Employer Branding - Recruiting and Retaining Your People

Written by Ferdinand Lucke on Feb 19, 2019


The aggravating shortage of skilled workers and new demands on the employer present companies with massive challenges in recruiting. It seems that Employer Branding is becoming more and more obligatory if companies wish to prosper, or even just to survive.

Demographic changes leave the market with fewer and fewer potential employees. Most companies already have problems filling vacancies, a trend that will aggravate. As if that weren't enough, it is also difficult to retain these employees. Employees feel increasingly little or no emotional attachment to their employers, the consequences of that being higher fluctuation, more days lost and lower productivity. Consequences are missed growth opportunities, resulting in economic damages.  

Finding and retaining the right employees is therefore becoming a key business challenge for all companies. A great way to escape such development is an effective Employer Branding.

We will elaborate what your rough starting points should be.

The development of an attractive employer brand should help to inspire the right employees to join, ensure that employees identify strongly with their employer – and stay. Your Employer Branding should attract the true and right person to your company culture; sharing alike values, drivers, attitudes, behaviours and respecting the same characters.

Although most companies have recognised the importance of employer branding, they have not yet developed and implemented a strategy for their employer brand. There is a huge gap between theory and practice. But, doing it right and now, is a massive chance for employers to be ahead of the game. So, if you want to `walk the talk´, here is what we think is essential.

The Right Set-Up

Placing a marketing person in human resources, or even worse, giving an employee in Marketing an additional job of creating such employer branding alongside the other role, is a clear sign of misconception and misunderstanding. It is a massive conceptual change process, that needs to start with the full commitment of the management level, the participation of all relevant stakeholders and employees, escorted by continuous communication, as well as sufficient time, resources and responsibility for the project team. This process needs decision-makers involved across the organisation.

The Right Foundation

Every organisation has its own identity, what the company stands for as an employer on the market and what the key promise to existing and potential employees would be. This ´operating character´ of your organisation sets the underlying direction for your employer branding.

While setting out the brand, many companies promise the very same, as they mistakenly evaluate their needs towards the requirements of their target group. In order to stand out from the crowd, you need to emphasize your very own strengths, your values and your culture. In other words, most companies mistakenly go for value parity with their competition, means an overlap between you and your competition, creating a “me too” proposition.

You may want to focus on what you can do for your employees that is differed from what the competition can do. This then is your Value Wedge, or Employer Branding – this is where you position yourself. For this it needs to be (1) unique to you, (2) important to your audience and (3) defensible.

This also ensures the authenticity of the employer brand, because nothing is promised that is not experienced in everyday corporate life, and it could therefore not lead to irritation and frustration among employees. It is therefore important to identify the true strengths and cultural characteristics of the employer and to derive a relevant promise to potential and existing employees that differentiates from the competition, fits the corporate brand and is in line with the vision of the company.

Strong Involvement

The employees are often neither involved, nor learn about any reorientation of your employer brand, in the worst case they get it from the press. Ensure the employer brand is understood, accepted and lived by everyone, through intense communication with them. They must be fully involved in the development of measures in line with the corporate culture. In this way, employees become advocates of your brand. And don’t be afraid of incorporating new original solutions to keep your brand attractive, and your employees involved.

All The Way

Your Employer Branding needs to be experienced and lived along the entire employee life cycle, at all relevant contact points. Candidates need to feel your Employer Branding in that crucial phase before joining the company, in all steps of the application phase, and when candidates turn into employees this feeling needs continuation, always and everywhere.  

A fatally underestimated area, with severe consequences, is the form and manner in which candidates are treated who will not be contracted, who will be told that they did not succeed. Here the character of a company, and its management team, can be read very accurately. Pay attention to what is happening here, and if you have hired a recruiter, have them to tell you what is happening to these candidates on your behalf. This falls back to you and your company character how you treat people in challenging situations. Here is where you Employer Branding may suffer immensely and were brand care is most required.

Tell Everyone

Make sure people know who you are and what you do for your people, go out on social media. Social media is indispensable for your Employer Branding. Select the potential social media sites, and your ways to engage, create your medley of styles for each platform. You need to figure out which networks to join. Then, you need to determine optimal messages, posting frequency, cost of social media management, integration with other marketing channels, and how to make the most of the people who are hanging out on social media. Make sure your selection meets the audience you want to e-meet.

Next Steps

Your Employer Brand will not be created overnight, it is a journey that takes some years, but with great opportunities. Your Employer Brand describes your reputation as a place to work, where people spend most of their life; a well-done process can be a positive driver for enhanced productivity – and for saving financial resources to recruit repeatedly. Just start today to enlighten your teams!




Ferdindand Lucke
EO Portugal & Spain




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