Establish Strong Employer Branding for Start-Ups

By Veronica Blatt

employer branding graphicToday’s guest blogger is Taufik Arief with People Search Indonesia, based in Jakarta. People Search Indonesia serves clients in FMCG, pharmaceuticals, IT, telecommunication, general manufacturing, and fashion & retail. Taufik currently serves on the NPAworldwide Board of Directors representing Asia.

The importance of employer branding should not be underestimated, including for start-up companies, since organizations with strong employer branding will be more capable in hiring the most suitable people, supporting employee retention & loyalty and generally creating a greater business image.

There are some ways to develop strong employer branding and below are some points applicable for start-ups:

1. Create an attractive Employee Value Preposition (EVP)
Every company has an EVP, no matter how small, and in whatever the industry is. Start-ups might provide a uniquely appealing EVP, which may not be applicable for bigger organizations. In general, start-ups embrace the spirit of entrepreneurship. Professionals in mid and high level management might see this as an opportunity to fully utilise their capability in running and growing a business venture, exercise wider authority and manage relatively bigger risk (compared to work in more established companies). In this type of organization, staff also can work in a more agile and flexible working environment, without many constraints and management layers. Recent graduates and junior staff can interact directly with the top management or business owner, and can freely express their business views to more senior staff or management. Start-ups also often provide fast-track career development for their star talent, as the higher level management can easily observe the development of their staff.

2. Target ‘segmented talent pool”
Most of the start-ups have limited sources compared to established businesses. Some venture capital-funded companies might have more resources, but still remain very cautious in spending. Therefore employer branding activities have to be more prudent in terms of spending, efforts and time consumption. Start-ups are well-advised to target a segment-specific talent pool. This might be from certain companies, industries or universities/campuses. Social media can help to communicate to a wider audience; however, employer branding is definitely is not only through social media interaction. There must be more off-line, personalized interaction with the prospective employees, which require more resources to perform. Therefore, targeting segmented talent pools can be an effective way to grow the employer branding of a start-up.

3. Encourage existing staff to become brand ambassadors
Encourage selected staff to speak about company culture, working environment, EVP, and their career progress with the company. This can be a mass video communication, blogs/articles, actively participation in recruitment events or through individual discussion with applicants. Companies should ensure their existing staff exhibit the company’s promised EVP. Existing staff have the potential to be excellent brand ambassadors, but those who are dissatisfied can harm branding efforts and discourage good people from applying.

As start-ups usually employ a small number of people, it is much easier for management to share, implement and evaluate their EVP to existing staff and encourage them to share it with the world.

4. Develop an attractive and sound recruitment process
Make your hiring process attractive. Use current technology, including social media, with appealing messages to applicants. If you do campus recruitment, or walk-in interview events, make sure you are outstanding compared to other employers.

At the same time, there is a need to ensure the recruitment process is well-performed and professional. Every recruitment step taken by a candidate demonstrates the reality of a company and contributes to the company’s image. Does a recruiter reply to every CV submitted by applicants? Does the employer give sufficient feedback following the interview? Do they negotiate with their talent properly, ethically and professionally? Sending ridiculous salary offers might damage an employer’s branding. Indeed, each step of the recruitment process can give a positive or negative perception about the company.

There are many other ideas and solutions for improving employer branding. Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below, or email me at

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