- Young professionals should see themselves mirrored in your communication
- Involve stakeholders early to decide how you want to be perceived
- Be clear about your strategy and goals and where young professionals fit in
By developing an image and brand based the real-life experiences of employees, Konecranes has risen to 10th place in the list of Finland’s most attractive employers in Young Professionals Attraction Index 2020 (YPAI).
– Building an employer image will only really succeed if existing staff or alumni recognize the truthfulness of the communicated image – you cannot build castles in the air. Like all brands, a good employer evokes emotion,” says Satu Virtanen, Talent Acquisition Specialist at Konecranes Finland.
The 2020 Young Professionals Attraction Index (YPAI) published by Academic Work contains a number of metrics that strengthen Konecranes’ theory that the much sought-after current and future generations of graduates want to work for employers who share their values.
YPAI is conducted to help employers understand what tomorrow’s workforce of young professionals value most when choosing their next employer. The insights from YPAI aim to give a deeper understanding of how to attract, recruit and develop young professionals, and many are looking for an employer that is open and transparent about what they have to offer.
– We often think of the employer image as an external image, but influencing it is not just a polishing of the outer shell. Developing it and creating a strategy is a journey to the core of the company, Satu explains.
– What are the themes and goals of our business strategy? What kind of expertise do we have and what kind of expertise do we need to implement our business strategy now and in the future? Who are the talents? What are they interested in and what kind of things do they value? What can we offer that other organizations competing for the same skills don’t offer?
Attracting potential starts early
Attracting sough-after young professionals is one of the primary aims of Satu and Konecranes, and their efforts to attract them start early.
– We cooperate with universities nationwide and offer information about what we do, as well as summer job opportunities. We want to offer interesting, challenging roles for young professionals, she says.
– Our work in this area is very focused and very much steered by the goals we have. Without strategic work it’s easy to do a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, and you may not get the desired results. Our approach has been very targeted, and we are starting to reap the rewards, and it is something we will continue to do.
Compared to other companies listed on Helsinki’s Nasdaq stock exchange, Konecranes is still relatively young. The original Kone company was founded in 1910, but the corporation as it exists today came into being in 1994 after a major restructuring.
All of this is taken into account when telling the company’s story to young professionals.
– It is important to create an employer image and brand that is based on the company's business strategy and that identifies its own strengths and areas for development. It’s important to strongly involve the company’s various stakeholders in this work and not do it behind closed doors in the HR office, Satu says.
Current employees highlighted
Authenticity also extends to the images Konecranes uses in communications: when young professionals identify with and identify with images, it is also easier for them to imagine themselves as part of a team.
– We make real coworkers and our company culture visible in images, videos and career stories, and we make use of them in career pages, job adverts, social media and so on, Satu says.
– With a good employer image and branding strategy and a good employee experience, we can ensure that we are able to hire the kind of expertise with which we can succeed in our own business area and expand further.
Reflection from Academic Work
Konecranes have understood that the foundation for building a credible employer brand that is sustainable in the long term is to work from the inside out, and not the other way around. Communicating with an overly positive or even a false image leads to an increase in the gap between expectations and reality, and the employer brand will be damaged as a result.
To be an attractive employer, one must ensure that the company has engaged employees who speak well of their employer to their family and friends – that is when the employer branding efforts start to have the desired effect. Involving existing employees in how the messaging is formed and later delivering it externally is a winning concept.