The new year 2016 has already started. In case they have not done so yet, it is time now for companies to think about what to change and how to improve. It is also a good time to think about the integration of „Employer Branding“ into the company’s program. A survey conducted by the digital marketing institute „Marketagent.com“ showed that 29,4% of the interviewed persons think that an attractive homepage of the company has very big influence on their decision to apply. 21,6% have the opinion that the communication of the company’s philosophy plays a big role. However very little firms occupy themselves with the creation of a so-called „Employer Brand“, especially small ones are afraid of doing so. But in particular these smaller companies can profit a lot from such a „brand“. So what actually is this „Employer Branding“ and is it worth it to put some effort and time in it?
Employer Branding: intersection between marketing and HR
Nowadays it became hard to find good qualified employees and it is not enough to just advertise with „a young and dynamic working atmosphere“ any more. The departments of marketing and HR have to work together very closely to design attractive job ads that communicate the company’s culture. In the survey 53,6% of the active job-seekers indicated that the quality of job ads very much influences their opinion about the company. For that reason it is extremely important to be creative and clever in designing them. Talented and attractive employees got very rare and employers really have to fight for them.
More precisely spoken the Employer Branding can be seen as a part of the Inbound Marketing in which the concentration lies on informative and highly qualitative content focused on a company as an employer. Social Media and Blogs have become popular auxiliary tools to deal with. While social media more concentrates on the quantity of people reached, blogs lie the focus on the quality of the content. Both are followed by the advantage that the target group will be formed by itself. Also with both tools it is important that content is published on a regular basis to stay in contact with interested people. Through these online activities some kind of relationship is built between the readers and the company that has to be fostered in the future.
In this „war for talents“ smaller companies often get lost. Competing successfully against big corporations with huge marketing-budgets is not easy, but certainly not impossible! Also smaller companies can be attractive for applicants, the most important thing for them is to be special.
Advice for SMEs – how to do “employer branding”
Here a few tips to be able to compete against the „big players“:
- Communication of the company’s core values to the outside: corporations like Apple, Google or EY surely have the abilities to offer great offices and cars to their employees, but very often this is not what really attracts new employees. In order to be able to keep your workers on the long term as loyal employees, you already have to start with the design of a creative job ad. The promise that is given there has to be kept so that new employees do not get frustrated.
- Identification with the firm’s identity: to be able to set oneself apart from other companies, it is even more important for smaller firms to identify their characteristics and philosophy. In the next step they have to be communicated to the outside. Very often stereotypes like „international environment“, „young, dynamic team“ and „attractive remuneration“ are used to attract new employees -although especially small firms could have the advantage of being able to advertise with nice, informal working atmosphere. Being authentic and knowing what you stand for is more important than you think.
- Closer cooperation between the departments: for the reason that in smaller companies there are not that many employees and the offices are not that big, direct communication and cooperation between the departments is possible. There are less misunderstandings and conflicts. Working in teams and having flat hierarchies are important factors for many people and also have positive effects on the firm’s success. Basically many talented people working for big companies are looking for a new job opportunity which promises less red tape. For the reason that these characteristics cannot be found in big corporations, it can be seen as a big advantage of smaller companies.
- Individual handling of the employees’ desires: the working environment and the requirements of workers change a lot over time. While in the past criteria like a secure workplace with a fixed salary were considered to be very attractive, today things like home-office or performance-related payments count. Being flexible in order to fulfil the workers’ wishes is only possible for smaller companies compared to big corporations, because most of the time big companies have to stick to strict rules and structured processes.
Through the former presented arguments readers shall see that small companies often can advertise with many benefits against big corporations. They just have to recognize them. If they are able to identify their own culture, the „Employer Brand“ will establish itself on its own, while the role of the firm is to communicate it to the outside. Therefore integrating Employer Branding into future programs, in particular if you are a SME, is totally worth it and makes your company fit for the future!
As part of our regular column “employee motivation as part of Employer Branding” we would like to focus on two different aspects which have been stated in the study “work motivation 2015” of the Manpower Group Germany as third and fourth most important motivation factors for employees – to be on a friendly footing with colleagues as well as free beverages offered by the employer.
The sample named a friendly footing with colleagues as third most important factor. 42 percent stated that it is important to have good contact to colleagues also off-the-workplace for example by doing something together after work. In 2014 this percentage was higher – there 45 percent had this opinion.
Fusion of leisure time and work
Other important facts to consider at the employment market are the changed standard and value propositions of the generation Y and Z. Nowadays leisure time and working hours blend more and more while some years ago this two parts have been strictly separated. Because of that a good working environment and atmosphere are really important for employees.
A big factor that influences the wellness atmosphere is the relationship to colleagues on a friendship basis. There is not only contact between employees during the working hours – many colleagues also meet each other after work to spend some time together what strengthens the team spirit. Amicable relationships cause long lasting motivation and are important for the Employer Branding.
Free beverages as factor of motivation
As forth most important factor the sample of the survey “work motivation 2015” mentioned free beverages. A very simple gesture with big impact: every third employee (33 percent) and counting is motivated by free drinks which are offered directly at the workplace. Last year only 32 percent named this point as motivating factor.
Young companies and start-ups offer free-drinks as a matter of course, but not all employers care that much for their staffing. Especially in summer cold drinks are important.
At high temperatures of 30 degrees or more the employer is legally responsible to make organizational and technical arrangements to keep the workrooms as cool as possible, but free drinks are not obligatory. However, the motivation study conducted by the Manpower Group Germany shows that many employees are additionally highly motivated by free drinks.
Employer Branding as a result of happy employees
Amicable relationships between colleagues as well as free beverages increase the motivation and commitment and as a result cause long lasting loyalty of important and favourable employees. In addition to that satisfied employees are brand ambassadors of the own company. They talk about positive experiences with the enterprise and by doing that, create unknowingly an attractive company image.
Here you find more on employer branding in general. The next part of our column “employee motivation as part of Employer Branding” deals with the aspects “team work” and “attractive interior design” – visit our blog and take part in the discussion!
It has been the second time that Balkaninvest took part as an exhibitor at the career fair in the Goethe institute in Sofia. Interesting applicants as well as potential clients visited our stand. Especially German-speaking specialists from Bulgaria took part in the fair which was organized by the Alumniportal Germany.
High qualified candidates at the Balkaninvest stand
After a short presentation about the Alumni Germany Website by Ms Maria Endreva, reference person of the Alumniportal in Bulgaria and Mr Enzio Wetzel, head of the Goethe institute, the alumni had the change to do job interviews with the exhibitors.
Our stand was well-attended by well-trained visitors with excellent German-skills. The majority offered a specialist education and many marketing and IT candidates were interested in our job advertisements.
In addition to that some of them were already living in a German-speaking country and wanted to inform themselves about the current employment situation, job and future prospects in Bulgaria.
But also other exhibitors of the fair came at our stand for small talk which offered us the possibility to establish business contacts.
Highlights at the Balkaninvest stall
We presented the job ads we posted on the Alumni Germany platform and received many CVs at our stand. Some candidates already knew our employment ads from the Alumni platform and asked directly about them. Many fair participants knew Balkaninvest already as we took part in this fair for the second time or as they already had an interview at our office.
We offered a lottery as highlight for our visitors. The participants had the chance to win one of three interview trainings worth 149 Leva. The price included the simulation of a typical job interview in our Balkaninvest office in Sofia as well as a CV analysis including a written evaluation.
The candidates had to do a short German fill-in-the-blank test,in the German level stated in their CV, to be allowed to participate. The winners will be informed until the end of next week.
Relaxing conclusion of the fair
Exhibitors and visitors were offered a buffet including water, juices, coffee as well as sweet and salty snacks. At the end of the event the guests were able to conclude the evening with a glass of wine and nice conversations between exhibitors and organizers. The operators were also asking the participants about feedback and improvement suggestions.
Summarizing it can be said that the career fair was a successful and professionally organized event. We were offered the possibility of informative talks and to socialise with important business contacts. We really look forward to take part in the next career fair “Trained in GermanY“.
For more than a century Bulgaria and Austria have an intensive political , economical and cultural cooperation. Especially Austrian companies benefit from a good knowledge of the Bulgarian market. Not only for that reason Austria is the second largest investor of the country. The November issue of the Bulgarian Wirtschaftsblatt focuses on Austria. We have summarized and supplemented some interesting information.
Ambassador Hauser about Bulgaria as an investment country
A steady economical growth, an attractive tax environment as well as decreasing unemployment figures convince investors. Bulgaria has a strong amicable relationship with the German-speaking countries Germany, Switzerland and Austria, ambassador Mr. Mag. Roland Hauser towards Wirtschaftsblatt.
According to him, Bulgaria is at the moment in a phase of relative political stability which strengthens the confidence of Bulgaria as a business location.
Trade expert Straka: Bulgaria is stable!
The Austria trade commissioner in Sofia, Ms. Mag. Ulrike Straka agrees. According to her, Bulgaria has again politically more stable circumstances and there is an EU-friendly government – these are good preconditions. This leads to the fact that already located Austria commercial enterprises continue investing which attracts foreign investors.
But also negative trends on behalf of the government are noticeable, like the rejection of the Anti-corruption Law. Nevertheless in 2014 there has been direct foreign investment in Bulgaria from Austria in the amount of 290,7 mil €. Nearly 10% of the biggest foreign investors are companies from Austria like TelekomAustria, EVN, UniCredit/BankAustria, Knauf, Raiffeisen, OMV, REWE/Billa, WienerStädtischeVersicherung, UNIQA, Strabag and VAE. The popularity can also be seen in tourism. In 2014 174,899 Austrian nationals have visited Bulgaria, an 39.4% increase in comparison to 2013.
Bulgarians at the business location Austria
Conversely there is also interest. The Austrian market is highly coveted among Bulgarian businessmen. The good business climate, the qualified personnel and modern infrastructure, the strategic location between east and west, excellent living conditions as well as a high level of personal, political and legal safety and stability are deciding factors.
According to Straka Bulgarian businessmen are known to be friendly, appreciate Austria and Austrian companies and are highly interested in a cooperation.
In comparison to the Austrians the Bulgarians prefer to import a finished product. The reasons are high labour costs and taxes. Because of that mainly small offices are opened in Austria and simultaneously the favourable-priced Bulgarian resources are used. Also the worldwide known Bulgarian company Walltopia, which is famous for the production of climbing walls, is now doing active business in Austria for more that three years.
According to Hauser the future aim is to maintain the excellent relationship between these two countries through as many concrete projects as possible. He exemplary names the joint preparation for the presidency of the European Union which will be exercised by Bulgaria and Austria successively in 2018/19 as well as the 20th jubilee of the Austrian Music Weeks in Bulgaria 2016.
Mag. Roland Hauser finished historical studies, Romance philology studies, philosophy studies as well as his degree study program at the diplomatic academy Vienna. After being Austrian ambassador in Qatar, Kenya and Kuwait he is now ambassador of the Republic Austria in Bulgaria since September 2014. He describes his indeed positive Bulgarian impressions in the latest issue of the Wirtschaftsblatt.