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How to Develop a Winning Employer Branding Strategy

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Anastasiia Kiilo is Human Resources Director at SpdLoad. She’s excited about designing processes and always finds the most efficient and non-ordinary way to build a focused team.

SpdLoad is a startup development company focused on web and mobile development of Minimum Viable Products( MVP) for early-stage startups.

Anastasiia, what goals are you looking to achieve by leveraging Employer Branding?

Our company has set out two global objectives. The first one is establishing a sustainable image in the employment market. For that to happen, we focused on:

  • promoting the internal values of our company. The main task was to build both empathy, and confidence in the brand.
  • targeting the so-called “our” people. An empathy towards our company culture has become a key characteristic of our potential employees.
  • fostering an “external” loyalty. It is very important to involve potential employees in the interior life of the company. All this strengthens their loyalty until the actual cooperation.

These sub-goals differentiated our employer brand. It was recognized by those candidates we were looking to attract.

Our second objective lies in strengthening the loyalty of potential and current employees. To accomplish it, we:

built a high level of credibility between the employees and the company. We made an emphasis on comprehensive communication and transparency of all ongoing processes.
adapted personal and corporate objectives within one culture. Our task was to make employees understand that personal growth equals the company’s growth.

Having clear goals is a must but to achieve them, you need a concise action plan. What was your Employer Branding strategy?

Employer Branding has to be aligned with the ultimate objectives of the company. To achieve these objectives, we focused on:

  • enhancement of personnel policy and its follow-up positioning as a stand-alone salable product;
  • determining EVP focal points ⁠— three employee valuables, which have shaped the basis for Employer Branding;
  • the formation and enhancement of external personnel reserve, networking;
  • managing employees skills, creation of the reasons to trust our brand;
  • brand communication within the team and target labor market;
  • determining an attractive campaign motto and slogan, which reflect the main labor market positioning: ''Believe in your dream - trust our team'';
  • providing the maximum transparency of all ongoing processes and procedures.

When the Employer Branding strategy is shaped, it is time to map out the communications strategy.

To promote our Employer Brand, we used both online and offline media channels and followed certain steps to achieve the best results.

  • A target audience segmentation. In our case, the target audience comprises of web-developers, designers and business developers.
  • A choice of promotion channels. We have tested a great number of hypotheses. LinkedIn, Dou and Instagram were determined as the most effective channels for promoting our Employer brand.
  • A content marketing plan. To depict a complete picture of our company, we constantly create content on in-house business processes. We write helpful articles and advice applicable to many other companies. The alignment of internal and external processes and sources increases the level of credibility.
  • Corporate events and activities. We leverage a variety of team-building activities, lectures and competitions.

These practices enabled us to build an integral online presence and maximize the candidates’ conversion rate. This strategy boosted candidates’ engagement rate while staying in touch with current and former employees.

How did you define your Employer Value Proposition? It can be tricky as it needs to align corporate values and profitability objectives with candidate’s expectations to attract the most qualified candidates.

EVP is an essential attribute of any company that aims to withstand the competition. In our case, it was defined in a natural way, based on our company culture and working process. However, conceptually, it includes four main steps:

  • Employee survey and generation of corporate values matrix. The essence of the survey is to define and prioritize the reasons why our co-workers like the company.
  • The potential employees’ survey in the process of interviewing. It is obvious that the level of candidates’ expectations in whole or in part complies with the employer’s brand. However, it often happens that the external target audience expands the corporate values matrix by contributing useful suggestions.
  • Designing of one unified value matrix for external and internal audiences. EVP confirmation for broadcasting on current and potential employees.
  • Analysing competitor’s offering. It should be done to determine a value-based minimum and to differentiate on the labor market.

Developing an Employer Branding strategy and executing it requires time and resources and everyone is interested in return on investment. How did Employer Branding help your business?

There are four main aspects that have been improved because of Employer Branding.

The first of them is recruiting. Instead of focusing on an outgoing request flow, we started processing a large number of incoming applications. Thus, the quality and motivation of the candidates had become higher than expected. A value-based offer that steps not only on the remuneration package but also on corporate culture and brand values, is more attractive than simply offering an annual bonus.

The second aspect is team motivation. Our employees have started to appreciate their team and their role in it. Positive atmosphere and motivation facilitate an effective working process. In terms of KPIs and metrics, we achieved:

  • lower staff turnover rate;
  • lower  training and retraining costs;
  • a higher level of engagement and seamless adaptation of new hires.

The third one is a positive company image on the market. For the candidates, being an employee of our company has become an accomplishment gained through hard work, not just a name on their CV. Employer Branding made our company more attractive to qualified candidates and allowed us to develop a referral network.

The fourth aspect is the level of client satisfaction. A high level of team motivation and engagement positively impacted communication quality and customer service. Thus, the level of customer satisfaction has risen significantly. A strong brand attracts not only top talent but also new clients.