From firm relationships to strong brands
the 2014 annual dutch employer branding experience showed that strong brands live up to their expectations. a strategic approach to employer branding is still missing though.
In November 2014 a Dutch online article appeared on the HR & Communicatie community about the annual Dutch Employer Brand Experience. That year it was held in Aalsmeer, the Netherlands and I attended it for a second time. The editioral staff wrote the article and asked two of my colleagues in the field and myself what our thoughts on this year's event was. The English version of that article is placed in this blog:
Close relationships to strong brands
'RE-ENGAGE' was the theme of the Employer Branding Experience 2014 in Aalsmeer. The largest conference in the field of employer branding and labour market communication in the Netherlands chose this theme, because the roles and responsibilities - from employers, clients, employees and self-employed professionals - change continuously. At the same time many organizations' cutbacks and reorganizations absorbed all the time and energy. As a result: we didn't have enough attention for each other.
On November 6, there was also discussion on the relation of those who contributed to an organization; whether via traditional employment or an alternative format. Also important was the re-commitment of the organization itself: what are you and what do you do and where are you going? Because how else do you build a lasting connection between inside and outside if everyone wants something different? What do organizations have to prepare for? Three professionals to report on behalf of HR-Communicatie.nl:
Annemarie Stel, Advisor labour market communications, Employer Branding and Recruitment
"I thought the story of Louisa Moreton especially gave a nice overview of activities and developments in the context of Engagement. But what she said was mostly related - or was especially useful - to large organizations, the KPMG and Shells of this world. Not surprisingly though, because they are their customers. With the statement of the first keynote speaker Leo Witvliet still fresh in my mind, only a handful of really big organizations and further a large amount of little ones, expiated her story to relevance. It annoyed me even now: there is no more general wisdom out there.
I attended the sessions of NRC and TNT. NRC was a bit theoretical, told by two account managers. Their story did contain a few interesting facts some independent professionals consider important (content, rate and payment) for example. The breakout of Bart Beek of PostNL was a great trip down the question how does PostNL keep it employees together nowadays? Answer: with team leaders who behave more like host / hostess then as a manager. And I learned that the postmen complain about their rain gear the most. "
Yves Pilet, Employer brand consultant at The Brand Valley
"De breakout session by Effectory appealed to me the most. Guido Heezen went on discussing three elements that determine the success of a company: the organisation itself, their employees and society. Today it's pretty obvious that the pressure on the organization (by the Board of Directors and the shareholders) still outweighs short-term thinking: as a results, making the most of social aspect (CSR) and employees (engagement) is hard and is put under pressure. Visually he supported his presentation well.
Room for improvement is also a necessity. I missed the part of a strategic approach to employer branding at the event. There is much attention to labour market communications, but research into EVPs, values that play a role within a company, analysis of competitors and how they deal with these issues were very limitedly addressed. Although I must say that the case of VU University Medical Center, presented by Laura Baselaar, did provide some solid strategic aspects of the (internal) employer branding. All in all, a great way to spend your day!"
Rob Overgaauw, independent HRM and HRD Consultant
"Re-engagement is the key. The speakers all gave from their perspective and expertise a view of reality perceived by them. They have a marginal scientific basis though. The topic has hardly socially attention is my conclusion, except for companies that are looking for scarce workers.
A good example was the winner, the Rotterdam NH hotel. They looked for real people from Rotterdam to staff their hotel. A beautiful campaign, won justly. The new campaign for the government had a very high level of abstraction in my opinion.
For professionals in the field it was a field day. The organization Crown of Aalsmeer controlled the scene perfectly, hats off. I did not want to miss the day. We live in interesting times. Everyone should go invent themselves again and that offers opportunities. "