Employer branding empowers companies to communicate to their potential candidates a series of economical, physiological and functional benefits that increase their desirability as an employer by depicting them the best place to work for.
Employer branding is becoming the most effective tool that knowledge-intensive companies use to defend their competitive advantage and successfully attract the best talents and retain them in the long run.
The increasing shortage of highly skilled talents due to the fast digitalisation process makes employer branding activities an even more powerful support in the hands of human resources. Millenials are their main target to captivate: they are used to receive an instant and ubiquitous communication and they are looking for innovative companies that can value their talent, offer a work-life balance and personalised development paths.
The above considerations depict a scenario where human resources are not just a supporting function but the main enabler of the business strategy of a company.
We interviewed Paola Mirioni, Employer Branding Specialist at KPMG, Mark Ivan Serunjogi Employer Branding Specialist at GetYourGuide and Lisa Klostermann, Recruiter & Employer Branding Specialist at Delivery Hero. They shared their unique understanding of employer branding and how they instrumentally use it to attract the best talents.
Paola Mirioni – KPMG
The goal of employer branding, according to Paola, is to convey the company identity and what it offers to the talents in the market, in the most consistent and transparent way possible. Employer branding activities have an impact both on potential candidates, since it helps to attract them and create a positive relationship and on employees since it helps to create a common culture and foster inclusion and retention. Defining clear, consistent and authentic messages that can resonate with the target makes the recruiting process faster and flowing.
As Paola says:
“Top talents are increasingly exposed to stimuli coming from multiple sources: getting their attention is an hard challenge. The best way to do this, is to build something that can entertain and involve them. The recreational element– especially if supported by technology – is a valuable tool to approach them. Besides that, content is an added value to become a trusted and recognised speaker in their eyes.”
To measure results of employer branding, besides a numerical evaluation, collection of feedback is also important to support a continuous improvement.
“Besides numerical evaluations that are fundamental and steady, to measure results of an initiative collection and submission of feedback from people we interact with are also important. One of the best moment of our job is to hear “yes, I’ve been offered other positions but my first choice is KPMG”. Luckily this is an answer we frequently receive!“
When it comes to employer branding, it’s impossible to avoid a parallelism with marketing: the goal of employer branding is not to acquire and retain customers but to attract best talents, and not to move value from the inside to the outside but to bring value in the form of human capital from the outside to the inside.
“Employer branding and Marketing teams should work together: they have complimentary competencies and, since they are supporting the same brand, they need to define consistent strategies. There should be a progressive cross-contamination of competencies and a constant mutual attention: there are frequent opportunities to share contents, ideas and activities. At the same time, it’s also important to remain autonomous in the definition and management of certain contents: even though the target is common, a different language needs to be adopted. Eventually flexibility is the key: we need to stay flexible, cautiously observe and avoid a Silo mentality“
Mark Ivan Serunjogi – GetYourGuide
Mark recently started at GetYourGuide as an Employer Branding Specialist together with another manager and they are currently carving out how they want employer branding and recruiting to play together going forward and scale the company initiatives.
As Mark says, the company blog is a fundamental tool to activate employer branding activities:
“At the heart of our efforts, we have our company blog where we share stories about our star talent and teams. This informs potential candidates about the culture at GetYourGuide. Simultaneously, it updates our employees and encourages them to share their projects and expertise. These narratives are the backbone of our campaign activities and recruitment initiatives, depending on our growth needs and the challenges recruiters may be facing in pipeline building”
According to Mark, to attract talents, the best tactic is to be authentic and relatable, and in order to do that, employees need to be at the forefront. Employees are the biggest indicator of how the company is doing as an employer and to make sure to walk the talk: employee storytelling is indeed at the heart of what GetYourGuide does.
Employer Branding is more than lining up a group of recruiters at events to act as salespeople, buying the best media spots, or only referencing your top-level executives. The content needs to be the star, and if our employees and culture are the biggest assets, then that needs to shine through. This also means actively engaging with teams across the organisation to build recruitment solutions and give them the tools to amplify their own voice.
As Mark says:
“Success for us means we have a long list of people and teams who want to represent the company externally. Success is also the majority of new starters feeling that their pre-hire expectations and post-hire experiences are aligned or even exceeded.
Having Mark a background in marketing, it is hard for him to see a detachment between employer branding and marketing activities: the process of moving a user from brand awareness to consideration to application and then retention is indeed quite similar to what happens in product marketing.
“With careers being more about identity, personal values, and company-hopping for the right fit, I think that it is crucial to consider marketing aspects in recruiting and retaining top talents in order to stand out, and not be eclipsed by competitors in the market.”
Lisa Klostermann – Delivery Hero
Lisa states that Delivery Hero employer branding is the strong arm of recruitment. It is fundamental that employer branding works closely with recruitment to make sure the brand is well represented externally, as well as internally. Employer branding enables Delivery Hero to communicate its culture and values to the market, and therefore helps the company to attract the right talents.
The first step is to listen to the needs of the business and of hiring managers. What kind of teams would they like to build? Does it make sense in our current configuration? What is the recruiter’s opinion? The next step, after having identified the target group, is to understand the candidate’s landscape of where and how they can be reached. This needs to be in a constant balance between what the market is dictating and the own business’ challenges.
“We do not think that there is a particular tactic to attract top talent. Every industry, company and department is different. However, we do believe that authenticity is key for successful employer branding. It is most important to be consistent and transparent in our communication.”
The most obvious way to track the success of an employer branding campaign is by using quantitative data.. However, it is also very interesting to measure the success of an employer branding campaign by collecting qualitative data as well. As Lisa reveals, both types of data are necessary because employer branding does not only result in short term direct leads, but is also supposed to alter the overall image a potential candidate might have of Delivery Hero. This is much harder to track, therefore, the collection of qualitative data in interviews and personal communications is fundamental.
“Our advice to companies that still have to build their EB strategy is to fight one battle at a time: focus on one specific, critical challenges (i.e candidate pool decreasing) and create a targeted solution. Make sure to mix it with transparent and consistent messages (i.e values, working culture) and the strategy will evolve while adapting smoothly to your organisation”
Lisa defines employer branding as “HR Marketing”. Marketing is the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising. If we want to apply aspects of marketing to a specific job position within a specific work environment, it is essential to have a good understanding of the recruiting processes and HR policies. Most importantly, it is key to be able to match the employer branding strategy with the hiring one. Matching employer branding strategy with the hiring strategy can be often overlooked, but can be crucial to the recruiting function.
“Employer branding and marketing competencies are not just important to recruitment, but to HR as a whole. Topics like ‘change management’ or ‘new HR policies’ usually need internal promotion and benefit from internal communication and marketing strategies. Let us not forget that employer branding counts internal employees in its audience as well.”
Paola Mirioni | Employer Branding and Human Resources | KPMG
Mark Ivan Serunjogi | Employer Branding Specialist | GetYourGuide
Lisa Klostermann |Recruiter & Employer Branding Specialist | Delivery Hero