Winning Secrets: How Sasa Inti's employer branding strategy is primed to achieve people readiness

Winning Secrets: How Sasa Inti's employer branding strategy is primed to achieve people readiness

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This leading food company from Indonesia is serious about building a culture based on being courageous, action-oriented, respectful, and enthusiastic.

The HR team at PT Sasa Inti believes that a company’s branding is especially crucial in challenging times to attract the retain the best talent. Awarded the silver for Excellence in Employer Branding at HR Excellence Awards, 2020 Indonesia, Agus Sudarmoko, Head of HR, Sasa Inti shares that the HR team benchmarks themselves against companies with the best practices and strives to create a strong employer brand by strengthening their presence on online/offline channels.

Q How would you describe your overall HR strategy, and what are some key milestones you've accomplished thus far?

The overall HR strategy comes from Strategic Business Direction 2019-2025, which is based on our vision as a leading food company from Indonesia and a mission to bring happiness to the world through delicious, prepared food. These are built based on fundamental HR functions targeted to ensure organisation and people readiness.

All strategies and their derivatives are covered in our core values (Sasa Basic Mentality) – CARE (courage, action-oriented, respectful, and enthusiastic), which is set as the company’s DNA.

Some of Sasa’s key milestones from 2019–end of 2020 are as follows:

  1. Muri record by serving 36.000 meatballs by 200 sellers.
  2. Pertama di Indonesia Award 2019 was given by Info brand & Transco.
  3. Muri record on 10,240 Ikan Bakar Krispi.
  4. Top Brand Award 2019 for seasoning flour category.
  5.  Top Brand award 2019 for Fried Chicken Flour.
  6. Top Brand Award 2019 for MSG category.
  7. The Best Marketing Innovation 2019 from Marketing Magazine for Sasa 'Bumbu Rendang' and 'BumbuOpor'.
  8. Social Media Award 2019 for Instant Food Seasoning and Ready to Use Coconut milk campaign, this award was admitted after the company managed to achieve high EMSS Index as Great Performing Brand in social media.
  9. Best innovative company 2019 (10) from iNews
  10. Three awards for Indonesia Digital Popular Brand Award (IDPBA) 2019 for Seasoning Flour, Instant Seasoning, and Coconut Milk (10).
  11. Halal Award 2019 was given by MUI.
  12. CSR Award 2019.
  13. Best Employer Branding in Class 2019 from LinkedIn.


Q What role has your leadership team played in supporting your HR priorities? How does your HR team collaborate closely with senior management to achieve business goals?

In our long-term strategy, the HR team manages employees' awareness and perceptions, potential employees, and related stakeholders to attract and retain the best talent in the company.

To get buy-ins, HR has done research and concluded that the branding aspect becomes crucial in the middle of challenges and targets, especially to attract the best talent. When business expansion happens, it's not easy to attract and retain the best talent to fill up the critical positions.

In this challenging situation, HR always communicates and emphasises that employer branding will support overall business strategy and create a strong bridge between HR (talent acquisition) and marketing strategies, besides involving all departments and managers to achieve business goals.

Q The pandemic has caused many business plans to be upended. What was the greatest challenge you faced last year and how did you manage to pivot your HR model/framework?

Our greatest challenge during the pandemic is to maintain health. The main challenge for HR is to continue supporting the business to survive and remain profitable. With HR being more agile, we can prepare employees to upskill or gain new skills so that they can adapt to business developments and market demands.

Apart from that, another challenge is supporting digitisation and automation as well as its impact on employees and businesses.

Q What was your game plan for measuring ROI in employer branding? What are some proud achievements you can share with us on this front?

Companies that have adopted an overarching employee value proposition are five times more likely to report that their employees are highly engaged and twice as likely to report achieving financial performance (ROI) significantly.

Companies who claim to have differentiated their EVP and tailor it to critical workforce segments are 11% less likely to report problems attracting critical skill employees in fast-growing economies and 6% less likely to do so in developed economies (Towers Watson, 2012).

Here are some of our HR team’s achievements:

In 2019:

  1. Halal Award 2019 was given by MUI
  2. CSR Award 2019
  3. Best Employer Branding in Class 2019 from LinkedIn

In 2020:

  1. HR Excellence Award 2020 from SWA & UI on Recruitment Strategy
  2. Top CSR Award by Top Business
  3. Top Leader on Commitment 2020, Rudolf Tjandra by Top Business
  4. “Badan Usaha Terbaik” Award on Minahasa Selatan Regency by BPJS Kesehatan
  5. Best I Recruitment Innovation in Human Capital Achievement Award II by Airlangga University
  6. HR Excellence Award 2020 for Employer Branding Category by Human Resource Online, Singapore

Q Given just how quickly the external business environment is adapting, how do you ensure that your employer branding efforts keep pace with the tough competition the talent market imposes?

To ensure that our employer branding is strong enough, we will continue to benchmark against best-practice companies and follow our employer brand mix. We will be focusing on several aspects:

  • Performance management
  • Recognition/rewards
  • Service support

We will also strengthen our online and social media channels as well as the offline channel. Other improvements include adding various methods and broader channels to implement the employer branding strategy, in collaboration with the company’s HR strategies, such as CSR, employee engagement, brand communication, and etc.

Photo / Standing (from left): Regina Karlina – People & Culture Manager, Yudha Argapratama – People & Organisational Development Manager and Dwi Widiyanto Irawan – Talent Acquisition & Industrial Relation Manager. Sitting is Agus Sudarmoko – Head of HR.

Read more interviews on why organisations have won trophies for their HR practices - head over to our Winning Secrets' section! 

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