Case Studies

An Employer Branding Strategy for a software house – what does a candidate want to know about your company?

Client:
A Krakow-based software house
Goal:
Development of the Employer Branding Strategy
Period of cooperation:
October and November 2019
The number of sprints:
5
The number of people in the project:
3

The project context

The technology companies experience a very similar problem on a regular basis. At the beginning, they hired several specialists who joined the team mainly through a recommendation system from the private networks of the founders’ friends. The problem arises at a time when the organization is growing and requires a fresh staff. The company is doing great, but the people employed are experienced in programming, design and product development, not in conducting the recruitment processes.

At this point, it is worth focusing on the employer branding strategy and recruitment marketing, so that the candidates apply to us on their own. This is exactly what happened in the case of our client, a Krakow-based company developing software for companies from different countries, including the United States.

The difficulties and challenges the client was facing:

  • no standardized Unique Employer Value Proposition,
  • unclear plans for company development,
  • an idea for a new product,
  • willingness to hire more employees, matching the company’s organizational culture.

The cooperation process

Our project concerning development of an employer branding strategy and recruitment marketing took 5 weeks.

During this time we conducted:

  • a kick-off workshop,
  • in-depth interviews,
  • competition and market analysis,
  • analysis of the job advertisements and the recruitment process,
  • analysis of SWOT, channels and job offers.

As a result, we managed to define:

  • Unique Employer Value Proposition,
  • the candidate’s persona,
  • communication channels,
  • Key Selling Points,
  • recommendations for actions.

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    Sprints 1-2: Research

    A kick-off workshop

    During the kick-off workshop we get to know the team, the company and its history better and together we set goals and expectations for our cooperation. For this purpose, we utilize Team Canvas.

    Moreover, we work out a few elements, which we later use to build a strategy. This time those were:

    • defining a proto-persona of the candidate,
    • mapping the recruitment process.

    Alongside Team Canvas, we used our own Recruitment Model Canvas.

    Recruitment Model Canvas

    The in-depth interviews with the team

    We conducted the in-depth interviews with several people from the client’s team. Such interviews let us see more about how the company functions and what it’s like to work there.

    We asked, among others:

    • how they became part of this company,
    • why they joined the software house,
    • what the company’s strengths are and what can be improved,
    • how they would like to develop professionally,
    • how they see the future of their company.

    The knowledge gained from the team is priceless for us in determining the employer branding strategy. After all, it is the founders and employees who know most about the company!

    The in-depth interviews with the ex-members of the team

    Whenever we have the opportunity, we try to talk not only to the present team members, but also… to former employees!

    Surprised? 🙂 That’s obvious, it’s not a standard approach! We like non-standard approaches 🙃 Just think: how many exciting insights you can get from the people who worked in your company! You can find out:

    • what their reasons for leaving the company were,
    • how they found their new job,
    • what are the strengths of the organization (which they left!) 
    • what they’ve learned,
    • what would have to happen for them to not change their jobs.

    The in-depth interviews with the IT recruiters

    We like doing things that are effective, using some kind of a leverage. One of these activities in terms of marketing is the recycling and redistribution of content, which means reusing once created materials multiple times, in different forms.

    The leverage we used in designing this strategy was speaking to a few fellow recruiters dealing with the local IT market. What was the leverage? 

    We have received the consolidated and condensed knowledge about the Cracow tech market. An additional advantage is the most up-to-date knowledge, directly from the people who recruit programmers on a daily basis.

    Interviews with developers

    We also wanted to talk to the concerned, i.e.developers using niche technology and living and working in Krakow. 

    From these conversations we have gained knowledge about:

    • how they find a new job,
    • what information about the company they look for and where they do it,
    • what are the pros and cons of the recruitment processes of various companies,
    • what benefits they expect from their employer,
    • which makes them change jobs.

    Sprints 3-4: Analysis & Validation for Employer Branding Strategy

    Analysis of communication channels

    Within the audit of communication channels we went through:

    • the company profile on Instagram,
    • the website,
    • job advertisements and the profile on NoFluffJobs.

    What did we focus on?

    • the content, the need for which was emphasized by the people we interviewed,
    • building credibility,
    • the quality of the materials provided,
    • the content marketing.

    Based on the analysis and research carried out in previous sprints, we designed a model of a new website for the client, along with the information architecture.

    Competition analysis

    We analyzed 5 companies from the Cracow market that were most active in recruiting the specialists our client wanted to hire.

    We analyzed such elements as:

    • job advertisements,
    • their presence on job board portals,
    • the benefits,
    • the salary ranges,
    • the website.

    One of the most important conclusions was the need for much more extensive job advertisements in order to make them more informative and better describe the company’s profile. On the other hand – the factor namely the location of the office was not that important, this was one of our hypotheses.

    Market analysis

    In the case of this software house our priority was to analyze one segment of the IT market, niche technology in Krakow.

    We have analyzed:

    • Krakow communities and groups,
    • advertisements in various cities in Poland,
    • the popularity of the technology and the predictions about the salary ranges in the upcoming years.

    What sources do we use?

    • dedicated portals, such as meetup.com,
    • market reports, such as those by nofluffjobs.com,
    • reports on the given industries, their future, trends, e.g. by Gartner,
    • statistical data, e.g. by the Central Statistical Office of Poland,
    • own studies.

    Analysis of the recruitment process

    At the workshop we mapped out the recruitment process of our client and during the next sprints we analyzed what it looks like, what it includes and what should be improved.

    We focused on improving:

    • the distribution of advertisements,
    • candidate experience,
    • the communication with the candidates.

    Sprint 5: The Employer Branding strategy

    We devote our strategic sprint to organizing the previously gathered knowledge, working out the final elements and presenting the results of our work to the client team.

    In the strategic part we presented:

    • the type of strategy,
    • the Unique Employer Value Proposition,
    • the pillars of communication,
    • the communication channels,
    • KPIs
    • and many others 🙂

    The Unique Employer Value Proposition in the Employer Branding Strategy

    Determining the Unique Employer Value Proposition is not easy, especially if the company’s growth plans for the coming years are not yet structured.

    Our solution for this issue was to develop 2 different UEVPs for the client, which would correspond to a given moment on the company roadmap.

    Many companies own these unique elements (remember: unique!), but they often do not demonstrate them. Why? The main reasons:

    • the curse of knowledge – we are so strongly embedded in the structures of the company that we no longer consider it to be unique,
    • personal beliefs that something is not unique at all,
    • no research or feedback from customers and the team.

    Communication channels

    Research and analysis of the recruitment funnel showed that the client should target the communication to several different target groups:

    • the developers (regular & senior),
    • the students specializing in programming,
    • the media, business and HR.

    For this reason, we have planned a number of presentation and PR activities to reach the above groups.

    Job advertisement

    Based on good practices of creating job advertisements in the IT industry as well as on our own and our clients’ experiences, we have prepared a sample job offer, including the information regarding:

    • the company and the position,
    • technical and soft requirements,
    • working methods,
    • benefits and extra bonuses offered.

    Project in numbers

    5

    Sprints

    4

    Research groups

    2

    Unique Employee Value Proposition

    The tools, methods and techniques used in the project

    • The in-depth interviews;
    • The recruitment funnel;
    • Recruitment Model Canvas;
    • Team Canvas.

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    Project team, i.e. who was responsible for what

    Author of the Case Study

    Grzegorz Górzyński Lean Marketing Consultant & Strategist
    Creates and helps clients develop their marketing and business strategies.

    He has gained experience in NGOs, corporations, startups, SMEs and agencies, thanks to which he looks at business holistically. He has worked with Facebook Inc. on the Global Developer Circles project.

    He has trained several hundred people in marketing, social media and validation of business ideas. He stood on the stage of, among others, Social Media Week Warsaw, BOSS Festival, PR Camp.

    He loves Lean Startup approach, travel and good food.

    Other members of the team

    Beata Mosór-Szyszka CEO & Lean Strategist
    Beata is a strategist, marketer and lean consultant with over 14 years of experience in the international market.

    She helps companies create and/or optimize their business model, and translate it into effective strategies, tactics and specific actions. She is the author of Lean Marketing Sprint, a method for creating marketing campaigns, and Values Poker, a tool for working with values.

    As a speaker Beata performs at Polish and international conferences (e.g. Lean Startup Days Paris, VC night by Viva Technology, Open Living Lab).

    Beata also has experience in organizing and designing acceleration programs such as Google LaunchPad Warsaw & WARP by Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile & Cisco.
    Tomasz Osowski Lean UX & Service Designer w Project: People
    He helps companies create an excellent user experience while ensuring the profitability of their business. His idea is to create products and services that are needed and bring satisfaction to both customers and business owners.Certified Coach of Business and Personal Development, Certified Moderator of Design Thinking. Entrepreneur for 6 years and sincerely in love with Lean methodology. He always tries to deliver the product to the market as soon as possible with the smallest capital expenditure.He has cooperated with companies such as: T-mobile, Ecard, inPost, ING, Nationale Nederlanden, Brainly, Publicis, Netguru. Organizer of DesignWays Conf.