• Expert Tips

Employer Branding — Part 2:
Three Steps to Get Started

  • Expert Tips

In a nutshell, Employ­er Brand­ing is the forma­tion of a compet­i­tive employ­er brand. In the first part of this series, which we published recent­ly, we high­light­ed the impor­tance of suit­able brand­ing in the real estate and construc­tion indus­try (Employ­er Brand­ing Part 1). Today’s Valdivia Expert Tip is about employ­er brand­ing plan­ning: What are the require­ments of a sustain­able employ­er brand?

Step 1: Gath­er the Facts

When asking your­self what it its that makes your compa­ny stand out as an employ­er, it will prob­a­bly be hard facts that come to mind first: Bene­fits, train­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties, social offers, etc. Also, the status quo in terms of flex­i­ble work­ing hours and remote work­ing, diver­si­ty, digi­tal­i­sa­tion and sustain­abil­i­ty will play an impor­tant role in this.

Impor­tant as these factors may be with regard to modern employ­er brand­ing, compet­ing employ­ers will most like­ly list very simi­lar bene­fits, some of which we will take a clos­er look at in this series.  In order to build up a compet­i­tive employ­er brand based on these crucial bene­fits, though, further rather soft features are needed.

Step 2: Take an Honest Look into the Mirror 

An employ­er brand does not sell dreams, but it does sell emotions. In order for recip­i­ents to perceive them as authen­tic, howev­er, these emotions have to be truly alive in the compa­ny. Other­wise, the brand can quick­ly lose its cred­i­bil­i­ty and impact. There­fore, the next step to build­ing a cred­i­ble employ­er brand is honest self-analysis:

- How do people in the compa­ny feel? Do they expe­ri­ence real appre­ci­a­tion and recog­ni­tion of their achievements?

- How are lead­er­ship styles, team respon­si­bil­i­ty, and indi­vid­ual respon­si­bil­i­ty perceived?

- What is the inter­ac­tion among colleagues like — in the team, in depart­ments as well as overall?

- Are the company’s mission state­ment, work-life balance, and other values truly prac­tised with­in the company?

Survey­ing the above points is not neces­sar­i­ly a cost­ly matter: an anony­mous, digi­tal ques­tion­naire will do. An impor­tant group to target is younger and/or recent­ly hired staff. These will provide a good oppor­tu­ni­ty to also enquire about how the compa­ny is perceived from the outside: “What impres­sion did we leave with you?“

Being honest with your­self as a compa­ny includes asking the ques­tion whether or not bene­fits grant­ed are real­ly welcome and fulfil their inten­tion. Not all extras are useful or popu­lar with employ­ees. Free public trans­port, for instance, is not help­ful with company’s head­quar­ters diffi­cult to reach by means of public trans­porta­tion. Anoth­er aspect of honest self-analy­sis is a keep­ing an eye at compa­ny eval­u­a­tion plat­forms such as kununu, Glass­door, or Indeed. Posi­tive assess­ments are welcome, of course. Yet, nega­tive ones can also contain impor­tant clues, espe­cial­ly if a certain point of crit­i­cism is repeat­ed­ly stat­ed by differ­ent (former) employees.

Step 3: Find the Gem

From the results from the first two steps, you will now need to filter out what it real­ly is that distin­guish­es the compa­ny from others with regard to employ­er-specif­ic char­ac­ter­is­tics. Is it, for exam­ple, living tradi­tions in a modern guise? Is it a lead­ing posi­tion in digi­tal­i­sa­tion? Are creative ideas partic­u­lar­ly encour­aged? Is fami­ly-friend­li­ness a priority?

All this can be worked out best in inter­nal work­shops that also give employ­ees a sense of partic­i­pa­tion. An exter­nal facil­i­ta­tor can be very help­ful in the process. Many consul­tan­cies and train­ers offer such services, thus ensur­ing a profes­sion­al approach which consid­ers all aspects, and balances out differ­ing positions.