can be conducted under perception of the society to achieve manifestation of an idealistic point of view (Remenyi et al., 1998). Further there is philosophy of realism where research is conducted in situation and scenario of real world. The interpretivism philosophy aims to study the differences among people or objects under study (Bryman and Bell, 2007). 

In the present study the philosophy of interpretivism is applied to study the strategies of recruitment and retention as followed at Standard Chartered Bank operating in the UK. Here the study is to be conducted in a less rigid manner where the application of theoretical knowledge becomes possible t guide through complexities of employee attraction and management in international business environment. Therefore, a case study method is used to conduct the research work focused on observations made through paradigm of interpretivism. This philosophy of research allows sensing the real-world scenario and recognizes the activities making sense occurring while the actual scenario in the business environment links directly to the research objectives (Remenyi et al., 1998). 

3.2 Research Approach

The research approach can take the form of inductive or deductive method. A deductive approach to study tries to reach the objectives of the study by testing various theories available in relation to the research topic (Thomas, 2004). On the other hand, inductive research approach focus on observing the available information or data to reach the objectives of the study and may define some new theories as derived through observing real world scenario.  

In the present research work, the deductive approach to study is followed where some key models and theories associated with employer branding and recruitment and retention of employees have been tested in real-world scenario of Standard Chartered Bank. The models are introduced in literature review section and used to compare and contrast the actual policies being followed and implemented at SCB to recruit right candidates and retail people over a long period of time.

3.3. Research Strategies

Several different strategies are available to conduct the research work in order to attain the objectives o a study. Considering the research onion provided by Saunders et al. (2012) there are strategies of case study, survey, experimentation, grounded theory, ethnography, action research, or archival research. The present study followed the strategy of case study where the recruitment and retention policies and strategies of Standard Chartered Bank are analysed and explored in relation to company’s employer branding strategy. This particular method is capable of expanding and generalizing the theories by combining existing theoretical models with latest empirical insights (Yin, 1994). Therefore, the method can be applied to field of study where much research has not been conducted. The strategy also allowed the research to move ahead of the local boundaries and explore the layers of reality and develop new insights that are practical and valid in nature (Eisenhardt and Graebner, 2007). 

In the present study the aim is to explore the impact of employer branding on recruitment and retention of employees at SCB. This purpose can be solved through case study strategy where it is possible to discover, describe, map and build relationships using theory testing and refutation for achievement of research aim and objectives (Cavaye, 1996).

3.4 Research Choices

The research choice has to be made between mixed method, mono method and multi methods to conduct the research work. In mono method there is either quantitative method or qualitative method used to conduct the study, while under mixed method a combination of both the methods is used (Mason, 2006). Under multi-method choice of research, there may be more than one method used to collect the required data for analysis. Here quantitative method may be combines with qualitative and interactive design of study. 

Under the present study the focus is on studying the concepts of employer branding in relation to recruitment and retention of employees at SCB. Here the aim is to study human behaviour that cannot be recorded or judged in numerical form. Therefore, the qualitative method of research is selected to record the behaviour of individuals and study it through available statements and views. Also, the topic under study required analysis of internal work environment, business situation, organizational strategies and culture that involve human element making qualitative study suitable for the research work. 

3.5 Data Collection

The required data for analysis is collected through primary method or secondary method of data collection. Under primary method of data collection the information is gathered from people directly affected by the situation or the issue (Forza, 2009). Here surveys, questionnaires, direct interviews and telephonic interviews are used to collect statements and views of people. However, secondary data method allows collection of information from secondary sources of information like journal articles, previous studies, magazines, company reports, and other Internet sources. Under a research study the required data may be collected through a combination of these two methods too. In the present study the required information to achieve research objectives is collected through secondary method of data collection. This is so as it was not feasible to contact the employees and managers of the bank and conduct surveys and interviews in light of time and resource constraints. It proves to be economical and time saving to collect information from secondary sources of study and also the method offers the opportunity of collecting large amount of data that may not be possible under a primary study plan. 

3.6 Data Analysis

Under the present study the collected data is analysed through inductive method where several different ideas and angles associated with the topic under study can be explored and analysed (Saunders et al., 2012). Here various models discussed in literature review sections of the study are used to conduct the analysis of the collected information. The models of employer branding and factors influenced by the phenomenon have been used to conduct a detailed analysis of collected information. However the final or actual results of the study are obtained from secondary sources in light of the basic models and theories offering a strong understanding of issues and complexities associated with employer branding and employee management. Such a method helped in avoiding any assumptions related to employer branding at SCB and its usage in recruitment and retention of employees. 

3.7 Validity and Reliability

While conducting a qualitative study, it is necessary to ensure validity as well as reliability of results of the study. In the present study, developing literature review and using several different sources of evidence made results generalized in nature and applicable to a wider population ensuring the validity of results. Further case analysis method ensured internal validity along with assuring internal coherence of results thereby ensuring internal consistency of the data gathered during the course of study. For ensuring the reliability of results proper care is taken to avoid any personal bias or assumptions along with citing the sources of information while presenting the actual results of the study. Furthermore, comparisons are made between different factors representing different perspectives using various models and theories associated with employer branding. 


Chapter 4: Findings

4.1 Mission and Vision of Standard Chartered Bank


Standard Chartered Bank works with the mission of being proactive. Its mission statement says:

“Standard Chartered Bank wants to be proactive in the sense that they want to exceed customers’ expectations, that is they want to come up with products and services having such features, before customers can start expecting them from SCB”.


The vision of Standard Chartered Bank is ‘To Build A World Class bank’. 

Apart from this key vision the company works with the following vision also:

  • To be trusted and respected around the world.
  • To deliver services that will continuously delight our customers.
  • To treat every customer with respect and integrity.
  • To share a vision of the future and work together to realize it.

4.2 Goals and Values of Standard Chartered Bank


Some key goals or numerical targets associated with operations of Standard Chartered Bank are:

  • Translating financial goals into goals of activity
  • Ensuring the ownership of your goals
  • Setting goals for daily and weekly duration
  • How much, what and when
  • Managing goals on daily basis


There are five major values followed at Standard Chartered Bank that proves to be the success of the organization. These values are focused on determining the way employees can achieve their goals and the way they can work as a group to achieve organizational objectives. These values are discussed as follows:

Courageous: The first value is being courageous and confident while doing what is right. This value helps employees to build character and inspires them to take initiative.

Responsive: Being responsive is related to the way of reacting to feedback of customers that influence their belief in the company’s commitment towards them. Often a proactive response is unexpected by customers while it clarifies and establishes the willingness of company’s employees to go beyond the unexpected.

International: Standard Chartered Bank operates on an international level where company and its employees are considered global citizens focused on delivering world-class products and services.

Creative: Creative thinkers are given high importance in the company as creativity motivates to take challenges and engage workers in fresh thinking with an open mind towards global environment. Such creative thinkers are expected to allow their minds to soar beyond predictable solutions.

Trustworthy: Trust is considered foundation of every successful relationship at Standard Chartered Bank. The company believes in trusting employees as the focus is on sincerity of the promises made to customers. 

4.3 Recruitment process at SCB

Recruitment is the process where a pool of suitable candidates are searched in a way they are attracted to apply for the vacant positions in the organization. Standard Chartered Bank is an equal opportunity employer that does not favour discrimination on the basis of race, religion and gender (Standard Chartered, 2015). Considering the steps in process of recruitment followed at Standard Charted Bank (SCB), it begins with requisitions being received by HR department from the concerned functional departments of the organization. This initial step is termed as ‘Business Need Discussion’ at the company where a detailed discussion is conducted to understand the type of position to be filled, number of candidates required, job design and roles and responsibilities along with expected qualification and skills from the candidates (Pratama and Bangun, 2013). Subsequently, a ‘Vacancy Request’ is provided to be placed as an advertisement on company’s intranet so that internal employees can view and consider the vacancy at the initial stage. The vacancy is also posted on company’s website to attract outside talent especially for junior level employees. 

The process of recruitment at SCB is a two-way procedure where HR department make sure that they bring an individual fitting to the vacant job well, not failing to make sure that Standard Chartered also fits in the individual properly and effectively. 

Further, the HR managers of Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) focus on two sets of function where managerial functions are carried out to plan, recruit, train, reward, research and compensate employees; and the development function of the bank embrace training, learning and mentoring. On the other hand the operative functions at the bank are focused on activities that are specialised in nature including development, compensation, maintenance and motivation, integration and industrial relations. Such a clear demarcation of activities defined for HR managers help SCB to ensure recruitment of suitable employees from within as well as from external sources. At the same time an emphasis on training, development, research, learning and mentoring helps retention of talent within the organization over long duration.  

The policy of recruitment at Standard Chartered Bank is focused on attracting candidates having highest calibre appropriate to meet the requirements at the job. Whenever there is a need to fill the vacancy, Standard Charted make it a point to give preference to internal candidates as well as referral filling of positions (Pratama and Bangun, 2013). Referrals are given much importance and if a position is filled through this method, the employee referring the new person even gets a percentage of the package offered to new employee as an incentive. Only when the company is unable to fill positions through internal recruitment, the external sources are tried to attract right candidates. With the aim of recruiting people for the company, it uses brand reputation by organizing and sponsoring events like marathon, charity activities, relief work and other social activities (Standard Chartered Bank, 2014).

Further, the company relies on campus recruitment for getting best candidates among fresh graduates. It is this place where Standard Chartered Bank uses its brand reputation to attract right candidates for various positions. The company has a policy where every employee is expected to participate in some activities related with corporate social responsibility (like, visiting a school, visiting hospitals, visiting care homes, etc.) on a quarterly basis (Standard Chartered, 2016). Such participation creates a brand image of the company within various social sectors of the society acting as an employer branding strategy linked to the recruitment strategy of the company. The company invest in communities and motivates its employees to participate in social activities majorly targeted to education and awareness of HIV and AIDS, sports activities, financing education and development of workforce (Standard Chartered Bank, 2015) These activities are a source of using brand reputation as a strategy to attract right candidates to apply for various positions at Standard Charted Bank. 

Further the company makes it a point to communicate employee value proposition (EVP) in all its recruitment efforts (Pratama and Bangun, 2013). It communicates the offerings and opportunities offers by the brand to people coming to the organization and using their skills and capabilities to achieve organizational objectives (Pratama and Bangun, 2013). 

4.4 Retention strategies at SCB

The very first strategy of SCB in relation to retention of employees is the reliance of company on referral hiring. As per HR global data of Standard Charted Bank, an employee referral program of the bank allows it to generate around 25% of all external hires (Pratama and Bangun, 2013). About the referral hires at SCB, the company reports that these people are 15% more likely to stay longer with the company as they know more about the brand and its reputation and can view their career growth at the company. Further, such people are 15% more talented and productive in comparison to new hires coming from any other route. (Pratama and Bangun, 2013) Additionally, the existing employees are given the chance to take up better positions, as they are well aware of the rules and regulation, work culture and vision and mission of the organization (Glassdoor, 2012). Above all, the existing employees are well trained and offered several opportunities of developing new skills and gain latest knowledge about latest technology, work methods and innovative thinking (Standard Chartered Bank, 2012). Therefore, they have an emotional connect with the brand and more likely to perform better over a long period of time. 

Again communication of Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is considered a route to retain employees over a long term at Standard Chartered Bank. This helps in reminding the employees of regular benefits and opportunities offers by the company where an employee-centred approach is aligned with the brand value which reaches the external target audience too through word-of-mouth (Siney and Howes, 2015). The EVP at Standard Chartered Bank is focused on offering a work-life balance and regular training and development opportunities to help employees take up senior positions and roles within the organization (Standard Chartered, 2015). However, in terms of pay and other monetary benefits, SCB is often criticised to be ineffective in retaining talent because of lack of competitive financial benefits and salary offers at various levels across the organization (Glassdoor, 2013). Furthermore, the company stresses on suing technology in innovative ways to organize work and train as well as motivate employees to increase their productivity and then change business strategy whenever resources are unavailable or cost of implementing is prohibitive in nature (Siney and Howes, 2015). 

Apart from these strategies, the basic values and philosophy of SCB is focused on offering an organizational environment fostering innovation and entrepreneurship. The company is people oriented in nature and it makes considerable investment to attract right talent, develop it and retain the dynamic professionals to ensure achievement of organizational objective of offering customer value and satisfaction. 

Another strategy is the necessity of an exit interview at SCB, which helps the company to attain unforeseen information. Such interviews ensure that key personnel retails with the organization and that the reduction of wasteful and expensive levels of employee turnover becomes possible. Negative results obtained from exit interviews of people leaving the organization are improved through regular review of compensation plan on the basis of market research and surveys, re-designing of jobs to make the work more challenging and innovative for people working at different levels and offering new opportunities of learning and development. Employees that seem to be de-motivated are directed towards a discussion focused on counselling enabling SCB to improve on functions and operations. 

Furthermore, at SCB it is believed that a precise job description and candidate specification is necessary to ensure the selection of appropriate candidate