How You Can Leverage Employer Branding For Your Company

Employer Branding

Did you know that employer branding can serve as your key competitive advantage when recruiting? While there are multiple recruiting strategies and channels out there, but what should you do if job advertisements, active sourcing, and the like do not delivery results?

Employer branding is the key. In this article, we offer find step-by-step instructions on how to successfully recruit employees with the help of your employer brand.

Our Employer Branding eBook equips you with the necessary tools for a convincing employer brand. Download it now.

What Is Employer Branding?

Employer branding is a marketing strategy, used by HR, to create an attractive brand for potential candidates. In the same way that companies develop marketing and communication initiatives to help them win and retain high-quality customers, employer branding communication tools and strategies attract and retain top talent.

Is There A 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: Employer branding is strategic while HR marketing is operational.

Because you want to do more than simply reach candidates (through HR marketing), you want to reach and impress them with a specific message (employer branding). While HR marketing may help get candidates through the door, effective employer branding convinces them to stick around and apply.

This means that your focus should be on target group analysis and defining your employer value proposition (EVP). In fact, you can click here to read more about developing your own. Put simply, this is where you lay the foundation for your future HR marketing by determining:

  • Who you want to reach.
  • Where you want to reach them.
  • What kind of message you want to present to them.

HR marketing is then composed of the initiatives you implement as part of your employer branding strategy.

What Are Some Common Employer Branding Targets?

There are two kinds of employer branding targets:

  • Outward-focused
  • Inward-focused

The first is everything happening outside of your company. The second, however is everything taking place within your company. You should treat them both equally, as you will only be able to make a positive external impression if everything is on the same page internally.

Let’s dive into each so you can have a broader understanding of what we mean…

External Targets

Employer branding in recruitment is part of the external side of employer branding. That’s 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 is another. This is where employer branding comes in, because it is designed to help you retain employees and increase their productivity and overall effectiveness.

Within this, we need to think about how we increase employee satisfaction. Some of the most important questions swirling around may include:

  • What motivates employees?
  • How can we ensure that our employees identify with our company?
  • What kind of corporate culture could help?

Five Strategic Steps to Establish Employer Branding

Now, we need to talk specifics. Here is a helpful visualization to help us get a handle on the employer branding “process”:

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:

  • What kind of an employer are you?
  • Are there things you stand for? What do you want to stand for? Do you have a long-term vision?
  • What makes you unique and stand out as an employer?
  • Why should your existing employees stay at your company, and why should new hires join?
  • 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? How can you reach them?
  • 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? What are some things we do not stand for?

Step 2: Create a Communication Plan

It 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 closer look at your target group and understand the contact points you have with them. You’ll need to have a deeper understanding of where this contact can take place:

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

Employer Branding Starts Here!eBook: Employer Branding

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

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 think about your marketing and content. Consider the following:

  • 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)

Helpful Hint: You should publish social media content regularly so that social media users will follow you on a long-term basis. An editorial calendar should 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, it is now becoming the first point of contact with your company.

If you impress at this stage, you will find yourself reaping the rewards.

Step 5: Retaining 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, or the option of remote work (in non-covid times) is also popular.

Which Initiatives Add Up to an Attractive Employer Brand?

Happy employees are productive employees. Try some of these initiatives to improve your employer brand:

  • An open corporate culture (click here to read our full guide to corporate culture)
  • Transparent communication
  • Autonomy within individual areas of responsibility
  • Employee benefits
  • Training and development opportunities
  • Flexible home office policies
  • Team events
  • Office yoga
  • Free food and drinks

Practical Employer Branding Initiatives

Ultimately, how do you turn theoretical employer branding best practices into concrete initiatives? \

To answer this question, let’s look at how we work and use Personio as an example. This way, you can see how using these aforementioned initiatives can get your employees into ambassadors for your brand.

1. Employer Value Proposition

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

This process was made up of nine total steps:

  • A kick-off workshop with Personio’s management.
  • The internal ‘hackathon,’ entitled “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 positioning statement, communicating it to employees and encouraging slogan development.
  • Slogan development brainstorming with a group of employees.
  • Briefing a creative agency to develop the slogan and style guide.
  • Three revision cycles to finalize 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 projects. This also applies to our career website, which is often the first point of contact for applicants.

Here is the thinking that went into it:

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

3. Employees as Multipliers

To reach even more potential candidates, you could use your employees as ’employer brand multipliers.’ The best thing about this employee branding strategy is that it costs very little!

Good onboarding is very important. It forms the basis for employee retention and, later on, employee recommendations. It also 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 help you along the way.

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’ social networks to look for suitable contacts who could soon be colleagues.

Employees serve 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.

Employer Branding
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