“Companies that can consistently attract and retain the best talent are getting their employer branding right.”
But how do you become an employer brand, what does employer branding mean for today’s business world, and how does it contribute to your company’s growth strategies?
Employer branding is a concept introduced by Simon Barrow in the 1990s. In the recent decade the term employer branding has been interpreted as the full integration of branding practices into HR practices.
In a nutshell, we’ll explain how important it is for employer branding to have a basic structure based on your company’s values and your employees, and we’ll give you some useful application examples along the way.
Who does employer branding?
The most important player in employer branding is the management.
If the management does not support the introduction of employer branding, the HR department cannot be successful in this area.
On the contrary. In the background, management must clearly know what they stand for, support the implementation as well as live its communicated values – otherwise a successful employer branding campaign can quickly turn into a sh*tstorm and resource hog.
Even if the HR department leads the process, the process cannot be initiated without the leadership and clarity of management.
So, should only management and HR be involved?
No, of course not!
The employer branding process should be channeled and elicited as well as carried out together with other employees.
Why is employer branding important if you have a sufficient number of employees in your company?
If you are a successful employer brand, you can offer your employees much more than a salary and a job.
Of course, you reap what you sow: a work environment where there is cohesion even in times of crisis, where employees who feel a sense of belonging to the company and its values are committed to their work, where the number of resignations drops significantly and the number of job applications increases.
It is also important to work with existing employees over a longer period of time in order to use your resources efficiently and effectively. This keeps margins and profits higher.
The resources spent on constant recruiting, onboarding and development of new employees, which usually takes months, can be a losing proposition for the company.
So, if you’re complaining about the skills shortage, remember Bettina’s words and reread this blog post: “There is no skills shortage – those who have the skills just don’t want to work for you!”
What goals can you pursue by creating an employer brand?
Keeping in mind that the employer brand is a product, there are 3 audiences to whom you want to market it:
One is potential candidates.
Potential candidates are talent outside the company that you want to attract to your company. You should be an attractive employer to these talents. This must also be apparent from the outside – online and offline.
Another target audience is the employees of your company.
Employees should be able to say, “I like working here, I’m developing, and I see a future for myself.”
Another target audience is the workers who leave your company.
The person leaving the company should be proud to have worked there and leave feeling like they had a good experience.
Last but not least, social media or even platforms like Kununu or Glassdoor are popular research platforms for potential applicants. A well-founded negative evaluation here can quickly lead to lower applications.
Why values play the biggest role in building an employer brand?
This is one of the most underrated measures, but one that can bring the most leverage in employer branding: Know your company values as well as your personal values and communicate them properly to the outside world.
Only then will potential candidates understand whether you are a good match for their own values, lifestyle, or interests. By communicating clearly about your values, you will reduce the number of unsuitable applications and streamline the selection process.
The easiest way to explain this is with an example:
“For me as a manager, the values of freedom and honesty have always played a major role. Of course, it is all the more important to me that this is lived in my company and also by my employees.
In 2016, I founded weBOUND during an 18-month trip around the world and have since been running the company with all employees and freelancers working location-independently or remotely.
It is very important to me to allow all participants the greatest possible flexibility (with the greatest possible security) as well as an honest interaction with each other. Sometimes this also means saying no to an idea, even if a project could arise from it.
These values are also clearly communicated – online as well as offline.
Is my company the right workplace for everyone? No! For some individuals, the lack of an office or micro-management that they are used to from other companies is a dealbreaker. For others the flexible working hours, as well as 100% location-independent work that they can schedule themselves, is their dream.”Bettina Wittman, Founder, weBOUND
What else should you look for to make your employer branding successful?
First and foremost, employees value the work climate as well as the social environment. Therefore, a safe and peaceful work environment should be created for employees that also fits their values.
Some people may be intrinsically motivated, others more extrinsically motivated. This should also be kept in mind.
In addition to social opportunities, there should be, for example, a reward system, effective performance appraisal processes, employee satisfaction surveys, and development opportunities for them to recognize their talents and realize their potential.
Mission, vision, and appreciation
Where people work, there are expectations, challenges, and sometimes even irrational behavior and friction because at the end of the day, we are all driven by our emotions and the need to fulfill or maintain personal values.
This can be security, sustainability, freedom, recognition, or harmony among many others. And these terms can also mean different things to different people.
The mission and vision of your company must be well communicated to your employees and lived at all levels. Only if company values are recognizable, can they be directly communicated to employees so that they make them their own. It is not enough to write this in a manual or to slap it on the website!
Employees who take the company’s mission, vision, and values to heart are known to be more engaged in their work and more loyal to the company when their personal values align with the company’s values.
One of the ways to make your employees feel valuable are actions like showing gratitude and responsibility along with trust, appreciation, smiling, giving them the opportunity to improve, being fair, standing by them on both difficult and happy days, respecting them, and giving importance to their opinions.
The value match between company and (potential) employees.
You can also create a slogan in the minds of all the mentioned target groups.
Employer Brand: Apple
Slogan: “Join Us. Be You.”
Employer Brand: weBOUND marketing
Motto: “Our international team is not only our greatest asset, but also our family.”
Ultimately, effective employer branding requires innovative methods and clarity to explore your company’s values and desired employer appeal.
It’s critical to know your company’s values because if you can’t clearly articulate and communicate your values, potential candidates won’t know why they should work for you.
Identifying values and addressing blockages in the company, in the team, or as a leader with the St. Galler Coaching Model
Clearly formulated values make your employees feel connected to the company, which increases their motivation and loyalty.
One way to shape the change and value creation process is the St. Galler Coaching-Modell (SCM). This model is a values-based model and offers the possibility to achieve real and sustainable change.
Our founder Bettina, as a certified consultant of the St. Gallen Coaching Model, offers to help people and companies to identify and communicate their values and thus, on the one hand, to create clarity within their company, and on the other hand to attract more, better, and the right talents.
In this way, sustainable change can be facilitated, leading to more and better applications, as well as higher employee retention and satisfaction. Every employer branding campaign becomes even more successful as a result!
“The employer branding process should happen from the inside out.”
What does this mean?
Quite simply, the most important components of the process are the managers and employees of your company. They will be your most important supporters in the branding process.
You can do a great job of communicating your employer brand to the outside world, but if your employees are unhappy internally, the campaign won’t work and you’ll keep burning money.
Besides, who likes to deal with unhappy employees or wants to keep hiring?
You can use these approaches as examples to make your brand an employer brand
1- Make it clear on the career page of your website why you are the best employer*: candidates should immediately understand what your company stands for and what they can expect if they come to work for you.
At this point, let yourself be inspired by the quote on weBOUND’s career page:
“Become a weBOUNDer and help shape the digital world – wherever you are!
At weBOUND marketing, we bring great talent together and offer a platform for you to grow with us. Because as the first international digital agency founded during a year-and-a-half trip around the world and still operating remotely to serve its clients globally, we believe that personal and corporate growth go hand in hand.”
2- Make sure you market your employer brand well on social media.
You can use your company’s LinkedIn page or other channels to showcase fresh hires, employee stories and experiences, and posts about their hiring process. Because “storytelling is everything.”
You can also post examples of employees talking about their experience working at the company on the company’s Facebook or Instagram page. For example, introduce your newly hired employees to the public through your social media.
For example, you can use Reels on Instagram by creating a short video for each company value you’ve added.
Further, a video could show how your employees work from anywhere, and the design and quality of the short video can show your professionalism. Your company’s value appreciation can be shown through team building events or a funny video about how the whole team is happy about a success. Be creative.
IGTV on Instagram or YouTube videos are also useful to post longer videos about employee stories, behind-the-scenes, or “About Us.”
Each story can prove that your company is delivering on its core employee value proposition by focusing on employeebenefits, promotions, inclusion, or company lifestyle.
Remember: it’s worth investing in your workforce! Promote your posts about your people and recruiting process and show the digital world that you’re the right place to work.
Want to learn more about how to leverage social media for a successful employer brand? Then you should take a look at our blog post: Employer Branding – How to Use Social Media for Successful Employer Branding.
3- Don’t forget that qualified people can be found not only on social media, but also everywhere the internet reaches.
Google now considers not only websites but also social networks in search results. Keep in mind how you can rank for the appropriate keywords through your own posts or, for example, interviews on other sites.
By using the right keywords and SEO measures, you attract additional traffic to your site and create a positive feeling among people who see the content. If you see other people want to work with a brand, then you will want to work with them too?
For example, a person who sees your company’s inspiring recruitment ad while watching a marketing-related training video on YouTube might get excited about working with you.
If you’re looking to step up your own employer branding efforts this year, we hope you’ll be inspired by the information and examples provided in this article. If you think we missed something, feel free to leave us a comment!
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Defne Hüryilmaz is a versatile creative professional who has a natural talent for digital marketing. With a keen eye for detail and an exceptional writing style, she excels in her role as a social media manager. Her ability to create compelling, persuasive content that resonates with audiences is second to none.
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