Employer branding: benefits, differences and KPI‘s

7 min read
January 17, 2023

Employees are important for the success of a company. In fact, they’re credited as the main source of competitive advantage. They’re the so-called internal stakeholders of companies. However, a shortage of skilled workers and pandemic-damaged relationships make it increasingly difficult – as well as time-consuming and costly – to find qualified staff who identify with the values and corporate identity of a company.

So how can employer branding optimize your efforts to attract qualified personnel and streamline the recruiting process? And how can companies effectively strengthen their corporate brand through employer branding?

What is employer branding?

Employer branding has recently become ever more interesting as a brand management concept. Companies handle it in many different ways, but the basic idea of employer branding is to apply brand management principles to HR. It involves the development of the employer’s brand and all related activities such as management, coordination, implementation, and control.

Importantly, employer branding complements the corporate branding of your company. It is a part of it, directed at a different target group. Corporate branding is based on the corporate identity of a company and is mostly aimed at potential customers or business partners. The target groups of employer branding are potential and current employees.

Employer branding is most obvious in the recruiting process. If used correctly, it leads to brand-oriented recruitment where brand knowledge is conveyed and absorbed by the potential employee right from the start.

The goals of employer marketing, by contrast, are not “only” to attract employees and position the company as an attractive employer. Employer marketing is more about attracting employees from the very beginning who identify with the company and fit well into the existing team. A second goal is to retain these employees for a long time. Especially in times of shortage of skilled workers when companies are vying for good candidates, this can be a challenging task.


How does employer branding enhance HR management?

Employer branding is not only the wording and communication of the brand promise but also the implementation of it. Any company can say in job advertisements and on its career pages that team outings take place regularly, that salary increases come every year, and that the focus is on employee satisfaction. Saying so doesn’t mean it’s true, and job seekers suspect this. Of course, a candidate won’t get a true picture of the situation until they’re employed by the company. But good employer branding ensures a high level of trust in the statements even before that, for example through blog articles or video blogs of those outings.

employer branding enhances HR management

There’s a frequent distinction between internal and external employer branding. External employer branding targets workers in order to get them to apply to the company and accept the job. Internal employer branding aims to convince existing employees to stay with the company for a long time.

Employer branding, therefore, provides an overarching concept that brings many HR activities such as recruiting, career management, and selection of candidates in line with the branding of the company. Cooperation between marketing and HR departments is necessary if not a complete handover of employer branding to the marketing department.

Advantages of employer branding

It seems clear that the benefits of employer branding lie primarily in personnel recruitment. However, it results in many additional benefits for companies and employees:

  • Improved employee performance and motivation: employees who identify with the vision and values of a company want to advance them and are committed to doing so.

  • Increased efficiency in recruiting generates a cost advantage. If employer branding is implemented successfully, fewer candidates join who don’t identify with the brand because they reject it during the application process or even quit during the probationary period.

  • A further cost advantage arises from lower employee turnover. Employees who identify with the company are more likely to want to stay there.

  • Highly positive employee attitudes grow in a team with the right work culture and the same values, as well as the same vision.

employer branding as reason for positive employee attitude

All of this ultimately leads to advantages for companies in terms of market share as well as financial targets.

What do employees want to see?

Employees want to see that a company meets their personal definitions of a “good” employer. Everyone has different ideas about how they define a good employer. For some, a distinctive digital workplace with good collaboration tools is essential. Others place a greater value on regular workplace activities, such as lunching together or after-work beers.

How do you communicate the corporate culture to employees before they start working for the company?

  • Content marketing
    Companies can position themselves and communicate their culture on social media as well as in a corporate blog.

  • Website
    Almost every company website includes an “about us” page that introduces the company and its history. The “careers” page provides important clues about the company and its culture and values.

  • Marketing efforts
    Any marketing efforts should convey the company’s brand and values. They reach both potential customers and, inevitably, potential employees.

  • Word of mouth
    The strongest ambassadors for your company as an employer are current and former employees. They tell their families and friends, and possibly even share their workplace experiences and company culture on social media. They may recommend you as an employer to others. Conversely, of course, they also share bad experiences and may advise others against taking a position with you.
    Word of mouth employer branding
    Employer rating portals such as Kununu and Glassdoor have become increasingly relevant in recent years. Employees usually check out these sites before the first job interview and thus form an impression of the company.

  • Job advertisements
    The content of your job ads should reflect your company’s values and communicate them clearly. Tell readers about benefits, the work atmosphere, and what your vision is for your company. It’s also worth highlighting career opportunities within the company. Answers to queries should be consistent with your employer brand.

  • Professionalism
    It’s very important that your first impression of potential employees is professional. Bad reviews on employer portals are not a no-go for many job seekers, but an unprofessional and aggressive response from the company is a show-stopper. Email signatures or documents you exchange should also look professional and correspond to the corporate design. A brand style guide provides a good basis for this.

What is the difference between employer branding and internal branding?

Employer branding and internal branding are often compared with each other. Both have the goal of communicating the corporate brand and brand promise to employees. They help foster loyalty and a bond with the company through consistent values.

Internal branding ensures that employees understand the brand and the brand value proposition so they can comply with them, especially in external communications. Training on corporate design falls within the remit of internal branding, as does training on brand-compliant behavior toward customers and the use of brand management software.

Employer branding, on the other hand, is aimed at both potential employees and existing employees. Employees should be satisfied in their position and communicate this to the outside world, or offer the company the opportunity to report on this in order to attract new employees.

Employer branding in action

Basically, employer branding plays a role from the first to the last contact with the company. The candidate journey can be expressed in the following five phases:

1. Application process: Does the job ad reflect the company? Can potential employees find more information about the work culture and the brand value proposition on your online presence? How have current and former employees rated the company, the job, and the application process on various portals? 

2. Onboarding: Is onboarding a structured process? How is the internal branding designed and how do training and education take place?

3. Candidate experience: Does the company deliver what it promised in the job ad and in the application process? Is there potential for improvement?

4. Retention: Are employees happy with the corporate culture? What further benefits will ensure higher satisfaction? How can work processes be streamlined to eliminate frustrations so that employees are happier in their jobs?

5. Offboarding: Do your employees remain professional even when someone leaves the team or the company? How can you cultivate a positive impression until the termination of the employment relationship and also afterward?

employer branding during onboarding


A respectful application process is essential. Reed did a survey of job candidates in the UK and found that a negative experience in the application process caused 73% of respondents to also have a negative perception of the brand. 33% of respondents said they would be very unlikely to buy a company’s products after a bad experience in the application process. 38% of respondents shared negative experiences with their family or circle of friends.

What KPIs will help?

Employer branding, unlike corporate branding, can be measured well by numbers. These include:

  • Clicks on the “apply now” button
  • Cost per application and cost per hire
  • Number of applicants per job
  • Number of high-quality applicants per position
  • Offer-acceptance rate
  • The time between posting and filling the position
  • Number of initiative applications
  • Years that employees stay with the company
  • Staff turnover rate
  • Sickness rates of new employees and permanent staff
  • Number of job applications generated by references from your employees

Optimize your employer branding with empower®

With the empower® Brand Control solution, you can easily integrate your brand style guide directly into Microsoft Office and ensure that emails, job postings, and onboarding documents make a consistent and professional impression.

You have all relevant fonts, sizes, colors, and layouts at your fingertips and don’t have to search for them.

The practical empower® Design Check checks your PowerPoint and Word documents for compliance with the corporate design. Any deviations can easily be corrected with the auto-correction function. This relieves your employees of the work of frustrating formatting.

Email signatures can also easily be managed centrally with our solution. You can ensure that everyone always leaves a professional impression when communicating with potential employees and that all necessary information is included in the signature.

Could we catch your interest? Contact us for more information!

Download Brand Compliance Whitepaper

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