My Top 5 Takeaways from World Employer Branding Day in Lisbon

Always on the hunt for industry-leading perspectives and fresh ideas, I was drawn to attend World Employer Branding Day for access to the best and brightest international leaders in the space. I found it so exciting to be in a room with people who are trying to solve the same kind of problems in this emerging practice of employer brand, in an incredible city nonetheless! Here are the top trends and key messages from World Employer Branding Day in Lisbon, Portugal.

Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging.

Holly Lignelli at LinkedIn, armed with the usual LinkedIn message of ‘start with the insights’, shared data to prove how showcasing diversity can strengthen your employer brand. She did an excellent job at highlighting the business case for investing in an inclusive recruitment process, leadership development and fostering a culture of belonging. Her top tips: Be mindful of what you say and how you say it, think about what you measure (for example, gender view-to-apply conversions) and think about who you’re including in your talent pool.

Facebook EMEA’s Keren Yakir Harel and Lisa Obrien talked about meeting people where they are, making creative that connects, and measuring what works. Their talk centered around creating content that puts stories of diversity at the center.

Johan Driessens from Branded Careers and a number of others echoed that people want to work in environments where they can be themselves.


Content and creative that connects.

Citi's Emma Britton and Pathmotions’ Alon Laniado very entertaining talk touched on storytelling and our candidates’ hunger for content. It’s 2019, we know candidates are consumers of our brand, right!? They expect and want a lot of information. We need to think about how candidates are interacting with our brand and where they’re consuming content.

We’re losing 57% of diverse candidates at our careers page. It could be something we’ve said or something we haven’t.

A careers site by itself is not persuasive. We need to include employee stories to keep candidates immersed and minimize frustration levels throughout the discovery and application process.

Amir Moini created the WeAreNetflix podcast where two employees talk about nuances of the culture and their personal journeys and stories. Now, they have 600,000 downloads and counting, and 50% of Netflix’s hires come from this podcast. Get creative with your content!

This is new and we’re all in it together.

No one has big budgets for employer branding just yet and everyone is doing a lot with a little. I was surprised to see that even Amazon Web Services, globally, has a very small dedicated EB team. That said, their small team has grown by almost five times in the last year so they’re clearly proving the ROI back to the business.

Netflix has a team of one. Amir talked about needing to “brand his employer branding” within the organization. The common theme that kept arising throughout the conference is that if you’re starting an employer branding initiative in your company, this needs to be treated as a full-on change management activity. It’s early in this practice and it will feel very different in 10 years as it continues to evolve.

Define Your EVP.

Your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is like your mission, vision, and values for your recruitment, people, and culture program and it should be aligned to your corporate mission, vision, and values, too.

Your Employee Value Proposition answers 'Why should I work here instead of with other companies'. It’s the 'What’s in it for me'.

Kelly Marek Bartkiewicz at Mars started by conducting extensive research to understand what employees were saying. She then used internal data to validate what they were saying and ran focus groups with candidates. The question she was trying to answer was ‘What makes them want to join Mars’ compared to other companies where they have job offers. Start by listening to your employees and candidates.

Purpose Over Authenticity.

Simon Sinek’s Start With Why always comes up, doesn’t it? So, what’s new here you ask? Even more today than ever, candidates expect employers to have a point of view. We know that Millenials and Gen Z, in particular, have a strong radar for fake authenticity and we know that they want something to stand behind, something to protect, so employers need to give it to them. Purpose is the new authenticity!

Employer brand is inviting a candidate to discover who you are.

Recruitment is no longer a transactional activity, and more and more impact-driven companies are investing in their employer brand which will increase competition for top talent even more. Not sure where to start? Measure where you’re at now. Set realistic goals. Ask me, and let's apply industry leading knowledge to your growing organization today!

Nicole Davidson