Schwartz Public Relations is a midsized agency specialized in integrated communication on tech and digital topics, based in the heart of Munich, Germany. We are no large network agency and don’t have their market power or visibility. Therefore, our employer branding requires completely different tools and strategies to make sure we are seen as a relevant and attractive agency for potential and current employees. In the following, we want to share our thoughts and experiences with employer branding, and the challenges that we’ve been facing.
We at Schwartz Public Relations like to compare employer branding to an orchestra: dozens of instruments and musicians, each of them producing a different tone. But together they create impressive music. With great sensitivity, active listening, but also guidance and foresight, a conductor arranges all instruments. At the same time he relies on the contribution of every musician.
Although excellent music is a unique mix of all sounds, one instrument is essential for the perfect tone: the violins, in our case the employees. For us a sustainable people strategy and maintaining the current team is key. Our colleagues are the most important ambassadors – to attract new staff and grow together.
“…a sustainable people strategy and maintaining the current team is key“
We run the agency humanely and with a strong “down to earth” attitude. This means that we treat our colleagues with the highest level of respect and full trust from the first moment they start working here. This resulted in us being awarded as the “best agency to work for” in Germany by the Holmes Report for two years in a row. We give guidance and support wherever needed, while we encourage engagement, new ideas, rethinking of established processes and the mindset to take decisions. Based on a philosophy of absolute transparency – with a clear understanding of client needs, expectations and contracts from trainee to management – everyone is able to decide about level and timing of service. This not only enables every team member to take over responsibility but also leads to high motivation.
Next to this inside perspective, employer branding obviously has an outside perspective as well. For us this is based on building up and continuously working on a good agency reputation.
The framework for this is the agency itself, like percussion instruments building the foundation for the strong sound of the orchestra. For us this starts with a representative office, where we gladly invite clients and where we love to work. Being in a network with international partners like within thenetworkone is another important aspect to leverage global opportunities and foster an open-minded agency culture, where everybody is willing to learn and to evolve. At Schwartz PR we also give high importance to our own agency marketing: proactively communicating relevant stories and news via our own social media channels and to influential communications media strengthens the positive connotation with the brand and its visibility in the market.
As most of our new colleagues come from other agencies, it helps that also our competitors are aware of us, for example, when they talk about Schwartz PR as strong competition in the next pitch. We initiated regulars where agency leaders meet and have the possibility to get to know each other. This network also enables to be part of the “gossip”, the social lubricant that supports a certain position in the market and that connects with the right people.
Even building up relationships with relevant journalists and influencers is essential. They are an important voice in the communication industry – and some of them are part of our team today. With regards to the reputation and its impact on employer branding, we should not forget the power of well-known clients. Working for famous brands helps to attract new colleagues. At the same time, they can increase motivation within the existing team: When talking with friends and family everyone loves to mention major brands to receive recognition from listeners.
For us, employer branding is a continuous challenge. It requires sensibility, persistence and lots of listening. Similar to conducting an orchestra.
Julia Maria Kaiser is part of the Agency Management at Schwartz Public Relations in Munich, Germany
Article taken from thenetworkone’s essay collection “How to attract and retain talent”. To read the full essay collection and other publications, visit our Knowledge page.