South Africa’s 1st Employer Branding Standard: Building your company brand in attracting and retaining talent


South Africa’s 1st Employer Branding Standard: Building your company brand in attracting and retaining talent
by Marius Meyer

In 2013 the SA Board for People Practices (SABPP) launched the world’s first National HR Standards covering 13 key standard elements for sound HR practice.  These standards are as follows:  Strategic HR Management, Talent Management, HR Risk Management, Workforce Planning, Learning and Development, Performance Management, Reward and Recognition, Employee Wellness, Employment Relations Management, Organisation Development, HR Service Delivery, HR Technology and Hr Measurement.  This was the first phase of the National HR Standards project.  In 2014 phase two was launched, this time addressing additional HR Professional Practice Standards ranging from absenteeism management, through to succession planning, total of 19 such practice standards were developed.  Last year, the process continued and four new standards were commissioned to be developed. These standards were change management, incapacity management, workplace learning culture and employer branding.  Thus, there are now a total of 23 HR professional practice standards in South Africa, in addition to the 13 standards comprising the HR Management system as outlined above.

Today, I want to share a brief outline of the employer branding standard with you.  This standard forms a key component of talent management.  In fact, if you get this standard right at your organisation, your company will be able to not only attract the best talent, it will also be well positioned to retain key talent.  In essence, the employer branding standard focuses on infusing a strong employment value proposition for your organisation in attracting high calibre potential employees to your company.  The key question is the mind of a potential employee is: Why would I like and go and work at this company?  If there is no compelling reason, the individual is unlikely to apply for a position at the company.

Over the last ten years, employer branding initiatives such as “Best company to work for” or “Top Employers” have grown in the market place.  Some of these efforts amount to high level public relations and window-dressing exercises.  What happens in practice is that you do everything possible to attract talent to your organisation.  Then employees are signed up, and months or a few years later they leave when their expectations are not met.  That is the reason why SABPP developed the employer branding standard to prevent this problem from occurring.  We are now saying to organisations that it is imperative to develop a professional approach to employer branding.  While the best employers will continue to thrive with sound talent management in place, the reality is that average and poor employers will continue to suffer.  Some commentators are stating that the talent war is a myth, however, it is a fact that talented employees are attracted to good employers.  If average and poor employer continue to attract average and under-performing employees, they will feel the results in their bottom-line performance.  Already, many municipalities, government departments, state agencies and other state-owned enterprises are feeling the punch.  However, it does not have to be a win-lose situation.  All organisations could build strong talent cultures and employer branding should become a powerful strategy in achieving this goal.

The SABPP Employer Branding Professional Practice Standard proposes the following process for South African organisations:

Employer Branding Process

What is clear about the standard and its proposed process for implementation, is that companies need to make the paradigm shift from traditional recruitment and selection practices to a more proactive talent-driven approach to attracting top talent to your organisation.  This will only happen if your company as a good employer is branded in an appropriate and professional way.  Employer branding will also require HR, marketing, communications and public relations professionals to collaborate in making a success of employer branding initiatives. Ultimately, all HR practices will have to align to the overall employer branding and talent strategy.  I look forward to be at the launch of South Africa’s first employer branding standard on 28 July 2016.  If you have an interest in employment branding, I hope to see you there (see details below).  If you can’t make it, follow the action on twitter @SABPP1.

Marius Meyer

Marius Meyer is CEO of SABPP. In 2014 he launched the world’s first National HR Audit Unit to audit organisations against the National HR Standards developed by SABPP. More information about the SABPP HR Standards is available on their website and their blog

  For daily updates on HR Standards and HR Audits, follow SABPP on Twitter @SABPP1 and Instagram sabpp_1


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