A well-managed and reputable employer brand can go a long way in helping organizations recruit better talent, improve hiring metrics and position an organization as an employer of choice in their industry. In fact, according to Glassdoor, 92% of candidates would consider changing employers if they were offered a role within an organization that had a good reputation. As a result, a strong brand can improve cost per hire by up to 50%.
Moreover, Glassdoor found that the benefits of a powerful employer brand extended beyond recruitment; consider that nearly 30% of candidates have resigned within the first 90 days of starting a role, citing misalignment between the employer and their employer brand. Conversely, organizations that actively invest in employer brand improve their turnover by as much as 28%.
At PeopleScout, we pride ourselves on our ability to partner with clients to hire top talent by building a strategic talent acquisition architecture with employer branding at its heart. So, in this article, we present a real-world example of how PeopleScout’s expert team of talent advisors provided employer branding guidance and delivered a marketing campaign that attracted, engaged and hired the best talent for multinational technology conglomerate Vodafone.
When an organization’s brand is a household name, there’s often an overlap in sentiment between consumer and employer brand in the minds of the public—an association that can sometimes come with unforeseen complications. This was the case for PeopleScout client Vodafone. Its reputation among the UK public was one of a mobile phone retailer and nothing else—a perception that hurt the organization’s ability to become an employer of choice among young people.
However, behind that perception, Vodafone is a multifaceted innovator in the technology and communications industry with a mission and purpose to make the future a better place. With this knowledge, it was up to PeopleScout’s team to reshape Vodafone’s employer brand in the minds of its target demographic: Newly graduated job-seekers who shared the company’s passion for improving communities and the lives of their customers.
In employer branding, purpose is the key to unlocking the way that an employer engages with job-seekers. Now, more than ever, job-seekers want more from their employer; they want to feel a sense of belonging and that the work they do has meaning and provides a sense of personal development. In fact, according to research from Blue Beyond Consulting of knowledge workers aged 45 and younger, 52% said they would quit their jobs if their employers’ values didn’t align with their own.
Notably, Vodafone’s future hiring strategy was focused as much on purpose as it was on placing great talent in the right roles. Its purpose was to address high levels of youth unemployment head on by committing to hire up to 100,000 young job-seekers with digital workplace experience. Then, Vodafone set another ambitious goal: To support the development of digital skills in 10 million young people, given that one in five candidates in their target demographic stated that they felt underprepared for the digital economy.
To help Vodafone meet its bold vision of the future, PeopleScout needed to craft an employer brand with multigenerational appeal to attract candidates from Millennials to Gen Z and beyond. Ideally, these candidates are achievers with ambitions beyond working in mobile phone retail. As such, Vodafone’s employer brand campaign had to engage imaginations and change its audiences’ perceptions by presenting itself as a major tech company—not a retailer—and by building its reputation as a youth employer of choice for ambitious job-seekers.
Audience Insights: Leveraging Social Media to Reach the Right Audience
Social media platforms are one of the most broadly used channels for employers looking to build and improve their employer brands. Of course, this isn’t surprising when your factor in the following: 25% of all job-seekers use social media as their primary tool for job-searching and seven out of 10 18- to 34-year-olds report having found their previous job through social media. The case for social media recruiting is clear, but how can employers effectively integrate social media strategy into their employer brand?
For Vodafone, we found that 90.4% of the brand’s target audience regularly used social media. On top of this, 91% of all social media users accessed channels via their mobile devices. With this in mind, we developed a mobile-first, social media-friendly campaign. Additionally, further research showed us that many students with the right background and personal qualifications didn’t apply due to a lack of confidence. Therefore, we needed a message that was bold, relatable and empowering.
Meanwhile, just as important as the audience insights were the strategic considerations. Candidates are also customers; when buying products, they expect a streamlined, user-friendly, friction-free process. And now, they have the same expectation when making career decisions. So, we made every touchpoint (especially applying) as slick and easy as possible.
Granted, no contemporary attraction approach can be just about advertising; long-term connections are far more powerful. So, central to our strategy was helping Vodafone engage in conversations, initiatives and support with high-potential university students throughout their full university lifecycle. In short, the strategy was to start on day one, not year three.
The Core Message: #GENERATIONPOSSIBLE
There are a variety of strategies you can employ to share your employer brand with candidates, but storytelling is one of the most powerful. From career sites to job-search platforms, there are plenty of opportunities to tell interesting, unique stories that capture the attention of job-seekers and entice them to apply. But, knowing exactly what stories to tell—and how to tell them—is not always easy.
So, our message for Vodafone’s campaign aimed to capture the spirit of change and possibility, as well as draw on the opportunity for young people to have an influence on the world for the better. For instance, the visual elements of the campaign approach used photography that reflected our target audience, combined with bold headline statements. Similarly, social and site content featured current grads and interns sharing their advice for the next generation of Vodafone employees.
- A six-month social media strategy targeted to mobile users
- A #GenerationPossible video at the heart of the campaign
- A campaign matrix of 104 social posts with 20 mini videos/GIFs
Our research identified that our target audience felt like they weren’t good enough or lacked the skills to take on these roles. So, we created a series of videos featuring current Vodafone graduate recruits and interns. These videos explored Vodafone life, wellbeing, social responsibility, innovation, assessment center and other advice to help prepare candidates for the interview process.
Spreading the Message
Apart from social media, we also organized a series of 41 on-campus events to connect students directly with Vodafone employees. We also carefully targeted campuses with the highest female-to-male ratios for tech degrees as a way to help increase female applications.
The campaign comfortably exceeded Vodafone’s expectations:
- Vodafone generated more than 16,000 applications, performing 60% above its targets.
- PeopleScout’s campaign helped improve diversity, increasing female applicants by 23%.
- We increased Instagram post impressions by 89.3% (post-campaign vs. pre-campaign).
- Social media drove strong engagement and provided more than 1.5 million Facebook impressions, as well as 6.8 million impressions on organic posts on LinkedIn.
- PeopleScout also deployed a hyper-targeted paid Facebook campaign that produced 390,510 impressions and 2,541 clicks—all from the audience we wanted to target.
These numbers are backed up by audience sentiment: We significantly improved Vodafone’s reputation as an employer, jumping 27 places in the TT100 rankings. As a result of this success, Vodafone also asked us to develop the concept for its apprentice campaign audience and roll it out through a new assessment process design.