Unlocking the Power of Employer Branding

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?

I’m sure you’ve heard the story.

“Thou, O Queen, art the fairest of all,” said the mirror.

Then one day, the mirror said to the queen, “Snow White, O Queen, is the fairest of them all.”

At that point, Snow White became the object of the queen’s hatred. The queen couldn’t stand to have someone fairer than she. Of course, the story wouldn’t be quite the same if the queen actually made an effort to be better than Snow White. But, hey, it's a good story, right?

What does this story have to do with the labor market you may ask? Well, nothing and everything. 

Just like the queen and Snow White, in business we can also find good and not so good employers. There are those who put employees first and those who don’t. The main difference between them is: employer branding strategy. It's crystal clear that employer branding is important in the world of work.

But why is it so important? 

Well, there are two main reasons. First, companies want to retain their best employees and also wish to attract new ones. 

Human resources departments have been focused on this topic for some time now, as it has become increasingly difficult to find qualified personnel. It started in the IT sector, but now we see strong employer branding campaigns in the sales and tourism sectors as well.

Perception is everything

When we talk about attracting new employees, the situation is sometimes even more complex because they do not have direct insight into a company's corporate culture. 

The only knowledge they have is based on anecdotal evidence and hearsay. Companies need information on how the public perceives them as employers and how this perception aligns with the image among existing employees. 

If employees perceive the company negatively, it will inevitably spill over to the public. Conversely, if employees perceive the company positively while the public has a negative or different perception, it means that the company is not projecting the desired image. The image companies project must be under their control.

In order to know what to communicate externally and what information is relevant, HR and marketing departments must have a good understanding of their target audience. This is not identical for IT, tourism, or manufacturing companies. It's also different when trying to attract employees with different levels of education. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.

The style and tone of communication must be adapted to the target group. Interpersonal relationships and opportunities for advancement are more important to the IT group than to those who want to work in sales, right?

As a part of First Choice Employer public opinion research, companies have the option of purchasing a report for their company. Research is done by surveying the public about their “Top-Of-Mind” employers. However, there are many companies that want to, but cannot get a report because the company did not receive enough TOM votes, so it is not possible to undertake valid statistical analysis for those companies, and therefore no report. In order to solve this problem, starting this year, companies have the option of conducting Employer Brand Awareness research. As a part of the Employer Brand Awareness survey, we ask the public (or a section of the public, depending on the wishes and target groups of companies) what they think about a certain company, what concepts they associate with it and what information they have about its operations.

What makes this research even more interesting is the possibility of conducting research within the company, whereby the same questionnaire is filled out by the employees and management of the company. In this way, companies can see exactly how different the management's attitude is from the employees', but also from the public's perception.

How can you improve your employer branding?

Action plans for improving employer branding need to be exclusively data-based. Data is at the foundation of everything. Let's be clear, the data that companies have at their disposal is not a magic wand! It does not provide solutions. It provides a basis for HR professionals and all those who care about employees to think about creating solutions! 

In addition to collecting data on public opinion, measuring employee satisfaction is the next step in the process. It would be better to say that these two steps work in parallel and equally important. In fact, they are two sides of the same coin. 

Employee Engagement 

Employee satisfaction is closely related to another term that is often encountered - employee engagement. 

Employee engagement is a popular topic in human resources because there is a clear connection between the level of employee engagement and the success of the company. 

Many studies show that companies with highly engaged employees have better results on key indicators such as profitability, productivity, employee satisfaction and retention rates. 

When we talk about engagement, we cannot fail to mention Gallup's research. According to the latest data, the percentage of engaged employees in Europe is only 13%, while on a global level, 23% are engaged (in the USA, for example, it is 32%).

Alma Career Croatia examines engagement through Pulser - an employee satisfaction survey. We obtain relevant data through the Employer Net Promoter Score or eNPS system. This is a scoring system designed to help employers measure the satisfaction and loyalty of employees within their organization. It is based on the Net Promoter Score system created by Bain & Company, Satmetrix Systems, Inc. and Fred Reichheld, which measures customer loyalty. 

Like NPS, the Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) system consists of one simple question: "How likely are you to recommend your employer as a place to work to your family and friends?" 

Based on their responses, survey participants are divided into three categories: 

  • promoters
  • passives (who will neither promote the organization nor say anything negative about it)detractors (extremely dissatisfied employees) 

It is important to note that data obtained by measuring eNPS should be viewed in the context of how it was derived. We can easily start comparing results with other companies in Croatia, and even beyond. 

For example, in a survey conducted by Alma Career Croatia with more than 61,000 respondents in 12 European countries, we asked employees: “Would you recommend your company to friends and family?”

By country, Croatia has a relatively high number of detractors from their current employer (up to 68%). Only Slovenia and Macedonia have more detractors than Croatia. The best promoters of companies are to be found in Poland and the Czech Republic, with few detractors. The fewest company detractors live and work in Finland, only 46%, but they also have few promoters (13%), while as many as 41% of employees are passive. 

As can be seen, there are a whole range of factors that influence a company's ability to attract candidates and retain the best employees, and there is no recipe that companies can apply to be successful in that regard. It is important to gather data, measure and analyze it, and then draw conclusions based on the data. Only then we can start thinking about what to do next.