Times Media and Employer Branding SA successfully held their back-to-back Employer Branding Power Breakfast session on Thursday, 10 November. The turnout comprised a great blend of attendees: SME’s, start-ups, established corporates and service providers. Times Media quite intentionally elected to keep their group of attendees small with a view to stimulating discussions, knowledge sharing and the gathering of insights in an intimate setting. While the purpose of this event was to demystify where SA is currently positioned vis a vis Employer Branding versus the Global Arena, we simultaneously focused on the untapped opportunities that awaited those forward thinkers (irrespective of company size) who choose to capitalize on this growing trend. It was enlightening to hear that innovation already exists within some companies, albeit from a tactical perspective and restricted only to those companies that chose to break out of the confines of their comfort zones. Our industry underestimates the dire need for the implementation of employer branding as we reflect on the demands of an ever-changing recruitment market.



Sadly not enough emphasis is presently being placed on the redefining and repositioning of one’s internal employer brand. Companies cannot, and should not, promote and market their employer brand if they are unaware of their workforce’s feelings towards their internal brand. Companies have everything to gain and nothing to lose by understanding the internal climate of their organisations which changes as and when companies undergo mergers, acquisitions, the appointment of a new leadership team, the replacement of a CEO, on-boarding of additional staff members, etc.

The articulation and/or repositioning of your brand value proposition aligned to your culture, values, morals, benefits, etc will provide you with an opportunity to ground and retain your people.

The endorsement from employees on the outcomes of a climate survey into a well-crafted employer value proposition (EVP) will enable you to confidently go out to market, educate and position your company proposition and competitive edge to further attract, engage and improve on sourcing the right talent pool.


While an overarching employer value proposition is necessary within all organisations, one needs to build a job value proposition to marry up with each and every role, skills set and generation, otherwise the proposition becomes null and void. Meaningless. This is particularly necessary when it comes to the marketing of high demand roles and/or high attrition and/or generation (e.g. millennials) and/or specific positions.

Nowadays, translating the job value proposition/USPs around positions is as important as the functional requirements. Why? Because the skill of resourcing has become one of marketing and/or selling. Companies that begin understanding that THE CANDIDATE IS KING will be the game changers.

Too many companies are still utilising the old school “blanket approach” mentality through their employees’ entire lifecycle. Innovation is key to creating an engaged and high performing workforce. Provide employees with a purpose. Make them understand how they personally contribute to the organisation and the impact they personally make on bottom line company profitability. Meet their contributions with meaningful incentives and rewards, not forgetting that intangible, emotional and lifestyle benefits can often override monetary perks, thereby becoming enormous motivators.



Glassdoor confirms that 96% of job seekers say they are influenced by employees providing reviews and ratings. This goes to show what a profound effect employees can have on your talent attraction strategy. MCI Direct Hire’s Annual SA HR Recruitment Trends Report 2016 reports that “the trend of organisations recruiting internally continues to trump the use of agencies as the primary source for candidates”.
A staggering 90% of companies are moving towards utilising their own internal HR departments to find talent, thus relying less and less on recruitment agencies! A well-defined EVP is however essential to the positioning of your Employee Reward or Ambassadorial Referral Programme.

Digital Channels
Online specialist, generic and professional job boards provide both recruiters – corporate and service providers – with platforms to advertise (as a recruiter) or find a job (work seeker).

But how effective are they?

A glut of information, often tardy, uninformed and out-dated is slapped on to these boards with not enough attention being paid to constructive creativity and copy content. Transforming job descriptions into lengthy, dull, copy-intensive adverts is the accepted norm these days in our industry. Little thought is being given to how best to carefully construct a headline and then craft a unique job value proposition for the target audience, THE CANDIDATES WHO ARE KINGS!

Research confirms that 51% of respondents would be attracted to a company with a job posting that incorporates a visual element that actually adds value to the written message. However some digital platforms are somewhat restricting when it comes to incorporating skillful typographical designs augmented by strong visual messages. Banners adverts (interactive and static) and social media platforms, if implemented correctly, can make an impact whether it be to proactively market your employer brand or to activate a recruitment campaign.

A recruitment advertising and marketing campaign can of course very effectively drive your audience through to an innovative career site that is enriched with exciting, creative imagery, videos, employer value propositions, testimonials, etc while telling your prospective employees why exactly your company is a really great place in which to work.

Print Channels – Far from Dead!
SHOUT ME DOWN, but print is far from dead and still most certainly has a major role to play in both the SA and African markets. According to research undertaken by Alexander Mann Solutions, “companies are putting their employer brand at risk by becoming less emotional in the hiring processes due to the ease of digital communications*.

As with the rest of the world, South Africa too has a variety of regions requiring a variety of nuances to attract their audiences through a variety of mediums. Experience has revealed that, through running a national recruitment drive, you will quickly realise how every region, including their outlying communities, have their preferred communication channels of choice, eg: the Eastern Cape and its outlying rural communities still rely heavily on print.

More, if you had to conduct proper research, you would be pleasantly surprised to witness the widespread, high circulation and readership of print which is currently being overlooked and underutilized by many companies. Organisations who have taken the “herd mentality” of migrating purely to digital, have overlooked or ignored the statistics and insights behind the existing print media’s captive audiences.

SA and African business leaders from some of your largest, most renowned companies are writing editorials, news and insights on their operations which attract the interests of an established, far-flung, captive business and talent market readership base. Why are employer brand leaders not doing the same in capitalizing on the attention that is being gained through these channel market opportunities? This is greenfield territory here that major employers are missing out on! These companies should be spreading still wider their employer brand presence by informing their potential employees about their operations through newsworthy employer brand content. This will translate into a highly informed talent pool where companies will be able to access great people, especially when it comes to critical scarce skills. Please understand that it does not stop here with your readership base, as this audience often networks and/or communicates with its respective communities, including all generations, on newsworthy articles and job opportunities. Why wait? Educate and pave the way at pre-recruitment phase and reap the reward of securing ongoing talent before the need to recruit arises.

Print still provides the visual impact that companies need, just so long as the state of your traditional and tired existing recruitment advertisements is radically improved upon. Complacency has sadly crept into the state of how certain organisations are advertising nowadays. The innovation and creativity of recruitment advertisements is lagging far behind, and if companies are ever to harvest this fertile terrain again, they will need to up their game.

Boring, overlong unexciting adverts must become a thing of the past. The conceptualisation and writing of small, colourful, refreshing, impactful and compelling adverts will certainly flag down your audience and pave the way for them to visit your personalised career site. Bear in mind that the upside to advertising in print is that companies have the perfect opportunity to drive their unified brand: the corporate, consumer and employer. Never underestimate the power of the press. Place professionally prepared adverts in them and enjoy both a higher level of impact (engagement) than you will in the digital media at a lower overall recruitment cost.

Change is inevitable so we all need to reinvent ourselves not only to survive, but also to thrive!

* Ri5 – 10 November 2016