As I received the kununu newsletter last summer and opened an article about the best employers among the marketing agencies, I had a glimpse of hope that the fruit of my labor would be reflected in the ranking. So I opened the link, read first of all the great evaluation of the three leading positions, skipped confidently the sad taillights and scrolled through the ranking. To see our name at position 9 with a 4,41 star-valuation! Among the first ten marketing/advertising/PR companies in a Germany-wide comparison – I was and still am incredibly proud of our results.
But how did we achieve such a good ranking with Mashup Communications? Here are seven tips that companies should take to heart if they want to take a leading position as an attractive employer in terms of employer branding.
First of all, you have to know, that there are such platforms. The employer-valuation-platform kununu belongs to XING and is in Germany the most heavily frequented one. Internationally established is the employer-ranking-tool glass door. As these tools cannot be controlled directly by the company itself, they cause discomfort in many management levels. However, there is no need to be afraid of them. On the contrary: Well-implemented they can be very useful for an organization. For example, one of our clients was ranked first in the Germany-wide ranking for the coolest offices, which earned him much press coverage. In times of shortage of skilled workers and labor market, this is an important aspect of the employer branding.
Due to the disproportionately high frequency of negative evaluations by frustrated employees, kununu & Co. give the impression of an “agony aunt”. This can cause harm to the employer image, as ranking tools are also part of the employer branding. To ignore this platforms or to complain when there are negative comments doesn’t help though. Whether justified or not, the poor ratings are visible to everyone. Potential new employees, but also new clients, will be discouraged and will most certainly don’t apply for a job or ask for a quotation.
As a countermeasure to the bad valuations it is advisable to take them seriously. First of all, a company can always comment on the valuations at the platform. In addition, one should also speak openly internally when, for example, current employees express their displeasure at kununu. Our credo at Mashup Communications: „Before expressing your anger on a ranking-tool, come directly to us.“ Since most employees want to stay anonymous, there have to be an opportunity to remain so. Some companies have a physical suggestion box, we are equipped with the online tool Teambay, which is useful to get a weekly feedback from employees on their satisfaction. This is also a good way for all Mashies, to address their problems and worries, give a proposal for a solution, but also to say thanks to specific colleagues.
To counteract the one-sided, negative company representations, the current employees, as well as former interns or applicants, should be encouraged to leave their honest opinion, which paints a realistic picture of the company. The first Mashup Communications valuations on kununu are from 2013 by Miriam and me and are marked as transparent. Afterwards we also asked our employees for an assessment. It took two years till we received the first employee-valuation, which was really frustrating in the first place.
Therefore, we referred to and promoted kununu over the time. On the one hand we ask our interns for a valuation of their internship in the final meeting. After all they also receive a certificates from us as well. Also we ask our former employees in the course of the alumni-interviews for an assessment, when the memories of the old employer are recalled. And I regularly motivated the team to give out their stars whenever there was a kununu team event to win for new evaluations or when rankings were released in which we could theoretically also have taken one of the leading positions from the score.
Which leads us to the next point. It doesn’t help to have three valuations ranked with 5 stars or if the last assessment is five years ago. In order to get into the ranking, a company needs at least 23 evaluations on kununu, at least one evaluation must be from the current year. That is the reason, why I always reminded all Mashies to submit an assessment. Especially with longstanding employees it doesn’t hurt to ask for a second assessment, especially if fundamental things in the company have changed or become positive.
Even if it suits my personal nature to always want to win, we do not make the whole hustle and bustle around the kununu-assessment to celebrate us for days and to pat ourselves on the back. Actually such rankings help us as a small agency to get on the radar of people, who normally wouldn’t hear from us. Moreover, the good kununu rankings lead to good job applications. That way we get exactly the employees that we really want.
Employer branding isn’t just about bonding current employees to your company, but also about being desirous to potential applicants. In combination with our website, we want to be attractive for young storytelling talents and for old hands in the PR business. The ones, for whom work-life-balance, a good team spirit and flat hierarchy are just as important as varied working fields, self-realization and humor.
All show and no substance! Just as the saying goes: If the entire corporate culture is in a bad state, the valuations can’t be good either. Who wants to change the negative assessments in the long run, should be serious about them and take action in terms of reasonable criticism. When all activities in the sense of employer branding are targeted on creating an interesting, one of a kind and consistent employer brand, then the employees will enjoy working and will proudly recommend the company to others.