The Randstad Employer Brand Research (REBR) is certainly not the only employer brand research out there. A number of resources are available to companies wanting to investigate their employer brand.
We can divide existing employer brand research into several categories. There are studies, such as Randstad’s, that focus on brand image. Here, the respondents are workers (not employees) from around the globe. Other studies look into brand identity, in this case former employees are surveyed. Another way of categorizing is the method of data collection. Some research takes advantage of big data that is gathered continuously. Other research makes use of panels that are questioned periodically (generally on an annual basis). Finally, most research (including Randstad’s study) is opinion-based. LinkedIn, however, collects and uses data regarding factual behavior e.g. response to vacancies.
In summary: Randstad’s Employer Brand research examines a company’s image by periodically questioning the opinions of a panel of respondents.
The table demonstrates that the various forms of research are complementary. So it is certainly worthwhile for companies to consult a variety of sources. Moreover since no single source offers a complete overview of one’s employer brand.
The unique nature of the Randstad Employer Brand Research is not entirely clear when compared to other employer brand research. Indeed, two additional benefits need to be emphasized.
The first is its transparency. The employer brand score in Randstad’s research represents the share of respondents (in relation to those that know the company as an employer) giving a score of 4 or 5 to the question ‘Would you want to work for this employer? Where 1 stands for not at all and 5 for very much. This indicator leaves no room for doubt.
With many other studies no actual score is issued. Generally this is because the score itself is made up of various factors and is therefore harder to interpret. LinkedIn bases its score on 4 different variables: how well-known are the companies, how much interaction is generated by company content, how much response is there to vacancies and how long do recruited employees remain. In the Great Place to Work Study calculations are based on a blend of scores from existing employees and from an external jury. These blended scores are also not published and are only given to the companies themselves.
Another great benefit of Randstad’s research is its representability. Randstad researches all large private companies in one country. The definition of ‘large’ does differ from country to country; the larger the country, the larger the critical limit for inclusion tends to become. Glassdoor, LinkedIn and Universum can also claim such representability in their research. Great Place to Work Study, however, cannot since they research companies that come forward themselves (and pay) to be included in the study. The sample of companies investigated annually is certainly not representative of all companies. This type of research is mainly of importance to the participating companies themselves.
Randstad’s research certainly takes the lead in terms of the representability of respondents seeing as they reflect the relevant population between the ages of 18 and 65. This not the case with other research on offer. Universum, for example, limits their questions to respondents in their final year of a Master degree. Glassdoor and LinkedIn, to my knowledge, do not claim to be representative either. At Glassdoor too little is currently known about the group that place a spontaneous review of their (ex) employer. This applies particularly to the company’s ex-employees. It is quite reasonable to assume that the group of people that feel compelled to post a review of their ex-employer are not representative of all employees that have left the company. Also, it is not clear how Glassdoor handles the fraudulent practice of companies actively forcing their own employees to post reviews. Meanwhile, LinkedIn is particularly strong at the top end of the employment market. This means that the well-educated are over-represented among their respondents. This is also the case with Glassdoor. Randstad’s research is therefore unique in terms of global representability on the supply and demand side and deserves a place among global employer brand research.