Employer branding is a marketing measure that aims to make your company attractive to applicants and to present you as an attractive employer overall, in order to strengthen the recruitment of new personnel in the long term and to improve the quality of applicants.
Since the turn of the millennium, the already fierce competition for the best talent and most capable professionals has gained additional momentum. Highly trained or experienced experts are virtually free to choose where they want to work in industry, research or finance. Many agricultural or craft businesses are also desperately seeking motivated and capable employees. In some sectors, hundreds of apprenticeship positions remain unfilled. This is also due to the fact that many companies fail to make the vacancies palatable to promising candidates. This is why it has never been more important for companies to present themselves as attractive employers.
After all, in addition to a lucrative salary, employees now place increased value on a high quality of life and a balance between working hours and leisure time. The ideal job is family-friendly, does not involve unmanageable overtime, and allows freedoms such as working in a home office or so-called trust-based working hours. Employees are free to arrange their days and hours as they wish – provided that previously set goals are nevertheless achieved on time. Nowadays, many job seekers state that good working conditions and a functioning work-life balance are more important to them than a high salary. If a company offers its employees such or other benefits, these should definitely be communicated.
The creation of an “employer brand” naturally serves not only to attract new employees, but also to retain existing, proven employees. In order to be successful in the long term, it is important to keep know-how within the company.
Last, but not least, employer branding also has an impact on customer satisfaction. Branding as an attractive employer should be in line with all other marketing measures in order to present the company as a first-class brand to both customers and applicants. Satisfied and motivated employees do a better job with customers, especially in service-oriented industries – appearing friendlier, more confident and with trust in their bread-and-butter employer. “What I eat is what I sing” – this old adage is especially true for employees who love what they do.
Overview of the core factors of employer branding
Corporate identity and set of values
What does a company stand for and what values does it espouse? Are these values that potential applicants can identify with? The Ocean Cleanup project, for example, has set itself the goal of ridding the ocean surface of plastic waste – a very noble and important undertaking. It is more difficult for cigarette manufacturers, oil drilling companies or defense corporations to give themselves a charitable veneer. The latter, for example, often present themselves as conglomerates that are also active in industries perceived as beneficial, such as aerospace. In the U.S. in particular, the defense industry presents itself as a helping hand that provides effective self-protection for every citizen. Every company should strive to highlight its best assets and turn flaws into strengths.
Quality of services or products
If a company produces particularly high-quality goods or offers demonstrably first-class service, employees can also proudly stand behind their employer. Happy employees enjoy driving the vehicles, taking out the insurance policies or furnishing their homes with the furniture their company offers.
Attractiveness as an employer
What career opportunities are offered and what benefits does the company provide for its employees? Both the status perception of working for a major brand and the desire for work-life balance and job security play a role here.
Transparency and honesty
It is important that a company assumes responsibility toward its workforce and honestly outlines duties as well as employee benefits. What is promised in full must also be delivered.
Comparison with the competition
Which competitors are particularly successful in employee retention and talent development? What do these companies do differently?
Self-analysis of the employer brand
What is the current status? How is the employer brand perceived by potential applicants and existing employees? Here it is worthwhile to obtain feedback from the workforce in order to adjust working conditions, compensation or other factors if necessary.
Where does employer branding take place in the company?
Here is an overview of the most important starting points for employer branding in a company:
- Employee recruitment and retention
- Performance management
- Talent management
- Corporate culture
- Work-life balance
Employee recruitment and retention
Employee recruitment – also known somewhat martially as “staffing” – describes all activities aimed at covering the required workforce. Vacant positions are to be filled with the best possible personnel at the lowest possible cost. Also under the aspect of employer branding, the following questions must first be answered:
- How many vacancies need to be filled now and in the foreseeable future?
- What qualifications do applicants need to bring with them and what physical or mental requirements do they have to meet, if any?
- From what point and for how long will the new employees be needed?
- Where is the job location? Will employees need to travel or are they being sought for a location abroad?
These are all important factors that set the groundwork for a company’s employer branding. If, for example, an expert is sought for offshore oil drilling platforms in the North Sea, this difficult and not harmless job must be made palatable to possible applicants.
All employee retention measures are also about keeping proven specialists in the company for the long term. Their feedback and experience reports on the Internet are also a significant factor for employer branding. Nowadays, applicants often inform themselves thoroughly about potential employers, and testimonials from current employees are often the deciding factor in the final decision.
The task of performance management is to evaluate the performance level of a company and to keep the performance high. Factors such as working hours, absenteeism or the use of resources on the part of the workforce are evaluated. How long did individual employees or teams work on their projects and how efficiently was this time used?
Here it is important that all sides are assessed fairly. This applies to both employees and management decision makers. Fairly evaluating the performance of the individual as well as the entire team is important for employee morale. If someone works hard and well, this should be appreciated. Happy employees work far more efficiently and are more likely to stay loyal to their employer, even in tough times.
Specifically, talent management is about filling the positions that are most important to the company’s success with the best possible candidates. It is particularly difficult to find capable managers who have the necessary know-how, leadership qualities and resilience to handle important projects. Even in software development and other technical industries, few candidates often have all the necessary skills. Thus, promising candidates for critical business areas should be brought into the company as early as possible and built up and promoted over the long term.
How does it feel to work in the company in question? Every company has its own unique working atmosphere – the more harmonious, the better. Professional and private duties and needs have to be balanced, conflicts among employees have to be resolved. Establishing certain norms and rules – a set of values, so to speak, for which the company stands – creates a guideline that is valid from the management floor down to the intern.
Work-life balance involves balancing leisure time and work in such a way that wear and tear is avoided and employees can have a fulfilling private life alongside their job. By balancing work life, stress-related illnesses such as burnout can be prevented. Employees have more time to recharge their batteries for their professional activities. For this, many employees even forgo a higher salary.
Employer branding is an area of marketing that all modern companies should be concerned with. A company’s reputation as an employer develops all by itself – but it can also be steered in favorable directions by taking the above-mentioned measures into account. Here, the companies themselves are challenged to create a harmonious working environment with good career opportunities or other benefits in order to attract the best talent and retain proven experts. The effort is worthwhile, because in the end not only the workforce benefits, but also the brand itself when satisfied employees everywhere have only good things to say about their employer.
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