A few years ago, the tide turned in the labour market: In many sectors, it is no longer the companies that choose their employees, but the other way around. In times of a shortage of skilled workers and demographic change, it is up to employers to stand out from the crowd and convince talented people to join them. A decisive competitive advantage is a strong employer brand. Employer branding is used to create this brand.
"Analyse and develop a strategy" instead of "Post and pray"
You may have heard of the "post and pray" recruiting strategy - if you can call it a strategy at all. Because let's face it: placing a job ad and just waiting works only in extremely rare cases. Especially in sectors where talented candidates are in hot competition, companies have to come up with a lot more when it comes to recruitment.
The aim of employer branding is to attract the attention of potential applicants and to be remembered as an attractive employer. With the help of various analyses, the development of a strategy and the resulting measures, companies can develop their own employer brand. Once established, this determines how the organisation is perceived on the market.
In order to successfully develop your employer brand and subsequently shape it internally and externally, you can follow the following five steps.
First, take a close look at your corporate brand: What do you promise your customers? What are the core services and values of your organisation? The brand identity determined in this way is the starting point for defining your employer brand. To develop this, ask yourself the same questions again. This time, however, the focus should not be on your customers, but on your employees.
The core of your employer brand is your EVP. The EVP is your Employer Value Proposition. Never heard of it? You've probably heard of the USP. This is your Unique Selling Proposition - roughly translated: Your unique selling proposition. The EVP is the employer equivalent and the answer to the questions: What makes you unique as an employer? And: Why should someone want to work for your company? With the EVP, you make a value proposition to your employees.
Only when you know your values and identity as an employer:in as well as your EVP, you can start with the actual employer branding.
Define Target Group and Channels
Before you take concrete action, you need to know who you want to reach in the first place. Define your target group as precisely as possible. After all, it will dictate what tone you need to strike, what content might be interesting and what channels are relevant.
The following criteria are decisive for the target group analysis:
- demographic characteristics (such as age, gender, place of residence and marital status),
- socio-economic characteristics (such as level of education, occupation and salary) and
- psychographic characteristics (such as motivation, values and needs).
- If you know these characteristics of your target group, you know with which message and through which channels you can convince.
Take External Measures
Now you can start with the concrete implementation. The core of all your communication measures should be your employer identity and your EVP. But which channels are actually available to you for this?
Your career site, for example, is particularly well suited for employer branding. It should be easy to find and closely linked to the content of your website. You should also optimise it in every respect for your recruiting. For example, if your target group is differentiated into talents with different professional experience, it might make sense to develop different tailor-made landing pages.
You can also use your social media profiles in terms of employer branding. Via Facebook, Instagram, Linkedn and Co. (find out where your target group is), you can provide a look behind the scenes, let your employees have their say or draw attention to yourself with an authentic corporate video.
Employer rating portals such as kununu, Glassdoor etc. also play an important role. These portals are not one-way streets, although they are of course essentially intended for employees to rate their employers. It is advisable to maintain them and respond to employee comments in a friendly and open manner, to thank them for positive feedback and to offer a discussion in case of negative reviews. Encourage your employees to give honest assessments - and thus create an authentic image of your company.
A very important - and mostly forgotten - tool in employer branding is the candidate journey. This describes the journey of your applicants from the beginning of the job search to employment in your company. It is shaped by the various points of contact with your company. The experiences that a talent gathers along the way determine his or her image of you as an employer. That's why you should take a close look at your application process - and constantly improve the experience of your candidates during the candidate journey.
Take Internal Measures
Internal employer branding measures are about communicating your employer brand to your employees as well. In this way you create trust, your employees can identify with your company and become emotionally attached through shared values. A close exchange is important here .f you as an employer are perceived differently by your staff than you present yourself from your point of view, dissonance will result and you will lose credibility.
In addition to a living corporate culture, internal measures include communicating the employer brand within the framework of presentations, workshops or company celebrations, via e-mails, an employee newspaper or the intranet. Are there employees who are enthusiastic advocates of your company? Then make them your brand ambassadors. They can report on their experiences via social media and the like - and thus ensure more authenticity.
You can only determine whether your efforts have been worthwhile by measuring your progress. Surveys and feedback interviews, for example, are suitable for this. In this way, an exchange can take place with your employees and candidates and you can find out whether something has changed in the perception of your employer brand or whether there is room for improvement.
Other indicators you can use to measure the success of your branding are, for example:
- the unsolicited application rate,
- the number of applications per job advertisement,
- the percentage of applicants who heard about your company through employee recommendations, or
- the number of holiday job seekers from employees' families.
Set meaningful indicators and intervals at which you measure these. You should also transfer the results of feedback discussions and surveys into comparable key figures. This will give you an overview of your progress and any levers you can use to optimise your employer branding.