Your company is entering the Polish market and you are looking for Polish employees? Or maybe you already have a branch office in Poland, but you want to take care of your employer image and attract valuable people? One of the most frequently repeated slogans in HR is “the employee market”. Hiring a good specialist in Poland requires a bit more commitment than issuing a recruitment ad and waiting for ideal candidates to come forward. This is where the employer branding strategy comes in. It’s not only a way to attract the right people, but also to reduce recruitment costs and build a solid image of the company (and more and more Poles are paying attention to the owners’ worldview and how they treat their employees). Where to start building an employer branding strategy in Poland?
Table of contents:
- Step 1 – data collection
- Step 2 – audit the current communication
- Step 3 – research the company’s environment
- Step 4 – target group
- Step 5 – employer branding strategy
Step 1 – data collection
In Polish marketing, all good things start with data collection. The starting point should therefore be an analysis of what, how and where your current, former and potential employees are saying about you “out there”. The main objective of employer branding in Poland is to build a positive image of the company in the eyes of potential employees from Poland (and then to win them over). The first steps should be directed towards those who already work for you.
This is where surveys come in handy. Send them out to your current employees. Ask for feedback on:
- Working conditions (financial, but also tools available to employees, atmosphere, benefits, etc.),
- Awareness of work objectives and knowledge of company processes,
- Communication within the company (communication with superiors, other departments, but also with people at the same levels).
- Motivation of employees (you will find out what they value in your work, but also in general, what Polish employees value).
The next step is to analyse the surveys. We guarantee that you will quickly see which elements of the company’s functioning are most valued by Polish employees and which they criticise. We know from experience that Poles can be workaholics (provided that they are intrinsically motivated to work), but they do not suffer from being forced to stay after hours. They value a friendly atmosphere and a harmonious team, as well as company events or integration trips.
Tick both the positive and the negative areas. What is positive is your starting point in employer branding communication in Poland. What is negative are elements for further examination. Here, you may wish to seek the assistance of a professional external consultant who will take a cool-headed approach to the topic.
Step 2 – audit of current communication
If you decide to work with an external consultant, put the communication audit in their hands. From the level of the employer or a senior person, it is difficult to make an impartial assessment of how a company communicates with employees or candidates.
That is, a study of the company’s communication with its current Polish employees. What tools do the company currently use (e.g. notice boards, employee newspapers, e-mail communication, employee applications, groups, discussion forums, internal newsletter) and with what results? Synthesising employee feedback helps lay the foundations for effective communication in the future.
What are the ways in which the company and its values communicate towards potential employees? List all the external employer branding communication channels (from traditional media to digital channels, social media, online advertising, etc.). How does recruitment take place and where does information about it appear? What is the dominant message externally?
Step 3 – researching the company’s environment
Having examined the company’s communications and employee satisfaction levels, it’s time to look at the competition and the industry in a broader context.
This means analysing the communication of your industry’s competitors in Poland. Here, the audit should include not only quantitative data (i.e. where they communicate, how often and to whom), but also qualitative data (what they do that your company does better, what they lack, what former employees say about them).
The brand position should also be examined in the broader context of the entire employer market in a given region (e.g. municipality, district, province). Remember that in the vast majority of cases potential candidates are not limited to companies in a single industry (e.g. logistics or IT experts will be needed both by a huge international transport company and a small distribution company). This diagnostic stage should be supported by data on the employment situation in the region (with help coming from the CSO or local labour offices). It is also possible to refer to reports of external companies, which consider the general market trends for employment in Poland.
Step 4 – target group
After the research stage comes the key moment – determining who your current Polish employees are and which employees you want to recruit in the future. This not only determines the further method of communication, but also directs communication to the appropriate platforms.
The candidate path
The separation of recruitment activities from external employer branding is something that is still overlooked by many foreign companies operating in the Polish market. Recruitment activities are short-term and focused on a specific candidate profile and a specific vacancy. In many companies, the recruitment process for a trainee or low-level employee looks different than the search for an experienced specialist. Carefully analyse the candidate’s path from the first contact with the company to the sending of the application. What problems might they encounter along the way? What questions are not answered? What information is missing from the adverts or the careers page? Where might they get lost in the application process? What can you do to make their experience of applying for a position more enjoyable? Are you as an employer behaving in an orderly manner (are you providing feedback to all candidates or only to those selected?). Poles appreciate simplicity and clarity. If a place, company or advert seems suspicious to them, they are unlikely to apply. Take care of the company’s credibility on the Internet. This is where they will direct their first steps during the research.
Polish employer branding – external and internal
Long-term activities building the company’s image as an employer. The target group for internal employer branding is obviously your Polish employees. Consider how large and how diverse this group is. In large companies, the group of employees is segmented into several parts (e.g. by departments or positions). In the case of external communication, audience segmentation is in turn a necessity. It is simple – to know what to say to Polish candidates, you need to know who they are and what they need.
Step 5 – employer branding strategy
The time to create a long-term and short-term employer branding strategy in Poland comes when you have enough data about your current activities and future goals.
Employer brand identity – EVP
Before you start working on your strategy, define your brand identity. Use archetypes here – in traditional marketing communications Coca-Cola uses the family archetype, Pepsi the fun archetype, Nike the sports hero archetype and Disney the magic and magical childhood archetype. Define your EVP (employer value proposition), i.e. the overarching value your company offers to Polish employees (pro tip from us: EVP may be slightly different for different countries. In Poland, creativity, possibility to realise oneself through additional trainings, personal possibility to contribute to the development of the company, high independence of the employee or strong emphasis on work life balance are particularly valued). It is important not to mix several EVPs, but to focus on one and build the Polish employer branding strategy around it.
Creating an employer branding strategy in Poland is a topic for another article (or several!). What needs to be remembered from the start is the need to define detailed KPIs. No campaign will be effective if we don’t know what effects we expect at all. What are some examples of KPIs in employer branding communication? The number of online mentions, the number of press releases published about the company, the number of hits on the “join us” tab (in the absence of a dedicated advertising campaign aimed at recruitment), and even the number of people hired in a given timeframe or time to hire ratio. It’s difficult to measure audience awareness of a company, but measuring specific data already gives valuable feedback on whether actions are moving forward at all.
Before you start thinking about the employer branding strategy in Poland, you need to prepare yourself thoroughly. Only when you have a full picture of the company’s image will you know in which direction to go in order to achieve the desired effect and build a strong position as a desirable employer. If you are just entering the Polish market or you are already there, but you want to change your image and communicate better with candidates, write to us. We are a Polish marketing agency which has already helped many foreign companies to build a team of employees from Poland.