Colin Yeow - Aug 23, 2018

Leverage on Employer Branding to Attract the Best Talents

Having an effective employer branding strategy can save a company time and money – learn to tell a compelling story to attract and retain the best talents!

"Striving to create a world where work drives passion."

Wantedly’s mission statement is one that is bold, invigorating and captivating.

As Mr Tan Weiting, Country Manager of Wantedly Singapore began his talk as part of the SkillsFuture Festival Executive Series @ WeWork co-organised by Emergenetics Asia Pacific and Lifelong Learning Institute, he told the story of how Wantedly – a Tokyo-based startup that helps people discover jobs that ignite their passion – came to be.

Founded in 2010 by Akiko Naka, Wantedly is a social recruit service with more than 1 million active users in Japan and has evolved into something like LinkedIn for millennials. Instead of matching companies and candidates based merely on salaries and benefits, Wantedly goes a step further by matching them based on passion and values.

Comparing the working environments of two large companies – a hip, modern office versus a traditional, corporate office – Weiting asked the audience which company they thought millennials would prefer to work for. The answer was obvious. This was not a comparison about which company was better, but about which company was more attractive to potential hires.

Understanding Millennials
“A positive employer brand,” Weiting adds, “can save you time and money. Your target audience will come looking for you instead of you looking for them!”

Weiting went on to explain that every generation has different ways of thinking, and hence, different motivations. When baby boomers were young, they were more concerned about food, survival and basic needs, which sculpted their motivations in a very different way compared to millennials who were born in a time without these same concerns.

Millennials, in general, want vastly different things from their companies. They want their companies to:

  • Develop their skills for the future
  • Have strong company values
  • Offer customized options in the benefits package
  • Allow them to blend work with the rest of their life
  • Offer a clear career path

As he shared about millennials, it reminded me about the efforts that my own team at Emergenetics APAC has put in to continually attract the best possible talent via social media and also through innovative employment policies and benefits.

Weiting further described how the “old world” differs from the “new world”. In the “old world”, factors such as salary, title, benefits, work history, education and skills matter more to employees. However, in the “new world”, other factors like purpose, environment, growth, drive, commitment and potential feature more prominently.

Importance of a Positive Employer Brand
As such, an effective employer branding strategy is one that focuses on these important factors in order to attract talent and retain employees.

As he retold the story of a Japanese company with a bad reputation, he emphasised that an employee should be the number one fan of any company. Employees are the company’s brand ambassadors. If done right, a positive employer brand will show the human side of the company, which is paramount for any company in an age where attaining information about any employer is as easy as visiting websites such as Facebook, Glassdoor, LinkedIn and Quora.

Storytelling as a Major Pillar in Employer Branding
When a member of the audience asked about the role of storytelling, Weiting shared that every company has a story waiting to be told.

The secret to unveiling that story is in asking the right questions. Questions such as “How did the company start?” or “Where did the company begin?” might be good first questions to ask. Next, discover the why – the purpose of the company which helps employees understand the reason they wake up every morning to go to work. Finally, it’s also about realising The Problem. To discover the story, a company needs to have clarity about the problem it is trying to solve.

Role of HR in Employer Branding
Another question that came from the audience touched on the role of Human Resources (HR) in larger, more conservative companies. It was noted that at times, HR may not fully understand what the company’s core work is about. Without this, how would they effectively build a brand strategy?

Weiting assured the audience that no matter big or small, every company would have a story. While the CEO is probably best-placed to tell this story, for larger companies, this role is sometimes relinquished to a professional HR team. Hiring then becomes more about filling positions based on salaries and benefits, rather than a fit based on passion and values.

Therefore, for HR to effectively build a brand strategy, it needs to “sort through the noise” to ensure that the company’s story is authentically retold.

Employer Branding and Recruitment
A final question surrounded the difference between employer branding and recruitment. Weiting stated succinctly that employer branding is a subset of recruitment. Furthermore, he explained that employer branding is not only about attracting the best employees, but also about retaining current employees and even ensuring that past employees have a positive image of the company.

Final Thought

Weiting left us with a final thought, “69% of candidates would not take a job with a business that has a bad reputation, even if they were unemployed.

As he ended the talk, I was left with the key reminder that the world we live in is constantly changing. Continuing to craft and establish a compelling employer brand may be the smartest move in getting and keeping the best talents in order to future-proof our business and I’m glad that I’m working with a team that never settles for good enough!


This article was originally published on the SkillsFuture Festival Executive Series @ WeWork


About the Speaker

Tan Weiting_Wantedly_Emergenetics Asia PacificMr Tan Weiting
Country Manager,
Wantedly Singapore


Weiting Tan, Country Manager of Wantedly Singapore, is at the center of formulating integrated expansion strategies to deliver clear business objectives.

Weiting has over seven years of success in international business consulting, and has performed various roles in sales, financial management, product development and operations. He has extensive experience reengineering business processes in United States, South America and South-East Asia.

Prior to joining Wantedly, Weiting spent two years as Market Manager for HotelQuickly, a last-minute hotel booking app. He was also part of the business team at Zimplistic, creators of the Rotimatic, the world’s first robot that makes healthy homemade rotis and wraps.

Weiting graduated from The State University of New York at Buffalo with a Bachelor of Science in International Business and Finance. He enjoys the occasional travel, whipping up some Masterchef worthy dishes and is working towards being the next FIFA World Player of the Year. 

Written by Colin Yeow