#WantedlyMeetup Recap: Employer Branding Basics
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of speaking at our #WantedlyMeetup together with Dr. Konstanze Schlegelberger, Head of Employer Branding and Entry Programmes at Axel Springer SE. As Employer Branding is becoming more and more important, we wanted to both give an overview of how to approach the strategy creation process and share best practices on the implementation and realisation of named strategy.
Understanding Employer Branding as a holistic concept
Konstanze, who has been with Axel Springer for approximately four years, started with a short introduction to the concept of employer branding. Rather than "just" seeing EB as a marketing measure, she stressed the importance of seeing it in a more holistic way. Employer Branding starts with the candidate experience, continues all the way throughout the time an employee works at a company and even extends beyond that through alumni relations.
It is, therefore, important to note that EB should always follow a strategy and does have an internal and an external component.
Internal activities include topics such as
- embracing, influencing & living your company culture
- internal communication
- employee experience
- creation of occasions for identification
- as well as the consultation of other departments.
External activities focus mainly on marketing and communication. Typical platforms and channels include your company careers page, job portals, fairs, PR, and, more importantly than ever, social media. Konstanze shared some insightful examples of how Axel Springer has leveraged social media to connect with their target audience. Another effective way to engage potential candidates and alumni is the attendance/organisation and sponsoring of events such as career days, university fairs, specialist conferences and brand ambassador programmes.
Preparing your Employer Branding Journey
After this introduction with practical examples of the different elements of employer branding, I focused on what is seen to be the very core of every employer branding strategy: the Employer Value Proposition (EVP).
An employer brand is the perception people have of you as an employer. Therefore, every company already has an employer brand, whether they're doing any work on employer branding or not. Through engaging in employer branding, employers do take action and influence how people perceive them. The EVP defines the very idea of your strategy, the one thing you want to own, which sets you apart from your competitors. As the EVP is more than just a slogan - rather a core idea which defines consistency in your strategy - it can be tricky to find and define it.
Universum Global provides us with a helpful formula - your EVP should be true, sustainable, attractive, credible, and distinct.
This means that you have to both investigate internally and externally how employees and potential candidates already perceive your employer brand. This can give you helpful insights into your status quo and will enable you to be true and credible. It is equally important, though, to know where you're heading as a company. Know your strategy and define accordingly which talent you need. Your EVP should be attractive to them and serve you sustainably to achieve your overall company goals.
Most importantly, your EVP has to be distinct to your competitors'. Before you start defining it, do some research on how other companies position themselves. Even if you're in the same territory (e.g. focusing on teamwork/ innovation/ status etc.) as them, try to be different in your communication and brand identity. Find your own voice and, most importantly, also BE different. A great employer brand will only be sustainable if you're also practice what you preach.
Summing it up, there are three steps you need to follow to get started with defining your EVP:
- Give voice to your employees - find out what excites them about working with your company and research your status quo.
- Set your goal - be strategic. Know where you're company is heading and define your KPIs accordingly. Which talent do you need to attract and retain to reach your goals?
- Find your purpose - Start with why. Define what makes your company unique and why candidates should want to join you. Be credible and true to your company culture and don't forget to live it!
Would you like to know more about Employer Branding?
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