Yves Pilet Consultancy
Employer brand management


Thinking inside-out

People are an organisations' most valuable asset. Glassdoor helps employers think from the inside-out. By allowing employees to rate their employer, it's up to the employer to use this input to improve it's internal employer brand.


Working from the insight out is smart, especially in the field of employer branding. To do this, you’ll have to use the available knowledge your employees give you. This can be done for example by using LinkedIn information, but Glassdoor is certainly a valuable source of information as well. Employees can give their opinion anonymously and online on several aspects of the internal employer brand of an organization. That way everyone, including potential employees, can shape their image of your organisation as an employer. Glassdoor is particularly strong in the United States, but has recently become active in Europe: first in Germany, England, France and now also in the Netherlands. For many large companies they've already collected a lot of data that can be used to determine the status of the internal employer brand. Other European countries are soon to follow. Let’s take a look at one two major companies from one sector to compare how you can use Glassdoor’s information to get insights in the internal employer brand. We’ll take a look at DSM and Shell from the petrochemical sector and to what extend their employees assess their employer differently and how you should interpret the available information in relation to the overall employer brand strategy.

DSM versus Shell: consider what their employees think

DSM started as a small coal mine company in 1902 and by 1989 it was ready to have its IPO. This chemical giant made its global mark in the field of the heavy petrochemical industry and also deserves growing credibility in the field of employer branding. Slowly but surely, it knows how to attract talented employees from around the world. Frequently though, it’s based on improving the external employer brand image. In the last five years DSM has invested a lot in the corporate brand, including the company logo and the corporate site, to bolster the overall external image of the organization.

DSM considers they employees as valuable assets. This helps to strengthen the structure of the Employer brand-, Marketing- and HR strategy. The result is obvious: 73% of DSM’s employees would recommend their employer to a friend, a wonderful result. Although the external employer brand image and corporate brand are positively influenced, not all of the employees are convinced. The internal employer brand is not as strong as its external counterpart. The risk of a gap between the internal and external employer brand is obvious. The internal employer brand image still needs improvement. DSM is aware of this and with the help of their People+ program, specifically the DSM People LCA tool, according to the corporate site it promises to make ‘brighter living’ more tangible, also for its employees. It is up to DSM to keep this promise.

DSM has a clear employer brand strategy, but it’s not fully linked to the marketing- and HR strategy. Thinking in silos may be inherently the case here, an extremely difficult aspect of employer branding to change. DSM might consider attracting external vendors with other cultural values to inspire its current employees to new heights.

Source: Glassdoor


For DSM it’s important to further develop and monitor its employer brand. Implementing local adaptations of the EVP’s for example per continent or country requires some research and thinking, but the first fights by this bold warrior in the war on talent are here. Crucial to this level is to further strengthen the already strong global corporate brand with its relatively new employer brand strategy. Intensifying the cooperation at global level between the HR and Marketing departments here is key.

Shell's employees show their appreciation

The employees of Shell, or Royal Dutch Shell as they’re officially called, think differently of their employer. Royal Dutch Shell is since the previous century known as a powerful global corporate brand, despite the regular conflicts inherent to this business: environmental disputes. Obviously this affects the reputation of Shell via the outer ring of the Employer Brand Architecture Model™ - market developments - but somehow Shell always seems to manage to divert from problems like these. Shell is not only better than its employer brand counterparts to attract talent, but specifically to retain them. Both the internal and external employer brand image are extremely powerful. Staff are exceptionally pleased with the culture and values, work/life balance and compensation and benefits. The employer brand benefits as earlier noted: over 5 million likes on its company’s Facebook page and 83% would recommend this employer to a friend according to Glassdoor.

Source: Glassdoor


Besides a solid social media presence, Shell is also distinctive in terms of attracting employees by anticipating market trends: technological developments such as Gaming and Big Data are combined in its selection process and allow Shell to measure Employee Intelligence. As a result potential employees, who are strong in prioritizing, have perseverance and powerful analytical skills are separated from the minor talented potentials.

Shell manages its employer brand strategy well and is able to merge it with its corporate brand naturally. Through years of good reputation among universities, the organization knows how to attract the cream of the talent crop. External stakeholders are well served and campus recruitment is powerful. The corporate brand is known as one of the best brands in the world according to Interbrand: Shell is the only business to business brand in the energy sector which is part of the top 100 global corporate brands in 2013.

For Shell, it is important to defend its top position in the Employer Brand Gateway™ and maintain on course. After all, being at the top of the food chain is harder, because the competition wants to knock you off your pedestal. Aspects such as senior management still need some improvement: in time, this will be something Shell will have to beat, since current employees already indicate that this component scores the lowest of all. Generations will change and their preferences as well, so it is important that Shell will keep its finger firmly on the pulse of these developments.

Put Glassdoor's insights in the right perspective

In conclusion, Glassdoor provides excellent insights in your internal employer brand, but keep in mind that this information as such isn’t valuable at all for your employer brand strategy. It’s just one of the building blocks your employer brand strategy should be build on. Relating it to your external employer brand, your corporate brand and your financial performance are just a few. However, it’s great to see that the world of employer branding is getting more transparent and Glassdoor is taking action to focus more and more on a global view.

Member Login
Welcome, (First Name)!

Forgot? Show
Log In
Enter Member Area
My Profile Not a member? Sign up. Log Out