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Title: Employer branding and retention of employees in luxury hotel chains in Malaysia
Authors: Syed Alwi, SF
Arshad, R
Siew Yee, C
Keywords: Employer brand;CEO/leader personality;Employee retention;Corporate personality;Brand commitment;Internal branding and marketing
Issue Date: 2012
Citation: Second International Colloquium on Corporate Branding, Identity, Image, and Reputation (COBIIR), 12-13 September 2012, Middlesex University, UK
Abstract: Employer brand is an image of one organization which is seen through the eyes of its associates and potential hires. In particular, it is “a package of all functional, economic and psychological benefits provided by employment, and identifies with the employing organization” (Ambler and Barrow, 1996). Thomson et al. (1999) suggest that employees play specific role in building the service brand in order to make the brand ‘come alive’. Furthermore, employees can have a positive influence on consumers’ perception regarding the service brand (Martin et al., 2004). Employees are thought to play a crucial role in building their company brands through their brand loyalty and commitment towards their organisation and thus, should remain as top priority among the top management when designing the company brand identity (Kimpakorn and Tocquer, 2009). Mitchell (2002) suggests that in order to gain a strong brand position of one product or service, it is vital to build internal branding as a process to align staff’s behaviour with a corporate brand’s identity. This is consistent with a view that brand-consistent behaviour often supports the development of a coherent brand image and is considered as one of the crucial success factors in corporate brand management (de Chernatony and Vallaster, 2005). Hence, while branding strategies focus on the enhancement of such corporate image, employer branding, on the other hand, is seen as part of the overall corporate brand. However, empirically, this concept has received limited awareness from past researchers, particularly in the context of luxury hotel chains in the East countries. Thus, to add to the literature, this study examines employer branding as a concept for enhancing employees’ brand commitment in the luxury hotel chains in Malaysia. It extends the previous model on employer brand proposed by Kimpakorn and Tocquer (2009) by adding employer characteristics/CEO/leader personality as another important dimension of employer brand concept. To better understand the employees’ brand commitment in service industry, research related to the indicators of employees’ brand commitment is reviewed to construct a conceptual framework of employer brand. Employees’ brand knowledge, employer brand and its competitors, customer brand as perceived by employees, employer brand characteristics (Kimpakorn and Tocquer, 2009) were examined along with the newly added dimension, employer characteristics/leader personality (developed from Slaughter et al., 2004) as dimensions of employer brand . The measures were developed based on extensive review of literatures, and to ensure the validity and reliability of the scales, they had undergone a content and face validity phase involving three expert researchers with academic and managerial background, 20 hotel middle management employees (at pre test level) and 50 employees for the pilot test. The main study was further informed by a total of 266 completed questionnaires from the middle management employees from ten (10) hotels which represents 5 luxury hotel chains in Malaysia. The results showed that two out of five proposed dimensions, employer brand and its competitors, and the newly added dimension-the employers’ characteristics/leader personalities (i.e. the integrity and trust of the leader) were significantly related to employee brand commitment. The finding is in line with Rae and Subramaniam (2007) who found that employees who work with a leader of high standards on integrity and ethics are more likely to adopt and enforce high performance at work. Fairness and integrity at workplace hereby, specifically in hospitality industry, often affiliate closely with the employees’ retainment and commitment. Through the study, it is found that CEOs effectiveness depends on their personality and charisma and not solely on their control over bureaucratic structures (House et al., 1991). Practically, the findings from this study contributes to HR managers on the importance of effective communication with employees, and designing policies for internal marketing that can make employees feel as part of the company during the process of brand building. The study further concluded with suggestions as to how manager could incorporate and address more efficiently on employer branding when communicating or designing the internal marketing program to enhance their employees’ brand commitment.
Appears in Collections:Brunel Business School Research Papers

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