An Employer Branding Strategy for a software house – what does a candidate want to know about your company?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
- 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.
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.
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
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.
Case study isn't enough?
Would you like to learn about the whole process and how we could carry it out in your organization?