Building a new Employer Brand – Interview inngoy

Published on 11-06-2018

Our interview series with experts from the field of recruiting and employer branding goes in the third round! During our last interview with Anja Bank, Employer Brand Manager Vodafone Germany, we talked about the importance of a positive candidate experience. This week, we discussed the most important elements, when building a new employer brand, with Marloes Peters and Bjorn Luijters from innogy.

Until October 2016, the energy company Essent was part of RWE, the second largest electricity producer in Germany. In April 2016, the German company decided that it would be time to set up a new, more future-oriented energy company: innogy. In October 2016, innogy was listed at the Frankfurter Stock Exchange. Today, innogy is Germany’s leading energy company with more than 40,000 employees and activities in 16 countries across Europe. In 2016, the company created a revenue of approximately €44 billion.

innogy Nederland

Bjorn Luijters and Marloes Peters

Who are our experts?

Marloes Peters (MP) is the Senior Advisor Recruitment Marketing & Employer Branding at innogy Netherlands. Marloes mainly works from the innogy office in Den Bosch.

Bjorn Luijters (BL) is the Employer Branding & Strategic HR Marketing Manager and
works from the head office in Essen, Germany for the international group of which innogy Netherlands is part of.

The roles of Marloes Peters and Bjorn Luijters at innogy revolve around a constant collaboration but also a clear division of tasks in the areas of employer branding, HR, marketing and recruitment at innogy. Bjorn Luijters, on the one hand, has his focus on the international effects and the further development of innogy’s employer brand. Marloes Peters, on the other hand, is responsible for the development and translation of innogy’s employer brand for the Netherlands.

Developing innogy’s new Employer Brand

In addition to the introduction of inngoy on the German market, the company was also launched internationally, which created major challenges for the company’s employer brand. In this interview, we will discuss the development of the employer brand innogy and its translation to innogy Netherlands. An important starting point for this are comprehensive values (people’s beliefs) of innogy, which connects employees across different countries and cultural backgrounds.

CM: How did you develop innogy’s new employer brand after entering new markets?

BL: First of all, we need to clarify that developing an employer brand isn’t a plug-and-play product. It needs to take the values, norms, culture and positioning across countries into account. We started with the mantra that in addition to a ‘brand belief’ as an organisation, you also need a ‘people belief’ – Values that connect everyone. With the help of several workshops in various countries we managed t establish our ‘people belief’. Based on that we developed the Employer Value Proposition (EPP) and the communication concept #PIONIERGEIST (German for ‘pioneering spirit’). In combination with the employer branding concept, the people belief serves as the basis for all countries and can be specifically translated locally. Our people – our energy – our inspiration. Together we innogize!

MP: The special thing about inngoy is that we have the opportunity to develop and introduce a completely new employer brand on the Dutch job market. Essent, and Powerhouse will continue to exist as a consumer brand, but innogy is the corporate and employer brand. With the introduction of innogy, we not only introduce a new name but also a new employers’ proposition that focuses much more on Digital and IT. In that sense, it is an advantage that we were able to let go of Essent as an employer’s brand.


Shared values – Together we innogize!

CM: Can you tell us a little more about the employee value proposition and employer brand of innogy?

BL: I could tell you a lot about our proposition but I find it much more important to explain what characterizes innogy on an international level. Internationally, we defined innogy’s essence as follows:

When we fail, we get up and train again. We encourage INNOVATIVE spirit. We turn problems into solutions. We work to have IMPACT. We push the limits to discover new horizons. We take true INTEREST. Our people – our energy inspiration.

#PIONIERGEIST, is what we all have in common!

MP: In order to achieve a good translation for the Dutch market, we started the Employee Value Proposition project with the ‘innogy Love Story’. We translated the employer branding communication concept #PIONIERGEIST to #NieuweEnergie (Dutch for #NewEnergy) with the corresponding line: Will you turn the energy world upside down?

We had to realize that the standard employer brand story, based on ‘who are we and what do we do’, isn’t sufficient any longer. Today, our storyline comes from within the organization. We want to communicate this story especially with the new target audience we want to reach. We hereby rely on very specific choice because we don’t want to address everyone. Furthermore, it is already difficult enough to determine when and where you place your company’s message in an increasingly fragmented online landscape

 CM: What audience segment does innogy address as a Digital Tech company?

MP: First of all, it is important that we become more visible as an employer, too little people know us so far. We therefore mainly want to trigger and evoke the curiosity of our target groups, which fits the innogy mentality. The following target groups were formulated:

  • Digital
  • IT
  • Marketing
  • Customer Service
  • Engineering (Germany)

This target group segmentation is also immediately recognizable for candidates, who take a look at our new career site

CM: How did innogy identify its target groups?

MP: In order to understand and reach our target groups properly, we began with extensive research. Together with our HR business partners, Recruiters and Hiring Managers we analysed existing data from the (recent) past as well as our expectations for the future. Based on business impact, on the one hand, and the scarcity of specific jobs, on the other hand, we developed a matrix, containing the 8 most wanted target groups for innogy Netherlands. We then conducted research on these target groups and translated the results into Personas, which provide us with information about our target groups. We focused on the following characteristic profiles:

  • demographic profile
  • media profile
  • communication profile
  • competition profile
  • work profile

This approach enables us to look at our target groups more specifically as well as to convey the right message. Basically, we will continue to use well-known channels such as Linkedin / Google / Indeed. However, at the vacancy level, the focus will increasingly be on customization social, display and niche sites. Programmatic job advertising will help us with this.

CM: What does this mean for the candidate and current employee of innogy?

BL: Basically,  you will be able to experience more, as candidate as well as employee. inngoy is placing the candidate and his/her journey in the center of attention, instead of the existing end-2-end process across different departments. In the end, it should be one journey for the candidate. This journey needs to be consistent – from orientation over interest until onboarding. We often tend to make thing unnecessarily complex. A candidate journey-oriented approach offers the perfect solution. Externally, inngoy is not only a company you can work for and with but also offers energy-related and digital services or products.

MP: In a nutshell, we want our brand’s promise not only to be experienced during the candidate’s orientation and recruitment process but also during his/her entire working period. This requires a different approach as an employer. If we expect from new employees to work together, challenge one another and embrace a more agile approach, a traditional employment contract won’t be an option – it just wouldn’t fit with who we have become.

#PIONIERGEIST needs a good working culture.

CM: How does the Candidate Journey of innogy look like?

MP: The new approach involves the candidate as well as the employee during his entire working life at innogy. Beginning with the recruitment process and onboarding, followed by his or her career at innogy and ending with the departure (offboarding) and the role of alumni.

A specific example that we are working on is the ‘Candidate Experience Room’. We want to create an experience that fits with who we are but also lets the candidate gain insights into how working for innogy looks like.

The ratio of giving and getting, wich new talents can expect from the innogy promise, must be right. After all, we want to fulfill our promise. – Marloes Peters

CM: How does innogy measure the result?

BL: We measure results based on our own data and periodically independent market research. For example, our journey began with zero-measurement as a starting point for the introduction of innogy as an employer brand. This way, we could determine its impact. But first, we needed to define what success is. We have clear annual targets in terms of attractiveness and commitment to the employer brand in Germany. Also, the beliefs of our target audience are measured periodically. The first results of the follow-up measurement are now known and it looks like we are on the right track.

MP: In the recent past we mainly looked at the KPIs ‘Time to Fill’ or ‘Cost per Applicant’. Today, we measure the Quality of Hire based on the performance of the candidate. In addition, we will soon start measuring the Quality of Experience of the candidate as well as the more specific Hiring Manager Experience.

CM: How does innogy experience the current shortage of talent?

MP: We are in such a big transition of both, corporate brand and employer brand, that we actually started all over again. Although there is certainly pressure on the job market, we see it primarily as an opportunity to position ourselves very well as an attractive employer. Furthermore, we are not the only company that develops a more digital profile. So yes, it will be harder to get the right people and yes, the use of standard job marketing is certainly not enough anymore to make a difference.

In my experience, the cultural aspect is at least as important as knowledge and experience and that will not be different for the applicant. – Bjorn Luijters

CM: How relevant is Cultural Fit as part of the recruiting experience and where do you see still room for improvement?

BL: In my experience, the cultural aspect is at least as important as knowledge and experience and that will not be different for the applicant. For that reason, we have embraced CompanyMatch and integrated it into our job market communication and embedded in the career page. I believe that CompanyMatch contributes positively to the candidate experience, from orientation to application, with the aim of a better match between applicant and innogy. Personally, I hope that we can interconnect it with our ATS as we did with Essent.

Curious about more stories from employers and how they have developed their employer brand? We will soon publish an interview with Hugo van Zelm Van Eldik, principal recruiter and responsible for Employer Branding at the NN group on our blog. Until then, feel free to head over to browse through articles such as “Robot Recruiting – Are robots the recruiter of tomorrow?” and many more.

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