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Employer attractiveness in everyday business life

26/10/2021 2021/10

Being attractive as a company means having a high level of appeal to potential future employees and being able to retain existing colleagues in the long term. But what exactly does that mean? How do I know what makes my company attractive? And how can I use this in everyday business life?

Employer attractiveness takes place on two different levels. On the internal level, companies want to retain current employees in the long term so as not to lose their wealth of experience. They can achieve this primarily through a high emotional bond and good working conditions. On the external level, the aim is to attract potential future colleagues on the labour market. Here it is important to have a coherent external image and "publicly known" framework conditions, such as collectively agreed salaries. In order to actually achieve a high level of attractiveness as an employer, and thus satisfied employees in the long term, and to fill vacancies as quickly and successfully as possible, both levels must be served. 

The formation of an employerbrand is an individual process for each company, as the selection of the instruments suitable for the company emerges from its own corporate culture, personalities and company history. However, it is clear for all companies that the active use of tools to position themselves as an attractive employer brings tangible benefits. Measurable economic benefits are achieved through increased employee loyalty, reduced sickness rates and rapid job fillings. In addition, a positive external perception not only increases the interest of potential future team members, but potential customers can also be convinced by the positive image.

What effectively pays off in terms of employer attractiveness?

Many of the examples described below may seem self-evident to you, and that's the crux of the matter. Most companies have a fat plus on the credit side, the things that make for employer attractiveness. But often you are not aware of it or it is not used in the external presentation. The following examples show possibilities and methods, which of course do not have to be implemented in their entirety. Creativity is needed here to identify and describe the approaches that suit the company.

Corporate culture and working atmosphere

The corporate culture represents the soul of the company, because it is the sum of behaviors, personalities, values and decisions. If the corporate culture overlaps with the (value) perceptions of employees or candidates, we speak of the so-called cultural fit, which leads to a mutually satisfactory cooperation.

If it is already recognizable in the external presentation by which type of corporate culture the company is characterized, this increases the number of suitable applications, since people intuitively apply predominantly to companies that correspond to their values.

Fitting together in turn means a good working atmosphere, as the team members have similar expectations of each other and of the company. And the best thing about it is: fun at work promotes loyalty to the company disproportionately. Thus, a good atmosphere in the company leads to less positively pronounced characteristics, such as overtime to be worked, fading into the background.

A good working atmosphere can also be fostered by employers themselves by helping to provide a supportive onboarding experience for each new employee and by giving employees the space to have a joke or a private chat.

Modern working structures

Much more important than monetary incentives, for example, is to offer employees modern work structures. This means giving employees the opportunity to influence company decisions, work processes and, above all, their own area of work.

A transparent organisation of work that is comprehensible and, above all, allocates tasks on the basis of inclinations, strengths and potentials also pays dividends in terms of motivation in daily work. Talk to your employees about the distribution of work packages and include wishes and suggestions.

You will achieve the highest level of identification with the company if the activity in your company is meaningful. This can be, for example, the benefit for society or another higher goal than the pure end in itself of a company.

If your product or service is not meaningful per se, you can, for example, get involved regionally and in this way create a social benefit and improve the intrinsic motivation of your employees.

Employee management

Every manager has an important role model function through his or her way of dealing with employees on the one hand, and on the other hand plays a large part in the perceived corporate culture.

The interaction between managers and employees has a strong influence on how team members behave towards each other and whether they pass on to customers any stress they may have generated or any particular enjoyment they may have had in their work. 

Open and appreciative communication seriously strengthens employees' sense of belonging and promotes the feeling of being personally noticed. They feel emotionally attached to the employer.

Classic HR tools

The perceived attractiveness as an employer can also be increased through classic tools from HR work, such as personnel development, health management or the organization of working hours. These points are primarily concerned with the individual needs of team members, adapted to their current life situations.

Young employees in particular are often particularly interested in the opportunities for further training and promotion within a company. Take the time to talk to aspiring employees on a regular basis and point out development opportunities and the associated career paths. 

In other life situations, the compatibility of work and family may be particularly important to individual employees, if growing children are part of the family or close relatives have to be cared for. In these cases, employees often find it helpful if working time models can be adapted - for example, through increased flexibility, a reduced number of hours per week or start or end times adapted to their needs.

But additional vacation is also a monetarily "more favorable" option than luring employees with pure salary increases, especially since an increased number of vacation days also has a lasting effect on motivation and physical as well as mental energy.

Financial added value

Of course, there is nothing wrong with using financial incentives as well. In principle, fair pay pays off in terms of well-being, but it is not a miracle cure. If the remuneration is rather low, the other measures usually cannot make up for it, because depending on the life situation of the employees, this aspect can be very important. However, to increase motivation, an increase in remuneration is not the most effective means, because the effect fizzles out very quickly, making increases at regular intervals necessary to use this as a detached instrument of employee satisfaction. Ergo: Appropriate remuneration is important for employer attractiveness, but it is no longer possible to achieve a constant increase through particularly high salaries.

All of the instruments described can be integrated into the company's ongoing processes and thus embedded into everyday working life. Once the activities have become established in the company's day-to-day business, the employer's attractiveness continues to increase.

However, it only works if the measures are sustained. Starting from the positive attitude of the company management, which exemplifies this way of working and stands behind it. Requirements from the outside cannot be lived sustainably.

These different approaches show what is possible, but what does it mean for my business?

The question of what makes a particular company sexy is complex. Many factors come together here that have a reciprocal effect on employer attractiveness and are very strongly influenced by the type and industry of the company, the region and also the employees.

So there's no magic formula for implementing a combination of ideal employer branding tools, it's about generating ideas. Ideas that feel good and that fit your company and underline your strengths.

How do I find out what is interesting about my company?

The question of what is attractive about a company for employees forms the basis for the strategic use of the individual advantages that a company has. At the beginning, each entrepreneur should ask him/herself the question "What do I think about my company? It is worthwhile to look inside oneself and let this question take effect.

This first own assessment is very subjective, but also contains many important facts. In order to get a broader picture, (as many as possible) employees and also customers should be asked about their view of the company and its special features. There does not have to be an official survey for this. Here, too, it is worth taking the time to talk about it personally. If you are open to these conversations and ask for the honest opinion of your interlocutors, you will learn much more about your company and the people than through a questionnaire.

The information gained can then be used to expand the marketing of employer attractiveness. The positive feedback can be used directly and underlined and highlighted as strengths of the company. Through critical comments, problem areas become known and can be addressed. In a close dialogue with the feedback givers, suitable solutions can be worked out for a sustainably more satisfactory cooperation on both sides. The following applies here: Be courageous in dialogue and in trying things out. Keep and expand what has been tried and tested, test new things and eliminate what is unsatisfactory.

How do I now make my findings known?

All marketing channels can and should be used to publicise one's own advantages as an employer. Starting with the alignment of the company homepage with the company values and special advantages, through the design of job advertisements, to the active use of social media. Especially through the use of these social media channels, small everyday stories and the active involvement of employees can be very effective in getting the attention of potential applicants:inside. Through the personal presentation of everyday working life, you convey a sense of belonging to those outside the company.

On the other hand, you may not have to do much at all, because satisfied employees automatically increase your visibility! Through word-of-mouth recommendation, because being able to say, "I work at that great company - where everyone knows how great it is" feels really good and makes people curious.

Sources: HWK Münster Photos by Austin Distel on Unsplash

About the Author
Milana Schreiber
Teamlead HRaaS & HR Consulting

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