If employer branding was a stick figure, it would embrace with its little hands many areas in an organization, and even beyond it: HR, including the recruitment department and all the departments employees are recruited to, internal and external communication, PR, marketing… plus external agencies. When all these cooperate, you can talk about a chance for success. But you still can’t sit back and wait, because building and sustaining a reputation as a desirable employer requires keeping your finger on the heartbeat.
Looking for engineers, Amazon placed its job offer… on Tinder, the dating app. You can look there for love / sex / romance, the idea is that you find a person who has similar needs and expectations as yours, and you make a date.
It’s like a job interview after you’ve seen a job offer… Or maybe it’s job interviews that are like a first date? Amazon made use of that similarity and in this unconventional – and no doubt emotion-provoking! – way the company was looking for scientific minds. Apparently, they also found emotions very persuasive.
This is particularly important on the markets – or in the sectors – where it is the employer who is looking employees, not the other way round. In Poland, the trend is becoming gradually stronger where it is the employee who calls the shots. For the past three years the job market in Poland has been on the rise, and so employees’ expectations are getting higher, both towards their current and potential employers (of course this isn’t true for every single region of Poland) and many HR experts and analysts believe we can slowly start talking about the employee market in Poland. In addition, younger generations pay more attention to what company they work for – they want to know not only whether they have a chance for a good salary and development opportunities, but also follow the opinions about the culture of work in a given company, attitude towards employees – and in the social media you can get this kind of information in a minute… Various aspects are becoming more and more important, such as whether the company tests its products on animals, helps others e.g. by acting as a patron to charity actions, cares about the environment etc. And, of course, there is still a large group of employees who are primarily focused on success, who want to get promoted and quickly acquire new competences and the phone+laptop+car package. HOW do you accommodate all that?
First of all… you don’t have to. Experts on employer branding should focus on the strengths of the company, define what kind of employees they need and it is to them – not to all looking for a job – they should present the company as a place worth working at. To put it short, they need to create a strategy followed by consistent communication (form, channels). Only there are still very few companies which have employer branding experts (although you can study employer branding e.g. in Warsaw, where the Leon Kozminski University opened employer branding faculty in cooperation with the Employer Branding Institute a few years ago), and as you can read in the report “Employer Branding in Poland 2017” around half companies still declare they do not have an employer branding strategy.
Gradually more often companies tend to use the help of external agencies – we can see this trend in Aude, helping our clients in this area. We recently developed materials to a recruitment campaign for one of the bigger players on the food market, where we encouraged the current employees to search for new valuable candidates by recommending people they know e.g. from university or from a different work, and all that was combined with participation in a global charity action supporting micro-entrepreneurs from the poorest regions of the world.
This kind of emotional context is a very popular trend visible in employer branding campaigns in Poland and abroad. And it responds to actual needs – the “Employer Branding in Poland 2017” report reveals that 86 percent of the surveyed took into account their sympathy for the company when choosing the employer. It turns out emotion-based communication is the major element of an effective strategy.
“The mechanism of building an emotional relationship applies not only to the company and its customers, but also to services and products, and employers with candidates and employees. Modern employer branding must evoke emotions. The best employer brands in the world are the one which understand that they’re not fighting for the candidates’ minds, but for their hearts. And this battle can only be won by provoking strong emotions. The need to build communication based on emotions starts being visible among employers.” – „Employer Branding in Poland 2017”.
Who was able to provoke the emotions on the Polish market? The survey participants pointed to the employer branding campaigns they believe to be most interesting – the leader is Lidl Polska (right behind it are PZU and Pracuj.pl) with its employer branding campaign called “Lidl starts with people.” The company presented its values, working conditions and development opportunities for employees using… employees themselves. It was Lidl employees who were the voice of the campaign, in which several dozen people from various parts of the organization tell about their work and what they value in it. Giving the voice to its employees, the company chose to be credible and authentic. It was also frank about the height of the salary and made an obligation to give a raise after a certain amount of time.
Talking about salaries and numbers – it’s interesting that even though employer branding activities focus on emotions, the success that follows is entirely measurable. Both for the new employee (salary) and for the company, whose effective strategy attracts experts and their competences bring concrete results and competitive edge.But employer branding doesn’t come down to recruitment, working on the image of a desirable employer continues even after the new employees have been taken on.
Internal employer branding is equally important. Ula Radzińska wrote about it in her book “Your First Customer” where she revealed a truth not obvious to everyone: that a satisfied and engaged employee is the best ambassador for his company. Which is why effective internal communication is so important – magazines, intranet, websites for employees or online forums – one that reaches employees and is able to show these employees, not just the CEO and the management board. By creating a friendly working environment, you get the sympathy of employees, who will talk equally friendly about the company, thus strengthening its positive image.
One of the most interesting examples of using internal communication for employer branding is the unusual formula used by Opel, which we provide with content and photo materials for their website opelpost.pl. The website is addressed to Opel employees, but it’s open to everyone. Anyone can go there to see what it’s like to work at Opel.
In order for the image to bring effects in the future, you need to strengthen it e.g. by using elements of content marketing. And we will be happy to help you with that.