Strategy & Advisory
5 tips for successful employer branding in 2022
Founder & CEO
Founder & Head of Sales
July 9th, 2021
November 15th, 2022
"Companies with a strong employer brand fill their open positions up to twice as quickly."
For more than a year now, we have been in a century-long crisis for the economy. Cancelled orders, closures, reductions and red numbers dominate everyday life. It is only logical that employer branding falls by the wayside. Or is it? Quite the opposite is the case. A study by the agency identifire, conducted among top managers in HR, marketing, communications and strategy in Austria, shows that the war for talent, i.e. the competition for the best talent, has not decreased at all. Even 15% of companies are increasing their employer branding in the crisis.
Furthermore, Randstad's "Employer Brand Research 2020" report finds that companies with a strong employer brand fill their advertised positions up to twice as quickly.
What is employer branding?
Employer branding describes all measures that a company can take to strengthen its own brand and present itself as a suitable and attractive employer to potential applicants. The term "employer branding" describes employer branding in German. The shift in the balance of power from the employer to the employee has changed recruiting. Companies no longer choose their employees, but the other way around. The fear of losing one's own job is steadily decreasing (even if the Covid-19 pandemic brings a short interruption here). As a result, organizations are forced to find new solutions in personnel recruitment. The previously practiced "post-and-pray recruiting" is losing more and more effectiveness and importance - simply posting a job advertisement and waiting no longer works. Today, employers have to come up with more ideas to reach potential applicants, attract attention and convince them.
"Companies no longer choose their employees, but the other way around."
The fight for talent and skilled workers drives companies to focus on building and maintaining their brand as an employer. Employer branding combines concepts from marketing and brand building to present itself as an attractive employer. Through analysis, measures and strategies, an employer brand can be developed, which determines how the organization is perceived by potential employees. The resulting marketing impact aims to increase efficiency and accuracy in personnel recruitment. This external impact of employer branding is complemented by the internal impact. Employee retention is closely related to the identification of employees with the values and culture of the employer.
Why is employer branding important?
What convinces us the most? Facts. Let's first look at some facts that show why employer branding is considered so essential:
#1 The biggest reason potential candidates do not apply is that they do not know what it is like to work for the company
#2 3/4 of candidates form an impression of the employer brand of the company before they even apply (usually online)
#3 More than half of all candidates use the company's website and social media channels to first gather information and then make a decision about applying
#4 Companies with a strong employer brand fill their open positions on average twice as quickly as companies with a weak or no employer brand
#5 75% of job seekers use LinkedIn to learn about their career opportunities
#6 Companies with a weak or no employer brand pay 10% higher salaries.
Convinced? As stated above, the times when companies can choose their employees are over. Today, companies have to apply to potential employees and not the other way around - this applies to the IT sector as well as the healthcare sector.
Additionally, especially for millennials and younger generations, salary is becoming less important and other factors are influencing job decisions. For example, the identifire study shows that, according to managers in HR, marketing, communication, and strategy, while job security is still the number one criterion, factors such as good working atmosphere, flexible working hours, creative and decision-making autonomy, and cultural fit are becoming increasingly important. Salary is becoming less of a factor. The most important factors are summarized in the figure below.
We still ask ourselves the question: Why is employer branding so important? Because at first glance, it seems to be very complex and time-consuming. And it is, but the effort is worth it - both in the short term and long term. At the end of the day, results need to be achieved - we entrepreneurs and CEOs know that. So let's take a look at what successful employer branding can bring in black and white.
More efficient hiring of new employees:
A lower time to hire, a smaller drop-out rate during the recruitment process, and more suitable applicants are all positive effects of employer branding. Good employer branding not only increases visibility in the job market and attractiveness as an employer, but also delivers more and better-matching applications.
Less employee turnover:
Employer branding affects turnover in two different ways. On the one hand, organizations with a strong employer brand can attract qualified applicants who know from the beginning what they are getting into, fit well with the company, and therefore rarely leave the company after a short time. Additionally, the "Employer Brand Research 2020" report by randstad shows that 76% of employees in Germany would recommend their employer if the employer's self-presentation is authentic and truthful.
On the other hand, employers want to keep their best employees. An employer brand that employees identify with leads to higher productivity, better work morale, and lower employee turnover. The "Employer Brand Research 2020" report by randstad shows again that 46% of employees who are willing to change employers do so because their values do not match the company's values.
It's not just about the salary level:
Although it is still an important factor, today's talent and skilled workers are looking for more than just an attractive salary. The most important things here are: job security (gained importance since 2020), a pleasant work atmosphere, flexibility (especially in terms of time and location), and a good work-life balance.
A company that can combine and offer these benefits will be able to afford to offer applicants and candidates less salary than a company that cannot offer them. Studies even show that companies with a bad reputation have to pay 10% higher salaries.
"Companies with a bad or no employer brand pay 10% higher wages."
Who is employer branding important for?
In short, for every company that has or wants to hire employees. Employer branding is relevant and important to every company and public institution in varying degrees. It is essential in areas where there is a shortage of skilled workers, such as in healthcare or the IT sector. Large corporations like BMW and Porsche have already recognized this and often do not need to advertise job openings because their employer brand has been built up so strongly over the years that they receive enough initial applications from qualified employees. But it is not only the BMWs and Porsches of this world for whom employer branding is important and adds value. As already mentioned, the tables have turned and it is now up to companies to apply to potential employees. The war for talent and the shortage of skilled workers affects every industry and requires companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors if they want to attract qualified employees. A well-planned and executed employer branding, resulting in a strong employer brand, is indispensable in this regard.
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How do I successfully implement employer branding?
Broadly speaking, successful employer branding comprises two essential steps: defining the employer value proposition and subsequently communicating it.
Definition of the employer value proposition
At the beginning of the employer branding process, an analysis of one's own company is required, followed by identifying its strengths. There are several models established in employer branding, such as the EVP triangle or the process and feature model. The EVP triangle describes how to select the relevant topics for an employer positioning. The process and feature model includes dimensions that help towards good and comprehensive employer positioning. Questions such as "Who are we currently as an employer?", "Where do we want to go as an employer?", "Who do we need culturally for this?" and "What do we offer these people?" are the focus.
Through this process, the internal corporate culture, the corporate strategy and vision, the target group analysis, and the definition of an EVP (employer value proposition) are created. Further questions can help define the EVP, such as "What makes the employer unique?", "What does the company stand for?", "Why should a candidate start or continue their career with this company instead of the competition?", "Why should qualified employees commit to the company in the long term?", "What values need to be conveyed?", and "How can these values be defined and implemented?".
Ideally, current employees from various departments and the management level are involved in the process, for example, through surveys and workshops, to determine the employer value proposition. Throughout the process, important questions are answered, such as "What does the employer stand for?", "What makes them unique?", "What doesn't?", "What makes them attractive to the talent they want to attract?", "What does the target group find appealing and desirable?", "Where and how can the target group be reached?", "How can employer attractiveness be increased?" and "How can a clear differentiation from competitors and strong positioning be achieved?"
Answers to all these questions should lead to the central element of employer branding for every company, namely the employer value proposition. This is the value proposition that a company offers its employees and potential employees and includes, among other things, current messages and marketing measures, external representation on the career website and on social media, corporate strategic goals, differences from competitors, and employee perceptions. The diagram below shows how all employer branding measures stem from the employer value proposition.
These insights within the Employer Value Proposition provide the foundation for concrete and extensive measures within Employer Branding. And that brings us to the second step, which encompasses potential measures of Employer Branding, because all of this must now also be communicated. In this, the target group is the main focus, as well as the question of how they should perceive the organization. The different target groups must be reached through various channels, each with their own communication rules. When external and internal Employer Branding align, employees become ambassadors for the brand.
Communication of the employer value proposition (measures within employer branding)
The communication of the Employer Value Proposition can be divided into internal and external measures - both are equally important and relevant. The following measures are an overview and serve as general guidelines. Depending on the company, they must be individually adapted and compiled, as well as targeted to the respective target groups. The prerequisite for this is that a comprehensive Employer Branding process has been carried out, an Employer Value Proposition has been formulated, and the target groups have been clearly defined as described above.
Involvement of all employees and their opinions in the design of the employer brand
Active internal communication of the results of the Employer Branding process, i.e. the values and culture of the company
Ongoing training of specialists and executives on the topic of employer branding and Employer Branding
Brand management by experienced employees and strategists
Involvement of employees in the Employer Branding processes
Optimization of the candidate journey, i.e. the application process
Establishment of a feedback culture on the topic of employer brand and Employer Branding
In order to position the company as an interesting employer in the market, the following measures should be taken:
The website, and especially the company's career website, must be prominently highlighted and attractively presented. It is the central point of contact for potential applicants. Insights into the company, such as photos of the workplace, employees or internal activities make it tangible and likeable
Via newsletters, articles on career blogs and current job offers, interested parties are regularly provided with relevant information
The possibilities of social media can be used to establish contact with the target group through a career website, such as image films and employee blogs
Likewise, trade fairs and other events offer opportunities to present oneself to potential employees. The best brand ambassadors are the current employees themselves. These corporate influencers can be optimally used through referral bonuses, further training opportunities and workshops
Sponsoring offers the opportunity to secure attention for the company and to cultivate its image through events, competitions and exhibitions
Not only since the pandemic, Employer Branding measures have increasingly shifted from analog to digital - both internal and external. The online presence is central and the starting point of every successful Employer Branding strategy. The company's website is your chance to present your company attractively and convincingly to potential applicants. Your company's website is the shop window through which your desired candidates get an impression of your company. If you lag behind the competition here, it will be difficult for you to recruit your desired candidates.
Identification of employees with the company and its goals is significantly increased by Employer Branding. Employer Branding measures influence and shape recruitment, retention, corporate image, corporate culture, and talent management. Therefore, Employer Branding is essential for winning, retaining, motivating, and integrating employees.
5 tips for successful employer branding
#1 Develop a compelling employer value proposition that aligns with your company values and appeals to your target audience
#2 Ensure that your employees are familiar with this employer value proposition, actively support it, and ideally communicate it externally
#3 Create an attractive and original online presence that sets you apart from your competitors and gives you an edge with potential candidates (your online presence is the central source of information and opinion formation for potential candidates)
#4 Use digital communication channels such as social media to reach your target audience
#5 Don't hesitate to prominently communicate your strengths, USPs, values, and employer value proposition (your competitors are doing it too); always remain authentic and use visual material and emotions
This is what successful employer branding looks like
Three extremely successful examples that demonstrate how employer branding works are Klinikum Dortmund, the comparison portal Verivox, and the company Rossmann. While Klinikum Dortmund runs a more than successful TikTok channel with over 80,000 fans (yes, you read that right, a hospital with 80,000 fans on TikTok), Verivox and Rossmann show through attractive and original web appearances how to conduct employer branding on their own website. A consistent message runs throughout the entire appearance of Rossmann, and the various target groups are strongly represented on the site, whether in photos or videos. It is also noteworthy that there is a prominent, easily comprehensible selection tool for job searches that leads directly to preferred job postings. A successful example of how the candidate journey can be made attractive. Verivox offers its applicants something quite original on its own career website. Interested parties can compare themselves with their potential team on the career website. The Cultural Matching Tool provides a playful first insight into the culture and values at Verivox. A detailed description of the employer and the individual job areas presented through testimonials provide even deeper insights.
In summary, it can be said that employer branding is definitely gaining importance and is a central pillar in the fight for skilled workers, in the so-called war for talent, to assert oneself against the competition. Successful employer branding is not child's play and requires a lot of effort, but it is worthwhile, as demonstrated by best practice examples and also bare commercial numbers that prove the value of employer branding.
How about you? Are you already conducting employer branding or are you planning to start? The first steps are not easy. We are happy to support you in this.
Digitale Transformation - Arno Elmer/ David Matusiewicz, Medizinwissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft
Wer gebraucht wird lebt länger - Kaspar Pfister, ECON
Personal-Management - Jürgen Berthel, Schäffer / Pöschl
Strategy & Advisory