Competition for young, well-educated workers has increased significantly in virtually all sectors over the last five years. The reputation of an employer is more decisive than ever, especially among younger generations when it comes to choosing a job. Today, this reputation is shaped to a large extent by employer branding strategies. Read this blog article to find out how you and your company can benefit from digital employer branding and which strategies are necessary to reach Generation Y (and tomorrow already Generations Z and Alpha) as a company.
Is there an ideal Employer Branding strategy?
If you want to achieve sustainable economic success and retain good employees, you have to generate values that go beyond the monthly paycheck. These values are significantly shaped by employer branding strategies, which in turn should be part of the holistic corporate strategy.
But before working on concrete measures, entrepreneurs should strive to develop an Employer Value Proposition (EVP). This should define what you stand for as an employer, what values you represent, and what promises you make to existing and future employees.
As a rule, however, the company’s own employees are not all the same age. Different generations also represent fundamentally different values. Uniform employer branding strategies that lump all employees together are therefore not effective. Specific groups of people need their own employer branding strategies.
The clash of generations
However, it is not only the values of baby boomers and representatives of generations X, Y and Z that differ from one another. Differences also exist above all in the area of media usage behavior and in the expectations and needs that these generations associate with their employer. While baby boomers and Generation X can still be reached via traditional mass media, employees of Generations Y and Z move almost exclusively on digital channels. The following image provides an overview of the birth years of the different generations:
This does not just mean social media, but online communication as a complete package. Employers who do not represent themselves on digital channels, or do so inadequately, run the risk of not reaching the generation of young jack-of-all-trades in the first place, or of not appealing to them with their own offerings. Sustainable employer branding that appeals to all generations must therefore also be present on all digital communication channels. You have to implement digital employer branding in your own digital strategy.
More than just the old familiar
Digital employer branding is more than just the usual rehashing of existing employer branding strategies but in the digital space. Rather, it means the appealing representation of companies in the digital space, which should then have an attractive effect on applicants. It is also always about standing out positively from one’s competitors and standing out from the gray mass of companies through creative and authentic concepts. Digital employer branding always aims to present itself as a company to a specific target group of applicants in a precisely defined way. Sustainable and data-driven employer branding will sooner or later lead to lower hiring costs for companies and your (future and current) employees building a stronger personal bond with you and your brand. The best news is that very few companies rely on employer branding strategies that have been thought through from front to back in the digital realm. This is where you can leverage untapped potential and stand out from your competitors.
Digital Employer Branding: The Success Factors
Nowadays, almost every company uses digital channels. For this very reason, every company also relies on digital employer branding in one way or another. However, only a few companies have a precisely defined target group in mind that they want to address with their strategies. Even fewer companies have different digital employer branding strategies that are tailored to the needs of different generations of applicants. This is where there is a lot of untapped potential for entrepreneurs to set themselves apart from the competition and to directly address the best applicants and inspire them about themselves.
The main problem is that hardly any company has the enormous financial resources that would be necessary to provide all digital channels with precisely the content that is attractive and relevant for the specific generation of applicants. Few companies, however, know how to use their resources efficiently to reach the very channels on which their dream applicants are on the move. The conclusion of this article explains how you can succeed.
Attention, interaction, contact
But how exactly do you succeed? Successful digital communication always requires the right definition of goals. Roughly speaking, it’s always about the three goals: Reach, Interaction, and Contact – which ideally follow one another as follows: To reach your dream applicant in the first place, you need to catch their attention. They can do this, for example, by generating traffic to their website and raising awareness on your social media channels. Once your target audience is aware of your business content, your top next goal should be to encourage them to network with you. Create content that encourages interaction and writing reviews, ratings, and comments and get talking. Offer content to your audience on all channels that provide value and value. Only in this way will you succeed in advancing to the supreme discipline of all digital communication, the generation of contacts, and, in this case, letters of application.
In order to reach Generation Z, for example, with your own company content and job advertisements, it is not enough to present yourself as a secure and well-paying employer in a classic way. This generation must be attracted to storytelling and recruitainment elements, otherwise, the content will not be noticed and consumed. You need to give them a reason to apply to you.
Digital employer branding: the channels
As has already been emphasized several times, digital employer branding means more than just operating a separate subpage on the company’s homepage on which open job advertisements are regularly posted. Digital employer branding must be carried out on different channels with tailored content, depending on the target group. As always in the digital space, the more strategically you play channels, the more relevance and findability you will get online and on social media. But the same applies in the area of employer branding: focus on your target group and reach applicants precisely on the channels on which they are present. For each channel, we have selected a best practice example that, in our view, does everything right and that one or the other company could take a leaf out of their book.
Your own company website is the first point of contact for a large proportion of future employees. Here, you should rely on your own career subpage that is optimized for your own target group and clearly designed. Since this digital channel aims to reach as broad a group of applicants as possible, you should use clear, easy-to-understand language here. Also try to describe the benefits of working for your company as authentically as possible here. As with all your digital channels, you should make sure that your website in particular has a responsive design. Younger generations in particular consume content almost exclusively on mobile devices. So make sure your career pages have an optimized mobile experience, as well as an engaging and contemporary user interface.
Best Practice: Otto-Versand
A corporate blog offers you numerous advantages as a company. Don’t just offer relevant content for your own customers and employees. Put content in the spotlight that is interesting for potential applicants. The corporate blog could, for example, offer insights into your corporate culture or introduce people who work at your company in more detail, e.g. in the form of interviews or reports. This not only strengthens the sense of belonging among your existing employees and ensures cross-departmental involvement of your workforce, but also makes you more interesting for future talent. A corporate blog article with the appropriate keywords also ensures that your company appears higher up in the Google rankings and that your own expert status is further enhanced.
Best Practice: voestalpine
Since the acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft, it is also becoming increasingly relevant in the German-speaking world. LinkedIn is the ideal place to make your company attractive to both customers and future employees. Make sure you have your own company page, which you should ideally manage as part of a team rather than alone. The individual personal profiles of your employees provide ever new content and insights into your own corporate culture. This makes you interesting for outsiders at the same time. Offer your audience on LinkedIn content that is really useful to your target group. This increases the engagement rate, which is extremely relevant especially on LinkedIn (The LinkedIn algorithm thanks you with increased organic visibility). Through comments and the discussion that takes place among non-corporate but relevant content from your employer branding target audience, you also have the chance to get noticed by people who don’t even follow your company regularly on LinkedIn. Authentic content, insights into your own corporate culture, and content with a real benefit for users’ everyday professional lives should be your goal in employer branding on LinkedIn.
Best Practice: Microsoft
XING and KUNUNU
Since the strategic realignment of the umbrella group New Work SE, which brings together a total of 10 companies and brands, including XING and KUNUNU, companies have been able to purchase a paid combination of KUNUNU and XING profile for their employer branding. With a total of 16 million users in German-speaking countries, XING offers an interesting pool of applicants. As a company, you should therefore also present yourself in the right light on XING. KUNUNU has become increasingly important in recent years. Potential applicants value the portal, on which employers can be rated, because of the high authenticity of the reviews. Hardly any rating is more credible and has more social proof than the rating of an active or former employee. However, entrepreneurs who want to showcase their XING and KUNUNU profiles apart from the free functions have to dig deep into their pockets: New Work SE currently wants to be paid around 350 euros per month for a so-called employer branding profile.
Best Practice: Tschibo
Social media channels
The question about the relevant channels for your company can only be answered with a counter question: Is your target group represented on the channel? If so, you should definitely consider making your presence felt here as an employer. In principle, all social media channels are suitable for employer branding, but the content must be adapted to the specific channel in order to develop its full effect and to generate attention among future employers.
Career and corporate content on TikTok? If you have the resources and the presence on the platform suits you and your company, why not? There is potential here to reach a very young target group that has so far remained untapped by many entrepreneurs. Authenticity is the criterion here. Note: a proper TikTok presence requires a very high content publication rate (1-3 postings per day) and thus a very high resource expenditure, but there are tricks here too – ask us.
Best Practice: Washington Post
A company presence on Instagram can be an ideal solution for staging your own brand personally and visually. Here you have the opportunity to show “Who you really are”. Give people an insight into your daily work, interact with your employees, and present your brand personality.
Best Practice: Deutsche Bahn
Although often pronounced dead, Facebook still has enough active users to be a relevant player in the social media space. Use Facebook to post longer content (posts can be significantly longer than on Twitter and posted videos can be longer than Instagram) and provide deeper insights. Especially younger users who are at the beginning of their career and are not yet active on LinkedIn and/or XING can be reached with detailed posts via Facebook.
Best Practice: Univlever
Twitter is another platform to connect with potential and current employees, stay up to date on trends, contribute to conversations, and maintain a general presence. Here you have the opportunity to interact with niche communities, answer questions from applicants, and demonstrate your expert status.
Best Practice: Netflix
Channel optimization as a key factor
Optimized digital channels are the difference that can set you apart from the competition’s presence. A good user experience should not be underestimated; younger generations in particular are looking for a workplace where salary is not the top priority, but for jobs where you can develop and unfold your own personality. By tailoring your digital channels to young target groups and offering content that is important to Generation Z (only if it fits your own company, of course), you make yourself the number one contact point for the young talents and managers of tomorrow.
Know your digital communication goals – which are aligned with your corporate employer branding goals. Develop a digital strategy that can achieve your goals and continuously develop your digital positioning.
The interaction of all digital channels is crucial here: a dedicated, well-optimized career site, a blog with the right keywords and topics, and an authentic presence on social media that offers real added value for your target group are factors that lead to success.
In order to attract the best applicants to you and your brand, you need to address your target group exactly where they are at home. sonicboom supports you in optimizing your digital presence in the area of employer branding and showing presence exactly where the best applicants are.