Issued by Fastmoving on behalf of Employer Branding SA.

Celeste Sirin is an employer branding specialist, speaker, facilitator, and founder of Employer Branding SA. She recently returned from the World Employer Branding Day held in Prague. Celeste was chosen as the official employer branding representative for South Africa.

We were fortunate enough to pick her brains regarding the event and where employer branding is headed in South Africa. Her insights and expertise are among some of the best in the world, and she can assist any company seeking to learn about implementing an effective employer branding strategy within their company. See what she has to say in the interview below.

In your opinion Celeste, is employer branding about thinking like a marketer and considering your company a commodity for job seekers?

Most definitely. Research and insights have highlighted that one can definitely draw a strong parallel between how companies take their products to the consumer market and how companies position, attract and promote themselves as Employers of Choice in the candidate market. The competitive edge for companies is to take a holistic approach to how they align their product/service brand with their employer brand, thus creating one all encompassing, unified corporate brand.

You recently attended the World Employer Branding Day conference in Prague, that must have been exciting! Can you tell us a bit about what it was like and what it covered?

It was held in a historical theatre, Divadlo Hybernia in the centre of Prague and was truly inspirational. This was the world’s first and largest employer branding best practice sharing and networking event. It was made up of 250 thought-leading delegates from 35 countries across the globe. The summit afforded me the opportunity to listen to 14 international speakers from 9 various countries that shared, discussed and debated key employer branding and workforce trends.

What were some of your highlights of the conference? Did you meet some exciting brand ambassadors and global thought leaders?

I met Brett Minchington, Chairman/CEO, Employer Brand International, who organised a great selection of globally renowned brand leaders from Adidas Group, Volvo Car Group, Pepsico, Intercontinental Hotels Group, LEGO Group to name a few. What I enjoyed most about this conference was that I had an opportunity to get to know these people on a personal level and their day-to-day employer branding goals.

Are SA companies taking up effective employer branding strategies in line with global trends?

Research by Employer Brand International found 56% of South African companies haven’t developed an employer brand strategy but they are working on it. There is a wealth of global knowledge and successful proven case studies at our finger tips and absolutely no reason why South Africa cannot implement effective employer branding strategies and enjoy the benefits it has to offer.

How necessary is it to quantitatively measure the efficacy of your branding strategy?

Companies need to clearly define their employer branding objectives and metrics in order to build the business case for investment and engage the CEO and Senior Management about the benefits. Personally, I feel that in order to position employer branding in an emerging market like South Africa, one would need to initially present a pilot project and report on metrics in order to gain recognition and buy in from your C-Suite.

Does employee word-of-mouth play a role in attracting top talent?

Most definitely. Your biggest brand advocates are your internal employees, however this will not be the case if companies have not begun practicing the philosophy of “Inside Out” i.e. companies need to build a strong employer brand internally first. Through employees buying in and endorsing your employer branding strategy, they will more readily promote and showcase your organisation, which can be very powerful especially when building your employer branding reputation.

What do you think are some of the key factors that influence employees’ engagement levels?

Gone are the days where companies apply a blanket approach to their workforce. The employees experience journey needs to be personalised and companies need to consider benefits outside of remuneration i.e. work-life-balance, their role within the organisation, remote working, time off and so forth. Companies need to invest, focus and measure their internal employer branding initiatives in order to retain the critical skills of high demand talent.

You are set to be one of the speakers at the upcoming E-Recruitment Conference in Johannesburg this month; does this mean employer branding has shifted heavily towards digital platforms?

Mobile and digital technologies are expanding to an extent where the boundaries between work and private life are changing. This new emerging society is being referred to as ‘The Networked Society’. Social media is a great enabler to showcase, communicate and elevate one’s employer brand. However, one needs to be proactive, skilled, and experienced in order to capitalise on opportunities within these evolving platforms.

Are there some basic differences when appealing to younger and older age group talent pools?

The Director of Talent Acquisition EMEA of the Adidas Group, Hanna Nordell mentioned that Generation Z is moving in. This brings about a whole new take on how to appeal to talent pools that have grown up using technology like the Internet, computers and mobile devices. Likewise with your older generation, the appeal and attraction strategy needs to be customised around their characteristics and needs.

Can you leave employer branding up to specialists or do you need buy-in from all levels of management?

Foremost, employer branding needs to be endorsed by the CEO and his EXCO. I would recommend that if talent acquisition specialists or employer branding champions wish to promote employer branding within their organisations, it would be a good idea to bring in subject matter specialists who can partner with these individuals to promote the necessity of implementing a long-term employer branding strategy.

For more information on Employer Branding SA, or to contact Celeste Sirin, please visit

Click here to see photos of this event.