Employer Branding - A Valueable Tool for Startups

Employer branding: what might remind you of large corporations and paper tigers is in fact a valuable tool for attracting and retaining employees – even for startups. Those who present themselves and their values to the outside world in a clear and recognizable way and take care of a professional recruiting strategy early on, will increase their chances of success in the market. After all, the right team is key for the success of a company, especially when it comes to new businesses.

For startups, employer branding is probably not number 1 on their to-do list – all the energy and effort goes into developing their product or service, market development and winning customers. But sooner or later, startups should be taking care of employer branding – because it is essential to attract the right employees for young companies in particular: 23% of startups fail due to team composition (https://recruitingdaily.com/top-reason-startups-fail-not-finding-right-talent/). Employer branding does not only concern large corporations anymore. It is also an important and valuable opportunity for SMEs and especially startups to position themselves in the market as an attractive employer and thereby differentiate themselves from the competition.

How to Implement Employer Branding - What Is Our EVP?

At the very beginning of a startup, there is one important rule concerning all business areas: hands on. In this stage, the external representation of the company is the responsibility of all team members. Their actions and behavior significantly shape the external perception. Therefore, it is worth discussing and answering the following questions honestly to strengthen the employer brand: 

  • Corporate identity and values: Who are we and how do we work? What is important to us? 
  • Services and/or products: What do we offer and what is our USP? 
  • Strengths as an employer: What organizational culture do we live in our company? What career and development opportunities, what special benefits do we offer to our employees? What kind of working environment do we want to create? 
  • Expectations towards employees: Who fits in with us and what do our employees bring to our company? 
  • Market position and employer image: How do we differentiate ourselves from the competition? How are we currently perceived as a possible employer?

Answering these questions leads to the employer value proposition, EVP. It is comparable to the unique value proposition of a company. In contrast, however, the focus lies not on a customer or an investor, but on the employee. Honesty is key, so the EVP does not contain any promises that cannot be kept. This also ensures that the EVP fits the company and the organizational culture. Anything else will quickly seem dishonest.

Investing Early and Professionalizing Recruiting

The success of a company depends on its most valuable resource – its employees. It is therefore advisable – also for young companies – to invest in employer branding as quickly as possible and with targeted measures, and to professionalize recruiting, for example with the support of an external partner. Anyone who simply publishes a job offer at a venture and hopes to receive suitable applications, misses the chance to find the matching and also highly demanded talents for the company – because nowadays, a well formulated job advertisement is simply not enough. A thoroughly planned recruiting strategy follows a proactive approach: from the advertisement, through the appropriate channel and distribution, to the detailed design of the application process; nothing is left to chance.

Increasing Identification and Strengthening Loyalty

Employer branding not only increases efficiency in the area of recruitment, but also serves to retain qualified and committed employees in the long term. Ultimately, the aim is not only to attract the matching talents to the company, but to also keep them on board and to move the company forward together. Employees who can strongly relate to the company and its values demonstrate greater involvement and trust. When employees have trust in the organization, they are more motivated, work more efficiently and stay with the company for a longer time. This enables a company, for example, to sustainably counteract the threat of brain drain and to drive forward the long-term success of the company together with a strong team.


The development of a sustainable employer branding is worthwhile even in the initial phase of a startup: in this way, the young company strengthens its position in the market and creates a solid foundation for the recruitment of the best talents. After all, only those who have the right team at their side, can succeed in the long term.

Author: Doris Fink