How to Leverage Employer Branding for Your Company

Employer Branding

There are multiple recruiting strategies and channels out there but what should you do if job advertisements, active sourcing and the like do not bring about the desired result? Employer branding can be particularly effective. On this page, you will find step-by-step instructions on how to successfully recruit employees with the help of employer branding.

This eBook equips you with the necessary tools for a convincing employer brand.

What Is the Definition of Employer Branding?

Employer branding is an HR marketing strategy you can use to create an attractive employer brand. Just as companies develop marketing and communication initiatives to help them win and retain high-quality customers, they also develop employer branding communication tools and marketing strategies in order to attract and retain employees.

What Is the Difference Between Employer Branding and HR Marketing?

Employer branding and HR marketing are often viewed as interchangeable. However, there is an important difference between the two terms: Employer branding is strategic while HR marketing is operational. Because you do not just want to reach candidates (HR marketing), you want to reach and impress them with a particular message (employer branding) about your company.

Specifically, this means that, when it comes to employer branding, your focus should be on target group analysis and defining your EVP (employer value proposition). This is where you lay the foundations of your future HR marketing by determining who you want to reach as well as where, how and with what message. HR marketing ultimately describes the initiatives you use to implement your employer branding strategy.

Employer Branding Targets

There are two kinds of employer branding targets: Those focusing outward, that is, on everything that happens outside your company, and those with an internal focus, that is, on everything that takes place within your company. Treat them both as equally important because you will only be able to make a positive external impression if everything is as it should be on the inside.

External Targets

Employer branding in recruitment is part of the external side of employer branding because it focuses on recruiting new hires. All your external initiatives should be designed with – potential – new candidates as the target group.

Internal Targets

Hiring employees is one thing, keeping them quite another. And this is where employer branding comes in, because it is designed to help you retain employees and increase their productivity and effectiveness.

Here, initiatives designed to increase employee satisfaction come into play. The most important questions to ask are: What motivates employees? How can we ensure that our employees identify with our company? What kind of corporate culture could help here?

Five Steps to Your Employer Branding Strategy

Now it is time to talk specifics in terms of your employer branding strategy. The employer branding process will be useful here.

The employer branding strategy in five steps

The employer branding strategy in five steps

Step 1: Define Your Employer Value Proposition

As a first step, think about what you stand for as a company and what sets you apart from the competition. The following questions should help you with this analysis:

  • What kind of an employer are you?
  • What do you stand for, and what do you want to stand for? What is your long-term vision?
  • What makes you unique, and what makes you stand out as an employer?
  • Why should your existing employees stay at your company, and why should new hires join you?
  • To what extent are you already an attractive employer in the eyes of your target group?
  • Where and on which channels can your target group be found, and how can you reach it?
  • How does this compare to your competitors? How do you differentiate yourself from them?

Helpful hint: You may find it helpful to turn things around and instead start off by asking yourself: What does not define our company?

Step 2: Create a Communication Plan

In this second step, what is important is to communicate the value proposition you identified in the first step to your target group(s). To do this, you should take a close look at your target group and understand the contact points you have with them and where this contact can take place, e.g.:

  • Career page/blog/intranet
  • Social media channels
  • Online media
  • Newsletter
  • Employees/brand ambassadors
  • Events/meet-ups/career fairs

More Time for You and Your Employer Branding

Personio automates your HR processes and frees you from tedious administrative work, giving you more time for important topics like employer branding.

Step 3: Implement Your Content Strategy

After you have outlined your corporate brand and defined the communication channels you are going to use, it is time to consider what your employer branding marketing should consist of.

  • What type of content do you want to publish, when and at what intervals do you want to publish it, and on which channels?
  • Which events do you want to treat as employer branding events and use to present yourself as an attractive employer?
  • What employer branding materials will you need for this, e.g. articles containing employee interviews or videos?
  • How can your employees support you as brand or company ambassadors? Below, we explain how we use this employer branding model at Personio.

Important: You should publish employer branding social media content regularly so that social media users will follow you on a long-term basis. An editorial plan will help.

Step 4: Finding and Recruiting Employees

Now it is time to harvest the fruits of your labor. In this step, your employer branding initiatives merge with your recruiting initiatives. Because your employer branding feeds directly into your recruitment process, and is often the first point of contact with your company. If you can impress at this stage, you will find yourself reaping the rewards.

Step 5: Retaining Your Employees

You want the employees you recruit to stay at your company. The positive impression they got from the application process should be confirmed in their everyday working life. This means that you will need to constantly keep working on your employer image.

Ask your employees what they like about their work and workplace? What are they not enjoying right now?

Use your internal communication channels to talk about the benefits you offer. These do not always have to be financial. A good work-life balance with the option of flexible home officing is also popular.

Which Initiatives Add Up to an Attractive Employer Brand?

Contented employees are productive employees. Use these initiatives as employer branding tools to improve your employer brand:

  • an open corporate culture
  • transparent communication
  • autonomy within individual areas of responsibility
  • employee benefits, e.g. via or Qualitrain
  • training and development opportunities
  • flexible home officing policies
  • team events
  • office yoga
  • free food and drinks such as fruit or coffee

Practical Employer Branding Initiatives

How do you turn theoretical employer branding best practices into concrete employer branding initiatives? To answer this question, we are going to look at how we work and use Personio as an example to show you how to implement initiatives such as an employer value proposition or a career website and turn your employees into ambassadors.

1. Employer Value Proposition

In September 2019, we launched Personio’s new slogan: “Start Up Your Way.” Leading up to this, we held employer branding workshops, defined our values and constructed our employer brand identity. This process was made up of nine steps:

  • a kick-off workshop with Personio’s management
  • the internal hackathon “Hacka10”: an internal workshop with 3–4 employees per department
  • analyzing the information with an external agency
  • discussing EVP approaches with management and employees
  • finalizing the approach and the positioning statement, communicating it to employees and instigating slogan development
  • slogan development brainstorming with a group of employees
  • briefing a creative agency to develop the slogan and style guide
  • three revision loops to finalize the slogan and design
  • internal and external launch, integration into all communication and Personio’s career site
Personio's career page as an example

Personio’s slogan “Start Up Your Way” on the career page.

2. Career Website

Our slogan is the common thread that runs through all our employer branding projects. This also applies to our career website, which is often the first point of contact for applicants.

  • Applicant first: Make your site as user-friendly as possible and make sure information is quickly accessible.
  • Content: You know from the EVP process what you stand for as a company and what your values are. So, on your career website, bring your corporate culture and your
  • Employees to the fore: Be as personal as possible! Position jobs prominently, ideally so they are visible at first glance, to allow interested candidates to apply right away.

3. Employees as Multipliers

To reach even more potential candidates, you could use your employees as employer brand multipliers. And the best thing about this employee branding strategy is that it will cost you very little.

Good onboarding is very important here. It forms the basis for employee retention and, later on, employee recommendations. And it starts well in advance of a new hire’s first day on the job: Send a welcome message to the new hire from their future team, invite them to company events and give them all the information they will need for their first day. This checklist will prepare you well.

Encourage employee recommendations: For example, offer a bonus for every successful recommendation. Our HR newsletter regularly reminds employees about the referral program. At internal events such as the referral lunch, we go through our employees’ XING or LinkedIn network with them to look for suitable contacts who could soon be colleagues.

Employees as ambassadors: Help your employees to take on the role of your ambassadors. For example, create profile pictures for their social media channels and share, comment and tag their posts. Bring your employees forward in your own content and build a story around them.

And Now It’s Your Turn! eBook: Employer Branding

Your company has a lot to offer, and your applicants and employees should experience that. Strengthen your employer brand with the help of our guidelines.