Purpose, Promise & Passion:
SP Employer Branding
We talk to recruiters or human resources departments that are under enormous pressure almost every day. The 'war for talents' is getting harder and harder, the guns bigger and bigger. And medium-sized companies in particular often find it difficult to find a red thread when it comes to developing a credible and authentic employer brand. We have collected the most important elements for the development of a good employer brand.
First of all: a good employer brand cannot exist without a good corporate brand. If you think about it carefully, it's a symbiotic relationship. Yes, they are independent disciplines with sometimes very different instruments and modes of action. And yet one cannot be without the other. And this is exactly the key for the development of a convincing employer brand: with an integrated master plan for purpose, promise and performance, both in terms of the company and the product as well as the employees, a consistent message is created and a credible and convincing positioning of the company is achieved externally and internally.
Element #1 - Meaning
Yes, money is important. But especially today, earnings are by far not the most important argument for the applicant to accept the offer. Many are looking for a combination of "profit" and "purpose". A job that enables merit, personal development and social contribution. This is why it is important in recruiting to explain what development opportunities there are in the company, what kind of team awaits the applicant, what the goal of the company as a whole is, and whether the task at hand is not only of benefit to the applicant, but whether it is part of a larger social context. No one will refuse above-average merit, but real involvement and employees who identify with the company will be hard to get.
Learning: Successful employer branding places the company in a larger context. It shows why, not just how much.
Element #2 - Honesty
Companies like to say that their teams are at the forefront when it comes to developing and deploying state-of-the-art technologies. But how many corporate websites still look like "cutting edge 2005", how many backend platforms run with software that is often decades old? Of course it's no problem if companies have to renew old systems or if they expect their employees to work longer when there's an emergency. It becomes problematic when applicants are promised things that the company cannot keep in its day-to-day work. Employer branding is about working out the core, the essence of the company. Communication cannot and must not change this core. But it can and must help to formulate this core in a concise way and to present it in a polished way. Learning: The root of a good employer brand is honesty. Say what it is like to work for you. Not how it should be.
Element #3 - Experience
Many application processes feel like the last relics of the pre-digital age. Possible applications via mobile devices are still the exception, some even have to be filled out and 'submitted' by post. A good candidate journey is the first step towards employee retention. The transparent application process and structured onboarding are brand experiences and therefore just as important as the brand experiences of potential customers. If an applicant hasn't jumped this first hurdle yet, the trace of the application often gets lost in the black hole of HR. We all know how you feel when you send an application and check your mailbox every hour. Ok, every half hour. What's wrong with making the current status transparent for the applicant? And it doesn't get any better one step further: in onboarding, new employees are often confronted with an abundance of tasks, rules and expectations in the first few days. It's like being presented with the general terms and conditions at the front door of a restaurant.
Learning: Your (future) employees are just as important as your customers. Treat them accordingly.
Element #4 - Sustainability
It is no coincidence that it is called employer branding and not recruitment branding. If you want convincing applicants, you need convinced employees. In addition: it is much easier and cheaper to keep good people than to constantly search for new ones. Create an atmosphere in which employees like to stay in the company and share that. And: make them ambassadors for your employer brand. Without realizing that at least half of employer branding is aimed at employees and that internal communication is a core component of the employer branding strategy, you’re drawing rally stripes on a car without an engine.
Learning: The engine of your employer brand are your employees. Targeted personnel development and transparent internal communication turn employees into ambassadors for your employer brand.
Element #5 - Cultural development
If employees do not identify with the company, its goals and values, the strategy can be as sophisticated as it may be: goals will not be achieved, or at least it is much more difficult to achieve them. That is why successful employer branding is not possible without conscious management and development of the corporate culture. For many employees, a bad corporate culture is a reason for giving notice. After all, it is directly or indirectly linked to feedback, appreciation, adequacy in leisure time and pay. Continuous communication, regular feedback (positive and negative) and a balanced relationship between performance and consideration are decisive. Instruments such as kununu engage can also help small companies to continuously improve their culture.
Learning: A good corporate culture is the biggest booster for successful employer branding.
In the 'War for talents' you can learn a lot from a well-known Gallic village: the one with the largest army and the best war chest does not necessarily win. Creativity, wisdom, a good plan and a lot of humour are at least as important. And above all: to know what you are fighting for.