Last week I had the pleasure to attend Gravity+ — the biggest employer branding conference in Germany. Two days full of knowledge exchange about my favorite topic employer branding. Plus, I felt so honored to hold a 90-min workshop on how to use, analyze, and exploit data when it comes to employer branding without having any big budget in your pocket (super happy to share with you — just hit me up on LinkedIn). Anyways, what are my three takeaways?
1. Turning employees into influencers
Sitting in my Berlin startup bubble turning employees into corporate influencers sounded so basic to me because as an employee in a startup it’s just normal to represent your company in your local community, share content, go to conference and be the brand ambassador among your peers. I never had startups I worked in with strict social media guidelines and employees also never shared any inappropriate content — however all the companies I was employed at also had a young workforce. That’s why I was so excited to listen to Eugenia Mönnings talk from Otto because they developed a program to turn employees into corporate influencers. (By the way also check out Ildiko Peter and Nicole Heinrich from Otto on LinkedIn — they both developed the program as well and are amazing — sometimes I am jealous I cannot work with them — haha)
To be honest with you, I was sometimes thinking that corporates need to do something to activate their employees because of all non-digital natives among their workforce. However, social media is for not only a topic for younger generation anymore. To get each and every employee at the table, Otto categorized employees into different personality types and their level of engagement (see below).
- Like, create, and share content
- Instagram / Snapchat takeover
- Hosting of live-videos on Twitter/Facebook
Key goals: Increase reach, showcase authenticity, brand awareness, lead generation
- Convert candidates in f2f talks
- Social butterflies on recruiting events
Key goals: Real-life touchpoint to increase the conversation rate (interest/applicant ratio)
- Holding events and giving presentations on recruiting events with a core focus on content
Key goals: Strengthen Otto as an ECommerce/ Tech company
- Buddy for candidates who answer questions to the team and “hold hands” during onboarding
Key goals: offer a service-oriented HR, give a personal touch in the recruiting process
- Doing interviews with candidates
- Answer questions regarding the team and workplace
Key goals: check expert knowledge of candidates, showcase the authenticity of the team
Impulsgeber (Idea Generator):
- Participants of workshops
- Change agents and giving impulses for new directions
Key goals: consult and challenge the status quo & current processes
The employees are activated and educated through storytelling classes, Instagram/twitter courses or how to do a proper company pitch. Amazing idea to turn your employees to brand ambassadors. And the best: The talent can really post and share what they like — the content is not controlled or moderated. This is really brave for a German corporate ;)!
I also loved the concept of Payback who are basically empowering their own employees to continuously share content with #ichmachblau (Payback’s corporate color is blue and in German, it’s a saying like taking a day off). They implemented an app where all #ichmachblau content is featured as well as events, company news, employee marketplace — so each employee is always up-to-date regarding posts to hit the like button, share or give a comment. Smart move: They integrated the meal plan of the canteen in this app — very important for German corporates, believe me ;). It’s the best traffic generator!
2. Turning employer branding into employee branding
Besides talks, the attendees had also the chance to take workshops. One of them was tackling the topic of cultural design during the employee journey. Robert from arsmedium was taking his point of departure by saying that we should take the employee in the core of our focus by delivering positive moments in each step of the employee journey. Only when we inspire, motivate, empower, and reward employees during the employee journey we can live up to their expectations which naturally arise before they start the actual job. Sounds so basic, right? But it’s a super important message in my opinion — life is all about expectation management. If you tell shit in the beginning and can’t deliver, people will quit faster than you hired them. I think we sometimes forget this when pitching positions to candidates — transparency and empathy is key!
3. Turning knowledge exchange into friendships
The best learning at conferences are not always only the presentations or workshops but the people. I guess especially in a German environment where two realities are often clashing: startups vs. corporates. In my opinion Gravity+ had an amazing mix. I was a bit afraid that it’s gonna be a bit too corporate for me but I met even kick-ass people from public administration and got challenged on my perspectives. This is what conferences are for to be pushed out of your comfort zone, reflect your own perspectives and celebrate diversity. Love it!
What are your thoughts about the conference? Happy to hear your opinion!