Has SAP Revealed the Future of Employment Branding? Introducing ‘Freemium to Premium’

Business meeting(SAP was this year’s ERE Recruiting Excellence winner for the best employer brand and most strategic use of technology)

The “best” talent is getting harder to hire. Areas like the San Francisco Bay are witnessing a real high-tech “war for talent.” How can we shake up the traditional model of employment branding, and make an impact in this war? In the future, can we make the branding function self funding? Is that even possible?

The employment brand function is evolving. The old days of creating bright and colorful posters, giveaway swag, and running speculative brand campaigns with no data measurements are consigned to the dustbins of history.

As we seek to hire more passive candidates (which we all know is 80 percent of the talent pool), we need to get more creative in the way we reach out and seduce these passives. That’s why sourcing, digital marketing, and social media marketing are now a critical part of hiring campaign management. Employment branding has grown up. It’s 2015 and we are anchored on big data because we have to be.

What is the Future of Employment Branding?

We believe it is the Employment Brand Menu.

Like all companies, at SAP we have had to overcome employment brand challenges. There were a large number of factors that led to a fundamental drive in needing to launch a huge wave of employment brand initiatives. The key influencing factors (many inaccurate but perceptions are reality for candidates) were:

  • The misinformed concern that SAP is a large bureaucratic company where candidates get lost in a crowd (despite the many startups within SAP)
  • A brand not reflecting the new, fast-paced dynamics of the cloud and the growth & dynamics of SAP in emerging markets
  • The need to appeal and attract millennials against other key tech companies like Google, Apple, and Microsoft
  • The need for SAP to be widely recognized as a Great Place to Work
  • A need to fundamentally update a careers site that did not represent the “new” exciting SAP, and provide a stronger candidate experience
  • The previous broadcast nature of SAP recruitment brand and unengaging social media content
  • A need to communicate, authentically, the true employee voice via video
  • A need to measure our source and quality of hire
  • Improving our candidate experience, with a goal of real time pass/fail feedback
  • A need to reduce recruitment agency hires and fees
  • The declining effectiveness of job boards and candidate quality derived from postings
  • A need to start pipelining and get ahead of the hiring curve
  • A desire to run recruitment by more big data and focus on ROI in decision making rather than “subjective finger-in-the-air guessing”

A long list, huh? These (many!) demands (and many misperceptions) combined to drive a compelling need to turn the dial for SAP.

2014: Starting to Turn the Dial

Given these challenges, much needed to be done and the employment brand team created real, tangible achievements:

  • Designed, created, and launched a brand new corporate careers site which is mobile enabled, has responsive design, powered by a content management system that allows instantaneous change/refresh of content
  • Uniquely, the employment brand team has been merged with global sourcing
  • Produced new branding guides for recruiters and sourcers: how to sell SAP and how to overcome  common candidate rebuttals
  • New sourcing hubs built and staffed in Boston, Prague, and Manila
  • Hired a dedicated video editor who created more than 40 employee story videos for social media and the careers site, sharing an authentic, real view of SAP from our actual employees
  • Democratization of university hiring with real-time candidate feedback and online assessments for the SAP Sales Academy Initiative
  • One of the fastest-growing talent communities in the world with 300,000 members using SAP’s own product called RMK
  • Launched new Life at SAP social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn, anchored on humanizing SAP and unleashing employee stories
  • Focusing on big data analytics that track source of hire and allow the team to steer recruiters in which recruitment channels they prioritize their time (RMK)

And finally and perhaps most critically …

  • Launched a new revolutionary Employment Brand Menu, with a “Freemium to Premium” approach, allowing the team to detail services as an internal agency would, one that is not limited by budget or creativity constraints.

We are very proud that combining all of the above together won us the prestigious ERE Award for the Best Employment Brand.

Bold Decisions Laying the Foundation for an Internal Employment Branding Agency

We have taken some bold decisions at SAP. The employment brand team merging with global sourcing is one such unique move. It’s actually surprisingly simple — employment brand identifies talent pipelines and markets to these communities ahead of sourcing, and sourcing then targets top talent in those communities individually. This strategy prepares candidates and softens up the pipeline of candidates before sourcing calls.

People talk as if big data is the future. It isn’t; it’s the now, at least at SAP. We live and breathe it every day. Having a brand menu where we offer cutting-edge sourcing, branding, digital, and social media services is only half the equation. The other half is that we monitor and track the ROI of every single service we provide via our recruitment marketing tool, RMK. We can see, and most importantly show, our customers the most cost-effective yet productive channels, our candidate conversion rates, and our source of hire. This information is vital to our customers and our business.

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In the past, like most employment brand teams, we have been restricted by what we can recommend by price. We don’t have unlimited budgets and what we do spend we have to spend very wisely. But this does not always benefit the business. There are often elements that it makes sense to invest in for a campaign, be it digital marketing, social, video, community marketing, that would greatly help the business in their hiring objectives.

Hence, we have created an Employment Brand Menu, founded on the principles of Freemium to Premium.

When we consult with the business, we use the brand menu to describe what we can do. The menu details all employment brand team services: from free services to those that are offered at various levels of cost (think of it as Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze). The business chooses the level of service and investment they make. If they choose a low-level investment, we tell them what the chances of success are. Want to hire 200 salespeople in a new location and only willing to invest $1,000? … good luck!

Branding has to work hand in hand with sourcing. It does not make sense to run digital and social media campaigns without having sourcing provide input and play its part. All too often digital and social won’t provide the results that direct sourcing can bring. Sourcing is a scalable service, be it list generation all the way to full-level contact and deliver sourcing.

So how does the menu work?

Event pageThe Mechanics

  • The employment brand menu details the many services that the brand team can offer talent acquisition and the business, representing a new direction for the employment brand team that is anchored on adding value and ROI
  • The menu has several lines of service: sourcing (list generation through to full-service sourcing), social media promotion, digital marketing, traditional and disruptive marketing, video creation and editing, talent community creation, RMK big data analysis, creation of branded materials (from micro websites, to leaflets, posters, HTML e-mailers, and billboards), and awards and diversity offerings
  • Freemium options include video editing, social job sharing, access to the hundreds of thousands of talent community members, etc
  • The breadth of services ensures that we have the branding tools our recruiting teams and the business need to make the best possible hires
  • All activities listed in the menu are tracked using custom created campaign codes in our big data analytics tool, giving us full transparency into the success of every single social and digital marketing campaign and every campus or careers fair event we attend
  • (Examples of event pages (see image, click to enlarge) created using RMK tool, allowing us to track and follow up with candidates after an event, whether in person or online, are below) 

From Spending to Making Money

We think the creation of an employment brand menu, with a range of services, is the future of employment branding. We are creating our own internal social and digital marketing creative agency with an expertise in attracting the best talent. No longer are we constrained by merely offering the business what is free; we are liberated to offer an enticing menu of options from basic fast food to a la carte steak. 

The possibilities here are endless. Let’s fast forward. If we get the pricing right for the business, undercutting what the market can provide, but our service levels are higher than what the business can get (from our knowledge, expertise, and big data), then we can take any surplus made and reinvest it into the team. We therefore provide the stability of self funding the team while offering the possibility to grow it. Imagine the transformation from loss-making cost center to a commercial profit center. That’s got to be the end goal and vision!

Matthew Jeffery, pictured at center, cited as one of the world's leading recruitment strategists and leaders, is VP, head of global sourcing and employment branding for SAP. Previously, he was head of EMEA talent acquisition and global employment brand for software giant Autodesk. Previous to Autodesk, he was the global director of recruitment brand for Electronic Arts.

Andrea Woolley is a marketing director at SAP, the market leader in enterprise application software. She has been part of the sourcing & employment brand team for the last six years, focused on large-scale global projects to increase SAP’s employment brand global reach and impact the quality of talent hired at SAP.


142 Comments on “Has SAP Revealed the Future of Employment Branding? Introducing ‘Freemium to Premium’

  1. Great article guys, a brilliant insight into our EB and the associated EB service offering(s).

    1. Thanks Toby! This particular project was a labor of love, as are all things at SAP no?! 🙂

      1. LOL. Labor of love 😉 Great expression. And pertinent from you Andrea 🙂 Of course there were no challenges. No barriers…..oh I am dreaming 😉 lol

  2. WOW. How can anyone say anything other to this, a g a i n you SAP team are showing the ability to push every single button there is, to provide solutions that are innovative, relevant, measurable and that ultimately are costed to the business.
    One cannot be anything other than awed as to the ‘holistic’ approach applied here, the having sat down and ‘baked’ a wholesome solution, encompassing all and one that appear to be able to be delivered as a package or as modular elements. Simply brilliant and really something to be inspired by.
    As for cost, once the basis there and all material created it appear that this collateral possible to be used across the various business units and that given the package or modular elements meaning base cost relatively fast recovered and over time becoming an ‘execution cost’ meaning time/effort rather than actually having to go and get material produced, – very clever and well thought through.
    What we have here and in the examples given and described in earlier SAP talent acquisition/recruitment and branding initiatives spoken about in the last month appear to be truly ‘now’ solutions that are based on very thorough analysis and thinking every element through and then going and executing on it.
    That is a true rarity, most companies out there may aspire to introduce a range of initiatives and get to execute anything from 30 to 60% and only over a lengthy period of time, and then still have quite some way to go.
    What appear to be the case here with SAP is having thought this through in greater depth, having analysed more widely and having had the opportunity and the necessary back up (and this is as everybody will know 2/3 of a battle) to go and do what all these initial sessions of thought and analysis led to, and that is simply something pretty amazing.

    One could think this being a blueprint for how proper, how well thought through talent acquisition anno 2015 done in a global enterprise company serious about their future talent!

    This seriously call for someone from SAP standing up and showing and telling the world what you have done and how, might that be at LinkedIn Talent Connect 2015?, this deserves to be seen and heard about.

    One question and although by some regarded (those without a clue) a minor element one that 99.9% companies fail to address yet with huge impact and importance towards target audiences, in fact ask most Gen Y and X and those in tech and they will say this making a significant difference, get it right and they will be hooked, get it wrong and they will pass you by.
    Did you also have a look and analysis and coming up with how your job descriptions and job adverts formulated and what conveyed there?

    1. Thanks so much for following our progress over these last few articles, you always strike up a good discussion!

      Job descriptions are an interesting topic here at SAP and I think industry-wise. We are working with our Creative Media team (part of our Branding team) on how to better incorporate what candidates actually want to see (this doesn’t just mean video), but our struggle is definitely consistency across the globe.

      How do you tackle this (age old?) problem?

      1. My pleasure Andrea. Fact is there are ultra few (count less than 10%) of companies that spend much time and effort on their TA and that is nothing less than pretty astonishing given all the CEO’s that supposedly lie sleepless at night in fear of not getting or having the right talent!!!.
        I applaud what you and team done because it not only seems right, it is right and ask any reputable noteworthy TA person out there and they will agree, and with envy, this IS best practice through and through and subsequently deserves credit.
        As for the JD discussion, connect with me on LinkedIn and/or swing by my profile and you will see my ‘Elephant in the room’ article addressing this subject.

          1. Its a great article Jacob. If you are happy you should post a link to the article for others to read. Or post your commentary here. It is very thought provoking.

          2. OK will do just the small matter of a commentary made by someone that content of article OK but that I should stay clear of copywriting 🙂 Will so some corrections and post

      2. Agree with Andrea. Thank you Jacob for again showing the passion to comment, question, analyze and that rare thing in our industry….praise. We appreciate it.

        Let’s start by saying that Recruitment is not easy. If it was….everyone would be getting it right. We know that is not the case. No way.

        Branding is a great area. And an area that many do badly. Key must be holding to your heart a simple philosophy & methodology …why do it? what is the ROI? If you are going to do something. Always ask why? What the goal is? How measure it? There is nowhere more true than this than Social media.

        We have a great Social media leader. Aaron Rector. He is someone who focuses on quality in social media. What do I mean by that? Aaron says that Social is not just about the numbers. We can build communities with ‘poor unengaged’ people. He is right. You can have 150,000 Facebook fans but if they never comment, Like, Share, and are not Brand Ambassadors but ‘sleeping numbers’, then what is the point of that community? And Jacob. Take a look at some of those communities. I can name a high profile Facebook community with 500,000 followers and the engagement is worse than one with 5,000. Yet that company, (oh if I was devilish I would name & shame), their Recruitment leader leaps on stage and says look at how great we are with 500,000 followers. Guess what. I look at their page and think you may have 500,000 but you get 2 likes on average per article, and the comments posted are by employees running the page. Whats that value? They admit they don’t track hires from Facebook. Or traffic to their careersite. Hence why we focus on quality of community not size. And small companies often get that quality than the big corporates.

        As to job descriptions & postings. That is a major discussion. Yes, you are right Jacob to raise. They are often appalling. It is a challenge we have right now. I won’t sugar coat that. And we are reviewing. Stacy Zapar was clever. She ‘got rid’ of them. But this in some ways was clever marketing. Stacy was positioning what many of us have been doing for a while. Building a community. Candidates enter a community, (in our case powered by RMK by Successfactors). No job posting. No job description. The candidate takes 30 secs to register their details to join the talent community. They also register against some job alerts, which, when the idea job is posted, they get a notification. Hence, showing the power of a community. Something Charles Mah of SAP is very passionate about.

        I could spend hours discussing this…..lol

  3. This is such a great initiative at SAP that will be very interesting to see how this change affects your overall success – “the employment brand team has been merged with global sourcing.”
    Creating this connection and bringing these types of sourcing services internal is unique for a large global organisation and offers a vastly superior strategic resourcing function within SAP.
    It elevates sourcing to a more visible and measurable service that can only be a big step in the right direction to becoming a profit center.
    Congratulations on all your achievements to date, I will be following your progress and look forward to hearing more.

    1. Thanks as always for your support Carly! We think the “for profit” model will start to take off, as non-revenue generating departments seek to better define what their value and ROI really is.

      1. Adding to what Andrea says. We really appreciate the close business partnership LinkedIn & SAP have. You have been critical in several of our initiatives. Be it the Sales Academy and driving graduate pipeline; to helping build sourcing hubs & providing sourcers with the tools & technology to reach out to the passives; to Talent Brand & the LinkedIn dynamic careers pages. We thank you at LinkedIn and see you very much part of our current success. Thank you to all at LinkedIn. Lets hope for a successful night together at the Recruiter Awards.

        1. And to add Carly. It was awesome to have you with us at the Recruiter Awards and as a key business partner, come on stage and share in the success of the two awards. Thank you to you and all at LinkedIn.

  4. Matthew/Andrea – love the vision, particularly the end-goal of being a profit centre. Is this achievable ? I don’t know if it is in the traditional sense of profit ie creating revenue which exceeds costs by selling to an external market…….but if your market is viewed as the SAP shareholders then you are of course creating profit by retaining money (internal revenue less internal costs) in the business whilst offering at least as good a service as an external supplier – and therefore potentially having a positive impact on share-price and possible dividends ?

    I raised the possibility of something similar within AXA UK about four years ago however the response was that the “business probably aren’t ready for it” – I think all too often in TA we mistake “understanding the business need” (quality new-hires) for “the business wants it done this way”. That comes back to your previous comment in the missive before this one about TA not marketing themselves well enough as the experts ! Looks like this is not the case at SAP !

    Great to see it is data-driven in approach – again, not just a fad but a way to demonstrate true business understanding and ability to measure and show value-add at a strategic level which CPH and TTH simply can’t !

    On the sourcing side – the biggest challenge I would foresee is maintaining a strategic culture here and that is down to the people you recruit, the reward system in place not being focussed solely on individual hires and finally on continued strength and consistency of leadership. If these elements are wrong then all too suddenly you have a potential agency mentality focussed on commission for filling roles rather than creating long-term hires who progress within the business. Are you able to share the reward structure (or did you in the previous post ?).

    I am always careful about the 80% figure ! I think if we are saying our focus is on this then we should be aware that a large element of that 80% may be passive for reasons other than those which make them good employees – my experience suggests that what we should focus on in sourcing is the 20% of employees who would typically make up the high performers in a company/industry – and they of course may not necessarily be completely passive !

    If you think of a normal distribution curve then the 80th percentile is typically where the tail would start and is where most companies would put their Excellent or Outstanding performers in an analysis of performance – with 20th thru’ 80th percentiles as Performing or Achieving and 20th percentile downwards Developing or Under-performing. OK – so companies use different words and slightly different figures but thats a rough guide ! It depends if your sourcing focus is purely on top talent or also the good “doers” who support the high performers with consistency but may not necessarily be your future Sales VP or CTO ?

    Is the business allowed to go externally for the range of products on the EB menu (or indeed for sourcing) or is it mandated that they have to come through you still ?

    Does the EB agency provide end-to-end services including the creation of content and collateral or is that outsourced ?

    I am sure there are more questions which will come out of your answers but its good to see this sort of “self-funding” model in place…….its not for everyone but if there is the level of work and the desire to innovate internally then it makes a lot of sense to me !

    1. Lots of food for thought!

      The idea of a profit center is definitely something that is not the norm but that we are challenging at SAP. We offer really high-quality, high impact services (video production and editing, to name an example). Normally the business units would go outside SAP to an external vendor and pay a real premium for these services.We know they want this type service, because we evaluated the spend some of these business units are making on these types of projects, and believe me, the money is real!

      Right now, our Creative Media team is providing these services to the business as part of our own team’s operating costs. They are providing end-to-end services including content and collateral creation — that was a major step forward our team made in actually hiring staff for our Creative Media team in 2014.

      What are your thoughts on this profit center idea — charging back to the business (albeit at a greatly reduced rate from a third party agency), especially as the requests start to ramp up?

      1. Hi Andrea – I think the profit centre works as a Finance term but need to avoid using it in the business from my experience…..they may not like the idea of your team profiting from theirs !

        Ultimately, the concept of charging the business on a “work-done” basis should be well received by the exec and hiring manager community – but the key, which I know you get, has to be initial maintenance of quality, compared to the external market, both in sourcing and branding, followed by a fairly quick up-turn in quality and delivery.

        Only then can you really talk about profit centres since you then are positively impacting the business ability to deliver profit.

        1. Completely agree, that the perception from the business unit not only has to be I got this service for less, but I got a higher quality service. A tough bar to reach but certainly one that we’re aiming for.

          1. I almost feel that, particularly for a company with the buying power of SAP, that cheaper shouldn’t be a selling point…….just by delivering the quality and implied RoI you are removing the internal client to a point where cost is not even a consideration.

            They just buy-in to the concept which helps them deliver better and quicker…….how great to link your activities to the bonus of your internal client base in some way !!!!!!!

          2. Jeremy —

            In theory, I completely agree: price shouldn’t be a huge concern, ROI and quality should be. But, unfortunately, cost is always a factor and it does matter to the business that they are getting a cost savings over an external agency. The perception is that an agency “hikes” their prices to build profit and we should not do that (as much).

          3. Hi Andrea – don’t get me wrong, I agree cost is something we should consider, but in the context of RoI and risk. If we cost 10% more than external (be that recruiters or branding costs) nut we deliver 20% more then that is acceptable – in fact its good. the business would accept that 10% cost. Would they accept a cost of 50% more or is that too high a risk ?

            In terms of internal profit, I think it should be a bit like a charity – any profit should go back to improving the service through better trained and higher value resources OR to lower year-on-year cost to the business (whilst of course maintaining quality !!!!).

          4. Such a huge advantage and opportunity that an internal team has over external partners For a start who can best ‘sell and promote’ and know the entire history of all going on If utilised correctly seroious amount of advantages and let’s face it the external providers are not a hard act to beat.

          5. I’ll take that advantage any day! In all seriousness, we do still face an uphill battle in some business units. They are used to work with their third parties, they feel the third parties really “know” them well. So we still have quite a bit of selling to do on our end, hence the creation of the menu. Our sourcing, brand and creative media teams (all housed under one room, Matthew), are responsible for doing that every single day.

          6. External providers are generally motivated by money & speed. Not by quality.

  5. Really cool stuff in here! I’m still hesitant on the Assessment tool, as I still think it’s pseudoscience 🙂 I was also curious about your diversity metrics. What are you tracking? And how are you ensuring your sourcing/assessment processes are delivering a diverse pool of candidates? My other concern with an assessment is over time you start to create Pleasantville.

    1. hi Logan,

      Diversity is a huge priority at SAP. We have not only a diversity officer who along with her team reports into our Board, but also a diversity office within Talent Acquisition specifically. These teams are responsible for understanding what our minority and male/female mix is at all levels of the company (from graduate hiring through executive) and for ensuring that all of our hiring practices are non-biased: posting our jobs on diverse sites be it military vets, women in IT, etc, robustly testing the online assessments to ensure there is no gender bias, choosing images for all of our marketing campaigns and social media that reflect our diverse employees at SAP globally, designing our interview procedures to reflect a diverse slate of candidates. I know that answer is a bit “corporate” but at a company of our size (75,000 employees), we really do have robust policies in place to attract and retain diverse talent.

      I would still argue that a cultural fit assessment doesn’t make for a “Pleasantville” type of environment. We are a huge company, and we need a lot of different type of people at SAP. Our assessments reflect that, because we don’t use one type of assessment for all roles. Our sales people have different DNA than our development folks, or our executives. Those all require looking at “what great looks like” for that type of talent at SAP, and designing an appropriate assessment. We don’t have the same cultural DNA as an Apple or a Google, we want to hire people who will fit into our own unique environment. Thoughts??

        1. I don’t have a hard count but we use them in some capacity at all levels of hiring in many (but not all) of our market units.

          1. Noted. I’ll try to organize my argument below, without getting scattered. I will do this in parts.

            Personality Assessments or ‘culture fit’ assessments marginalize the entire human experience. The human brain is infinitely more complex than any 50 question or 10 minute survey a group think panel can put together. Considering there are 7 billion people on this planet and, depending on your spiritual/religious views, our brains have been evolving for hundreds, thousands or hundreds of thousands of years; I find it disturbing that we (and I say we because assessments have been around for a while) feel that we can capture that complexity in a 10 minute assessment and determine someones future potential. This is fundamental attribution error at work. There is no science in these assessments and they are chalk full of bias, subjective measures, halo-effect, self fulfilling prophecy and a misunderstanding of correlation vs causation.

            You say that candidates like knowing their feedback right away. But have you actually explained to candidates that ‘failed’ the assessment why they will not be moving forward? If you explain your rational, I doubt they would be as pleased.

          2. Love this debate 🙂

            I think you could argue that the entire hiring process is flawed if you extend your thought process above. How can any hiring manager or recruiter assess a candidate’s capabilities in 30 or 60 minutes, because of how complex we are as human beings?

            But the fact is, whether we have an online assessment in place or not, the hiring process at any company is assessing talent. Making some objective but many subjective decisions/assumptions/etc, and choosing one candidate out of many to join the company. It’s the nature of the beast, no? We have to make hires and we have to find a way to determine which candidate is “better” than another or more accurately a better “fit” than another in our case.

          3. Yes that extrapolation could go on forever and take is to some fantastic places!

            But your team at SAP is positing that a computer algorithm can replace a recruiter because of big data and science and all that. My argument is that a personality assessment has no scientific foundation. You are counting data points, sure….but the information in those data points is completely subjective. The traits you claim to measure are subjective, the definitions of those traits, using a self-assessment, profile matching, all subjective. There is just no science. So at the end of the day, all you have really created is an arbitrary filtering system to eliminate large numbers of candidates.

            I mean let’s say you have 100 candidates to a post. What kind of results are you seeing with your assessments? How many candidates are generally being eliminated?

          4. Logan you raise some great points as ever.

            Key things to put into perspective are the old process. It was focused on a select few Universities and cherry picking the best from there. That is elitist. Unfair. And candidates from other Universities could be excluded….who could be better candidates for SAP to have hired.

            Hence this method of hiring graduates, (which as you know many companies are doing), is not really very meritocratic.

            When we looked at hiring sales grads we looked at the best way to open the process, use the power of social media & digital marketing to spread the message. As you can see 50,000 plus started the applications. If that has translated into cv’s or resumes how many extra recruiters would we have needed for filtering? 20? 30? 40? Your call. BUT even if we added headcount how would they have filtered candidates? Back to the old methods we were trying to get away with. So here we embraced technology to widen, deepen, broaden the pool.

            But Logan you are right. No selection method is not without faults. Recruitment in many ways is subjective.

            Technology in this case is an enabler not the decider. It decides yes on ‘not pass’. But those that pass continue into a ‘hangout’ and ‘bootcamp’ assessments.

            Question is Logan, which system you prefer? The traditional method of focusing on a few universities or a big, all encompassing method that has proven that we are attracting candidates we would never have previously reviewed, (and hitting their sales quote higher & more frequently).

            Nothing is perfect in life but sometimes some solutions are better than others 🙂

          5. PS Logan I have lept on and replied as Andrea has left on maternity leave, which i am sure you would congratulate her on. Just wanted to ensure you knew why I had joined into your conversation.

          6. That’s wonderful news! All the best to Andrea.

            With regards to the Assessment. Have you conducted any double blind trials that can validate:
            1) The candidates that ‘pass’ the assessment perform better once they are hired on at SAP
            2) Candidates that do not do well at SAP did not ‘pass’ the assessment

            I’m also curious if you have tested the reliability of the assessments. If I take the assessment 4 times throughout the course of 2 years, will I score the same every time?

          7. Hi Logan. Thanks for the best wishes to Andrea. As a guy, I don’t envy her giving birth. (But the end result is well worth it). Us guys have it easy 🙂

            So back to the assessment, yes we are constantly validating it.

            We are comparing historical data with the new data of the performance of the new sales grads hired through the new assessment route.

            So what do we measure? (Being very transparent).

            – The number of graduates coming in and making <50% of quota target,
            – Those making 50-74% of quota
            – Those making 75%-99% of quota
            – Those making 100% 110% plus

            This is reviewed over 6/12/18 months. After that they are too much part of the business and too far away to be consider 'recruitment' property 🙂

            Plus additional stats reviewed:

            – Attrition levels amongst new sales grad hires (and which month….ie within 6 months and you can attribute attrition to maybe a poor hiring process?)
            – Number of promotions of sales grads in 12/18/24 months
            – Yearly performance appraisal grade (i.e. those that get Progressing; Successful; Outstanding; Extraordinary (another sound quality of hire measurement)

            Logan, obviously I can't reveal our data here. Our competitors I am sure would love to see it. But you can get a sense of what we track to ensure we validate our recruiting processes.

            Of course, we need more time, more data to continue to validate but from what we have points to 'significantly better quality of hire'.

            Now returning back to your comment. Yes. We need to always review. How is it best to assess. How do we ensure personalized. How do we ensure a good transparent experience. How do we enhance the 'date' behind the assessments etc etc

            But this method is producing results and replaces a method that was 'elitist'. Is the new method perfect. is any recruitment perfect?

          8. I understand that recruitment cannot be perfect. But using assessments as a recruiting tool has huge implications on thousands, or hundreds of thousands of people.

            Look at it this way…you have created a product here. And like any product, you are claiming that it can do certain things. In SAP’s case, you are claiming an Assessment can predict future performance. That is a pretty bold prediction.

            Companies that make false claims get in trouble with the SEC every year. Marketing and product development teams go through rigorous product testing to substantiate any claims they make about their products. Most notably, isolating variables through blind testing.

            It’s great that you are tracking new hires success after you have hired them. But these are all candidates that you know ‘passed’ the assessment. So you’re data is already flawed because you are biased to the results.

            The big question here is, have you proven that candidates that ‘fail’ the assessment cannot succeed in your organization? Have you hired a large enough sample size, without knowing who passed and who failed, and shown that your test works. Candidates that pass succeed and candidates that fail do poorly…and you can show this over and over again.

          9. Logan. Sorry for the delay. We are constantly reviewing this state, with legal, consultants and monitoring results.

            Again, the selection system in the industry was not fair. Subjectively selecting a handful of Universities can’t be deemed as fair.

            Isn’t that discriminating against other candidates.

            Logan, you have me intrigued. What system would you recommend. For graduate selection?

            Love to know.

          10. Hi Matt,

            No worries. I guess it seems we are having two separate debates here. I’m not trying to recommend a better system for SAP’s college recruiting. I’m just trying to learn more about your use of assessments. I have hesitations about the reliability and validity.

            You argue that subjectively picking our universities to recruit from is ‘elitist’, unfair and discriminatory.

            I would ask you what is more subjective than selecting candidates based on personality? Especially a self-assessment of personality. Isn’t personality, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder. Someone you perceive as great communicator might confuse the heck out of me.

            You are screening out thousands of candidates every year, that you have never met, because of this assessment, because they are not a ‘culture’ fit for SAP. What is more elitist than that?

            You’re telling someone that you don’t care how hard they worked in high school to get into a top university, because their answers on an assessment they took tells you they wont success because they didn’t score well on collaboration?

  6. Again, the stuff happening at SAP reads real nice. How would all this be applied by the generic label toilet paper manufacturer in Tulsa, with a Glassdoor rating of 1.8 and an owner who thinks 12 hours days and zero vacation time aren’t just reasonable, but required?

    Just saying, their experience might be different than SAP’s.

    1. Thanks for staying engaged with us over this series of articles!

      Yes, a toilet paper manufactuer’s priorities would certainly be different than a company like SAP. But when you compare other companies of our size, whose hiring consists generally of mid to senior level professionals, we do think this philosophy really translates.

      What are your thoughts on the combining of the brand and sourcing teams? It seemed “radical” when Matthew made the merge in 2014 but it’s been a smooth transition.

      1. Nothing can be termed as radical if it overall making sense and ultimately being of benefit to the organisation.

        1. I’m not so sure about that. At a large company like SAP, with let’s face it a lot of (mostly necessary) policies and procedures, ideas can be both “this makes perfect sense!” and “radical” at the same time. It’s tough to get a good idea off the ground. The win is never just the idea, it’s the actual execution.

          1. My bad, ofcourse radical and making sense are not necessarily two opposites.

      2. Merging of two departments doesn’t strike me as very radical. They are two groups with similar goals, requirements, and resource needs. At my last job those two departments were merged as well, because I was the only one doing both.

        My point was most companies aren’t your size, so how are these methods adaptable to them? What’s more most companies are not only smaller than you, but have no where near the brand recognition on any front, nor as good a reputation among employees. So, you have something to sell prospective employees. Most companies don’t.

        1. Medieval I grew up in the world of marketing and was once given the task of making a campaign for the most awful low image and uninteresting left wing local political party (back in the 80ties) We managed to come up with something quite decent. If there is an interest a mind-set of ‘can and will do’ then I would argue that massive things can be done and on a dime. Good TA and making yourself attractive as a potential employer is not about budget, but about mind-set and then having the right people to take the lead and run with it, – and that also apply to a backend of nowhere toiltet paper manufacturer.Best people I know in the industry and that include Mr Jefferey are strong lateral thinkers.

          1. There’s a difference between taking something that is merely uninteresting and sexing it up, and taking something which is actively hostile and making people believe it’s actually desirable. Most work environments are actively hostile toward their employees. Mostly it’s just via neglect and seeing people as numbers first and foremost; as overhead. But there seems to be an ever increasing subset of actively malicious management who take joy in decimating people’s wages and benefits and lives. I’ve seen them, in several companies, over the years, and they’re only getting more prominent. It’s generally what drives the ‘anti bullying’ laws, or attempts at such, in various states, because more and more people are dealing with this kind of thing. Managers that scream at people constantly, personally insult and demean them in private and public, physically assault them, harass them and then mysteriously find their performance is slipping and fire them, etc.

            In the last couple of months alone I’ve seen two people fired, one for a parent’s funeral taking too long, and the other for visiting a child in the emergency room but not having enough off time in their ‘bucket’ to allow for it. I have seen blind and deaf people who have managed to overcome massive barriers and build and maintain careers get passed over even for an interview. I have heard of employees being punched, shoved, their belongings thrown on the floor because the offices were just redone and the owner didn’t want “personal crap on their desks ruining the look of the place.”

            The list goes ever onward, and here’s the problem these articles on Ere.net never address: these businesses exist, they are thriving in many instances, and they manage to do so because this is considered acceptable behavior on the market. Whether you or I find it personally acceptable is immaterial, labor has been devalued to such a point that people in these places often have little practical choice but to deal with it because jobs are in such short supply. Lawsuits won’t help, they are often not in protected classes, the companies will manufacture paperwork to justify any termination as necessary, and unless it’s slam dunk case no lawyer is going to touch it without a retainer of at least a few thousand, which the most likely victims of this type of behavior rarely have on hand to take a flyer at a lawsuit which, even if they win, will not pay out anywhere near as handsomely as many think.

            So, let’s take a company that’s actually considered a Go To place where I’m at. It’s over 100 years old. It’s established, it has jobs, people apply there all the time. There has been about 300% turnover in HR, there’s been a new manager every time I’ve checked up with a friend who works at this company. The owner is a legendary drunk who has pissed on his employees desks, shows up to work blitzed and screaming at people, assaults them, and even when he’s sober you can’t talk to him without walking a knife’s edge in terms of potentially getting screamed at. Everyone in the company is tasked with always having a notepad in their pocket because this guy stops people randomly in the halls and starts screaming at them about this or that, and if they don’t write down every word they can be fired on the spot.

            How would you ‘brand’ this company? Do you think merging sourcing and marketing/branding will help? They’re having problems with turnover, and have contacted several agencies to help them get ‘the right kind’ of people, how would you suggest those agencies proceed? What positives can they find about working at this place to sell people on the jobs? My friend asked me to help, and it’s only because I had a personal relationship with him that I told him to go scratch. If he had been an actual almighty Client, I would have had to gotten involved or my boss would have wanted to know why. And, being the consummate Sales! guy he is, that people get physically assaulted at this place on the regular wouldn’t be enough to pass over the ‘opportunity’ to work with them.

            That is the reality most recruiters deal with. That is the reality of many, and a growing number of, employers. So, how would you handle such a ‘client’?

          2. Medieval
            One could take a view of reading your comments as a rant, or rather what I subscribe to the true state of affairs..Let’s be absolutely clear that what discussed here and shown as best practice apply and is adopted and excited by if we are lucky absolute maximum of 10% of companies. The vast majority are either anything from OK and acceptable on the people and TA strategy to those that have no clue or no interest in anything to do with people welfare, fulfilment, respect or even structures and procedures. The last 7 years and the aftermath of the finacial crisis has bombed the people agenda and all the has to do with HR at least 10 years back in terms of consideration, interest and care. The only two elements able to make an impact on scenarios like what you describe are market conditions shifting towards more an increased demand than supply, and/or legislation. Anything else will make zero to little difference. As to what could be done in scenarios described by you I would say that unless senior leadership set their mind on making a change to the better then one can as well forget the whole thing, being better off simply walking away.

    2. Medieval. As ever love that you are joining in the debate. You are very visionary for a medieval recruiter 😉 Thanks for your time & investment.

      I agree with Andrea. But I would add the following here. SAP aren’t without challenges. As you can see above. We have been traditionally B2B brand. We are not as instantly recognizable as an Apple, Google, or Microsoft. Hence don’t think we have it easy, (see above).

      You will say here. ‘Oh but you have the budgets as you are a large corporation. Small companies don’t have that luxury’. Again. Budgets don’t make you successful. its how you spend & invest. I can point to big companies spending lots and making a right mess of their recruiting. I am sure you can.

      Remember Medieval. A wise person can invest 1 dollar and get a better investment than a foolish person investing 1,000 dollars 😉

      And BTW we don’t have the budgets you expect we have.

      Lets address the small companies element of your question. It is often used as an excuse. ‘We can’t do this or that’ because we are too small. Well, I worked in small companies. Much of what we talk of here is free or low cost.

      – Social Media. Building communities via digital marketing
      – Community building via the likes of LinkedIn (discussion groups)
      – Digital marketing (lists from events)
      – Creative messaging
      – Training hiring managers & recruiters in ‘relationship sales’

      If I was a small company I would think to myself. What makes us appealing? Whats our USP? In past smaller companies I would focus on growth, being someone who can impact the future of a company, (and yes use that against big companies and say you can get lost in a crowd). Sourcing, large scale or small scale is still the art of the recruiter to paint a perfect picture that grabs the heart and mind of the candidate.

      I am sure, Medieval, that you seem creative. I bet you are skilled in seizing the mind of passives & great talent…..why not in a smaller company, building a quality staff from the ground up.

  7. Exciting to see a company like SAP try new initiatives. Attraction is the key before everything else, and without a good strategy even the best internal TA processes are for naught. I particularly like the “branding menu” the team is providing to their internal customers. This is unique and intriguing with the potential possibilities. Keep doing you team SAP!

    1. Hi Ed —

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Attraction is definitely key and it’s talked about a lot in our communities but perhaps not aggressively acted upon. Actually merging sourcing and branding, who are both greatly responsible for the “attraction” piece, has really made life a bit simpler here at SAP. Which falls nicely in line with our new cloud-based philosophy — Run Simple 🙂

      Are you seeing anyone else in the industry taking the menu approach?

    2. Ed. Following on from Andrea thank you. As you know your writing, thinking, oratory inspires me. (And very few do that. VERY FEW).

      For those that don’t know Ed his words mean a lot. He is a HUGE name in this industry. Take a look at his site: http://redpilltalent.com.

      Articles like this inspire me & my team in our thinking. http://redpilltalent.com/recruiters-we-are-over-thinking-things/

      Jacob. You look for people to inspire you. Look no further than Ed.

    1. Hey Jers. Thanks buddy. That means a lot. Hope you are doing well. You seem to be on fire right now. Keep up the good fight. Hope to see you soon. Even better come to London.

  8. Andrea, Matthew,

    Once again, great article!

    As we discussed last time with your previous article, the fusion between TA and Branding is indeed the future .
    Trying to convert a cost center into a revenue generating department is very clever, as it is the only way for top Execs to really understand that recruitment is a part of the company that has a tremendous impact on the market as, all in, recruiting someone is somehow similar to selling the company – if it’s done poorly, well the impact is probably similar on wide scale as a poor marketing campaign. It gives back the idea that the department is a real part of the business, and not something you could outsource so easily or have to take as a “burden”.

    When it comes to attracting millenials, it is a big topic, and there your strategy might really pay when you express the necessity to make your image attractive compared to a Google or Apple. To be fully honest, most millenials have at best a vague idea, or even no clue of who and what SAP really is.

    In changing that, social media is indeed a great idea you are absolutely right. But Apple or Google are not only seducing our generation because of their sexy image, but especially because we know that the working conditions there are exceptional, flexible and almost tailored for each employee, which most millenials would not expect from a German software company. How do we know that? Bacause of the following, which could be done as well with SAP and would dramatically refresh everything for the image:

    In this field, it would be great to have not only “corporate image management”, but as well a possibility for each team, each hiring manager and down to the bottom to be able to brand their own team on social media at the individual level through your mobile platform and shooting informal videos or photos.

    In that way, you really are able to impersonate the company at individual level (and not only through videos or media content about random employees, that are managed at corporate level by marketing or employer branding department, which often lack of authenticity as we know they have been previously set up, and been given a green light before posting)
    When you apply for a job, for let’s say a KAM position, you’re very happy to know that at global level people are happy and that the offices in such country are great and to see and, let’s say Terry who is in R&D dep is explaining why it’s great to work here, but you don’t have the essence.

    Adding to this “corporate social image” (because it remains vital) a possibility for a team to brand itself through social media by sharing content and showing the day to day work environment makes you want to apply not only in a corporation but to imagine yourself working for this team….

    As per real time feedback, it is such a good thing because so many candidates drop a process where they had good chances just because they don’t know what is happening with their application and why they have no answer… Big Data and Social media are indeed the present, but a real interactivity and “humanization” of the interactions between applicants and the people inside is I think the real future.

    Thank you for taking the time to read that, sorry about the length, there are many concepts in your article !

    1. Thanks so much for penning such a thoughtful response!

      We’ve really tried to humanize our corporate image via social media. In years past, we weren’t able to be as close to our actual employees as we wanted to be because our team just wasn’t big enough. That (thankfully!) changed with the creation of our Creative Media team in 2014. They find the stories that we think candidates actually care about,and that really show who we are at SAP, beyond a big German software company. Becasues you’re right, Apple and Google are fantastic at telling their employees’ stories, showing why it’s great to work there, to millenials and professionals alike in my opinion. We aren’t Apple or Google and we don’t want to be, but we have employees who are doing amazing work and really achieving a work life balance, and we are proud of their stories.

      Where do you see social media going in 5 years? At SAP at least, social media was really not on the radar 5 years ago, from a recruiting or brand perspective, and so much has changed since then already.

      1. Just for the record. Up until the year of 2010 or likely a little later the senior leadership of SAP made a deliberate decision that branding or actually making the surrounding world of SAP aware of its presence and abilities other than in a client context was totally unnecessary. That was a disastrous decision and many pieces and much work as been and still is required to make up for that.

        1. Jacob. I would so love to take you through some of the EVP messaging & cultural messaging & campaigns that are underway right now at SAP. This forms the bedrock of any further awards we enter in 2015 & 2016.

          I think / hope / expect you to be quite impressed.

          Never rest.

          Never stop!!!

      2. Andrea,

        Don’t get me wrong, all professionals who already know who SAP is perfectly know how good it is to work for your company! 🙂
        What you are doing is absolutely great in the way that it will change the approach new comers (i.e millenials) have towards SAP thanks to your social media and new recruitment portal which is really awesome. As I see it the “how to explain a B2B company to millenials” from Jacob is going to get much easier for you thanks to that.
        With regards to your question on social media, well… pretty hard to answer that! I see in the comments some things about generation Y (which I am part of), which is a question for today and you’re doing great job at targeting us.
        The big question is, generation Y is already being replaced by the Z (not yet on labour market but soon enough, and their vision as we can see is already very different from ours.
        Who knows in 5 years time what they will be expecting and through which channels they will apply for a job (social media or newly created channels) or expect from their employer, I am afraid I am completely unable to answer that question for now…

    2. Agree with Andrea. Really well considered response Christophe. Thank you. Amazing how quickly the dynamics of recruiting, branding & social media have changed already 🙂

  9. Andrea and MJ perhaps too much detail vs the overall perspective of article but would be really interested in hearing your findings/amalysis and what done relating to Glassdooe and the overall influence and positioning relating to branding. Do you make use of and if so how much and what have you done to manage and utilise this in the wider context of things at SAP

    1. ooohh. Interesting question Jacob. Keep asking any questions you want. I may surprise you here……

      So I am always honest. We have to prioritise investments. It may surprise you that SAP ask we spend wisely and in the recent past Glassdoor has not been a priority investment. I am being very honest there.

      Now we are currently reviewing whether we invest in 2015. We have two options here. The full investment, (we get right of reply to comments, the job board/job posts etc. (Which is a significant budget investment). Or the limited investment. Where we don’t get the job board. (Less budget spend but is the value there?)

      I will be honest Jacob that we did struggle with the concept of job board feeds being run on the SAP Glassdorr company page and that traffic NOT going to SAP but to 3rd Party Agencies, (who no doubt presented our traffic to competitors). That does not feel right and I raised that several times with them. BUT that is an aside.

      Now. We are a Global company. Glassdoor is very strong in the USA and building globally. Does it help us in Fast growth countries? That is debatable. How much it helps us outside of the USA? Debatable as to depth of effect.

      These are the questions we are asking ourselves. What’s your advice Jacob? Should I invest? You can see I have invested a lot in Communities, assessments, social, digital.

      Of course I have read articles like this: https://staging.ere.net/2014/01/23/half-of-all-job-seekers-consult-glassdoor-reviews/

      How much influence will investing in the tool have versus its effect now? (Which we have positive reviews on). Will it RADICALLY uptick our ratings?

      That is what we currently debate Jacob…..help us here. Interested

      1. I see where you are coming from and naturally there always at every turn have to be sound analysis and judgement and obviously the regional and geographical aspect play in. As a simple guy all I know is that if I Google a company name I will invariably 7 out 10 times get a Glass door site with reviews. I will beings curious soul have a peek and if in that context I see positive and or negative cooments and not being someone who has an understanding of how Glass door works (as applying to 95% of Glass door users) I will probably be swayed one way or another towards what I think and perceive a company to be like. As said by others The Internet is your brand and as such I do not think any company can really afford to have anything on the Internet that do not support and enhance what the company want the world to see. This is about both what the current more mature/experiences and older candidates see but as much about what Gen Y and X and Z are pushing everybody to adopt and with that what is the reality and methodologies of the future. I can as said see that this is a matter of priorities and would suggest you/team/SAP start to get an understanding of what future candidates use as channels for information how much importance it hold and whether you can actually measure whether there is a case for Glad door or not. Personally I can only see the entire GD issue getting stronger and think as illustrated above that for many it does play a de facto role in company research activities

        1. So asking that question back at you Jacob. As it is one I can’t answer and I am interested.

          So I look at Glassdoor ratings today. SAP stand at 3.8. Which is ok 🙂 82% would recommend SAP to a friend. 91% approve of our CEO Bill McDermott. Generally write ups are good.

          Jacob. By investing three figures into this channel as recommended what would you say is the ROI? Will the 3.8 move to 4.0? Not likely as it is based on the ratings of the community. Will more recommend to SAP?

          Is the job channel containing talents that we can’t get via a LinkedIn or elsewhere?

          Jacob, help me understand. I am genuinely asking this question of the team. Thanks 🙂

          1. Hmm,… I agree that the rating improvement may through investment only be marginal, so not really terribly much to be gained here, and btw congrats on that CEO approval rate, outstanding and speaks volumes. The BIG issue is coming back to earlier Glassdoor comment whether GD does enhance the brand, whether your audiences do see it as an ‘influencer’ and whether anyone in fact swayed positively or negatively when viewing the comments and ratings. This is where I would spend my efforts, forget about the job board and everything else, Indeed has stolen the march on job board scraping. All I can say is ask the audience and if they across geographies and job roles give you a resounding confirmation then you should put some GD investment in your budget, but be highly selective and only go for where you see wins and brand enhancements.

          2. Agree. Key is always showing what the ROI is. Having some data to show what the investment has brought. Could that money have been used to better effect elsewhere. That is what I am debating.

            Jacob. Where do you stand on Universum? Again. The more money you put into Universum the better the recognition on the student lists. How influential is Universum?

            Any views?

          3. Again we have to be really clear and careful as to what the various vendors say, what they portray their own abilities to be and what the true reality is. I have seen quite a bit of the work that Universum do and it looks impressive, but what I never know is what is the true reality out there.
            We have to be really careful that we do not sit in a bubble (in a corporate context and or in a TA context) and see things from our perspective and then think everybody else do the same.
            TA/recruitment people for instance think that people most check out their Linkedin account and messages regularly, where in fact most do it once a week, or even less. I am a natural skeptic, unless I can see real valid and substantiated data backing up any claims anyone making and even then I take it with a pinch of salt.
            What matters to you, to SAP is not really what anyone says things are and how they put together their reports, but what y o u find, what value y o u see in something and what that translate into of results.
            We have discussed recruitment/TA awards and as we all know these accolades are really only meaningful internally within the industry, make a jot of difference to the outside world. The same for any ‘experts’ or someone claiming knowledge and ‘finger on the pulse’ , sure but how does it translate to exactly my business, my needs and my efforts. Anything that is dealing with subjects from a helicopter/generic perspective are just that, generic.

          4. Excellent discussion.

            Yes. We are attending the Recruiter Awards tonight. Do they matter to candidates? No. But they are a validation that a company, measured against peers, is on the right track. And very motivational to in house & agency teams if they are nominated and even more if they win.

            This leads Jacob to another area I spend lots of time discussing. Great Places to Work. How much does that Award, being say 1 of the top 50 employers in a country, mean to a candidate? Do they see it as an essential or a nice to have?

            Now. Its interesting. For me. They are a great recognition of the Employment Brand. If you are truly a great place to work, go up against your peers, let your employees be polled, let judges review your Employment offering i.e. pay, conditions, culture, and get rated. See where you stand.

            I personally like that we enter into these Awards as it gives an external benchmark. And it validates what is said in Employment Brand messaging.

            Now, question is the view of the candidate. Do they base a decision on it? That is the subjective area.

            And look at the touchpoint a candidate has to ‘review’ a company.

            – Glassdoor
            – Great Places to Work Award
            – Social media ‘commentary’
            – Review of the ‘Careers site’
            – Review of financials on financials sites
            – Students have Universum

            How do you rate each of them? Its a fascinating conversation.

            Where do you stand on Great Places Jacob?

          5. OK, I know you love the awards thing and circuit and the selfies, the hanging out with TA mates and the accolade that goes with it, and all the razzamatzz 🙂 and I suppose as an internal ‘measuring up’ function it has its place.

            Now as for what sits where and how rated, a complex issue and one where if drawn on ratings I am unsure where I would put each category.
            What I do know, and you and I have discussed this before is Great Place To Work (GPTW).
            I was as you may recall in Microsoft when the 400 people country business unit I was in was for 5 consecutive years in the top 3 GPTW overall in country.
            Also I have seen all the criteria and work going into the GPTW rating and grading and how much it does involve the actual employees. Whether winner in category or country or amongst top 10 makes no difference, at the highest level we are talking marginal differences.
            The GPTW badge is one that is instantly recognisable (as it says what it does on the tin) a badge that takes any company into a whole new level. It is a ‘talent magnet’ like no other, it gives promises of a very well thought through people policy, EVP and work-life balance, and instantly signal that here someone that care, that have structures, systems and solutions in place to enhance the work life of its people. It raises the bar across the board, it falls under ‘nobility obliges’ and ensure that everybody totally on-board as to how they treat each other and those outside.
            It mean that the TA function has a h.. of high expectations to live up to (as they are the first point of contact and external face that candidates see when in contact with a GPTW company, meaning it has to be flawless (nobility obliges again)
            It will enable differentiation and place a company in a category of its own, assisting hugely in the entire messaging going out to candidates, students, and what else, and ultimately in getting necessary people on board.
            As for the effect I saw it having, I will say that it had at least 10% influence on the entire TA function (for a whole host of reasons) why I would s e r i o u s l y consider this as being one of my m a i n pillars of branding and EVP focus.

          6. Agree on GPTW. And very articulately put. And congrats on the Microsoft Awards.

            Now I bet that people said that Microsoft were expected to be top 3. That it was easy to do. You and I both know that is not true. It is tough. And employees, (who make up 80% of the ‘score’/’rating’), vote very independently. These awards are genuinely tough to get. And a huge win.

            Jacob, yes I like the Awards. Mainly to see who wins them. Also to see the shortlists. As that can be very inspiring and give new insights. Rarely, as you know, do we see different speakers on the circuit. It is the same faces, often saying the same things. I could be cheeky and name one TA leader who has used the same presentation for the past 7 events, (because the audiences are different). I learn a lot from Awards and what companies are doing, (they have to put up their best work & ideas).

            In the Awards, often new companies enter. I know that some TA leaders don’t write articles or speak because of the ‘Commentariat’. because negatives will be picked up by the ‘monitoring devices’ of Corporate PR. Imagine that poor TA leader posting an article, getting flamed and Corporate PR publishing that it was negative. Where is the incentive to share? Hence why some keep quiet, (and I can name some who are very talented and doing a phenomenal job). The Awards allow them the chance to show their work and get the recognition they deserve.

            Jacob, whats different for me, is that I am entering several of these awards, which I did less of in the past. We won two ERE Awards, (Best Employment Brand & Most strategic use of technology). Tonight we are nominated for 6 Awards at The Recruiter. I hope we win one, (that will make me happy). But key is that we are sharing what we do. Both on articles like this and being judged by peers in Awards.

            And next week. Is a big week. The Great Places to Work UK will be announced. I entered the UK. I hope we make the list. Lets see. But like you say, that is the validation I look for. (I can list a whole number of other GPTW Awards for India, Africa, Ireland, Canada etc), but I want SAP to be recognized as a Great Employer in the UK, (competition is tough), and for Europe, the World. Lets see what happens this year.

  10. I think the key to this is the technology. Having your own custom-developed recruitment marketing technology which enables you to track source and cost of hire with precision enables you to go out to the business and talk about what is available to them and what the associated costs are. It can prove difficult to accurately measure both of these key metrics which means clearly demonstrating value and therefore developing bottom line credibility with the business remains a challenge. I think the menu idea is great as it clearly shows why RM is such a valuable resource and breaks down exactly what it can offer to the business – and that is something that isn’t always so easy to demonstrate to the “laymen”.

    1. Hi Jake. Thanks for commenting. I agree with you. But it is also how we view technology. For me technology is the enabler. NOT the decider. It helps us reach new candidates. It helps us build engaged communities. It helps us understand our talent pool. It helps us assess & get more insightful understanding of our candidates. It enables us to be better informed and reach better decisions.

      Technology for some creates fear. John Sullivan’s article is a headline grabber. https://staging.ere.net/2015/05/04/your-future-as-a-recruiter-you-better-know-how-to-sell-because-most-of-what-you-do-today-will-be-done-by-technology/ But he raises interesting discussion points. But in some ways recruiters will fear what he says.

      Jake. Agree on Recruitment Marketing technology. And of course the ability to build communities. We use Successfactors RMK tool. We have built a community of now over 500k in that particular community.

      RMK is a quick and easy access point into SAP. Lets face it. Job seekers often can’t see the job they want and hence don’t want to fill in a speculative application, (or if they do they don’t want to sit on a database rotting). Filling in a 30 second business card allows the candidate to join the talent community. Plus they register against key skills and get job alerts when the right job comes up.

      But that allows us the ability to market to them. (Getting the balance is key here). By market, I mean reveal more & educate the candidate into SAP especially the culture side. Not blitz their inbox with marketing spin messages.

      With a community of 500k the recruiters can search that community. Target. Segment. Contact. But also use it for referrals. External referrals. Still a relatively untouched area in recruiting.

      Plus RMK allows us to track source of a candidate. We use differing campaign codes to track campaigns, effectiveness of job boards, channel of candidates/traffic from social media. Hence this ‘Big Data’ helps recruiters spend more time in effective channels and waste less time in ineffective channels.

      Hence, John Sullivan should look at it more from the perspective how technology can enhance the role of a recruiter. Give them more time back. Allow them to focus on effective channels.

      Technology should never be feared. Only embraced. As an enabler….not a decider.

  11. Matthew – I like that you’re acknowledging the changing talent marketplace that we have ahead of us in 2015 and how important it is to have your talent sourcing, brand and digital channels working together. Great that you brought brand and sourcing together – brilliant!
    It’s refreshing to see that you’re able to address candidate misperceptions
    so well. At Starbucks, candidates thought all jobs were in our stores and had no idea we hired thousands of non-retail professionals in our support center. At Apple Retail, it was the reverse; few candidates knew how many retail professionals we needed.
    So great that you have video down! I campaigned for years to put resources behind select, targeted brand videos that could be used in sourcing – way to go Matthew! Impressive that you attach an ROI to your delivered services and consult with the business on cost / effectiveness. So often hiring managers want things that have little impact on finding great talent. Keep up the source and campaign tracking – that’s dear to my heart!
    What if you could measure over time your talent pools from a few unique
    perspectives: the brand advocacy of your candidates, individually and in the aggregate, and their level of engagement with your company. The engagement is not about jobs though; it’s about value-added ideas related to the skills you hire for that uncover culture-fit and creativity invisible to jobs related communication. What if campaign management delivered an ROI from your different digital / social channels so you knew where your top brand / culture-fit candidates came from and how much each cost you. And lastly what if you could leverage an integrated rewards program right into your sourcing, talent pooling efforts that would connect your best brand heroes back to your business as customers? You could then
    demonstrate how your sourcing & brand team is making money not just
    off-setting spend. That’s what excites me these days.

    1. Fascinating and refreshing ‘next level’ thoughts Phil, what is real ‘thought leadership’ by my standards.

      1. Agree Jacob. Phil is someone I have always rated in this industry. One of the ‘giants’ of modern recruiting.

          1. That’s Mr MJ for you Phil, try to be on FB with him (awards night tonight here in the UK and if he wins he will be all over the place 🙂

          2. Hey Jacob – thanks for the heads up regarding Mr MJ! Looking forward to seeing it unfold on FB.

          3. LOL. i was very quiet. That shock you Jacob? It was a good night. SAP were nominated for 6 Recruiter Awards, (apparently the most nominations at the Recruiter Awards according to a Recruiter Journalist). We won 2 Awards. 1) Best Graduate Recruitment Strategy. 2) Best Global/International Recruitment Strategy.

            Details of winners here. http://recruiterawards.co.uk/2015-winners/

            I would have liked to have won more but can’t be greedy.

            Its cool to add these to the two ERE Awards, (Best Employment Brand & Most Effective use of Technology).

            Jacob, you know how much it takes to move things at SAP. So I am very proud for the team that a difference is being made.

          4. Yes as to being quiet that IS suprising, must be the more country critical elements of May 7th in the UK events takeing up your attention.
            Massive congratulations and these awards only a part of the way and the trajectory of what is surely to come outside of the UK 2 out 6 is more than most and every win should be seen as a great accolade and recognition.

          5. Thank you Jacob. Appreciated. And its great for the team.

            I remember back when I joined SAP. I remember peers I respect telling me I had made a mistake. That great results could not be achieved. That I would get frustrated. One told me that my career was on hold. That was all like a red rag to a bull 😉

            Well roll on 2 years 4 months and I am still there. We have a great team in Branding & Sourcing. i am lucky. And we have won 2 ERE Awards. 2 Recruiter Awards. And be seen to be innovating. Thats a big win.

            Now is everything perfect in SAP recruitment? No. Is it anywhere? But I am so happy with the direction of Branding & Sourcing. And still so much to do and achieve.

          6. OK tell me and anyone else if you like, who was the ‘chief architect’ the main sponsors, those that initiated the current journey SAP on, was it the CEO, someone in executive suite, a HR director, the business demanding it, who the main advocates and the dynamics behind. Without anyone ‘carrying the torch’ and getting the necessary buy in nothing will happen, tell us if you can and will the ‘journey in SAP’

          7. Great question.

            First off there has to be a ‘need’. A reason for change. This is something that the ‘business’ needs to recognize and see as a ‘totality’.

            Hence, I have been very honest above with the challenges. Hence:

            – The misinformed concern that SAP is a large bureaucratic company where candidates get lost in a crowd (despite the many startups within SAP)

            – A brand not reflecting the new, fast-paced dynamics of the cloud and the growth & dynamics of SAP in emerging markets

            – The need to appeal and attract millennials against other key tech companies like Google, Apple, and Microsoft

            – The need for SAP to be widely recognized as a Great Place to Work

            – A need to fundamentally update a careers site that did not represent the “new” exciting SAP, and provide a stronger candidate experience

            – The previous broadcast nature of SAP recruitment brand and unengaging social media content

            – A need to communicate, authentically, the true employee voice via video

            – A need to measure our source and quality of hire

            – Improving our candidate experience, with a goal of real time pass/fail feedback

            – A need to reduce recruitment agency hires and fees

            – The declining effectiveness of job boards and candidate quality derived from postings

            – A need to start pipelining and get ahead of the hiring curve

            – A desire to run recruitment by more big data and focus on ROI in decision making rather than “subjective finger-in-the-air guessing”

            Hence this makes change more acceptable. The goal is to help drive the BEST talent. Help recruiters.

            When having a ‘need’ it was easy for me to drive solutions with the team.

          8. Hmm you have now gone all political answering mode on me, why I will have to play Paxman 🙂 Kindly re-read the question and if you would be so kind to answer what I was in fact asking about (not that your earlier answer was not appreciated and good)

      2. Thank you Jacob! I appreciate that very much. It would be great to connect and talk live.

    2. Hi Phil. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Appreciated.

      And yes. I remember of several of the times we have met up. Including at LinkedIn Top 100 Leaders summit in Mountain View, how passionate you have always been on video and letting employees tell the story. Authentically tell their story. That passion for video has always been infectious to me. Kudos to you for leading the charge and being an advocate.

      Love the questions & ‘what ifs’ you raise. That is what excites me as well. It would be so great to work together one day. Imagine the creativity we would exude.

      Phil. In terms of measuring brand advocacy in communities. You have any ideas? Seen any great tools?

      In terms of our Talent Community we have built using Successfactors RMK. What I like about RMK is that it can track Source of Hire. We use different campaign codes and track where candidates are coming from. Hence we can see the number of hires coming from Facebook. twitter and importantly job boards across the world. Key here is that recruiters in the past had to make subjective decisions on job boards, often based on the volume of applications. RMK allows us to see the volume of applications but then the numbers of interviews and the number of hires. So for example this ‘Big Data’ allows us to see what job boards & channels to invest time & money into. If job board x produces 20,000 applications but only yields 5 interviews and maybe 1 placement but job board y yields 350 applications but gets 10 interviews and 4 placements. Then this data allows us to be more targeted. plus we have less brand issues. That 20,000 applying through job board x will need to be managed, messaged to, hence seeking to limit candidates being fed up with the employment brand.

      But I love as you say that ability to review brand pull. Exciting times Phil.

      BTW I also remember your passion for mobile. That whole area still needs to be ‘cracked’. Responsive design is taking off in recruitment. Apply, engagement etc still very patchy.

      1. The short answer to your questions are yes. Brand-based recruiting (and measuring brand advocacy) is what I do these days — and I will show you on Friday.

  12. MJ you gave me carte blanche to ask questions and spurred on by a question by GoogleDave and knowing many highly experienced and talented folks here and relating to main subject here goes:
    The mantra and what everybody apart from people in seats in TA having as ultimate goals is the term ‘engagement’ and engagement is seen as the ‘door opener’ to getting to speak with the ultimate hires be it directly or indirectly. Engagement is time consuming require a lot of thought and structures to work well when beyond just picking up the phone. I asked Stacy sane question re Zappps but as we all know SAP a good deal more complex tham Zappos and a whole different proposition.
    How do you go about the ‘engagement mix’ how do ensure ROI in the required activities to engage vs the desired outcome?
    What I mean is that one can spend a big deal of time enaging without achieving results, why there have to be some metrics and thoughts as to how going about this and ensuring a balance between activity and outcome.

    1. Sorry for the delay in replying Jacob. Yesterday I was at the Recruiter Awards. Pleased to say it was a good evening.

      I am hoping our Director of Social Media, Aaron Rector, will join in this conversation as well as he is an expert and leader in this field.

      I will try and start the conversation, Aaron will add greater depth.

      You are right that engagement is key. So lets look at what engagement indicators make sense. So with Social Media Communities, engagement indicators we track include, (lets use Facebook here). How many ‘Likes’, ‘Shares’, ‘Comments’. How many members, (but that is not critical). That’s easy. Of course we use ratios for size of community vs engagement levels. From there, on the journey we also track ROI of how many click thru’s to join the Talent Communities; click thru’s to the careers site; number of candidates applying via social; number of candidates interviewed; number of candidates hire, (via social). Hence there is a journey to see. An engagement journey.

      Aaron is very keen that the value of a community does not come from its size but its engagement. We can point to big communities or big social media communities, (e.g. Facebook pages), that have many thousands of ‘Likers’ but there is no inherent value if the community does not engage and sits there as ‘silent numbers’. Isn’t it worse to see a huge community then see 2 likes, no comments, no shares. That makes you worried.

      Now not everyone in a community wants to work for a company. They may be brand ambassadors. They may be external referrals.

      I love the whole external referrals element. So under utilized. If you have, like us, a talent community why not engage the 500,000 as recruiters. They recommend candidates. Maybe incentives. Have you seen this done well Jacob? Few try it !

      1. Thank you Matt for starting to answer this question I see what you have provided of response so far is the foundation (albeit a pretty big and solid one to a question that is petty comprehensive question) looking forrward to part two which is where I see the real core of the entire engagent piece and where real ROI comes into play , the time and effort spent vs the outcome on the actual 1:1 engagement. Also congrats on what I have understood to be some more mantel pieces and accolades to team. .My own experiences on referral execution is only very small scale compared to your set up, however in the local entities of SAP and Microsoft why as carves I see it only question of adaption and scale. To have a mix of hires 33% of internal movements (promotions or horizontal) another 33% existing employee referrals and 33% hires that are generated through sourcing is as far as I know a pretty healthy mix and although one can aim for lower % of hires through sourcing (own or via 3rd party) even places that are true talent magnets rarely get below 25% As for making every possible contact internal or external an advocate for brand and needs what our mutual acquaintance Keith Robinson having termed ‘ every employee is ( or has the opportunity to be) a publisher’ sit I believe right at the heart of that piece named Recruitment 3.0 🙂 and is what will make any organisation not only leverage on what they have but very fast be the direct route to efficiency and cost savings

        1. So true. Getting the recruitment mix is a challenge nowadays.

          Internal mobility is key as you say. And its not as easy as you would think. The visibility of jobs is easy. The tools & technology is in place. But from my experience in the industry, listening to peers at conferences, the challenge, (I add not for SAP), is that employees often turn for jobs outside of their company that apply internally. Why is that? When applying internally, often an employee needs the support of their manager/ at the very least to notify their manager. Once a manager knows, some lack the maturity to support their employee. They see it as a lack of loyalty. ‘They are leaving MY team’. Hence relations can frost over. Some managers even block internal moves. Some managers would rather see someone leave a business than join a different internal team. (Very old school thinking). If the employee does not get the internal job, then they are saddled with a manager who thinks they are disloyal. Sounds crazy. But its true. it happens out there. Hence, for some, (I can’t put data on it), believe its easier to look for a job externally, (in secret), then resign if they get the job.

          We also have to think Jacob of all the other challenges at play for a modern recruiter:

          – Urged to go direct and not incur costs with high charging recruitment agencies or post n’ pray job boards
          – Urged to drive ‘diversity’ hiring be it ethnic or gender
          – In the USA, due to legislation, the need to hire Veterans/military hiring
          – The focus to hire ‘Early talent’ / ‘Millenials’ / ‘Graduate Hiring’
          – The drive to attract new talent to train through apprenticeships

          Who said recruitment was easy eh Jacob?

          1. Not saying this to ‘grease up’ or to harp on about on a long time past, but if ever I saw maturity in internal movement and encouragement of employees it was at SAP. I am firm believer in that 85% of what culture, what attitudes prevailing and what executed come from the CEO, their overall attitude, interest and their ability to ensure that applying throughout their entire organisation, that is how you build sustainability, maturity and competitiveness.

          2. Thanks Jacob. You are right it is key for SAP. Appreciate the kind comment.

  13. Hi Matthew and Andrea, fantastic article which I really enjoyed reading. I emphatically back the idea of turning recruitment/resourcing/TA into a profit centre rather than a cost centre and doing this whilst encouraging the whole business to think about Employer Brand is admirable.

    There is some debate and discussion to be had around how much this comes from internal teams rather than third party agencies in an ideal world and how to structure teams globally but certainly not one with a definitive answer.

    Your SAP model has sparked a debate about a model which will be replicated and re-iterated many times over.

    1. Hi Ben. Thank you for reading. Even bigger thank you for taking time out to comment and present your views. Appreciated.

      The whole point of these past 3 articles has been to spark debate. Seek new ides. Challenge.

      I always like hearing what others are doing in this area. Good that internal departments debate this. Are you debating it Ben? Any conclusion?

  14. First of all: thank you again Matthew and Andrea for a thoughtful, informative, and well-written article. Second: congratulations on SAP’s ERE Recruiting Excellence award.

    Now, my comments re: Employment Branding (EB):
    IMHO, EB is an invaluable tool for the very limited number of employers who have the money, time, people, and support to devote to making it effective. EB is to Recruiting as Marketing is to Sales; consequently, money used for actually putting quality butts in chairs in a timely, cost-effective way should not be devoted toward getting other people thinking that the company might be a good place to work at some time in the future. That being said, for those companies that ARE able to avoid cannibalizing their recruiting budget for EB, it can enable them to “fight above their weight class,” i.e., they can create a perception that their company is a finer place to work than it actually is, and
    can then attract better candidates than their Corporate Desirability Score (https://staging.ere.net/2013/02/15/recruiting-supermodels-and-a-tool-to-help-you-do-it/) would indicate they can, if by “better” you mean perky, enthusiastic, over-achieving young people so naïve, gullible, or foolish as to believe the corpaganda and marketing hype which passes for information on most company websites.

    As for the probable 99%+ of companies that don’t have the money, time, people, and support to develop an EB program: they should crack open a nice, cold Corporate Desirability Score and go after the people they can reasonably get without pretending they’re something they’re not…


    Keith “Winner of Recruiting’s ‘PITA Award’” Halperin
    Keithsrj@sbcglobal.net +1.415.672.7326

        1. Thanks, MR and MJ. I actually used “corpaganda” here as far back as 2012, but somebody else seems to have used it as far back as 2009…

          1. Well. Whoever the ‘inventor’ of the term, I love it, hat tip and I will incorporate it 😉 lol Cheers Keith.

    1. Hi Keith. As ever love your wise insights. Thanks for taking time to read and comment. Superb.

      I had not read that Corporate Desirability Score article. Thanks for sharing it.

      Keith, intrigued where you stand on two areas that companies think make them more desirable to candidates:

      1) Glassdoor
      2) Great Places to Work Awards

      Keith do you see both as critical in the decision making process for a candidate?

      I am reviewing our investment into Glassdoor. I am asking myself this same question. With the investment will it help improve our perception? What ROI goal should I set? We (SAP) are currently rated at 3.8. Which is ok. But I am sure if I invest money the first thing will be asked back by the board how much do i expect that rating to go up? is a .2 increase to 4 worth x investment? Would investing make any difference at all? We also have 82% would recommend us to a friend. And 91% approve of our CEO Bill McDermott. Hence good marks.

      Without investment we obviously miss out on the ‘right to reply’ to comments left by candidates and receiving the job board feed direct to us.

      Same questions apply to Great Place to Work. You see them as a nice to have or a critical for the candidate to see?

      Keith love your steer.

      1. Thank you for your kind reply, Matthew. I can tell you what I THINK of GlassDoor and GPTW, but I am totally unqualified to discuss how well they work for what you’re trying to do, or if they’re the best way to do that. I do know someone who should be able to advise you about that though, and he would be very glad to take SAP’s money to help with your goal…

        1. No problem Keith. Interested in what you think. Definitely. You are a wise person with great experiences 🙂

          Lots of people are happy to take SAP’s money 🙂 lol. I get emails by the hour offering consultancy.

          You will be interested to know I never take payment for any of the articles I write not do I get paid for any conference presentations. I do it for the love of sharing & this industry 🙂

    2. Keith, I think there is a way for companies who maybe are smaller and who do not have the resources (money, time, headcount, etc) to still create an Employer Brand that is effective, and I think that is through the use of it’s employees rather than having a “EB team.”

      Smaller companies can encourage it’s employees to do just a few things as “Employee Advocates.” Something as simple as creating a hashtag for employees to use and encourage them to post fun photos from work on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook can be the beginnings of an authentic Employer Brand. And like Matthew said, ask that employees check out glassdoor and be honest. That is how an employer grows, does it run the risk of having some negative reviews? sure, but companies can then take action to try to correct those issues.

      Be creative and get your employees involved!

  15. Great thread. Thank you all for sharing. Just reading along (despite the careful effort not to dis any of the ‘names’ in the space) is worth the journey. Context for me is important and, this week where I was, the branding discussions were about specific audiences- especially diverse audiences. I’m curious how confident you are in being able to segment your branding messages to audiences that vary significantly in their experience of a company as an employer (veteran, disability, etc.)? I’m also particular about whether the responsibility of the brand message/content is to simply attract and entice candidates you determine as quality prospects want to work for you or, whether the content must be of a quality that also adds to the candidate’s ability to make at least as good a decision for themselves as you do in selecting them? Do you plan to assess your efforts longitudinally to see if that match actually lives a decent time? Best

    1. Hey Gerry. Great to see you at ERE San Diego. As ever you were on fire. Just a shame it was such a flying visit for me with so little time. Very hot there as well. Too much for a Brit like me…needed to get back to the rain, (and concerts ;).

      Yes. Hopefully, the article does not dis any names. But equally its great that people ask question, illustrate points and add to the debate. As ever I promised ERE that with any article i will comment on the comments to get greater value for the article. But it takes a lot of time and thats probably why I write so little nowadays as I have said all I want to say on threads lol I don’t know how you can write & support so many articles Gerry. But that is why you are a legend.

      Diversity is a HUGE area for us currently Gerry. Be it gender diversity. And the Obama legislation for veteran hiring is a huge challenge. Hence we are seeking to message, engage, build communities for this purpose. it is a huge priority. Anyone you see doing well in this area that you recommend further insight into Gerry?

      There is so much we are testing at the moment. You can see from our careers site it is more focused on diversity. It has more direct messages. More employee profiles/blogs/videos. particularly gender diversity. We have been experimenting with different style job descriptions, (emphasizing different elements that may appeal to different target audiences). But these are all tests and no real conclusions of value to note as yet.

      You raise a great point on messaging. I offer that we have to be authentic and also ‘manage out’ people who are going to be less successful at SAP/not have the right skill sets / experiences.

      Gerry, you are a man of the brand world. Would you share, in your opinion, who does this well and is worth a further look at. Its great to learn & see different experiences.

      1. Nice to hear. The demographic profiles of highly sought audiences are being built out to nearly real-life characters by a few firms in an attempt to dig deeper into needs and decision processes…obviously borrowing from Madison avenue but combining HR Science. saw a few things at SIOP this year (Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychology). Also check into Nielson’s research in this area. Several of us had a long discussion on this subject in DC earlier this week. When we connect off public posts I’ll be happy to make a couple connections but I suspect you may be already monitoring…we can compare. Generally I think some of the employers that do a particularly good job at segmenting by level, job family, geo, gender, etc. as well as latest inclusion focus of disability are the top financial services firms. SAP is obviously in that mix.

        1. And not to prolong the conversation here but consider that about 1/2 of the very best firms attracting talented diverse people to their ‘pool’ of interested candidates actively prevent them from knowing anything about those same demographics as they build their slate forcing some pretty high anxiety and crazy workarounds #dumb

  16. The process involved in creating an internal employment branding agency is out of my wheelhouse but I love the concept of adopting principles (e.g., the freemium to premium model) that has been successful in other business areas.

    The research shows that employment branding pays off – literally – through reduced acquisition costs due to employee-based brand equity. I wrote a blog post on the research you can check out here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-apple-can-get-away-lower-salaries-ji-a-min-masc

    Cheers, @matthew_jeffery:disqus!

    1. Hi Ji-A Min. As always love hearing from you. Thanks for reading and thanks for the comments. Really appreciated.

      Fascinating article you posted. Recommend others read it as well 🙂

      And you are right, Employment Branding can really make a difference. Cheers Ji-A.

    2. Hi Ji-A Very interesting article and I have across my past global multinational IT companies background seen this play out again and again, and approx 2 in 10 candidates that could not be convinced to take a job on basis of this scenario of uncompetitive salary playing out.
      There is my mind zero doubt that this subject being the distinct case and being displayed across the board in likely every business vertical there is. It has always been like that and will likely stay like that.
      Mr MJ what is story on this at SAP please?

      1. Jacob. This is a fascinating area. It comes back to what type of talent you want to hire. If you are focused on wanting the top talent and wanting people to make a difference/turn the dial, then you have to pay a premium/competitively. But this is applied to certain key positions.

        If we started trying to recruit say sales people on lower salaries, then correspondingly we would see a drop in sales revenue/market share/stock price. That is natural. You could say that sales people are motivated by commission, which they are but again, they still look for strong packages. And great sales people can get offered great packages. So for our sales force we pay well. Check out Glassdoor 😉

        When it comes to developers, the same could be said again. They are the creative hub of any business.

        Now we can turn to more routine/repetitive action tasks/admin. Like any business we are seeking to offshore work in these fields. Key is that we have to maintain quality work but if we can achieve that at a lower cost then that is fair. Our shareholders expect nothing less. It would not make good business sense to pay higher salaries in high cost locations. And in the low cost locations we pay very competitive salaries. We are very fair employers.

        But Jacob, guess what. All companies are now doing elements of offshoring. That means that we are seeing salaries rise in the offshore areas as we compete for talent. That is a positive for those locations as their economies build.

        Fascinating discussion.

        1. Well hat of to SAP if that is the attitude taking, but I think that is the exception and a range of other global IT companies are trading quite strongly on their name and position and offsetting that against a lower salary, as they regard the ‘blue stamping’ being something that savvy career minded candidates willing to do, if not for the short term then for the long term. Problem is though that once hired in some of these companies on a set salary scale the increase even when promoted is minimal, why 15 years in same company and progressing through the ranks will often only see a 10-15% salary increase over that same period of time! As we all know the only time able to make a change to salary is when moving jobs.

          1. Totally true. Looking across the industry once ‘in the system’ pay increases become less substantial in the annual salary review cycles than if people resign and leverage up.

            Annual salary reviews are also managed by ‘forced distribution’ i.e. guidelines are set how many people can get x grade and of course rigid salary bands are then applied. If you are on a low salary then the salary increases are not as attractive. That is something we can see across different companies.

            Of course, great talent can prove their ability and get mid year pay reviews, promotions etc etc. But if we are talking the ‘executors’ who are happy to maintain their level, year on year, are not ambitious, (not everyone has to be), then your issue is real.

            This also comes down to the nature of the employee as well. If they push their career. If they know their market value. And it is healthy for employees to move companies after certain periods.

            At SAP, we have HR who monitor salary levels vs peers. benchmark. Monitor exit interviews. Hence, this helps on attrition. As you know, the last thing a company needs is attrition in a market unit. The cost of losing people, losing knowledge & experience, the training & development lost, the hiring of new people, the loss of productivity whilst hiring & then with the new employee coming up to speed, competitors benefiting from the lost employee’s insights, all adds up to a very compelling reason to ensure that any market unit is competitively paid. Paying low salaries may keep costs low for a certain period but at some point, when the employees learn they can get paid & be more productive elsewhere will see the costs spiral.

            And in the low cost hubs. Big companies are competing for talent. Hence salaries and costs are now rising.

            Fascinating dynamics.

  17. Just as a nice announcement. It was the Recruiter Awards in the UK last night. SAP were nominated for six awards. We were very grateful to win two awards:

    1) Best graduate Recruitment Strategy

    2) Best Global/International recruitment strategy (for employment branding).

    Congrats to the team back at SAP. Well done 🙂 proud to work with you all.

    Details here: http://recruiterawards.co.uk/2015-winners/

  18. Another thorough work, guys. Congrats!
    As recruiting seems to be getting increasingly aligned with traditional marketing and sales functions, at least in competitive talent markets, your article provides description of a great recruiting-marketing framework!

    A side note on the issue of branding, studies indicate that regular employee tend to command higher trust than execs, ex. http://www.edelman.com/post/how-to-build-external-trust-by-engaging-employees/

    1. Hi Shikhar. Thank you for again reading and taking time out to comment. It means a great deal to all of us.

      There is definitely a sea change happening in recruiting where the skills of sales and marketing are more and more valued. Even essential.

      In our branding & sourcing team, those are the core skills we are focusing on. And yes. You can turn a great salesperson into a great recruiter. Hence our talent pool for selecting recruiters has got all the more wider.

      Thanks for sharing the article. Fascinating read.

      Keep the drive and passion Shekhar. You are making a difference.

      Best wishes. Matthew

  19. Really interesting article – and really ‘get’ the idea of creating an internal branding team. Indeed in ‘my world’ on the agency side; there are a growing number of tales of ‘big brands’ buying ‘agencies’ for their talent and creating an in-house team that is then provided as a ‘pay for’ service internally and externally. This is Talent and sourcing providing ROI to the wider business – love it.

    Branding for me is very much about the people who you recruit
    and how they behave in their actions and consistent behaviour they demonstrate every day. Passion that delivers your brand message, ‘your way of doing things’ …and places your audience at its heart.

    Branding is a passion and a culture. It isn’t and never will be words and
    statements. You have to bring them to life and demonstrate them in all that you do. What better way to demonstrate this than build a team that are the guardians for this! I’ve had several conversations when speaking to HR and aid – if I where you; I’d hire my own marketing director and build a team.

    So Matthew – I love this!!

    Something which you all ‘get’ at SAP is that you really embrace this and look for pioneering ways to bring your employer brand and experience together. After all the link between the experiences, memories and feelings you help to generate towards SAP as a place to work; at every stage of the journey is a clear sign of how much this genuinely matters to you, your team and most importantly the passion you have for helping candidates ‘see’ and feel’ it for themselves. That’s why you guys are an award winning team (congrats by the way!!).

    This overtime brings the community towards you, passive and active – and in my world this is what branding, CX and marketing is all about – making friends for tomorrow so we can speak to them today.

    1. Hey Dave. Sorry for the delay. Thanks again for reading and even more for commenting. Very cool. Appreciated.

      I love this: ‘Branding is a passion and a culture. It isn’t and never will be words andstatements. You have to bring them to life and demonstrate them in all that you do’. So so so so so true.

      As mentioned. Lets fix up a time for you and I to brainstorm and look at how you can help SAP. That would be cool.

  20. With a horizon full of ‘Needs’ we move forward by paving pathways of possibility! Great article and success. Quite proud.

  21. I feel late to the party on this article! But so proud to be a part of this team! Well done Matthew and Andrea!

  22. Love the innovation and thoughtfulness on EBM in an intensely competitive global economy. Congrats! Glad to read that large companies like SAP can sustain an a la carte menu selection. In reality a recruiter coming from a small to mid-sized company have little hope of finding services at the lower price of bread. Curious to know as SAP continues to fight the war on talent does every hiring manager clamor for a full menu of services? I’m interested to hear specifics on the impact that the EBM has on corporate revenue and results. Keep us posted!

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