Craft beers and private jets – this company has taken the idea of employer branding to the next level. But is it necessary to go that far?
Appearances are important. Just ask this Australian business, audio visual company Scene Change, which has gone to interesting new lengths in order to lure and retain employees. The company claims a turnover rate of less than one per cent, so what is their “secret”?
“From the start we did campaigns that were pretty out there like investing a year’s marketing budget in co-owning a private jet that we only used once, which created insane word-of-mouth,” says Ian Whitworth, co-founder of Scene Change.
“We launched a beer and cider brand purely as a promo exercise that we served up at a conference we attended and ended up getting more publicity than the official sponsors of the event.”
In fact, image was a part of the company’s mantra from the get go. “Scene Change was formed when six staff of our staff decided to jump ship from a competitor that had just done a rebrand the staff didn’t like. They didn’t even ask about their salary, they basically joined us so they could drive black vans with chrome wheels,” he says.
While these ploys may be at the extreme end of the spectrum, the company also invests in top-end technology to impress staff and clients alike.
“It can be as simple as buying staff new, high-spec laptops, because the sort of laptop people pull out in a client meeting is as much a part of a company’s brand as its ads,” says Whitworth.
“A new laptop is under $3,000, and your staff feel great.”
In today’s increasingly competitive market, it’s more important than ever for employers to match their brand perception with reality.
A recent study The employer brand credibility gap: bridging the divide by Weber Shandwick and KRC Research shows, however, that perception and reality are often unaligned.
Only 19 per cent of respondents strongly agreed that the image of their employer matched with reality, while seven per cent strongly disagreed. It’s the significant gap in the middle (74 per cent) that’s interesting, a large swath of employees are not strongly swayed either way.
This is important because employers need to persuade this sizeable portion that their organisation is indeed credible and great to work for. Aligned employees are very valuable, says research. A large percentage (76) of aligned employees would recommend their employer as a good place to work, and 77 per cent would likely stick around in their job for another year.
A good employer story
How can organisations position themselves to attract top talent? It’s not all about private jets and beer.
Strengthening employer perception from within is a good place to start. Take Siemens as an example. The German communications conglomerate was struggling to position itself as “sexy” in a playing field with the likes of Google and Apple.
The company has been using technology such as VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) to create short employee documentaries to stimulate interest and engagement, which are accessible via a signature app.
“We use VR because it is very immersive so it creates intimacy and we wanted to invite people to experience what it’s like to work at Siemens – every employee that uses the Siemens app is given a Google Cardboard,” says Vice President of employer branding, Rosa Riera,
“By focusing so much on our employees, we know they talk to their friends and family so this is an important element that we find incredibly relevant. VR and AR are still technologies that a lot of people haven’t experienced yet, so being able to play with them at home also grows the interest in the brand.”
Creating a unique event or offering something unusual to employees will organically get them to talk to potential candidates about your organisation in a positive way. The thing you’re offering could be anything from a cheap but fun Christmas in July lunch, to a workplace giving program.
The tactic appears to be strengthening the Siemens brand perception, with a 67 per cent increase in the average time spent on the company’s jobs and career site.
Learn how to align attraction and retention strategies with your business objectives in the AHRI short course ‘Attracting and retaining talent’.