In the fierce battle for talent, Employer Branding can help the underdog beat out tech giants
In recent years, smaller companies have learned how to attract and retain talented employees - with some even beating giants like Facebook at their own game
Even if the offices of international companies that set up base in Israel are modest or intimate, workers can still enjoy the brand and reputation of working at a Silicon Valley startup. CTech spoke with Yoav Tzuker, Head of Innovation at Natural Intelligence, about how native Israeli companies can compete against the Tel Aviv offices for Google or Facebook. “We had to brand ourselves and ask, as an employer, who we are and what we stand for: What defines us?”
Natural Intelligence claims that their employer branding strategy has been so successful that they’ve actually managed to employ people who had job offers from Facebook and Amazon. According to Tzuker, the evolution that forced them to consider themselves as a brand (and the product in an employer branding strategy), helped them become “one of the most desirable workplaces in Israel.”Complications can arise for companies with sensitive products, such as gambling, who seek talent in a country where its service is banned. Online gambling company 888 operates globally yet does not have a client base in Israel due to regulations. Still, they managed to recruit almost 600 Israeli workers to focus on online marketing and development for the rest of the world. In the battle for talent at global companies, how does 888 attract and retain workers who might find the product too sensitive? “We believe in talking about everything in a very open way,” 888’s Sharon Ziv told CTech. “We invest so many efforts to make sure our employees feel comfortable in our company. There is so much we can give our employees that still keep us attractive.” Ziv started as a marketer in 888 before evolving into her role managing the employer branding efforts of the company as a whole. “When we look at employer branding, it is clear there is a differentiation between the employer brand, and what do we do as marketing efforts to market our products,” Ziv explained. “We understood we needed to strengthen our brand to put up a fight.” Salesforce’s Senior Director of Marketing and Branding Nili Gur told CTech in a phone interview that employer branding requires a lot of the same practices as marketing. “But instead of marketing a product, I’m marketing my reputation and Salesforce’s reputation to attract talent and a tool to help retention,” she said. The companies that spoke with CTech discussed the importance that HR has on shaping the policy and direction of employer branding. Gur notes how HR’s involvement in the strategies is “huge” compared to conventional marketing, which she claims is usually “99% external.” Mitzna said that HR within each company “leads the project” since “the principle now is that every company chooses marketing efforts in order to recruit.” In some ways, employer branding has been painted as the next and natural step to help companies attract and retain talent. In others, it is a total reshuffle of marketing, PR, and social efforts in an attempt to reshape each company as a product that needs to be sold to potential employees. Lunch cards and pension plans are being replaced with sports swag and social media posts. To be part of a community - whether it be in the office or online - has become the desirable trait for young people looking for work. For small companies battling the giants, the race is on.