So this series is for anyone who is trying to figure out how they can attract more of the right people to their business. It’s very clichéd to say that there is a “war for talent” but it’s true. Searching and attracting the right people is an absolute recruitment priority, and if you’re not proactive about this then you’ll be left choosing from whoever is available at the time you have decided to look for new candidates (we call this reactive recruitment and it LOOSES almost every time!)
So what can you expect from this series? This series is going to focus on Attraction. That means I’ll write about Searching for candidates in another series. As it stands (I may add to the series later) here are the articles you can look forward to in this series:
1. Employer Branding – 20 Top Tips to improve yours
2. Hiring BEFORE Strategy
3. PSL Power Plan
4. Steal the Show! Start Showcasing!
5. Referral Culture
6. Value Rejected
7. Map and Measure
8. The Job Description that EVERYONE wants to Read!
To kick off this series I’m going to start by summarising a few standout case studies in this article which demonstrate what can be achieved by improving and investing in your Employer Branding. We’ll look at how ThermoFisher, Siemens, Macy’s, and The Audley Group all solved the challenge of improving their Employer Brand, how they improved their Candidate Attraction results, AND we’ll look at what they all focused on (and what you should focus on too!) to ensure they hired the right people for their teams.
Employer Brand: Quick Definition
An Employer Brand is an employer’s reputation as a place to work. Employers use it to differentiate themselves when engaging with prospective employees.
In other words, it’s your way of showing potential employees why you are the best workplace for them and their careers. This is not just about what you have to offer an employee in terms of the features and benefits they’ll obtain if they work for you. Many companies offer great benefits, salaries, and often provide an employee with valuable experience and improved skill sets. If creating a great Employer Brand was this simple then many companies would have great Employer Brands and hiring the right people would be as simple as offering the most money to the best person.
We know that’s not the case so how do companies attract the right people for their teams?
Before 2014, Thermo Fisher did not have an EVP or any unified message to help distinguish itself from its competitors. They were struggling in their aim to double their workforce by 2020, and they were losing sales representative candidates to their competitors. That same year, Employer Brand and Social Media Manager Charlotte Marshall (who joined from Life Technologies Corp – a company which Thermo Fisher acquired in the same year for $13.6 billion), became Thermo Fisher’s first Employer Brand Specialist and was tasked with improving talent acquisitions in order to help achieve their 2020 hiring target.
To establish a unified and global company EVP (no small feat at all!), Charlotte surveyed sample representatives on their perceptions of the company and conducted employee focus groups from all over the world, specifically surveying employees who worked roles that matched Thermo Fisher’s most urgent vacancies. Charlotte also interviewed 13 of the company’s top C-Level executives. Analysing her results against industry benchmarks, she focused on traits which made the company stand out such as continuous personal development and work-life balance, to help build the eventual EVP and Employer Brand. Charlotte Marshall then recorded a library of over 40 videos of employee stories which highlighted those traits to help bring the EVP to life and help attract candidates to their hard to fill vacancies.
Charlotte updated the company career site and included the new videos. Furthermore, she trained 26 people within recruitment, HR, Marketing, and Internal Communications, on the new EVP and Employer Branding and how to implement them.
This is an incredible success story of how one person changed the mindset of an entire company in their approach to Employer Branding on a worldwide scale. 
The Results? (Within the first 4 months):
Reduced time to hire by 47%, down to 52.5 days
Reduced cost per hire by 60%, down to $417
Increase in traffic to their career site by 123%
Increase in click-throughs to online job applications by 162%
In 2016 Siemens was in the middle of transforming from a hardware maker into a digital business. Their struggle was in finding the right people to help make this transformation a success.
One of the main reasons a company does not have a strong employer brand is because their employees do not share any stories of their work or experiences at the company. This was the case with Siemens who at the time had over 350,000 employees worldwide and hardly any were sharing their experiences of working at Siemens – despite the fact that they were all doing work in building for the future with projects around developing transportation, building automation systems for smart cities and smart homes, digital factories, and sustainable power generation (which all sounds very exciting and interesting!)
In collaboration with R/GA, Siemens created a strategy to “inspire and empower employees to spark a global conversation about the future of engineering and what it takes to get there”. In other
However, the real problem was their culture. The Siemens culture (as with many cultures) was a humble and hard-working one, where employees didn’t talk about their work let alone brag about it to the world. They just got on with doing a good job. This culture was the roadblock in their strategy for creating the “global conversation about the future of engineering and what it takes to get there”. Siemens is also mostly a B2B business, which meant their conversations were often heavily doused
Having understood the problem, they knew they need to create a more human, open, and warmer side to their brand. Their solutions involved training their corporate communications teams alongside different departments in their new cultural approach, getting different departments to work together (especially those who had not worked together before). To support this, they also built employee brand ambassador programmes which trained individual employees in finding their voice and sharing their experiences. Finally, to keep this all aligned into one unified message they created the “We are future makers” 360 content series, which documented the stories of employees who were “making the future” and used
This strategy helped Siemen’s employees see the Siemens story in themselves and really connect with the new culture. By getting their own employees to see the impact their work had, not just at their own local working environment but on different departments throughout the world, they were reminded that their work really made a difference to many people throughout the world.
Today, Siemens runs a culture where the Employer Brand belongs to the employees, and this employee empowerment sparks those conversations. This allowed Siemens to successfully transition into a global digital business leader, and change their culture in order to attract the right talent for ensuring the success of that transition.
Check out their Future Makers app. It’s pretty cool and it may inspire new ideas for you. You can find all their stories on their new Future Makers 360 app (available on Android and iOS) at this link: https://www.siemens.com/global/en/home/company/jobs/life-at-siemens/futuremakers.html
55% Month-on-month increase in visits to JIBE – the Siemens jobs portal
462% Increase in unique visitors to the Siemens career site
67% Increase in average time spent on the Siemens career site
How do you attract and retain the best talent when your competitors are the likes of Google, Facebook, Disney, Ernst and Young, and Apple? By creating an Employer Brand that differentiates you and connects you with your audience in a meaningful way.
With the need to recruit for a wide variety of roles, Macy’s needed an Employer Brand that would differentiate the organisation as a whole, whilst at the same time creating messages that were targeted to each segment of their varied talent audience.
To achieve this they undertook extensive research into their target talent audience and their staff which included focus groups, stakeholder interviews, and surveys. They wanted to find out key insights into their talent audience’s needs and priorities when it comes to choosing an employer.
Their solution was to focus on showing instead of telling by creating video content and custom photography for each target talent audience, showing them what it’s really like to work at Macy’s and who they would be working with. Macy’s also focused on developing a
9.4 million candidates visit their career site (including their recruitment microsites) each year
Won the Technical Innovation Award from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, twice!
More than 266,000 followers on LinkedIn and 5,000+ members in its LinkedIn talent community
The Audley group created “The Audley Promise” which aims to change the way people view retirement and enhance people’s lives. They achieved this through their employees by getting them to use their skills, passion, and empathy when building relationships with their audience. This shift in mindset became integral to them and it was central to their hiring and onboarding process. They also improved the candidate experience by bringing in better candidate tracking and assessment systems, improving interview processes by ensuring every candidate receives interview preparation phone calls, and they implemented a new engagement and wellbeing portal for staff where they can send rewards and recognition for their good work and thanking them for behaviours which demonstrate The Audley Group Promise .
Increased number of hires by 32%
Reduced time to hire from 18 to 13.5 days
Reduced cost per hire by £600
Key Learnings from all the case studies
The biggest learning point from all these case studies (well at least in my opinion) was that they all looked within first. They turned to their own employees and had the honest and probably difficult discussions about what it was really like to work at their company. Their research began here, and it didn’t just focus on associate level staff. They undertook research with the managers, the directors, and the C Level staff. Everyone from various departments in the company, regardless of their experience, had to be involved in order to get the most honest and true results.
Once they knew the problem with their current culture, they could get a full understanding as to why their employer brands were broken.
If your current employees aren’t doing anything to contribute to your employer brand then these case studies would suggest that this is a common denominator found in a poor employer brand. Let’s face it, it makes a lot of sense. If your current employees are not showing the world why your company is a great place to work, then why should you expect any new employees to get excited about securing a great role in your company?
Before you go to the next article in the series, there is one last point that often comes up and I have often been asked (well to be more accurate I just get told this more often than asked!)…
I don’t have the budget to compete with Siemens. I can’t afford to do this and I don’t have the time!
LinkedIn has shown that on average
a strong employer brand can reduce
cost per hire by 43%
If your employer brand is weak then quite simply you will need to spend more money on each hiring campaign for each individual position than you would need to if you constantly attracted the best talent.
A weak Employer Brand may also attract the wrong people to your business which could result in hiring the wrong people, and spending a lot of money on training the wrong people before having to let them go.
A strong employer brand attracts the best people and the right people for you. Spend more time, energy, and money on creating one strong Employer Brand instead of spending time, energy, and money on multiple vacancies, which have been opened in reaction to your circumstances. The savings that can be made here should be obvious, yet many companies still hire reactively rather than proactively! In fact, with the savings made and the additional sales you’ll make (yes, a strong employer brand can result in increasing revenue!) you should see that a strong Employer Brand will pay for itself in the long run.
As a recruitment company, you may wonder why I would suggest this. It’s simple, no matter what recruitment company you use any recruitment company will struggle to find good candidates willing to go forward for a job at a company with a poor employer brand. Recruitment is expensive when bad hires are made or none are made at all – Great recruitment offers a return on your investment by bringing you great candidates who take your business forward.
“Those who build great organizations make sure they have the right people on the bus and the right people in the key seats before they figure out where to drive the bus. They always think first about who and then about what. When facing chaos and uncertainty, and you cannot possibly predict what’s coming around the corner, your best “strategy” is to have a busload of people who can adapt to and perform brilliantly no matter what comes next.”
– Jim Collins
Sources for this article:
 LinkHumans. 10 Reasons Why Employer Branding is Important – https://linkhumans.com/employer-branding-important/
 Personnel Today. Personnel Today Awards 2018 shortlist: Employer Branding Award – https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/personnel-today-awards-2018-employer-branding/
 Visualise Created Ltd. British Army VR Recruitment Experience – https://visualise.com/case-study/british-army-vr-recruitment-experience
 Talent Economy. Winter Issue 2017 – https://issuu.com/talenteconomy/docs/teq117_issuu
 Campaign. How Siemens and R/GA redefined employer branding – https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/siemens-r-ga-redefined-employer-branding/1447444
 Sanger & Eby Design LLC. Macy’s Employer Branding – https://www.sangereby.com/work/work-pages/macys-employer-branding/