4. Connection to the class project with Europa-Service Nordthüringen
5. Source directory
„International Employer Branding“ Rudiments
In order to understand the International Employer Branding, the first task is to define the meaning of it and to clarify why the Employer Branding is so important for companies.
On the one hand, the Employer Branding is a result of the increasing competitiveness on the labor market, called ‘war of talents’, and the search for experienced and professionalized employees. Especially the social developments are responsible for the difficulties which companies have. The demographic change in Germany leads to a shortage of the population and of the number of young people which are available on the labor market. Companies cannot influence this natural change but they do have an impact on their quality and corporate identity as an employer: This is where the Employer Branding takes place (Immerschitt, Stumpf: 2014, 1). Nowadays, people who are searching for a job are not only interested in an explicit job description, but also in the characteristics and values that a company represents. They ask themselves "What benefits is the employer able to offer?" or "What about the work-life balance?". This is why job descriptions are not only mentioning factors just as remuneration and working hours, but also the working environment and social factors. On the other hand, employers also have to find ways to bind existing employees to the company in the long run in order to protect themselves from a possible drain of know-how and from the costs of finding new employees.
“[…] the employer brand establishes the identity of the firm as an employer. It encompasses the firm’s value systems, policies and behaviours toward the objectives of attracting, motivating, and retaining the firm’s current and potential employees.” (Immerschitt, Stumpf: 2014, 36)
So by definition, the Employer Branding describes all active, strategic actions in order to make a company attractive to both existing and potential new employees. It is used to form a unique selling proposition (USP) to give an answer to the question why potential employees should decide to work in this specific company and not to prefer another one. Companies should create a brand as a good employer and advertise this brand on the labor market, where companies can be seen as products. Real marketing campaigns are also possible to gain the best employees by giving the audience the main arguments why the company differentiates from the others. Therefore, the employer should convey its norms, values and its identity.
The following graph illustrates the process of the Employer Branding (Kolb: 2010, 87):
illustration not visible in this excerpt
Staff marketing messages
This graph illustrates the internal factors of a company such as the working environment or the loyalty which can be influenced by the management at all times and the other factors such as the location or the competition which are set. These factors lead to a certain employer attractiveness and to the image the employer has on the labor market. Furthermore it shows that the potential employee has expectations on the employer. The expectations that are fulfilled by the employer can be transferred into the marketing messages in order to gain new staff.
The next task is to clarify the potential goals of creating an Employer Brand. There are several goals mentionable for different areas of the company.
Employee recruitment (External Employer Branding): In the recruitment phase, the Employer Branding functions as a filter through the conveying of the values and standards of a company to potential employees. Especially the workers who can identify with these feel addressed and apply to the company. This reduces potential hiring mistakes and the effort in finding suitable employees.
Employee retention (Internal Employer Branding): The next advantage of the development of an Employer Branding is the employee retention. A pleasant working environment can be prevailed through the match of the idea of values and norms between employers and employees. The resulting improvement of the employee satisfaction can lower the recruitment costs through a lower staff turnover (Immerschitt, Stumpf: 2014, 42-43).
Corporate culture: The Employer Branding serves the development of an organizational culture. The organizational culture describes a “system of shared meaning held by members that distinguishes the organization from other organizations”. A strong culture which is “intensely held and widely shared” has a “great influence on the behaviour of members” and, besides, it “defines boundaries”, creates a “sense of identity” and functions as a “control mechanism” (Robbins, Judge: 2016, 291-293).
Performance and results: The interests of the company and of the workers match if the workers can identify with the brand. Thereby, the commitment and the motivation rise and the employees are oriented more closely to the company's objectives which leads to a higher performance and to better results (Immerschitt, Stumpf: 2014, 42-43).
So the creation of a good Employer Branding can cause high benefits for different fields within the company. The main goal of building a brand as a good employer is to recruit qualified staff and to keep good employees in the long-term. Companies can reach a lasting increase in the efficiency of the recruitment and the quality of candidates with a good Employer Branding. But what is a good Employer Branding? Therefore, the “Employer Brand” has to be differentiated from the “Employer Image”. The Employer Brand describes the way how a company actively sets on the market as an employer, while the Employer Image describes the way how the company really is perceived by potential employees. A company has a good Employer Brand if the way how the company wants to be seen as an employer and the way how the company is really seen on the market are the same. A good employer positioning should be:
- Credible (by majority of employees and managers accepted) and
- Differentiating (employer should be different from the competitors through the creation of an USP).
The third point of this essay describes the possible measures in order to create a good Employer Branding and to reach the goals mentioned in point 2.
A guideline for companies contains three different steps when creating a good Employer Branding:
1. Argue correctly, convince internally.
2. Bound the Employer Brand in the Organization.
3. Communicate the Employer Brand externally.
This guideline leads from the internal measures to the external communication and describes the higher importance of being credible as a company for the external labor market. Only if the team-work and the working environment function well, a communication of the strengths of the company to the external market is useful and credible. The following graph shows what employers and employees think what makes an employer attractive (http://www.sonesson.biz/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Attractive-Figure-1.jpg; retrieved on 16/09/2015):
illustration not visible in this excerpt
With the use of this graph, employers need to bring these two perspectives together and make use of different measures to act as an attractive employer. The most important aspect for the employee is the compensation (64%), so the most important task of the employer is to pay its employees fairly. Aside from the compensation, employees also ask for job security (41%), benefits (39%) and a clear work/life balance (32%); these things are need to be offered from a good employer from the employee’s view. But what can be done to fulfill these expectations?
From the work aspect, employees want opportunities for advancement and efficient training opportunities, flexible working hours and a sustainable health management. The employer can also participate in competitions to win labels for the sign of being a good employer. From the cultural view, an employer can offer in-house child care, sports and free-time activities for the creation of a clear work-life balance. And from the strategic view, an employer can
1) interact with educational institutions and create partnerships with schools and universities, give scholarships or introduce work-study programs to create interest for the company.
2) invest in the corporate citizenship and social environment and function as a sponsor of voluntary organizations or offer open days for the advertising of the company.
3) intervene in politics and associations and participate in political forums or have a membership and the involvement in associations to communicate the values and norms of the company.
4) combine the Employer Branding with the Product Branding and create a professional appearance on the internet and on brochures through a target group-oriented communication (Schumacher, Geschwill: 2008, 37-40).