If you want to win the race to attract the best qualified people, fresh fruit, image videos, and photos of happy employees are not the answer. What can make a difference is a well-structured employer branding strategy; in this article we will look at what it takes to position your business as an attractive employer.
Why is employer branding important?
Creating and communicating a strong employer brand is one of the most important steps you can take to succeed in the battle to attract and retain top talent. To achieve this, your branding strategy must consider both external and internal measures to create a positive employer identity and reputation.
What added value does employer branding create?
First, a well-thought-out employer branding strategy can help you attract and retain the right people by communicating the benefits of joining your business, but only if the benefits are authentic and tangible. Second, and just as important, a successful employer brand will reduce staff turnover and consequently reduce your recruitment costs: satisfied employees stay longer, and new recruits hear about you and are keen to join.
How do I win Generation Z for my company?
The rising number of Generation Z workers (those around 25 or younger) creates a new challenge for employers looking to build a brand. These people have different values and attitudes from previous generations that employers need to address.
Traditional recruitment methods don’t work with this audience. These people are the future of the labour market, so employers need to understand and meet their hopes, needs, and wants in order to attract them.
There is another important characteristic of people in this group: they need any role you might be offering to have meaning. They don’t just want to know what you’re asking them to do, they need to understand why you’re asking them to do it. An old-fashioned list of job vacancies won’t cut it and they’ll quickly look elsewhere. Your goal must be to inspire them to want to know more about what your business has to offer.
How to distinguish between external and internal branding?
The framework of an employer branding strategy will contain measures that will have an impact both externally and internally. It is necessary to separate these two strands.
External employer branding
The focus here is solely on the external labour market. Employer branding is not about building a new brand, it’s about aligning a corporate brand with the demands of the labour market and ensuring the goals of an employer brand are in harmony with the business. The focus should be on the following goals.
• Perceptual targets – aim at the cognitive level with information that attracts attention, creates awareness, and conveys knowledge.
• Attitude goals – target the emotional level to achieve more acceptance, strengthen the image, and gain sympathy. Applicants should be able to see a clear company image.
• Behavioural goals – this means including activation goals with the intention of being the employer of choice at the end of the decision making process.
Internal employer branding
This requires a focus on existing employees that stimulates a positive emotional relationship with an employer that enhances the quality of their work and their long-term loyalty. The decisive factor here is a social identity that encourages employees to feel part of the business such that they derive their self-worth through this sense of belonging. However, employer branding can only support the development of a social identity.
Where to start?
Many employers offer a package of benefits but they’re usually the same benefits that everyone offers. Start by analysing your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis); this will help you to identify the success factors that can contribute to your employer branding concept; you can then develop different strategic options.
As with customer management there are management tools that you can use in the context of employer branding to ensure your key performance indicators are measurable and achievable. One idea to consider is the candidate journey – a modified version of the customer journey. Here, the applicant’s journey is analysed to identify all the touchpoints that occur in the application process.
For any business owner, the subject of employer branding merits detailed examination. A successful employer brand will help to recruit the right people and, just as important, keep the right people.
About the authors
Markus is Chief Digital Officer at Russell Bedford’s Graz member firm Hofer Leitinger Steuerberatung and Executive Director at Denktaktik. He is responsible for the strategic marketing part of projects and has his passion in the field of process and project management. Markus also focuses on employer branding and digital marketing. He also teaches at the Campus02 University of Applied Sciences and at several other institutes in Graz.
Markus holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Computer Science and Economy.
Simone is responsible for marketing, PR and events at Hofer Leitinger Steuerberatung. As managing partner at Denktaktik, she implements web and strategy projects for clients, helps brands and companies to become visible on the market and takes care of content design for the tax consultancy and other clients.
Simone holds a Master’s Degree in Journalism and Communication Studies with a focus on Corporate Communication from the University of Klagenfurt.