"Thanks to content marketing, we learned how many enthusiasts we have within our company"

František Řezníček and Tomáš Geist, employer branding specialists at Škoda

If you want to attract new talents, praising your product or services won’t be enough. “At the present, unemployment rate is at a record low and, in fact, Czechia is doing the best within the whole European Union. We must compete for people. If we want to attract their attention, we must do it in a unique way – so we put our trust in content marketing,” reply František Řezníček and Tomáš Geist, employer branding specialists in ŠKODA AUTO.

We have been creating a career blog for ŠKODA which we fill with various stories of the company employees. We write about their career and life journeys, projects they are engaged in, their visions, dreams, but also challenges they are facing. One of our aims is to present ŠKODA AUTO as a company that is not only industrial, but also technological and open to anyone. That is why we don’t dismiss any narrations, including the ones of IT specialists.

For example, we wrote about the unexpected journey of a young IT specialist, Tereza Zerzánková. Beginning as a tourist guide in Kutná Hora, this woman made it to be a successful business analyst. “It’s amazing, even her own boss shared Tereza’s story,” exults František with delight while scrolling through LinkedIn, the popular career network. “Another colleague of mine got in touch with me just today, saying he would also like to share his project. That’s exactly the snowball effect we’ve been craving for!”

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What do you mean by the ‘snowball effect’?

František: Ever since the beginning, I had hoped that the career blog would be like a shop window of ŠKODA. I wanted the blog to be filled with exceptional content. We’ve always had tuns of interesting projects at our disposal, but we just didn’t know how to present them. I believed that one day, we could get to a stage in which our employees would be the ones reaching out to us, showering us with other skilled colleagues that could make a nice fit for us. Simply said, that the stories would be mounting up just like snow on a snowball. And now it’s happening! I haven’t even expected it to go so fast.

It’s true that sometimes we talk with the respondents for hours. They often truly live for their job.

František: To be completely honest? That’s what surprised us, too. Thanks to the content we create together, we realized how many enthusiasts we’ve had within our company. Even us who work in the HR may now see into their work a lot better – as it is such a precious source of information for us. One would think that people working for a corporate don’t really care – that they finish their hours and leave, and that’s it. But these stories prove otherwise. What also makes me grateful is that I can now proudly stand up for what I do.

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What do you mean by that?

František: I know that I’m not lying when I say that in ŠKODA, one may participate in various innovative projects and help to shape the future of the automotive industry. These stories stand as proof of that. In my view, revealing the real personal stories of our people is the best way of presenting ŠKODA as a great employer. If we merely praised our product and services or displayed billboards, the immense amount of existing marketing claims would probably overshadow us. True stories, which people may relate to, work a lot better.

Tomáš: We are doing a lot better than ever before in terms of connecting the abstract side of marketing with practice. We have been employing a phrase ‘Create the vision of the future with us’ as a headline of our campaign. But only now, thanks to the content, this claim of ours began to unite with its real meaning. We present stories which such a headline may lean on. If we want to encourage people to do something as serious as changing their job, we must be authentic and show them what working with us is like. Through basic product communication, we could never present the true stories of our employees. Moreover, the career blog helps us greatly not only with the internal, but also the external part of communication.

How exactly?

Tomáš: It’s a great way to motivate people and show them the possibilities that are within their reach. It’s not a corporate thing. Had we left a message for our employees in a classic information kiosk, they probably wouldn’t even notice. But once we give them the message via social media, where they spend a lot of their time, it’s a lot more effective.
 
František: Moreover, not only ordinary employees, but also high-posted managers get to share their stories. As a result, a sort of healthy competition comes to life – as everyone wants to be seen among the career blog.

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Have you tried creating content internally?

František: We tried, yes. But it didn’t go through, as no one really had time nor specialization for it. We didn’t know how to approach our employees nor what to ask them. As a result, we managed to create a sort of a PR blog through which we communicated the news. It was boring, because we didn’t offer anything extra to our readers. It’s only now that we are successful in getting in the depths of it and creating attractive content. And that is also thanks to you – as you approached us with a suggestion of employing the no-coding platform Shorthand. Finally, our storytelling is winning it!
 
Tomáš: We used to focus on campaign communication. We were missing the base which would be altering the way people perceived our brand. We do campaigns even now – but it is more of an additional element to our long-term communication. Thanks to our image content, people apply for new career positions with the feeling of knowing what to expect from us.

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In the case of recruitment, you focus mainly on technical positions – those relating to e-mobility, for example. How difficult is it to find relevant specialists?

Tomáš: We fight for them. There’re not many qualified people around, as the educational system cannot catch up with the companies’ dynamics. Within some specific fields, the potential is exhausted already. In terms of trade fairs, people always head to the stands recruiting engineers. Around the stalls presenting e-mobility, there’s no one. In fact, we only have three options; either win people over from other companies, educate them according to our system (as ŠKODA Academia offers plenty of educational programmes for both the current and the new employees), or completely retrain some of them. One way or another, content means a great help. Through content, we show that you do not need to be experienced within the field – as we may teach you all that is necessary.
 
František: We must know how to attract talents. One way of doing that is offering people with the opportunity of actively participating in the product’s creation. People want to participate while the product is being born, as they crave to claim credits. And we offer such an opportunity – as we try to reveal within the career blog. Via content, we are able to show that any qualified technical specialist may meet the most innovative technologies in ŠKODA and become a part of various interesting projects.

Tomáš: Times of choosing our people from a high number of candidates are long gone. While any communication used to be company-centric, it is all about the candidate now. It is the only way to make people think – as George Clooney says in the famous commercial – “ŠKODA – What else.”

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I am aware that this question may almost be a taboo for HR specialists. But still: Where do you see the career blog in five years?

Tomáš: Not at all, in this case, we must keep asking ourselves this question! We believe the content has enormous potential and believe it is attractive enough to find its way into the world of media. Recently, it is common to mainly find articles on chips that Škoda is missing etc. We would like to change that. After all, there are so many positive and socially beneficial news to share!

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