Cracking the Code: The Authenticity Challenge in Employer Branding

How does one crack the code of authenticity in employer branding? Whether you like it or not, it all starts with being true to who you are as an organization; and by true, I mean imperfect. That’s okay!

The last few months in the business world have been like a rollercoaster. Employer branding practices seemed to have lost their shine as companies made difficult decisions like layoffs and budget cuts, and the air was thick with uncertainty and fear.

Despite these challenges, my experiences at various conferences on employer branding, leadership, and HR in 2023 have highlighted a significant truth: it’s tough to figure out how to be authentic in employer branding. Many companies shy away from this because they tend to approach their identity on a surface level. They rarely take a deep look inside, tell the honest truth, admit to mistakes, learn from them, and strive to improve.

However, there is a silver lining. Employer branding is all about people, emotions, values, and personalization. Where should you start? 

Put the “human” back into employer branding

Attending the Empple Festival in Belgrade and Zukunft Personal Europe in Cologne has been incredibly rewarding. I’ve had the opportunity to speak about putting the “human” back into employer branding and the importance of authenticity in employer branding. At Empple, my speech was centered on the importance of reintroducing the “human” element into employer branding, all while emphasizing the significance of authenticity as a constant in your life and within your organization.

You might be wondering how authenticity correlates with employer branding. The answer, I would argue, is that authenticity is the linchpin. When organizations align themselves authentically with who they truly are, it paves the way for significant improvements in the workplace.

At Zukunft Personal Europe in Cologne, I was part of a panel on employer branding in tech. Together with my partner in crime, Julia Kounlavong, we had an amazing exchange of ideas and insights on how an Employer Value Proposition can best stay human, personalized, mission-driven, and honest.

Why authenticity is important and why you should start practicing it ASAP?

Only by being true to who you really are will you become a better version of yourself; at work, in your family life, with friends, in your employer branding or HR or marketing department.

Organizations are not these ethereal, foreign, distinct organisms that live in secluded spaces and where we go to get paid every month. NO! An organization is a sum of individuals and every organization is as strong as its weakest member.

Employer branding would benefit from more courage and authenticity from its practitioners. We need to showcase what we do, why what we do matters, how we do it, and why organizations HAVE to think of employer branding as a perpetual journey that never ends, not as something done once a quarter, during pizza nights or recruitment marketing campaigns.

What is an authentic EVP to me?

First of all, what is an EVP? An EVP is a tagline, but also, so much more! It’s that unique set of benefits that an employee receives in return for the skills, capabilities, and experience they bring to a company. Believe it or not, money does not come close to the first 10 things in a chart made by Gallup.

So what should an EVP encompass in order to be authentic and create magic for its employees? One or 4 of the following characteristics. And please don’t look at it literally, because obviously, one EVP can not be as descriptive as that.


In my honest opinion, one of the most important aspects an organization can look into. People leave or stay for people. Call it company benefits all you want, but they’ll still leave due to poor management practices, lack of belonging, and discrimination in the workplace. And they’ll gift you a poor Glassdoor review.

PS: One Gallup study found that money isn’t even to be found among the first 10 (ten!) reasons why an employee joins a company. Suprise, surprise!


Never present something that the company is not.

  • DATA does not lie. We, at Beaglecat, always start every employer branding or recruitment marketing project with a survey. A 10-15 question survey which we send anonymously to everyone working in the company and with which we try to identify:

a. what people working in the there think of the company

b. what really differentiates the company from the competition.

If you’re already doing the survey, congrats! You should aim for one every 6 months if not every quarter. There are many ways of getting valuable data, which can then lay down the foundation of your company’s employer brand, but let’s just say this is the easiest way.

  • Creativity is extremely important when putting content out. And Employee-Generated Content is now king. But it has to be as honest as possible; and also, part of a STRATEGY. No piece of employee-generated content will help you if it’s just thrown into the abyss without really having in mind the WHY.


James Ellis was the first one to compare employer branding to dating. You wouldn’t want to be dating everyone, would you? In this case, why are you trying to attract everyone? And, most importantly, what do you have that’s so special that people should come to work for you?

It’s as simple as that. Start with a job description that will highlight what it’s like working for you, put the potential employee first when designing your Careers website and you’ll be surprised to find out that you don’t need to go through hundreds of (useless) CVs.


What does a company really stand for? I mean, it’s ideal to have all 4 elements present in the mix of your company EVP, but this is rarely possible. The best example that comes to mind is Tesla, where humanity practically lacks, but still is a very sought-after employer, due to the founder’s vision; which, over time, has transformed even past employees into valuable evangelists.

🌟Long story short, there’s so much more to employer branding than meets the eye. Having engaged in insightful conversations with more than 50 Employer Branding (EB) managers, Human Resources (HR) managers, Talent Acquisition (TA) managers, and CEOs, The State of Employer Branding across the Globe digs deeper into the intricacies of EB strategies, budget management, and effective leadership practices within the evolving work landscape. I’m excited to see what the next 3 years will bring in the EB!

💡Until then, my heart lives in the present! A very exciting, challenging, yet rewarding present. My new venture & and adventure involves the launch of a show brand, The MAD Shoes. Yes, I know it’s something totally different and unexpected. But lately, I’ve come to realize that when something stays on your mind for too long, it’s worth pursuing.

Stay tuned for updates!

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