"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, speaking good about your product or services won’t be enough. “The unemployment rate is the lowest ever. Czechia is doing the best within the whole European Union, in fact. We must fight for people. If we want to get them, we must attract their attention in a different way – so we put our money on content marketing,” say František Řezníček and Tomáš Geist, employer branding specialists in ŠKODA AUTO.

We happen to be creating a career blog for ŠKODA, which we fill with various stories of people working for this company. We write about their career and life journeys, projects they are engaged in, visions, dreams, but also challenges they are facing. One of our aims is to present ŠKODA AUTO not only as an industrial, but also as a technological company open for everyone. Therefore, a thing like the IT specialists’ narrations cannot be missing. 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. “That’s great. Tereza’s story is being shared even by her boss,” František crows with delight while scrolling through LinkedIn, the popular career network. “Another colleague of mine got in touch with me just today, saying he wishes to share his project as well. That’s exactly the snowball effect we’ve been craving for!”

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What do you mean by the ‘snowball effect’?

František: Since the very beginning, I wished the career blog would be something 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 used to think we could reach the following phase once – that our employees would start getting in touch with us, showering us with other skilled colleagues that could make a nice fit for us. Simply, that the stories would be mounting up just like snow on a snowball. And it’s actually happening! I haven’t even expected it to go so fast.

Sometimes, we talk with the respondents for hours, that’s true. 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 we, working within HR, may now see into their work a lot better – as it is such a precious source of information for us. One would be thinking that people working for a corporate don’t actually care – that they finish their hours and leave, and that’s it. But those stories prove otherwise. I am so grateful for this, as I may now proudly stand for what I do.

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What do you mean by that?

František: If saying you may become part of various innovative projects in ŠKODA, while helping to shape the future of the automotive industry – I know I’m not lying. Those stories stand as proof. In my view, revealing the real personal stories of our people is the best way of how to present ŠKODA as a great employer. If we only spoke good about our product and services or created nonsense billboards, we probably wouldn’t attract anyone’s attention. True stories, which may people 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. ‘Create the vision of the future with us’ – we’ve been employing such a headline in our campaign. 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 so serious as changing their job, for example, we must be authentic and show what working with us is like. Through basic product communication, we could never present the true stories of our people. Moreover, the career blog means a great help not only with our internal, but also external part of communication.

How exactly?

Tomáš: It’s a great way to motivate and show people how far they may easily reach. It’s nothing of a corporate thing. If we left our people a message within the classic informative kiosk, they probably wouldn’t even notice it. But if we give them the message via social media, it’s a lot more effective – as scrolling through social media means their everyday duty almost.
 
František: Moreover, not only ordinary employees, but also high-posted managers get to share their stories. Through this, there originates sort of healthy competition – 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 be asking them. As a result, we managed to be creating a sort of PR blog, through which we communicated the news. It was boring, as we didn’t offer anything extra to our readers. Only now, we succeed in getting in-depth and creating attractive content. Also, it is so thanks to you – as you approached us with a suggestion of employing the no-coding platform Shorthand. Finally, our storytelling is winning it!
 
Tomáš: Before, we focused 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. Is it easy 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. Actually, we have only 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 current and 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 anything necessary.
 
František: We must know how to attract talents. One of such ways is to offer an opportunity to become an active part of 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 – which 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, together with becoming part of various interesting projects.

Tomáš: Times of choosing our people from a high amount 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. Owing to this, people may be thinking just like George Clooney in that well-known commercial: ŠKODA – What else.

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

Tomáš: Not at all, we must keep asking ourselves such a question! We believe the content has enormous potential. We believe it is attractive enough to find its way into the world of media. Recently, only articles about our missing chips and other things are to be found by our readers. But we wish to change this. We have so many positive and beneficial novelties to share!

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