Key facts for successful HR marketing in 2021

17/11/2020 2020/11

Key facts for successful HR marketing in 2021

We have been working with the performance marketing agency clicks digital GmbH in online marketing for years. We regularly exchange knowledge with them about SEO, SEA, conversion optimisation, social media marketing, e-mail marketing, online PR and content marketing in order to keep up with the latest trends. The fast pace of online marketing is unmistakable and this exchange enables us to act efficiently, performance-oriented and image-forming in (online) HR marketing, within our HR projects but also within the company. Today we would like to share our knowledge with you and give you the key facts you need for your HR marketing in 2021.

How important is HR marketing today within the HR strategy?

Melanie Balfanz, Teamlead Corporate Marketing at ARTS:

A successful and future-oriented HR strategy is the focus of all actions and should be flexibly adaptable to market changes. Today's HR departments must change and see themselves as business partners by adapting to new conditions in the company, such as times of crisis, newly developed markets or new products or services. When these circumstances come to bear, it is important to rethink the company-wide HR qualification profile, as this is the only way for companies to remain employee- and candidate-centred in their actions. The HR strategy defined for a company is oriented to the corporate strategy and its objectives and derives all personnel-relevant goals from it. The HR strategy clearly shows which HR measures are used to promote and retain employees and how more applications can be generated from qualified potential employees. Of course, this also includes HR marketing, the interface between HR management and marketing. HR Marketing takes care of employer attractiveness by positioning the employer strengths defined in the employer brand in the market. The time when companies could pick their employees is long gone and the "war for talents" situation now forces every company to act creatively to find the right employees for them. This initial situation shows how important HR marketing is for companies, i.e. a strong employer brand and brand-building advertising measures externally and internally. Hannes, what do you think are key online aspects of HR marketing today, how do you approach them strategically?

Hannes Richter, Head of SEO & Online Marketing Consultant at clicks digital:

Essentially, it must be clear that HR marketing, like traditional marketing, is on two fronts. One front is employer branding - the brand development with which I try to gain awareness in my target group and build up attractiveness or create moments of attraction. The second front runs along the line of performance marketing. Here it is all about becoming visible and findable for all those who are looking for new opportunities. Strategically, SEO, SEA and above all the job exchanges with reach play a major role here.

Since the marketing departments have become more and more professional, performance marketing has become more and more dependent on doing a good job in branding due to increasing competition.

If all the conditions are in place, in the end, (performance) online marketing is all about the question: where do I meet my target group. Since the tool world of online marketing platforms is complex, it requires experts who are able to control campaigns precisely and constantly draw conclusions from the generated data.

Can employers really control who they are as a "brand" in 2021?

Melanie Balfanz, Teamlead Corporate Marketing at ARTS:

For the optimally positioned employer brand, it' s nowadays crucial to put the employee in the role of the brand ambassador and to openly show the people behind the brand. It has been proven that faceless brand messages have significantly less reach than messages that are communicated directly by people. This basically means that companies need to provide simple sharing options and bonus programmes to encourage employees to recommend jobs or other news. Not overly restrictive social media guidelines, transparent communication and allowing opinions also encourage posting and sharing behaviour in social media. Management and executives should also set an example, take action themselves and always praise the topic of recommending news and jobs. All other fans and applicants can also act as brand ambassadors; here too, there is the possibility of offering incentives. In general, companies should not place the applicant behind the employee, but rather see him or her at a communication level - this is where Candidate Centricity counts. Not only because companies want to attract him or her as a potential employee, but also because he or she can be a new brand ambassador, even if not hired. With a positive brand experience at every point of contact within HR communications, the candidate will be more willing to openly make recommendations. Conversely, negative experiences within the Employee or Candidate Journey often mean negative reviews. If companies are confronted with negative comments, they must be prepared. After all, companies have to live with objective and constructive opinions in times when the evaluation is only a click away. With active risk management and tracking of such evaluations, quick company responses are always feasible and it is important to respond individually, solution-oriented and professional. Hannes, how do employers on the World Wide Web still manage to create an always positive brand experience?

Hannes Richter, Head of SEO & Online Marketing Consultant at clicks digital:

I really like the aspect of brand ambassadors from within the company. Personal recommendation still works best in marketing. When I have made it to this point as a company, the mission seems clear and a good corporate culture prevails. In other words, the employer brand is not just a nice portrait on a piece of paper, but real and vivid.

If this is well communicated to the outside world, the brand experience is almost guaranteed. The key to success is that it is clear: what and how should be communicated? A good answer to the "how" ensures that the communication reaches the target group and is perceived. The "what", the message with which a company appears to the outside world in the War for Talents, fills the strategy with life and ultimately shapes the perceived employer brand.

It is important to show profile. To put it more clearly: uniformity and fabric softening do not work in HR marketing any more than in classic brand building. In a world of exuberant communication, it always needs to be different from the rest, so that the communication really triggers reactions and sticks in the mind. This difference can only be achieved through clarity and, if necessary, polarity. A good example at this point is Tesla: The job advertisement alone leaves no doubt about what to expect as an employee: The highest demands, which require an unbridled will to perform, but also the participation in changing mobility.

Since every marketing platform has its own character, this message must then be well translated so that the advertising contact really becomes an experience.

Stringency is also important: If I have generated a magical moment through polarity, wit or charm that leads to a click, this moment must not be destroyed on the target page immediately: For example, by landing on an unemotional 0815 job ad and not being able to feel anything of the mission of the company that just attracted me. The website is the hub of my HR marketing activities, so to speak. The website has to do the balancing act of providing a showcase and showing what I can expect: on the one hand, with a view to the position for which I am qualified and, on the other hand, with a view to the company's mission, the work culture and the team with which you are travelling together.

What are HR Marketing Trends in 2021?

Melanie Balfanz, Teamlead Corporate Marketing at ARTS:

I have been wondering for a while now what the New Normal can be for our applicants and employees. ARTS is in the midst of change - we are currently expanding our industry focus, our service offering and are significantly changing the way we work, optimising processes through greater use of digitalisation and automation. Of course, this also means a change for our employees and for our Candidate Personas (bundling of character traits and characteristics to the media behaviour of my candidate target group). In times of change, an employer brand, in my opinion, needs above all humanity, trust, authenticity, a coherent purpose and values that are perceived and exemplified by everyone. If this basic framework is firmly anchored, then the way for change is paved. 

The workforce will remain the most valuable capital in 2021. Also, and especially in times of crisis, it is important to strengthen employee loyalty, qualifications and skills - perhaps it is also time to identify key positions and, consequently, my most important brand ambassadors in the company. Nowadays AI technology also supports you in this respect. Looking at online trends in HR marketing, what do you recommend for 2021 Hannes? 

Hannes Richter, Head of SEO & Online Marketing Consultant at clicks digital:

One clear trend is that personnel marketing is increasingly making use of product marketing opportunities. This is especially true for advertising on social media platforms. Every measure is measurable and leaves data behind. This enables targeting, i.e. limiting the ads to the core of my target group. This reduces wastage and makes it possible to address the target group precisely. This is also where the addressed AI comes into play, which helps to let the information from the data flow directly into the campaign optimisation.

In any case, this is a clear recommendation: use social media not only for dialogue and organic reach, but test which advertising formats work.

Especially exciting are the formats that culminate directly in dialogue. Facebook, for example, allows you to jump directly from the newsfeed to WhatsApp Messenger with an ad click and enter into dialogue with a HR professional. Of course, this works less for a senior engineer than for a trainee or junior of Generation Z. As you already mentioned, it requires a digital transformation of processes in the company. Here, the digital possibilities in marketing have clearly overtaken the processes and possibilities in the company. Basically, the whole recruiting process has to be thought of digitally. Then not only the HR marketing possibilities can be better exploited. Automation of candidate communication after the application has been received is also possible and saves a lot of time. In turn, a company can put this into addressing and communicating with new talent.

How do I effectively market a job offer in 2021?

Melanie Balfanz, Teamlead Corporate Marketing at ARTS:

Based on the HR planning and the underlying HR qualification profile for a company, it is clear on which personas HR marketing must focus in terms of recruitment (Candidate Persona). Experience has shown that the HR department receives requirement profiles from the specialist departments, which often have a formulation that is not in demand on the market by my target group, because companies can only be found for job descriptions that are also being sought. This means that a keyword strategy and text optimisation are needed to ensure relevance. 

For this reason, it is advisable in the first step to compare the requirement profiles and the previously defined Candidate Personas and to consider formulations that are in demand by my target group. At best, this persona description already contains some options and is constantly being updated with new demanded formulations and keywords. Subsequently, these keyword groups have to be checked with SEO tools and the most requested keywords have to be integrated into my job advertisement. To find out the best wording for my job advertisement, A/B tests are also suitable, in which jobs are advertised differently and, for example, the user conversion rate (incoming application/number of website users) is compared. 

It is not only the wording but also the design of the job advertisement that determines whether a potential applicant wants to know more about the employer. In addition to clearly formulated requirement profiles and insights into the employer, it is currently above all the benefits that are often the most important for the applicant, because both Generation Y and Generation Z have precise ideas in this respect.

Of course, investments must also be made in marketing. Budget planning and the necessary resources for creation and campaign management are then heavily dependent on the position, the level of suffering, the position to be filled and the performance to date. For example, the marketing of positions for managers and specialists must be approached quite differently than the filling of numerous positions for apprentices and young professionals. What are your tips for marketing vacancies in 2021, Hannes?

Hannes Richter, Head of SEO & Online Marketing Consultant at clicks digital:

Marketing must be prioritised according to performance & effectiveness:

  1. Pull Channels
    These are channels where I meet candidates who are looking for new perspectives on their own initiative. These include job exchanges, HR social media platforms such as Xing or LinkedIn and last but not least Google Jobs. If you have a high throughput of jobs to process, the best option is to use job feeds in XML or CSV format, which bring job offers directly from the HR software into the portals.
    For Google Jobs, clean structured data and a well-functioning sitemap are of relevance. In addition, text ads can be used in the Google search. This requires a media budget, but on the other hand, visibility and presence are immediately established.
     
  2. Social Media
    In addition to their own website, social media is a very important recruiting channel, especially among younger generations. The trend in large companies has long been towards maintaining a separate HR channel for each company, which serves as a showcase for the company and enables easy access to a dialogue. Through features such as mentioning other users or sharing articles, important recommendation marketing also takes place on these platforms.
     
  3. Push Channels
    Push marketing proactively brings a brand into contact with the target group. We talk about display advertising, but also about social media ads on facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Xing and much more. - depending on the target group. 
    This form of advertising can strongly support employer branding and ensure that demand increases. Ideally, thinking in terms of campaign cycles and building up a presence selectively with a concrete message and higher advertising pressure. In the field of social media it is certainly possible to generate direct performance. That is, to generate measurable results.
    How effective the measures are in each case ultimately depends strongly on the advertising medium and the message. If the benefits and advantages for the potential candidate come across well, then the path to application is not far off.

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