Employer Branding as a Powerful Tool for Employee Recruitment and Retention

Project: PHD Research

Project Details


In our increasingly global society, organizations face many opportunities in innovation, improved productivity and easy access to talent. At the same time, one of the greatest challenges, businesses experience nowadays, is the importance of social and/or human capital for their effectiveness and success (Backhaus and Tikoo, 2004; Mosley, 2007; Theurer et al., 2018; Tumasjan et al., 2020). High-quality employees are crucial to the competitive strength of an organization in the global economy, as these employees have a major influence on organizational reputation (Dowling at al., 2012). An important question is how, under these global circumstances, organizations and companies in the Netherlands can best be stimulated to attract and preserve social capital.

Several studies have suggested the scarcity of talent and the crucial importance of gaining competitive advantage with recruitment communication to find the fit between personal and fundamental organizational characteristics and values for employees (Cable and Edwards, 2004; Bhatnagar and Srivastava, 2008; ManPower Group, 2014; European Communication Monitor (ECM), 2018). In order to become an employer of choice, organizations have to not only stand out from the crowd during the recruitment process but work on developing loyalty and a culture of trust in their relationship with employees (ECM, 2018).

Employer Branding focuses on the process of promoting an organization, as the “employer of choice” to a desired target group, which an organization aims to attract and retain. This process encompasses building an identifiable and unique employer identity or, more specifically, “the promotion of a unique and attractive image” as an employer (Backhaus 2004, p. 117; Backhaus and Tikoo 2004, p. 502).

One of the biggest challenges in the North of the Netherlands at the moment is the urgent need for qualified labor in the IT, energy and healthcare sectors and the excess supply of international graduates who are able to find a job in the North of the Netherlands (AWVN, 2019). Talent development, as part of the regional labor market and education policy, has been an important part of government programs and strategies in the region (VNO-NCW Noord, 2018). For instance, North Netherlands Alliance (SNN) signed a Northern Innovation Agenda for the 2014-2020 period. SNN encourages, facilitates and connects ambitions focused on the development of the Northern Netherlands. Also, the Social Economic council North Netherlands issued an advice on the labour market in the North Netherlands (SER Noord Nederland, 2017). Knowledge institutions also contribute through employability programs. Another example is the Regional Talent Agreement (Talent Akkoord) framework issued by the Groningen educational institutions, employers and employees’ organizations and regional authorities in which they jointly commit to recruiting, training, retaining and developing talent for the Northern labor market.

Most of the hires with a maximum of five year of experience at companies are represented by millennials. To learn what values make an attractive brand for employees in the of the North of the Netherlands, we conducted a first study. When ranking the most important values of corporate culture which matter to young employees, they mention creative freedom, purposeful work, flexibility, work-life balance as well as personal development. Whereas attractive workplace and job security do not matter to such a degree. A positive work environment and a good relationship with colleagues are valued highly (Hein, 2019).

To date, as far as we know, no other employer branding studies have been carried out for the North of the Netherlands. Further insight is needed into the role of employer branding as a powerful tool to retain talent in Northern industry in particular.

The goal of this study is to provide a detailed analysis of the regional industry in the Northern Netherlands and contribute to: 1) the scientific body of knowledge about whether and how employer branding can strengthen the attractiveness of a regional industry in the labor market; 2) the application of this knowledge and insights by companies and governments in local policy development in the North of the Netherlands.
Short titleEmployer Branding
Effective start/end date1/09/201/09/24

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