💪 The power of Employer Branding
5 questions and answers with Melanie Adam-Fischer, expert for employer branding and employee experience.
Hello 👋 my name is Florian Schleicher and this is the FutureStrategies newsletter from FutureS. Thank you for reading along 💚 If you want to learn more about strategic marketing my Simple & Sustainable Marketing Academy is your perfect fit.
Marketing doesn't just go outward.
It also goes inward.
Many companies have recognized that it is also important to position themselves with their own employees.
Employer branding has become an important part of corporate strategy in recent years.
Why? Employees have higher expectations than ever before.
A study by Deloitte has revealed that Generation Z employees are placing increasing value on benefits such as flexible working hours, work-life balance and a positive corporate culture. According to the study, these factors are even more important than salary.
For example, 68% of the Gen Z employees surveyed said they prefer a good work-life balance when choosing an employer.
In a market where younger generations expect to get more than a job and a regular salary, attractive employers need to improve the perception of the company in the labor market.
A strong employer brand and thoughtful employee experience can help build a positive image and create an environment for talent to be attracted and retained.
Melanie Adam-Fischer is not only a professional in this very craft, she is also one of my most valued sparring partners and our breakfasts are not only enriching but also always balm for the soul.
In the interview with her, I explored questions such as:
What is behind the terms employer branding and employee experience and why are they so important, especially for start-ups? What is the importance of employees in achieving corporate success? Is employee experience the same as fruit baskets and ping-pong tables?
I write a lot here about strategies and how important they are for marketing success. But even more important than strategies is a company's culture. Or as the beautiful saying goes:
“Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast.”
So we also talk about culture and how it can be shaped.
Here are my 5 questions and Melanie's answers:
🎙 The interview
1️⃣ Let's start clarifying the terms - what's the difference between HR marketing, employer branding and employee experience?
In employer branding, we position the employer and lay the foundation for long-term brand development. The basis is a clear positioning and a uniform appearance with a recognition effect both internally and externally. All measures that contribute to employer attractiveness can be subsumed under this term. The goals are long-term. And we only speak of brand work when it is carried through across all channels and contact points.
This then results in HR marketing campaigns and, ideally, continuous employer content. These are short- and medium-term measures that are implemented, for example, to address, and recruit a specific target group.
Employee experience is much more about the experience. Onboarding processes, structured feedback sessions or talent programs are all well and good, but do they meet the actual needs of employees? This is about emotions and feelings that employees experience and through which they feel more connected to the company. And this along the so-called employee life cycle.
Why it is advisable to invest in the Employee Experience?
We all fight for the best minds on the market and for our most talented colleagues internally. Some we want to attract, others we need to retain. The trends show: We are getting fewer people in the labor market and, in addition, there is a desire among many to reduce working hours.
This makes it clear that we need to become more efficient, more productive and more innovative in order to meet the challenges of the working world. We can also contribute to this with improvements in the employee experience.
2️⃣ Why is a conscious view of culture important in the long term not only for large corporations, but also for start-ups in particular?
The main focus in companies is on the core business and how they make money. That's true, of course, because value creation is the ultimate goal. But how do they achieve their goals? With their employees, because they are the ones who contribute to value creation every day with their work performance.
They develop new ideas, take care of their customers, iron out mistakes and sell the products and services. Therefore, they are quite central. In parallel with the business plan, it is important to co-develop a people plan. Who do they need to meet these challenges? What roles and skills do they need in the team? So there should no longer be any prioritization when it comes to customer experience and employee experience; they need to be on an equal footing.
3️⃣ How is culture created in companies? Why is it needed?
Corporate culture is shaped by every individual in the company. Through our behavior, through the values we live, through the actions we take. Every company has a culture, whether it wants to or not. This is created as soon as people come together or work together. It is also the culture that makes a company unique.
With our interventions and projects, we set impulses to initiate change. In this way, we make people aware of where change is necessary in order to achieve the target image. We implement values and derive measures that are needed to make these values tangible.
In all these things, we see the employer brand as a guiding star and important compass. Because employer attractiveness is judged as a whole. The experience knows no departmental boundaries. That's why it's important that we don't take the perspective of which department is responsible for what, but ask ourselves: What values do we want to convey? And how do our processes and our approach fit with our positioning? Here we come full circle and it becomes clear why clear positioning is the be-all and end-all.
4️⃣ You work with the "Moments-that-Matter" approach. What is that and how does it work?
This approach places the needs of employees at the center. This means that HR no longer considers what the people in the company need to the best of its knowledge and belief, but instead we enter into dialog directly with the employees. Because only they know what actually improves the work experience. This approach involves people in a different way right from the start. In this case, participation also makes it clear that the experience can only be improved through interaction between employees and the company. This is where both sides are called upon.
We therefore search for the Moments that matter in qualitative focus groups across all occupational groups and consciously take measures to become even better in these crucial points.
We invest our energy where it is most valuable for the employees. After all, who needs fruit baskets and foosball if there is no onboarding process and they just sit around for the first few days?
5️⃣ From your point of view, what is the future of Employer Branding?
From my point of view, really good employer branding can only be done in the future if a start is made on improving the employee experience.
It is true that some companies still have a communication problem, i.e. they do not manage to communicate the added value they offer to the outside world.
Increasingly, however, what is needed above all are measures and concrete actions to be an attractive employer in the first place. Once these measures have been implemented, the next step is about messages, branding and an attractive external image - from job advertisements and the career website to applicant communications and employer campaigns. In my opinion, this chronology will be the future. And the employee experience will make the difference in the long term when it comes to employer attractiveness.
3️⃣ Last questions
What book did you just read and do you like to recommend?
The book by Janina Kugel "It's Now", which explains in her book many ways of thinking about the change in the world of work, which I find exciting.
Which company is doing successful employer branding right now?
In my view, the city of Munich is doing this very well right now.
The future of Employee Experience…
… is a completely new mindset in the company and not a project.
〜 end of interview〜
👀 At a glance
When it comes to employer branding and employee experience, one thing is needed above all else: a clear strategy.
And if this strategy is good, a culture can emerge that achieves much more.
Or as Vanessa Shaw, Senior Manager HR at Personio says:
"Employer branding is not just about creating an image of a company. It's about creating an identity that employees can relate to and be proud of."
A strong culture helps companies compete for the best employees. I find the focus on the topic of employee experience very exciting, as it helps to build the emotional bond between employees and the company in the long term, which in turn helps to increase efficiency and productivity.
The "Moments-that-Matter" approach, which Melanie describes, emphasizes the design of everyday needs of employees, which in the best case are identified with qualitative feedback.
Employee marketing" also needs a diagnosis, clear guidelines and goals, and then a coordinated implementation = strategy.
But I'm sure you attentive readers have already noticed that after the last few posts.
Thanks for reading along!
Since the beginning of her professional career, Melanie Adam-Fischer has seen HR as a major communications task and is certain that HR can learn from marketing. Most recently, she was Team Leader for Social Media & Digital Communications as well as Communications Manager for HR Marketing & Employer Branding at Wien Energie for several years. Since 2020, as a partner at identifire®, she has been supporting well-known companies with her interdisciplinary expertise on the topics of employer branding and employee experience.
PS: You can also read this posting in German.
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