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Employer Brand

World Employer Branding Day 2020: Our key take-outs from this year’s virtual event

December 2020 5 min read Written by Papirfly

In this article, you'll learn...

Our perspective on the major talking points from 2020's World Employer Branding Day virtual event, and what this means for the industry now and in the future.

  • Putting brand values and purposes in the spotlight
  • Planning for a post-COVID landscape in employer branding
  • Humanising and localising your employer brand

Every year, the global employer branding community gathers to celebrate the most groundbreaking work in the industry. This time was a little different, with the event held virtually, but it was no less interactive, insightful and enjoyable to be a part of. 

Beginning with the usual warm and welcoming introduction, World Employer Branding Day 2020 covered the most pressing industry topics with talks, Q&As, workshops and masterclasses. Even though none of us could be there in person, the event successfully united over 50 local employer branding communities to connect leaders, agencies and organisations from all backgrounds. With heightened sensitivity around employee safety, well-being and belonging, there has never been a more important time to join forces and help shape a positive future for the industry.

There were over 60 incredible sessions held over the event, covering a wide range of topics including: storytelling, creative content, marketing, candidate experience, employee engagement, employer brand localisation and leadership. 

Welcome to Papirfly’s round-up of the key take-outs from World Employer Branding Day 2020

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This year has seen customers making more informed decisions about buying your products and services (or even trusting your brand in the first place) based on how you treat your people. This has pushed employer branding into the spotlight by showing its immediate tangible value in terms of consumer perception and ultimately, profit. 


The key take-out here is to build meaningful connections with employees, listen to what they need from your brand and ensure that you action the solutions in a way that’s true to your overarching brand purpose.

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You may have everyone on board with your employer brand proposition internally, but top candidates will need to know about more than the usual standard perks and benefits to see that your organisation is right for them. To show them the essence of your brand, you need to be communicating these values externally.


Featuring an authentic representation of your employees and what they stand for in your advertising is not only a great way to attract new talent, it also makes existing employees feel front-and-centre of your brand story.

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This year, planning anything has been incredibly difficult for organisations in every industry. A helpful strategy to come from World Employer Branding Day was to split your response to the myriad of different challenges into short, medium and long-term approaches.


Tips for planning ahead in a post-COVID world:

  • Short-term
    Small, quick wins can encourage the belief that much bigger things can be achieved in the long run.
  • Medium-term
    Look for ways that your brand can take advantage of the immediate changes to the workplace environment whilst always advocating for your employees’ well-being.
  • Long-term
    Build on your learnings from the last year, share your post-COVID best practice and gain insights from others to take into 2021 and beyond.

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If you employ people, you have an employer brand — whether your executives believe it or not. This year more than ever, employee well-being has been a major influence in not only attracting new talent, but building trust with consumers. 


As more senior-level executives start to see the true value within employer branding — and where it might be lacking — it’s crucial to help them invest the time into becoming more visible, personal and authentic in their approach.

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Whether you have 26 employees in one city, or 26,000 across the globe, your employer brand needs a single golden thread that unites each and every one of them. To create this aligned sense of ambition, you need to land your brand proposition with impact. Graeme Johnson and Jo Bleasdale from GVC Group explained how they turned their employees into fans, in a move away from appealing and towards influencing.


By putting their people at the centre of everything they do, the team at GVC have set a new standard of creativity and collaboration with a solid internal TOV, employee events, intranets and CSR programs that bring the entire organisation together. This has created a brand ambition that is accessible for everyone and easy to get behind.

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In a live Q&A session, Co-Founder of Institute for Real Growth, Frank van den Driest, and Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of Oxford, Felipe Thomaz, shared some insights from the most extensive study on business growth to date. One of the key findings was that successful businesses have focused on building stronger connections with employees, consumers and wider communities. 


Having total control of your employer brand marketing helps you roll out consistent, unified messaging. This is instrumental in making your organisation feel more human and communicating an employee value proposition that recognises the needs of every stakeholder.

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Purpose and authenticity were two words that kept being repeated throughout World Employer Branding Day. And for good reason. For an employer brand proposition to be a success you need to have everyone in your organisation on-board with the same values. Especially leadership teams. 


There has been a much higher focus from consumers, government and the media on how brands are ensuring the well-being of their employees. This is the perfect opportunity to engage C-level execs who may not always have employer branding as their top priority — If you can get the people with the most influence to live and breathe your brand values, authenticity and purpose will run across everything your brand does.

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Sophie Haynes, Unilever’s UK Global Employer Brand Manager, shared her key insights from the challenges she faced driving consistency while developing the employer brand for Unilever — one of our most established customers with 400 brands in 190 markets. 


Unilever’s story is the perfect example of how you can make your employer value proposition resonate with job seekers in different markets, and how crucial it is to understand the cultural nuances that will affect talent attraction for your business. A major part of Sophie’s strategy was to build a network of local brand advocates through people-focused initiatives. Developing watertight governance over your employer brand assets was key to keeping them consistent across the globe.

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Here’s to a positive future in employer branding

It was great to see such a promising outlook for the industry, and we hope our round-up captures actionable insights from the key topics covered on World Employer Brand Day 2020. In case you missed it, you can still watch over 60 recordings of talks, workshops and Q&A sessions at www.worldemployerbrandingday.community/agenda

We can’t wait until next year’s event to hear from more influential speakers and make more lasting industry connections. 

If World Employer Brand Day has inspired you to reshape your brand, then you’ll need to empower your people with the right tools to take your brand into the future.

BAM by Papirfly™ gives teams across the world access to a single online portal with a built-in creative suite. You’ll be able to produce globally consistent print, digital, email and video assets in-house with no outside support needed.

To learn more about BAM and how it can help you invest in your employer brand, speak to one of our team and book a short demo here.

by Papirfly

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