What We Can Learn From Lidl International in the Field of Employer Branding

Lidl employs a unified approach to employer branding across more than 30 countries. How exactly do you approach this? A conversation with Catherine Gouw, Global Employer Brand Leader of The Year last year. What can we learn from her?

ToTalent on July 11, 2024 Average reading time: 5 min
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What We Can Learn From Lidl International in the Field of Employer Branding

At last year’s World Employer Branding Day, which attracted over 700 attendees, Catherine Gouw was extensively highlighted. The German, until the end of last year, Head of Employer Branding at Lidl International, received, among other accolades, the distinction of Global Employer Brand Leader of the Year at that significant international congress, which revisits Amsterdam in October this year. This is a beautiful honorary title. What makes her so good? And what can we learn from her? An interview.

> What is your motivation regarding Employer Branding?

‘From my perspective, employer branding is all about people. On the one hand, we want to appear attractive to relevant target groups as an employer to inspire them to join us. On the other hand, we want to convince the people already working for us that it was the right decision for them in the long term. The focus on people is the personal motivator for me in employer branding – it’s not just that we do our work for people, but especially the collaboration with so many great people that stimulates me every day to be even more creative and authentic in my work.'”

>How have you viewed the evolution of employer branding since you started in this field?

‘When I started with employer branding in 2010, the subject’s relevance was nowhere near as significant as it is now. The focus has always been the same – it has always been about people. Due to the increased importance of the subject, a wonderful global community has formed, allowing you to constantly question yourself in your work, utilize synergies, and be inspired by other great projects to achieve the best possible results for your employer.'”

>You have KPIs to measure employer attractiveness. How does that work?

‘Data should always come first – after all, all creative ideas are useless if we don’t know what to focus on. Therefore, it’s important to have relevant key figures to use this data, for example, to deduce what’s important for future campaigns or to what extent you should also take the internal perspective into account.'”

”Our Employer Branding Survey has been very helpful in this regard, as firstly, we examined the relevance of individual topics internally and externally, and secondly, we found out how Lidl is perceived as an employer in these areas. Some topics that may have been relevant to us beforehand in communication were no longer relevant after presenting the results. Or vice versa, because we saw the comparison between aspiration and reality in black and white for the first time.”

> What are you most proud of in Lidl’s employer branding?

‘Since 2020, we have developed and implemented many exciting topics and projects together in more than 30 countries where Lidl is established. It all started with the rollout of the international employer brand design – a very emotional topic for us, as in the past, we tended to use cooler, almost distant colours. With the implementation, we have not only focused on accessibility, tangibility, and diversity, but we have finally authentically brought them to life in a bright world of colours and images.’

“Furthermore, since 2022, we have been able to measure the attractiveness of Lidl as an employer globally through a 360° data-driven employer branding approach – this success was recognized, among others, with a second place at the Trendence Awards 2023 in Berlin and the Employer Brand Management Awards 2023 in London.”

> Has your work had any additional effect on the perception of Lidl?

”We have also succeeded in communicating our company’s international character more strongly outwardly, thus further opening the ‘black box’ around Lidl. For instance, we achieved this by establishing the LinkedIn profile Lidl International, as well as through our international careers site.”

“These results and the associated internal positioning at the level of the Board of Directors have elevated the topic of employer branding to a very high level, both structurally and globally, and it is now an overarching strategic issue. However, we must not forget that this would not have been possible without a fantastic international employer brand & recruitment community – this community makes us better every day.”

> On World EB Day 2023, you advocated not talking about the employer brand but only about the brand. Why?

“As a B2C retailer, we have different target groups that are closely interconnected – customers are always potential employees for us, and potential and current employees are ideally always customers. To harness these synergies holistically within the company, silos need to be broken down to implement a successful One Brand approach. As a first step, we are trying to align the calculation principles of our KPIs with those of the customer perspective.”

“My personal goal is that in the future, everyone in the organization is aware of their impact on the brand.”

“My personal goal is that in the future, everyone in the organization is aware of their impact on the brand. Store employees especially need to understand what it’s about and what effects can occur, as they have direct contact with the customer. Or, from an HR perspective, direct contact with a potential employee. This means they should always consider one brand’s different perspectives.”

The interview appeared earlier in Kantar.

More information?

Are you interested in learning more? From October 9th to 11th, Amsterdam will once again host the grand World Employer Branding Day. This year, the event will feature cases from companies such as McKinsey, Amazon, Coca-Cola, DHL Group, Merlin Entertainment, PwC, and McCain. Use the promo code ‘werf’ to receive a €100 discount per person.

Nominate someone yourself?

Do you want to nominate someone for this year’s Employer Brand Leader of the Year award? You can! Until September 27th, you can nominate someone for the prestigious Indeed International Employer Branding Summit on October 10th. Who do you think deserves this award this year?”

Nominate now

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