Employer attractiveness: a conceptual framework & scale development.

AuthorPattnaik, Salila Kumar


The term 'War for talent' was brought by McKinsey consultants (Chambers et al, 1998). Organizational attractiveness with reference to recruitment has been explored in related areas of research in human resources and has been linked to marketing literature (Daniel & Neves, 2011). Ambler and Barrow (1996) have shown the importance of recruitment outcomes of the image of the organization as an employer. Recruitment has received extensive attention from academics in these years (e.g. Cable & Turban, 2001; Kickul, 2001). Organizations should come up with their innovative recruitment strategies to win the war for talent by becoming an employer of choice within the talent pool (Berthon et al., 2005; Armstrong, 2006) to sustain their business and achieve competitive advantages. Employee's perception of employer attractiveness is key to organizational success in attracting and retaining talents (Williams & Bauer, 1994; Albinger & Freeman, 2000; Berthon et al, 2005). Organizational attractiveness refers to the degree to which a person favorably perceives an organization as a place to work (Rynes et al., 1991), and the intention of referring their organization to the external talent pool. While much focus in academia as well as in practice has been devoted to understand what leads to employer attractiveness (Berthon et al., 2005; Backhaus& Tikoo, 2004), substantial focus has not yet been given to measure the level of employer attractiveness through the identification of attributes that employees look for in their employer.

Employer Attractiveness

Psychological research is focusing on what makes individuals attracted, or what makes an employer attractive in terms of specific (personal) characteristics (Highhouse et al., 2003; Rentsch & McEwen, 2002; Hoye & Lievens, 2007). Recruitment literature relates this term to the decision of a job applicant to apply for a job (Allen et al, 2007; Hoye & Lievens, 2007). Despite the differences in focus, most research measures the level of attractiveness at the individual level (Judge & Cable, 1997; Turban & Greening, 1996). Perceptions of organizational attractiveness refers to the level to which a person positively perceives an organization as a great place to work (Rynes et al., 1991), or the broad professed desirability of working for an organization (Aiman-Smith et al., 2001).

Berthon et al (2005) suggested that the concept of 'employer attractiveness' leads to employer branding. In their study on dimensions of attractiveness in employer branding the authors identified five dimensions or in other words a set of value proposition that lead to employer attractiveness. This certainly helps to understand the attributes of employer attractiveness but does not say whether with these proposed attributes employees will stay attached to the organization.

Sokro (2012) studied the influence of employer branding on employee attraction and suggested that employers need to create conducive work environment with conditions to enable employees feel comfortable and remain in the organisation. The study was limited only to identify the attributes of employer attractiveness. Post implementation of these attributes and its effect on the retention matrix is un-determined.

Devendorf and Highhouse (2008) studied workplace attraction, and the contribution of existing employees on attracting the potential employee to the prospective pool. The study highlighted that job seekers look for three types of important information from potential employers i.e. people information, employer information, and job information. Out of the three, people information is particularly significant as job seekers are likely to be interested in the attributes of their potential co-workers. Authors argued that the attributes of current employees can significantly predict the organization's employer attractiveness.

Kanar et al (2010) studied on how the positive word-of- mouth of existing employees about their current organization effects in attracting potential employees towards the organization. The study revealed that negative information is having a larger impact than positive information on job seekers' organizational attraction. The result had shown that job seekers who were exposed to negative information were much less attracted to the organization compared to participants who were exposed to positive information.

Sullivan (2004) argues that organization should do periodic survey to understand that public recognizes the organization as a great-place-to-work. Organization should focus that the existing employees are satisfied with the current people practices and "proactively" telling positive stories. A satisfied employee will prefer to getting talked about his organization and thus the employers must measure this. The organization should always focus to become a benchmark firm, increasing employees and potential employees' awareness of the best people practices and finally should assess the branding...

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