How to win the War for Talent?

One of the main challenges of companies nowadays is the battle to attract top talent and the retention strategy to keep them onboard. Employer Branding, the process of creating and communicating a positive image of an organization as an employer of choice, could be big help to overcome this challenge. Although Employer Branding is gradually becoming more important at companies, surprisingly it is often limited to a topic for the Human Resources department and not frequently mentioned in C-suite conversations.

It may look that Employer Branding only influences candidates in mid-level or entry-level roles, but it is getting evident that it is also a critical factor to attract and recruit senior level roles. For executives who have invested years into building their career, the reputation of a prospective new organization is paramount. Today senior level candidates will pay attention to online employer reviews, read social media post & customer testimonials and will seek insight from their personal and professional network. If senior talent has the choice, they will often select the company with the best reputation in the market.  A recent survey by LinkedIn confirms this: 75% of job seekers research a company’s reputation and employer brand before applying, and 69% would not take a job with a company that has a bad reputation.

Retribution is still an important factor for an employer of choice, but certainly not the only one and the recent years brought are important changes. A McKinsey study of last year (2022) with more than 16.000 respondents in nine European countries, shows that fully one-third of respondents say that they expect to quit their jobs in the next three to six months. The top three reasons they give for leaving their job are not that surprising: inadequate compensation, lack of career development and advancement, and uncaring and uninspiring leaders. But the McKinsey study also reveals that there are important new factors for an employer of choice after COVID, like having a safe work environment, more flexibility and a meaningful job. The value of an agile, engaged, and healthy – both physically and mentally – workforce has becoming more obvious during the pandemic (article “European talent is ready to walk out the door. How should companies respond?” December 12, 2022).

Develop a clear Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is key in Employer Branding.  With a clear EVP a company should articulate the unique benefits and values their organization offers. The employer brand arises from its reputation as an employer. This means that you could organise a branding campaign that talks up the attractiveness as an employer, but it will not improve the employer brand over the mid-long term if the campaign does not have a basis in truth. In other words, if you want to be an attractive employer for high performers it is not enough to win prices of “Best Places to Work” if employees are constantly complaining about your company at cocktail parties.

 “Employer Branding done right, causes the long term improvements  in organisation´s image and the ability to attract high performers”.


A strong employer brand can help you stand out from your competitors, reduce hiring costs, increase retention rates, and enhance your reputation and performance.

At Sedna Executive Search we could provide companies valuable feedback and insights on how their employer brand is perceived by the talent market. They can tell you what top candidates are looking for, what they like and dislike about the organization, and what are the main drivers and barriers for them to join. We can identify and address gaps or weaknesses in your employer branding strategy and suggest ways to improve and optimize it. But we are not only offering the feedback of the external talent market, we measure also the commitment of your current employees with your organisation because they are the real ambassadors of your brand !

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Martin Poppe, Founder and Managing Partner, Sedna Executive Search, 9th of June 2023.