What is employer branding?
Employer branding encompasses all measures to maintain an attractive and strong corporate brand. Let's say employer branding is a product – it is the design of a compelling and engaging image of a company as a place to work, much like you would design an appealing product. It's about creating a unique 'feel' for the company that clearly communicates its culture, values and benefits to attract the best talent. Further, it is similar to designing a product that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also content and functional – in this case, employee satisfaction and retention. The level of employee wellbeing reflects the strength of employer branding, so to speak.
Employer branding accompanies people throughout their affiliation with the company, and even beyond in the best case in the form of positive testimonials.
The phases are therefore:
- Application Process / Candidate Journey
- Candidate Experience
- Employee Satisfaction / Retention / Employee Wellbeing
As mentioned earlier, strong employer branding also works in the phase after the person leaves the company, be it brand ambassador:in or re-recruitment.
How do I build a strong and transparent corporate brand?
It's easy - just copy and paste your strong and transparent corporate culture and adapt it to the target group. Okay, but not that easy.
It starts and ends with the corporate culture. We cannot stress often enough (and certainly repeat ourselves constantly) how IMPORTANT corporate culture is. Not only in terms of employer branding. But for your entire company with all its individual parts. This means that culture is the cornerstone of both internal and external employer branding. Okay, internal, external - what's the difference?
Internal employer branding focuses on the existing workforce and aims to promote their satisfaction and loyalty. Common (we would even say "must-haves") internal employer branding measures include: Improving the working atmosphere, employee wellbeing, accessibility, benefits and bonuses for your employees, diversity management, flat hierarchies, flexible working arrangements, modern ergonomic workplaces, retreats, social spaces for non-work-related exchanges, training and development opportunities and, last but not least, at least adequate remuneration. Never forget: Satisfied employees are valuable ambassadors and the best testimonials for the company brand - make sure you make use of them!
With these things, you are well on your way to becoming a strong corporate brand that has nothing to hide and therefore does not have to hide in the social media and platforms in the course of external employer branding.
External employer branding is aimed at potential future colleagues and aims to inform them about the company and its culture and to convince them of the benefits of working for the company. External measures for employer branding include: Presence in company rating portals (Kununu, Glassdoor), content marketing through blogs and social media, image ads, information events at schools and universities, job fairs, career websites, employees as brand ambassadors, newsletters, presence as well as job ads and campaigns in social media depending on the target group. Target group is the catchword, let's look at the approach next.
The path to employer branding
At the beginning of every strategy, there are groundbreaking questions that you need to answer effortlessly - about your organisation and your culture, and what individuals and talents you want to attract:
- What makes us as a company?
- What are our values?
- What is our corporate culture?
- What is special about our corporate culture?
- How do we differ from others?
- What can we offer as an organisation (benefits, bonuses, flexibility)?
- How are we seen as a corporate brand and where do we want to go?
- Which people do we want to work with?
- Which people do we not want to work with?
- What are our needs, now and in the next few years?
- Who are our target groups, what moves them and what repels them?
- How do we reach our target groups, what are the channels?
- Where can our target groups be found?
And we would like to add another key question here:
Who is responsible for employer branding?
We will come back to this question in a moment.
Employer branding actions
The right tools for employer branding depend on both the specific recruitment goals and target groups of your company. Facebook and Instagram are better suited for certain demographics than TikTok or Snapchat, and whether XING is better suited as a business platform than LinkedIn depends on strategic considerations regarding the target audience needed.
A successful strategy often requires trial and error. Yes, while it can be challenging to manage multiple platforms for similar or different audiences, it's not only beneficial for employer branding - you want to attract the right people, after all. Also, you can often use content on two or three platforms, so it makes sense to plan for these synergies before production. We can list a bunch of measures here, but it's easier if you do the following: As inspiration, follow the (successful) competition and see where they are active and where there is high activity in the target group / community. This will give you real-time data and show you what actually can work. And don't forget to sign up to their newsletter.
What you need in any case is a comprehensive communication concept and a detailed editorial plan. There are plenty of tools for this, e.g. planning tools like Trello, ClickUp or Asana. Better still, use the internal planning of social media publishing tools such as Metricool (our tip!), Falcon.io or Hootsuite.
Implementation of employer branding
Coming back to the question "Who is responsible for employer branding?"
In our opinion, this is the all-important question. Why?
If employer branding only comes from HR, then it feels like you are "slapping" employer branding as a sticker on your product (our analogy in the introduction). That is not authentic. And everyone in your company feels it. Employer branding has to be lived by the whole organisation, there has to be a tangible company ethos - this leads to people encountering this, let's say "vibe" everywhere, and not only when they are in contact with HR. Executives are particularly needed here and there must also be a common corporate language.
Employer branding is the foundation for all recruiting measures, and if there are already divergent mentalities and views between departments and divisions in the candidate journey, this creates a very bad gut feeling among candidates. Not to mention retention and employee satisfaction.
So. If you have your corporate culture under control because you have asked yourself the right questions or always do, then your employer branding stands on a rock-solid foundation that you can easily lead to success with employer branding measures.