Change management, Employer branding
Employer branding guide: How to find & retain employees

Table of contents

Employer branding guide: How to find & retain employees

Why employer branding is important today…

Employer branding is highly topical; we are often asked about it.
No wonder – more and more companies are feeling the effects of the skills shortage and are realizing that they urgently need to take action. What started some time ago in some industries, we are hearing more and more often:

Definition of employer branding

Employer branding means the creation of an employer brand.
The term employer branding encompasses all strategies and measures aimed at positioning the company as an attractive employer.

Why employer branding will become increasingly important in the future

War for talents

You’ve probably already heard it – for some years now there has been a popular Anglicism for the shortage of skilled workers: the so-calledwar for talents. Steven Hankin was the first to mention this term in 1997 as part of a McKinsey study, because even then it was clear that companies would one day have to compete for qualified specialists. Incidentally, the war for talent does not only affect Germany. Internationally, too, companies are desperately looking for personnel in a wide variety of areas. Unfortunately, the forecasts are poor: it will become increasingly difficult to fill vacancies.
In a 2017 study, the economic research company Prognos calculated that there would be a skills shortage of 3 million in 2030; by 2040, a skills gap of as many as 3.3 million is to be expected.

The current figures

As far as the current market situation is concerned, different calculations are available: the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) of the Federal Employment Agency has identified 984,000 vacancies to be filled immediately.
The DIHK (German Chamber of Industry and Commerce) states that almost 50% of companies are having difficulties filling vacancies. The association estimates that there are currently 1.6 million unfilled vacancies.


Employment contract employee.jpg


Background & causes of the skills shortage

Why is this the case and why is there no improvement in sight?
Let’s take a look at the causes and background to the shortage of skilled workers before we turn our attention to the possible solutions – i.e. the options you have to keep attracting qualified specialists to your company.

Demographic change

One of the causes is demographic change. We have dedicated an entire article to this important topic, if you want to read it – Demographic change & skills shortage: What to do?
To give you a brief overview of the topic of demographic change:
The baby boomer generation (born between 1955 and 1965) will be retiring in the next few years. They leave gaps in the workforce that subsequent generations will not be able to fill in terms of numbers, as fewer and fewer children are being born. Since 1972, more Germans die every year than are born. The situation is similar in the countries of the western world.
However, the number of new births in Germany is particularly low: 1.5 children per woman. By comparison, the figure in France is 2.1. This means that there are fewer and fewer new recruits; there are simply fewer and fewer people to fill vacant positions.


Another reason for the shortage of skilled workers is increasing academization. Just 20 years ago, there were two trainees for every student. Today, the ratio has equalized. This gives a clear indication of the professional fields in which there is already an increasing, in some cases even dramatic, shortage of young talent.




Skills shortage: sectors particularly affected


Perhaps you have been waiting for a tradesman for a while recently? And when the craftsman finally arrived, did he complain that he couldn’t find any trainees? No wonder – most young people want to do their A-levels. Skilled trades are particularly affected by the shortage of skilled workers. This is because professions that require technical, practical skills, where heavy physical work may have to be carried out and where it sometimes gets dirty, are unpopular.
Another example is the automotive sector: mechatronics engineers are currently hard to find.

Care, service, education

There is also a desperate search for support in the catering professions, in medicine (shortage of doctors) and nursing (shortage of nurses), and in education (shortage of teachers).
Not only trainees or employees with an apprenticeship are sought, but also employees with an academic education. – But even these are in short supply in some areas.

MINT professions

The IT sector is particularly affected. There never seems to be enough IT specialists, they are always in demand.
The MINT Report of the IW (Institute of the German Economy) looks at the labor market for professions in mathematics, IT, natural sciences and technology. According to the MINT Report, there is currently a shortage of 237,500 skilled workers in the MINT professions.


Shortage of skilled mechatronics technicians

Qualification factor

Qualification is a key factor. The situation is partly different in the low-skilled sector: Digitalization and automation are eliminating some jobs or requiring employees to retrain. There will be fewer jobs there in the future.
Read our articles on this subject

Low-wage sector

Even in professions that require few qualifications, companies are complaining that they cannot fill vacancies or can only do so after a very long vacancy period. Examples here are: Garbage collection, catering services, truck drivers. The DIHK stated that 62% of companies in the catering sector, 63% in road freight transport, 78% in the security sector and 83% in the temporary employment sector were unable to fill vacancies for two months due to a lack of qualified applicants.

Votes against

We do not want to withhold the debate from you:
Eric Seils, social researcher at the Böckler Foundation, questions whether this is due to a shortage of skilled workers. Most of these professions can also be practiced with few qualifications. Specialists require at least two years of training. According to Seils, a labor shortage is unlikely in the low-wage sectors, in which “far below-average requirements are placed on qualifications”. These sectors pay poorly and there is a high turnover rate, which explains the DIHK figures.


There are hardly any companies that can consistently fill all positions.
The shortage of skilled workers ultimately affects all companies, even if some are affected earlier or more severely.
This development was a long time coming. Good for the companies that have prepared themselves and positioned themselves attractively for the few skilled workers in good time.


Skilled workers MINT professions


Employee market

The market is changing: Until now, we had an employer market, i.e. a market in which there were many applicants for a vacancy and employers could choose who they wanted to work with. However, the balance of power is changing towards the employee market. This means that there are many vacancies for employees to choose from. Companies apply to the rare potential employees. And the latter choose what suits them and their needs best.

What you should ask yourself

The question is how companies can react to this change of direction.
First of all, you should ask yourself what could motivate the employee to choose your company.
  • What do you have to offer the potential employee? What is the basket that you put for him or her?
  • And of course – and this brings us to employer branding – how attractive is your company?
  • What makes people like working or want to work for you?
  • What is your company’s reputation on the market?


War for talents, skilled workers


What employees want today

Today, potential employees look very closely at who they want to commit to. Good pay is certainly an argument for accepting a job, but money isn’t everything these days. According to a study by the Manpower Group, a good working atmosphere and meaningful content are more important to 64% of Germans than a high salary.
For employees, the issues of free time and balancing home office are also becoming increasingly important.

Corporate culture as a decision-making factor

What is particularly important, however, is the corporate culture, i.e. the question:
“Do I feel comfortable at work? Do I want to spend a lot of my time there?”
Some factors here are:
  • How is it managed?
  • What hierarchies are there?
  • What is it like to work together?
  • How are decisions made?
  • Is the work valued and how is this reflected?
  • How do we communicate?
  • Are there any other amenities?

Employee satisfaction Company


The question of the mood in the company has clearly moved into focus. Members of Generations Y and Z in particular are attaching ever greater importance to this. In general, younger people’s expectations of the conditions in their working lives have changed considerably.
We have already reported on the different preferences and approaches of the generations:
So it’s definitely worth taking a look at your own corporate culture!
Because only if you know what makes you attractive to employees and how you can inspire them will you find and retain new employees and keep the old ones.
In this respect, employer branding is a huge topic where more and more companies are taking notice and realizing that they urgently need to take action.
We have dedicated a very detailed article to the topic of corporate culture.


Agile methods


Employer branding: from recruiting to marketing

In the past, the HR department, the recruiter, was responsible for making contact with potential employees. To spread the good news of the upcoming vacancy, job advertisements were usually placed in newspapers and job platforms. The most promising applicants were then invited and the most suitable finally signed the contract offered.
Times have changed: Today, you need someone to build a brand image, an employer brand. Marketing is no longer exclusively necessary to sell products. Today, marketing is at least as important for the job market. The external image of your company, the employer branding, has a direct influence on who applies for a job with you. This is a completely new development.

The goals of employer branding

Ultimately, employer branding is used to attract employees and support recruiting.
Another point is employee retention.
And, of course, employer branding sharpens the company’s own profile and at the same time helps to systematically and strategically improve it.

The authentic image of your company

But employer branding is not only aimed at the job market; it is not simply about beating the advertising drum and loudly announcing what a wonderful company you are. It’s about actually being the wonderful company that you promise with your employer brand.
Instead of building up and propagating the positive image of the company externally, your aim is to build up your company internally in such a positive way that the image shown externally is also authentic. You guessed it – this requires much more than just a social media campaign with a nice video.

Walk your talk

It’s similar to advertising a product: if a tourism company advertises with beautiful pictures of beaches and palm trees, but disappointed vacationers report cockroaches and old frying fat online, then customers gradually become scarce.
This means that if you advertise a product on the basis of its high quality, you should also ensure that the product meets these requirements. – Otherwise, disappointed customers will run away and tell you about it on the Internet and on their social media channels. That would be bad for you and the customer, a classic lose-lose situation.


Employee survey


Do not risk changing employees

Only in this case, your customers are your employees. And as you probably know, employee changes cost a lot of time and money. Months pass between the initial recruitment activities, the considerable training period and the actual performance, during which your employees have to take on a lot of extra work and cannot do their actual job properly.
So if you lose an employee because your full-bodied announcements about being an attractive employer turn out to be unfounded claims within a short space of time, then you pay a lot more – and have to start all over again. And not only that – the disappointed employee will report on their frustrating experience with your company; presumably also on the Internet on platforms that potential employees look at to find out whether you are actually an attractive employer…. Loose-loose.
Employer branding works internally and externally. Employer attractiveness must first be created internally before it can be communicated externally.


Leadership Meeting Mission Statement

When is a good time for employer branding?


When do most companies start thinking about employer branding? That’s right! Then, when there are already problems; usually a personnel bottleneck.
Do you hear statements in your company such as “We can’t get any new employees” or “Our employees are running away from us”, “We really have to do something”? – Then you know that this task should have been tackled much earlier, but has long been neglected.
Forward-looking, vigilant managers recognize that employer branding measures should be started much earlier. They think about it long before the bottleneck occurs – and take action. They see it as an important task to ensure that staff enjoy coming to them, are happy to stay and are motivated to work towards a common goal.
So don’t wait until problems arise, get started!

Your goal

So how do you get your employees to say: “Yes, we’re a great company, I like working here, I feel good here!”? ?
We will now give you 12 steps on how to become an attractive employer and how you can shape your employer branding.
Meeting Values Culture

The 12 steps to employer branding

  1. Analysis: How are we seen?

Where should you start?

The answer is simple: where you are. And to determine this, you want to start an analysis before you take any further steps.
And what exactly should be analyzed?
Find out how you are seen by your employees and potential employees: How attractive do your employees find your workplace? What impression does your company make on the labor market?
Your feeling in honor… but what do your employees think?
Are you thinking “Well, I can roughly estimate that”? – Of course you have that feeling. And yet, if you ask the people who are really affected, you will uncover a lot of information that you would never have thought of. It is more than likely that your employees will not tell you directly to your face where the shoe pinches in everyday life, but that they will express themselves much more openly in an anonymous analysis or at least in an interview.
You know how important it is to get feedback from your customers. This is the only way you can really respond to their wishes. So get used to the idea that your employees’ feedback is just as important for your company. Because if you want to optimize the working conditions of your employees, you must of course take their view of the working conditions into account. As you can see, an analysis is always worthwhile!


Team Meeting Value Profile


The employee survey: How do our employees see us?

Small companies
Is your company very small? You think that a large-scale analysis does not fit?
  • Well, then interview your employees yourself – or better still, have them interviewed by someone else, ideally an “impartial” person. Suitable questions can be found below.
  • Search the net. Find out how former employees or applicants felt about working or interacting with you!
Larger companies
Is your company somewhat larger? Then an employee survey is worthwhile. Here you should ask about satisfaction with and loyalty to the company. Corresponding questionnaires already exist. To this end, intensive research was carried out into the aspects that contribute to employee satisfaction.

Questions for an employee survey

So what is important for your employees to enjoy working in your company? Here are some examples of questions.
  • Trust in the management
  • Direct leadership is a very important criterion
  • Belief in the success of the company
  • The famous question: “Would you recommend the company to others?”
  • Communication within the company
  • Do your employees feel they are in demand? Do you want to know their opinion, do you want to hear their ideas?
  • How do employees rate their career opportunities in the company and how much do they feel supported?
  • How satisfied are employees with their working conditions?
  • And how fulfilled is he by the task he is currently performing?


Team Meeting Values


Very important: After the employee survey – change!!!

Setting up an employee survey is not difficult at all. It is much more difficult to deal with how to deal with the results. Because asking how employees are doing and then not initiating appropriate changes tends to have a demotivating effect.
Imagine you are sitting in a cab in which the air conditioning is blasting you with an uncomfortably cold 15°C. Your cab driver asks you whether the air conditioning is comfortable for you, you express your discomfort – and your cab driver says “Aha” – and doesn’t change anything. How would that make you feel?
So don’t let your employees run riot!

What to do after the employee survey?

The questions you want to ask yourself here:
  • What do we do with the results?
  • How do we proclaim them? – because of course your employees want to know what has come out.
  • How do the teams and their managers continue to work with the results afterwards so that something really happens?
Remember: nothing is more destructive than asking your employees questions, they take their time, speak openly and nothing happens – and then you ask again a year later. This is not only pointless and also time-consuming and costly; it is far worse: it will permanently demotivate your employees. Because they realize: “Now the company knows how we are doing, it knows what needs to be done – and still does nothing.” Your attractiveness as an employer would be thoroughly damaged…

How are we seen on the job market?

Of course, you can also have surveys carried out here. However, the internet now also provides very good information about how employees rate your company. In general, it can be said: The larger your company is, the greater the response.
One possible indicator is the Kununu platform:
Kununu has a value that gives you a good indication of how the market and your employees are responding.
Some companies are working the market here: they encourage satisfied employees to express their satisfaction on platforms such as kununu. You can do the same! This will improve your values and boost your ranking! – Just as product and service reviews have long been handled online.




  1. Strategy: How do we want to be seen?

Mission statement, values, leadership principles

On the website of almost every large company we find a mission statement, values, sometimes also a leadership mission statement. These texts are often written by external marketing agencies and have little to do with the real everyday life of the company. The impression of an ideal corporate culture is proclaimed with flowery words. This usually sounds as inauthentic as an advertising clip, but is rarely anywhere near creative. The question is – what use is something like this? The answer: nothing.
If you praise the grandiose mission statement and the incredible advantages of your company, but these are not even homeopathically present – don’t you think that someone will notice?
If you only remember your values when you are pulling a glossy brochure with your great employer brand out of the drawer to attract an applicant, then you are pretending to be something that you are not. And your employees notice that. A mission statement formulated by a few people on a greenfield site, preferably by an external marketing agency, is fraught with danger: Your employees read it and don’t see themselves in it at all. This is where conflicts arise. Deliver what you promise!

Common mission statement

A mission statement as such is a very fine thing; it provides orientation for people in the company, especially for managers and the management.
We need a compass: How do we want to behave towards each other? What kind of culture do we want? And a declaration of intent makes perfect sense.
The key question here is how do you arrive at a mission statement? The clear answer: best to do it together! There is a certain logic to this: if you work out together how you want to behave, then it is more likely that everyone will actually adhere to it than if they have read about it in an advertising brochure at some point. And it is only authentic if it is everyone’s vision, if employees are truly aligned with it.
In addition, the process of working together to formulate what the team wants and what it needs is beneficial for the team and corporate culture in the best sense of the word.

Management requirements

Management should be clearly expected to support and actively promote the shared mission statement. It should be measured by whether it acts as a role model and integrates the shared vision into its actions, i.e. whether it is guided by the mission statement.
And employees are also required to bring their vision to life in the way they work together and communicate. This is the only way to ensure that the mission statement is present and alive and is truly implemented in the company. And in such a way that this is also conveyed to the outside world.
A jointly developed mission statement that is practiced and provides orientation can develop very strong traction!


Implementing values


  1. The value profile: Inner and outer values

Have you decided to develop an attractive mission statement? Wonderful. What to do now? What do you need to do next?
There are various aspects that are fundamental to a mission statement; first of all, it is about values.

The outside – the company’s environment

What does your company’s environment demand of you? The market you work in gives you different values so that you can be successful there.
What does that mean? For example, a rapidly changing market with equally rapidly changing customer requirements needs a company that can act quickly and flexibly. Flexibility is a high value here. For your company, this means that your employees need a great deal of freedom to make decisions in order to be able to cope with this flexibility. In other sectors, values such as quality and safety are needed. These values differ depending on the sector and industry in which you work.

The inner values – The employees

Another aspect is your employees. What do they need to feel comfortable in your company? This is about incorporating the opinions of your employees.
An employee survey is necessary to create a value profile. These can be tackled electronically or with our specially developed card game for groups.


Employee survey Corporate culture


The value profile

What is determined in a value profile?

1. the values of your employees

Your employees – what do they need? What are your employees’ personal values? We firmly believe that employees who do not find their values reflected in the company do not feel comfortable there and therefore do not stay with the company for long. At the very least, they will resign internally, which can be even more unfavorable for your company. According to the Gallup Study 2018, 71% of employees only work to rule. Recent calculations have determined that the internal dismissal of employees causes an annual economic loss of up to 103 billion euros. Employee values are a very important factor that should not be underestimated. After all, it is your employees who carry your company.

2. the actual state of your values in the company

The next step is to look at how your employees currently see your company. How do you see your company at the moment?
Does the current status match the values of the employees? For example, if the values of your employees are more team spirit and community, but they experience the situation in the company as more competitive, then this difference will give you a good indication of where your journey can take you. The comparison of what should be and what is in the area of values is immensely important.


Change Change Culture


3. the requirements for the values of your company

Of course, there is also the question of how employees experience the demands of the market. What is important in order to survive in the relevant markets? What values are needed here?
A value profile contains the answers to these three questions. This provides you with a starting point for the upcoming process and gives you a clear picture of your current corporate culture.

Articles on the topic of values

If you would like to find out how a value profile is created in detail, please read our article
You can find out more about values here:
We will be happy to help you create your value profile!

  1. Value Statement and Purpose (Why)

Value Statement

Once you have created a value profile, the next step is to formulate a target image.
Putting the results of the value profile into words has proven to be a good idea. So: What are behaviors that express the values that fit your company and your employees?

Example of sustainability

If, for example, sustainability is a central value in your company, then behaviors that fit in with this are waste avoidance, waste separation, sustainable and conscious purchasing of raw materials, the use of recycled products, donations to appropriate organizations, green electricity, energy-saving measures, climate-friendly transport concepts.

Example flexibility

If flexibility is a high value, then ask yourself whether your employees can achieve this: Are they equipped with enough decision-making authority to be able to make decisions quickly, flexibly and without lengthy bureaucratic inquiries? What about employee empowerment? Are there self-organizing structures in your company? How does your project management work? Does your company already have agile processes? How long does it take you to process customer inquiries? How long does it take for new ideas to be implemented? Do you have the option of taking advantage of more flexible supplier contracts?
Define four to seven values together with your employees and define appropriate behavior!


Employee satisfaction


Purpose / Why

Another aspect that is becoming increasingly important is the why. This is about the sense of “Why does our company exist?” or “Why are we doing this?”. More and more people want to find meaning in their work; a meaning that goes beyond simply earning money. It turns out that companies whose purpose is truly recognizable on the level of humanity or sustainability are the most popular. If you actually pursue such a goal and know what higher purpose you are working for as a company, then it not only makes sense in itself, but also attracts employees.

The process

In the process, you talk about: “What is important to us? What do we want to achieve? How can we formulate it? Which behaviors are part of it for us?”
To define the value statement and the why, invite many employees, or at least a selection of employees from all areas. Of course, you could leave this to just a few people, but you would be wasting a lot if you only involved the management and then simply presented the results to the employees.
Get the opinion of your employees! Talking to each other about your culture is the first step in a culture-building process!

Create solutions!

If you have 250,000 employees, you obviously can’t involve them all in the process. But set up the process in such a way that as many employees as possible can participate. This allows your employees to see that they are not simply being presented with the idea of a corporate culture, but that they are part of it.
Communication in only one direction would be extremely inappropriate at this point, because you want to achieve a joint result, a world solution.
In contrast to a solution in which only the management acts, a worldution is a process in which all those involved find a solution that makes sense for everyone and that everyone supports; in other words, a win-win-win.


Management feedback


  1. Mission statement

The task now is to add a management model to the results already achieved. It goes without saying that this management mission statement must fit in with the value statement and purpose. There are two questions here:
  1. How do we understand good leadership? What are the requirements for our managers?
  2. What do the value statement and purpose mean specifically for management? How should management ensure that this culture can be created and practiced?
These two aspects go hand in hand. In this respect, the management model should be a unified whole.

The process

A management mission statement can also be developed with the involvement of your employees. At the very least, managers at all levels should be involved. It is better if you make common cause with your employees here too. Because here too, the definition of the management mission statement is already a culture-building process. In addition, your employees will much prefer to be led in a way that they themselves have helped to define.
The management mission statement provides orientation for everyone in the company. Of course, all employees should also know what the management requirements are and be able to give feedback on this basis. More on this later.


Corporate culture Teamwork

> Milestone<

Have you completed all these tasks? Congratulations! You have reached a milestone on the way to your employer brand.
You have created a starting point. You have not yet automatically created an optimal corporate culture; of course you still have to go that way. But you are well equipped with a map and compass. Together you have formulated your intention: you know what you want as a whole company and what will guide you on the way there.
And not only that. Of course, such a substantial value statement, purpose and leadership mission statement will make a good impression on your website. This in turn attracts potential employees and is not least an important statement to show the outside world what spirit prevails in your company.

The most important thing: implementation!

Remember: now you have to put this into practice! Because if you proudly propagate these values, but then in everyday life a completely different wind blows, then new employees will very quickly realize this, feel deceived and leave the company again. And of course the existing employees now also expect that the vision they have been working on will be implemented. If you were to let this slide now, your existing employees would also feel like fools – and that is pretty much the opposite of what you want to achieve.
So – let’s get to work!


Corporate Culture Team Employer Branding


  1. Internal implementation

Who does it?

As you already know, employer branding is not just a marketing strategy. It’s not just about having an impact on the outside, rather the inside and outside must be in harmony, otherwise employer branding will fail to have the desired effect and may even cause damage.
This means that you cannot simply leave employer branding to the HR department. You don’t just need the support of top management, you need a process that involves management, employees and HR.

Good on the outside, bad on the inside?

In the age of the Internet, we can find almost any information with just a few clicks. Of course, potential employees will google your company thoroughly. And similar to products, there is of course not only the side of your company that praises its own advantages; no, there are also reviews and testimonials for companies. If the promises you make on your website do not match the reality – you can be sure: it will come out!
If frustrated employees tell you what they have experienced at your company and how inaccurate the descriptions of your culture are, then it will be damn hard to find new employees! Or would you buy a product that many previous buyers advise against? Rather not.
It’s the same in every industry: a company’s culture and reputation precede it by a long way. That’s why you don’t want to save money here!


Recruiting Emloyer Branding
  1. The general conditions

It is not only the corporate culture that determines whether people want to work for you; the general conditions of the respective employment relationships are of course also important. The first thing to check is whether the framework conditions you are offering are really attractive:
  • Are you paying enough?
  • Do you offer what is standard on the market or even more?
  • What are your vacation arrangements like?
  • Is there anything that can be done?
  • What about working hours?
  • Is it possible to work from home?
  • What development opportunities do you offer your employees?
All of this plays a role.
Of course, the extras are important. Some companies offer free healthy food, such as Google. Others subsidize fitness subscriptions or childcare.
Corporate culture is a large part of what makes an employer attractive. We know many companies that pay relatively little and still have a very good intake. Their corporate culture and reputation are so good that young people already say during their studies: “I want to work here, this is the company I have chosen. I like it so much that I’m prepared to earn a little less.” This means that the more attractive the company, the less “pain and suffering” has to be paid.
But don’t speculate on it. Pay your people decently, that is of course part of the attraction of working with you.


Value Statement


  1. Elements of the corporate culture

So what is corporate culture? We would like to take a brief look at this at this point.
If you would like to delve deeper into the topic, take a look at our comprehensive article on the subject:
There you will also find out how you can shape a cultural change.

What is part of culture?

Here are just a few examples.

Working environment

The working environment is an important factor. What do the workplaces look like? Are the rooms open and permeable or are they small, lightless offices with cardboard boxes piled up in the corners? Do your employees sit back-friendly or on creaky old chairs? Is there lukewarm filter coffee or is there a fancy espresso machine in the kitchen? Is the interior design dominated by gray folder spines and jumbled furniture or is the working environment inspiring, well thought-out, even a little colorful?


How do people greet each other in your company? A nod, a handshake or an informal hey? Is there a dress code? Tie? Or jeans and sneakers? Doesn’t anyone reveal things about their private life? Or do colleagues go out for drinks in the evening and know each other in private?


What is the management style? Does your company emphasize hierarchy by giving high-ranking employees special cars, parking spaces and offices? Or is it more relaxed and at eye level? Nowadays, employees usually prefer workplaces that are non-hierarchical, relaxed, cross-divisional and highly communicative, as the fun factor is higher for them here. Questions such as how mistakes are dealt with or the value placed on appreciation within the company are also important.


Employer attractiveness Values


Working methods

What working methods are used? Are there methods in which the topic of self-organization of teams plays a role? Or does everything follow a fixed chain of commands?


What stories are told about your company? How do employees talk to each other about the company? Are they more positive or critical stories?


Communication is an essential factor. For example, how does the management communicate internally? How is this organized?
The management of some large companies have started to communicate to all employees on a weekly basis. Google could also be mentioned here as an example. Here, the management takes the stance of selecting and telling its own stories instead of risking a silent post effect across all hierarchical levels.


Employer branding, working atmosphere


Questionnaire corporate culture

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself:

The 8 elements of corporate culture in your company

  1. Behavior, rules, rituals

    How do people treat each other?

  2. Symbols, working environment

    How is the working environment structured?
    Is the workplace open and therefore conducive to cooperation?
    What is the setup like?
    What symbols and status symbols are there?

  3. Power, decision, responsibility

    This is about the type of leadership:
    How are decisions made?
    Budget responsibility: How is budget responsibility distributed?
    What is the management’s attitude towards employees?

  4. Organizational form – Processes

    What form of organization does your company have?
    What structures and processes are in place?

  5. Underlying values

    How do you deal with performance?
    Mistakes: How do you deal with them?
    How do you deal with rules?

  6. Reward systems

    Who will be rewarded?
    What is rewarded?
    Which unit do the reward systems relate to?
    How flexible are the reward systems when goals change?

  7. Type of communication

    Official communication
    Unofficial communication – How do colleagues talk to each other?

  8. Stories

    What stories are told in the company?
    What legends are being created?

You can find details on these questions in our article Corporate culture & cultural change: definition, examples, tips for success


Management feedback Employees


  1. Take action

Once you realize that there is a difference between the culture that currently prevails in the company and the one you want to develop, it is time to develop a battle plan – and implement it step by step. In many companies, this battle plan can become quite extensive; there is usually a lot to do.
At this point, the management is called upon to remain committed to implementation in a sustainable and consistent manner.

What are the specific needs?

First determine what the specific needs and issues of your employees are. Where is there critical feedback and how can you deal with it?
A few examples: “The management is behaving unfairly here.” Or – “There is a lack of leadership here”, “There is a lack of work equipment here”, “There is a lack of communication here”.
This will give you valuable information on where you can start.

Employer branding pays off

Of course, it takes a lot of work and attention to identify and tackle the problems in the company. But – it’s worth it several times over!
If the satisfaction of your employees increases and the mood in the company improves, this not only helps your employee retention and your employer branding. The performance of your employees also increases. Because the moment leadership works well and employees can work without barriers, your employees will be much more enthusiastic about your company’s goals.


Job Recruitment Interview


The special role of managers

We cannot emphasize this often enough: It is essential that all managers are on board and see themselves as active shapers of your culture. Managers should be aware that they are the ones who shape employee satisfaction in their respective areas.

Use the motivation of your employees!

If you’re thinking: “Wait a minute – am I supposed to read my employees’ every wish from their eyes and then throw everything down their throats just to get them to stay?” We can reassure you. It’s not like that. Employees come to a company and have a desire to perform. The idea of sitting around lazily in a well-paid company, the plan to trick the company and make a living unmotivated, is extremely rare and is usually based on mental disorders. If employees believe in your company, they will want to get involved. So make sure that this motivation is maintained!

With and for each other

Unfortunately, what happens all too often is that employees’ motivation is eroded by a corporate culture that is stressful for them and obstructive structures.
Your aim should be to create a world situation, i.e. a situation that is positive for you, your employees and everyone involved.
If you all have the same goal in mind and want to work together, then that’s the culture we need. In order to introduce, maintain and grow this culture and the changes it may require, managers need to feel responsible for it; the higher the manager sits, the more employees they will influence and the more important their support is.


Mission statement


  1. Implement a leadership model

A change in corporate culture stands or falls on whether your managers understand what their employees need. Together with the employees, the managers should set up the relevant areas in such a way that the employees can do their work the way they want to. This requires good communication.
So the question is: How does the individual manager maintain contact with employees? This is where the leadership model comes into play – how do we understand good leadership?
It goes without saying that a leadership mission statement is not implemented simply by reading it out to managers. And not just because it was developed together with managers.
What is needed is a constant comparison with the employees as to whether the leadership actually practiced is in line with the mission statement. And that’s not all: your employees should be able to enter into dialog with your managers in order to provide feedback on whether they feel they are being managed well and in line with the mission statement.

The reality of many managers

In the reality of many companies, the best specialists are made managers. This is difficult for everyone involved, especially for the new managers: they are experts in their field, but until then they had no idea about leadership. They and their subordinates are thrown in at the deep end and try to muddle through somehow. But just because someone is a good engineer, for example, who is excellent with machines, doesn’t mean they are a good boss who can deal with people.
These managers often try to compensate for their lack of leadership skills by relying on what they can do: They live out their specialist role even more intensively, but are completely overwhelmed with leadership. The result is employees who feel poorly managed and are dissatisfied.
We have supported managers in many companies. For example, we have worked with lower and middle managers in workshops to get them to take their leadership role seriously, because many of them are not even aware of their responsibility for motivating their employees.


Leadership Employer Branding


Strengthening leadership skills

What can you do to make your managers fit for the desired corporate culture?
Good news! There is indeed a lot you can do: Get the lower and middle managers on board by making them aware of how much responsibility lies with their leadership. Provide your managers with the tools they need to fulfill their leadership role. Make sure that your managers can acquire and expand their leadership skills!
And – very important: leadership takes time! Bear in mind that managers cannot achieve as much operationally as employees. Give them the time they need to look after your employees!
Always use the mission statement as a guide so that everyone is clear about what is expected of them.

Management feedback from employees

We hear it everywhere these days: feedback should be given in all directions. Well, that’s true, but the reality is that feedback to a manager is met with a great deal of respect, sometimes even fear and concern. After all, the boss has the power to shape the working lives of employees, so of course you don’t want to mess things up with him. If he takes the criticism the wrong way, then you have the salad and the situation gets worse. In this respect, employees are extremely cautious and, if in doubt, prefer to be cautious when giving feedback to their superiors. And they are right in that management feedback from employees is a very sensitive issue. In this respect, this should be approached very carefully and prudently.

Learning leadership feedback

However, if done correctly, leadership feedback can be a very comprehensive and important tool for moving your company’s culture forward.
Employees and managers need support here! One is to have the courage to give feedback in the first place and then to present it constructively. The others, i.e. the managers, in order to be able to accept this feedback constructively. It is also not easy for managers to receive and implement feedback instead of being angry with employees because the feedback turned out differently than desired.

Get support

However, since the corporate culture is largely dependent on how managers lead, it is essential that they receive feedback from those they lead. There is no way around it. Management feedback from employees is a very important, sensitive matter that requires good support.
Get help from HR or seek external support.
We at the berliner team will be happy to assist you.

  1. Living corporate values

Living corporate values – what does that mean? This means that management at every level is aware of which of its behaviors contribute to which value and how.
To explain this with an example: Your company has identified teamwork as a key value. If you as a manager simply decide things over the heads of your employees – would that be teamwork? No. Teamwork would mean that you develop decisions together as a team.


  • If you have the shared values in front of you, what does that mean in concrete terms for your work as a manager?
  • What do you want to do differently than before?
  • Which areas does this affect?
Talk a lot with other managers about these values and what they mean in everyday life, because this brings values to life. It is about getting the value from the paper to the action level and thus anchoring it in everyday life.

An example of the successful implementation of values

The Upstalsboom hotel chain had jointly defined its values. Now it was a matter of living these values in everyday life. How were they going to do that?
They came up with the idea of pinning a small, visible badge on the lapel of every manager. One of the values to live by was printed on the badge. The manager was now responsible for ensuring that this value was implemented in the company and looked for opportunities to optimize in line with the value. In other teams, there was the value of the week: everyone in the team focused on ensuring that this value was implemented in their actions. At the end of the week, they talked together about what had changed.
And this is exactly how values can be brought into life: Always be aware of what the value means to you and your team, look for ways to implement it! Initiate discussions about this. This exchange is cultural education. That’s where you want to go.


War for talents


  1. External implementation: personnel marketing & recruiting

So far we have worked on your inner values, now it’s time to let your light shine on the outside!
Now let’s take a look at your communication and your appearance on the market.
Everything that people see of you plays a role here, i.e. far more than your products or your marketing, because everything that can be perceived of your company externally contributes to your brand.

Strategic personnel marketing

Personnel marketing plays a major role in recruiting: How do you get in touch with potential applicants? Here are some of the occasions when potential applicants will notice you.

Make your job advertisements attractive!

Pay attention to how the job ad comes across: is it an ordinary, boring ad that lists dry fields of activity? Or is it, as is becoming more and more common, a modern, cool ad that promotes your company in a relaxed, humorous tone, complete with a picture of your good-humored team? Another option for personnel marketing here would be an image film as an advertisement, so that applicants can also get a visual impression.

Pay attention to your ratings!

One point that applicants are paying more attention to these days is your rating. On job portals or employer rating portals such as, former and current employees give feedback on how attractive they found you as an employer. In this respect, you always want to keep an eye on whether your ratings are good!


Purpose, employer attractiveness, employee satisfaction


Turn your brand into a cult!

Of course, the attractiveness of your brand always plays a role in personal marketing. This also shows how your company is seen. Did you know, for example, that one of the most attractive brands for employees is Harley-Davidson? At Harley Davidson, the pride of working for a product to which he stands naturally also plays a major role for the employee. It is attractive to be part of a brand with cult status.

Broadcast the latest news!

In the age of social media, branding can also include announcing what’s going on in your company and why your company is great. What helps here are films, articles or lectures. The – publicly accessible – opinions of your employees are of course very important. A wonderful example of this is Mercedes: when they found fewer and fewer trainees, they asked the current trainees to make short videos about their job during their working hours and publish them on WhatsApp and social media channels. And lo and behold: in this way, Mercedes reached its target group in the younger generations and increased the number of applications for apprenticeships enormously.

Questions for your personnel marketing

  • How do I communicate my brand?
  • How do I go to trade fairs and recruitment fairs?
  • Where is my target group located?
  • Which job boards can I use to reach the target group?
  • What do prospective customers want to see?
  • How do you apply?
  • What do I need to look out for?
  • What do I offer?
  • Are there recruitment bonuses?


Employer branding recruiting



Give the applicant a good feeling!

Remember – the entire recruiting process is also an external contact and conveys how your company is seen by others – and how they then talk about you. In this respect, it is logical that the recruiting process should run in such a way that every applicant, even the rejected one, gets a good feeling in contact with your company. Rejected applicants also communicate on review sites about how they behaved towards you.
What you want are comments like: “I wasn’t accepted, but I still got a good impression. The contact was totally pleasant. I was taken seriously, they treated me with respect and, above all, responded quickly. I’ll apply here again at some point.”

Be quick!

Our fictitious commentary already made it clear: Don’t keep your applicants waiting unnecessarily! On the one hand, this is of course important for your employer image. But that’s not all: most applicants have several irons in the fire. And so the fastest company often wins the contract. So if you have very long decision-making processes, your applicants may have already signed elsewhere in the meantime – and your opportunity is lost. Speed and professionalism are playing an increasingly important role in the recruiting process.
These are all important aspects of a good recruiting process, so prepare them well! We are happy to support you in setting up an optimal recruiting process.


Personnel marketing


Questions for your recruiting process

  • Your target group: How do you address your target group?
  • Which communication channels do you use?
  • How is communication organized? Do you get the feeling that you are dealing with an attractive company?
  • How long do you need to answer? How quickly is the decision made?
  • What decision-making processes are there in the company before a new applicant receives an answer? Does it take three weeks to reach someone who then has to make a decision?
  • How many conversations are held?
  • The rejection: How is the rejection communicated?
  • How is the contract negotiation conducted?

Conclusion on employer branding

As you can see, employer branding is a broad field. Most companies have a lot to do in this respect. But it’s worth it!
If you succeed in employer branding, you can expect qualified applicants, quickly filled positions, motivated employees, better performance, a strong brand, employees who speak well about you online and offline and thus provide you with convincing and free advertising and, above all, a good, constructive working atmosphere – and that’s what matters to most people these days. Probably you too.
If you would like support at any point in the employer branding process, we at berliner team will be happy to assist you!


Employer attractiveness, employee satisfaction


Employer branding to read more

Links and studies

The authors

Oliver Grätsch
Michelle 550
Michelle Templin
Christian Grätsch
Matthias Beikert
Susanne Grätsch
Monika Bt 550x550
Monika Steininger
Kai Hübner
Philipp Andresen 500x550
Philipp Andresen
Anna Isabell Arendt
Dr. Claudia Schmidt
Inga Kühn
Kassandra Knebel
Claudia Lehmann
Komplettes Team

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Berliner Team