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Benefits of Employer Branding and Why We Did It in Our Company

Krešimir Č. & Tina Lj. 12 min readApr 2, 2024Culture
Benefits of Employer Branding and Why We Did It in Our Company
Krešimir Č. & Tina Lj. 12 min read
What do employer branding and the military have in common?
When you do employer branding, don't forget your existing employees!
The start of our employer brand - We tried to play it by the book
Taking the action
Laying the groundwork for a strong employer brand
Can we get to the ducks already?
Where we've applied our employer branding best practices
What are the benefits of employer branding
Is employer branding just a buzzword?

Let's talk about ducks! We are aware that there are many raised eyebrows when somebody sees our ducks during events. We get a lot of questions, such as, "But why ducks?"

Let's give you some context about what rubber ducks and employer branding have in common.

Most IT companies try to position themselves as dynamic, technology-focused firms that are recognized as true experts in the field. That's where the employer brand comes into play.

In this blog post, we want to explain why employer branding matters, why we chose the duck-themed visual identity, what employer branding best practices are, and how a proper employer branding strategy has helped us over time.

What do employer branding and the military have in common?

You may have seen it on LinkedIn or heard your friend talk about it - but what is employer branding?

Let’s put it this way: activities that are included under the popular term employer branding are quite old—well, at least as old as marketing itself!

A great example of smart employer branding is how the U.S. military used Hollywood movies. Back in World War II, they knew they needed more people to support the war effort. So, they worked with Hollywood to ensure movies showed the military in a good light and encouraged patriotism. This wasn’t just about getting people to join during the war; it also helped shape how people see the military even now.

In short, employer branding is the strategic process of shaping and promoting an organization’s reputation as an employer.

When you do employer branding, don't forget your existing employees!

Employer branding isn't just about catching the eye of new talent; it's also about affirming and enriching the experience for those who are already part of the team. It crafts a genuine image that connects deeply with potential hires, current employees, clients, and the wider community.

Employer branding must act as the core of your organization, capturing your identity and the reasons behind your company's actions. It's about creating a sense of pride and belonging for everyone involved, ensuring that the team feels valued and understood, which, in turn, strengthens their commitment to the company's mission. I mean, who wouldn't want to work where their values align with the company's?

The start of our employer brand - We tried to play it by the book

Devōt started in one guy's bedroom in New Zagreb. Considering it was an IT company, the company's beginnings were focused solely on tech and building clients. After a few years, employer branding came to the table.

So, we knew we had to create an employer brand, but we started off a bit slow and a bit clumsy. We had a lot of discussions and took notes on the feedback we got from our team, leaders, and people closely connected to the company. Essentially, we wanted to understand why each individual was working for or collaborating with the company.

At first, we wrote down all this information without really knowing what to do with it.

The next step was trying to turn all that feedback into something useful , and that part was quite challenging. We kept getting caught up in urgent tasks, and this one, while important, didn't seem as pressing. So, we kept repeatedly putting it on the back burner.

Taking the action

Then, one day, the wake-up call came, and it became clear that we were stuck and needed to take action. That's when we decided to bring in an expert. You might be wondering why we didn't do that earlier. Why didn't we outsource this to people who do it daily? This question is a bit of a sore point for Krešimir. As the head of marketing at the time, he believed that outsourcing meant you weren’t really acting as a marketing department but rather as a project manager juggling tasks between agencies and management.

We decided not to go the classical outsourcing route. Instead, we hired a consultant with the intention of collaborating closely and learning from someone with extensive experience.

The person we consulted with was Iva Majstorović. After laying the foundation, our internal team, comprising designer Tisa Bastijanić and marketer Iva Pervan, along with Iva Majstorović and Krešimir, began laying the foundation for our employer branding efforts. As the initial idea progressed, another marketer, Tina was added to the team.

With our consultant, Iva M., we started to do things by the book.

Laying the groundwork for a strong employer brand

We crafted an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) as a foundation of a strong employer brand. We formed "pillars" that represent our company culture and mindset. This approach ensures that anyone interested in our company gets a clear insight into our culture and values. Positioning our brand, both among competitors and as an employer of choice, became a critical step in our strategy.

But what exactly do pillars have in common with employer branding? We designed our employer branding strategy around five key points, or "pillars," as we prefer to call them. These pillars are structural elements and our "go-to" ideas that encapsulate what we stand for. They are based on the following principles:

1. We are all about cozy vibes and open conversations

Do you know that feeling when you're just chillin' with people and feel totally comfy? Well, even though we tackle big projects and have a global impact, we've managed to keep our internal vibe cozy.

Our office dress code? Slippers are welcome here , symbolizing the comfort and ease we embrace in every aspect of our work environment. But it's not just about the footwear; it's about fostering an atmosphere where speaking your mind is valued above all. This culture of openness complements our flexible hours and remote work options, granting you the freedom to work how you work best. And with our laid-back office vibe, feeling like taking a stroll after lunch is always a good idea.

2. Quality and the simple art of saying "no"

We focus on quality, ensuring we do things the right way rather than just doing a bunch of stuff. We're committed to long-term projects and partnerships.

And yes, we're not afraid to say "no" to a client if it means maintaining our high standards. Our "no-nonsense" approach is actually one of the things our partners appreciate most about us.

One of our clients, told this about Devōt:

"If you're developing something, you want people who can tell you the truth, not what you want to hear. That's really important."

3. Team-centric approach

The point is that we don't sell developers' time separately; we always work as a team. You'll be part of a fixed team, so you'll always know your crew.

We're big on sharing knowledge and supporting each other's growth. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, we’ve got your back!

4. With us, you are on solid ground

We recognize how life's stresses can weigh on everyone. That's precisely why we ensure your financial stability is our priority. With solid, long-term contracts secured with our clients, you can say goodbye to the endless chase for new projects.

What's more, you'll find collaboration easier, dealing exclusively with clients who are as tech-savvy as we are.

5. Engineers at heart

We're all about engineering and the thrill of problem-solving. We dive deep into understanding problems and finding the coolest solutions. We're an engineering-driven company where creativity and curiosity run wild. We take on challenges head-on and do things our way.

At our core, we are engineers first, and everything else comes second. This way of thinking applies to all our teams, both tech and non-tech, because it's about the mindset. If you have an insatiable curiosity about everything, you're exactly who we're looking for.

Can we get to the ducks already?

Ok. So what about ducks? How did they get into the picture?

Have you ever heard about the concept of rubber duck debugging? You know, when you're stuck on a (coding) problem, and you just can't figure it out? Well, that is where the "rubber duck debugging" technique comes in to help. It's like having a conversation with a rubber duck, but instead of expecting it to answer, you explain your code problem to it.

So, you guys talk with ducks?

Well, before you think we are just plain crazy, let us explain.

So, the idea is to talk to a rubber duck, and by verbalizing the issue, you begin to understand it better.

The concept of "rubber duck debugging" originated from a book. It was first introduced in the 1999 book "The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas." The premise is that a programmer explains their code, line by line, to a rubber duck (or any inanimate object) and, in the process of doing so, often discovers the mistake in the code. This method leverages the idea that teaching or explaining a problem to someone else (even if it's just a rubber duck) can help clarify one’s thinking and lead to solutions more effectively than pondering in silence.

So, the next time you're banging your head against the wall with a coding bug, try rubber duck debugging and be surprised how often it helps you find the solution!

employer branding

What came first, the rubber duck or "We give a duck"?

But, our journey to incorporate ducks into our branding and visuals started from a different perspective.

When we started defining our employer branding creative concept, we centered it around the idea that we are problem solvers and engineers. We believe in honest and direct communication, valuing it in both directions—towards our clients and our team members. We take genuine care of our projects and the people involved.

The "We give a duck" concept emerged from this foundation. It embodies our commitment and dedication to our clients and team members. It symbolizes our willingness to go the extra mile to find solutions to problems together. In essence, "We give a duck" means that we genuinely care about your progress, challenges, and well-being.

On top of that, you actually get a rubber duck when you join the team! It's part of our employee welcome pack, and every duck has a unique name. So, you can take it home and talk to it (maybe even about your love problems?), or leave it on your office desk to help you when bugs are giving you a headache.

Where we've applied our employer branding best practices

1. Our employees are brand ambassadors

During 2023 and continuing into 2024, our employees have shared their personal and professional stories, highlighting topics from the benefits of occasionally embracing laziness to the development journey of our AI chatbot, Ante, among many other insights.

Being a brand ambassador extends beyond sporadic social media posts; it involves actively engaging with and embodying the company's values and culture, both online and offline. Our team members share content and participate in conversations, offer insights into our work environment, and represent our brand at industry events. This approach has helped us build a genuine and relatable employer brand that resonates with both current and potential employees. After all, what's better than having someone approach you to say how much they enjoyed your colleague's speech?

2. We have a consistent and engaging visual identity at events

We marked our presence throughout the year at ten events, starting from the Job Fair 2023, where the name "Devōt" was unfamiliar to most attendees.

We devoted special attention to our booth's design, presentations by our tech teams at events, promotional materials, and, notably, the interactive games at our booth. Let's just say our employer brand came a long way from the “Duck quiz” at the Job Fair. But hey, at least at the Job Fair, we won an award for being the most fun company!

employer branding examples

3. Promotional materials as employer branding tools

From socks adorned with rubber ducks to stickers featuring The Office memes reimagined as ducks, our promotional items are a hit both within our team and at external events.

We even designed t-shirts for The Geek Gathering, combining the elements connected with the city of Osijek and ducks!

employer branding examples

4. Workshops and learning opportunities

Our programmers initiated an internal knowledge-sharing event long before the concept of employer branding was introduced in our company. It was our Head of Engineering Matej’s idea to organize gatherings for developers a couple of times a year. Lead Software Developer Rino and Software Developer Manuela took charge of the project, evolving it into what it is today: a monthly knowledge-sharing session covering both technical and non-technical aspects of the company. Our HR & Operations Assistant, Tea, organized these events, turning them into gatherings for colleagues to hang out and connect.

Later, as part of employer branding, the event was named "Talk the Talk" and given a visual identity that aligns with the company’s employer branding. Apart from that, our agile team has held various workshops internally, some of which were later extended to external audiences, such as presentations and workshops at Digital Labin.

This year, our HR team is expanding our internal events to include pub quizzes and other activities. We must say—we can't wait!

company events

5. Benefits, recruitment, and our career site

Offering compelling benefits is crucial because it's often the first topic people ask about in the recruiting process.

Our HR and marketing team have collaborated to design a benefits package that reflects our commitment to meeting employee needs and showcasing our company values. To see the list of our benefits, check out our our career page, or for more detailed information, feel free to send an email to [email protected] .

Lina, our Talent Acquisition (TA) specialist, has significantly contributed to enhancing our presence at various events, always ready to engage with attendees and answer any questions about our company. Over the last year, we transformed the recruitment process from the fact that almost nobody knew about us at events to a state where job seekers actively seek us out.

employment brand

6. There is many more of it to come

As we continue to evolve, remember that our visual identity is just the starting point of our employer branding journey. We have many initiatives for employer branding and are in the process of adapting more employer branding best practices, focusing on remaining consistent in our values and our approach.

What are the benefits of employer branding

After all that rubber duck talk, maybe you forget that it was made for the sake of employer branding. After we created the whole concept, what did we get from it? What benefits did employer branding bring to our company culture? Here are some things that our company got from it:

1. We attracted top talent

Attracting highly skilled professionals in any industry, but especially in IT, is crucial for staying on top of our game. Our employer branding strategy has been a tool in this strategy, pulling in top talent who are passionate about technology and eager to contribute their expertise to our organization.

By showcasing our strong employer brand through social media channels, career pages, and employee testimonials, we've successfully drawn in top talent eager to contribute to our organization. These efforts ensure that job seekers see our company not just as a potential employer but as a community where their career ambitions and personal values align with the company's culture.

Furthermore, our employer branding significantly enhanced the recruitment process. It establishes a level of trust among job candidates, who are more likely to apply to companies they feel confident about. This trust is cultivated through transparent communication on career sites and other platforms, reassuring candidates that they are making the right choice for their careers.

Some research says that 78% of people will look into a company's reputation as an employer before applying for a job. In essence, a well-established employer brand attracts applicants but also ensures that candidates trust the company's integrity and values.

2. We maintained employee retention

Beyond attracting potential employees, a significant aspect of our employer branding focuses on retaining our current team members. When employees feel proud to be associated with our company and believe in our vision, they are more likely to stay committed and loyal.

This approach has proven to boost employee satisfaction, significantly lower turnover rates, and reduce the costs associated with hiring and onboarding new employees. Our commitment to creating a positive employee experience is reflected in our company's reputation, making it a place where people want to start and grow their careers.

3. It gave us a competitive advantage

Our distinct approach to work and the team behind our success are what differentiate us in the marketplace. By integrating our employer branding into our business, from recruitment marketing to employee engagement, we've cultivated a unique identity.

When we are perceived as experts in what we do, clients are more likely to trust us with their projects, enhancing our market position and giving us a competitive advantage. Our reputation as experts in our field, underscored by genuine employee stories and a transparent look into our company's values and culture, builds client trust.

Through successful employer branding, we've filled job positions and strengthened our position in the market, ensuring that we remain ahead of the curve.

employer branding at our company

Is employer branding just a buzzword?

So there you have it. Employer branding may be just a buzzword to some, but for us, it encompasses all activities that move us closer to our goal. By crafting an employer brand, we attracted top talent, retained our best employees, and gained a competitive advantage in the market.

What do you think about our creative solutions? If you're interested in joining our company, take a look at the open positions on our careers page. If you appreciate our approach to business and people but don't see any current openings that fit, feel free to send us an open application.

P.S. If you want one of our rubber ducks for yourself, meet us at different events throughout the year. We will be the ones with all the ducks while having the most fun at the booth. On our our LinkedIn, you can track where we will be next. Looking forward to meeting you!

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