Employer branding and employee retention through info film

NetCologne participating in GREAT PLACE to WORK® competition

// Corporate Culture

NetCologne GmbH has repeatedly participated in the GREAT PLACE to WORK® competition and had its own staff rate their employer in comprehensive interviews in the context of a survey. Based on the numerous responses received, the human resources staff of the Cologne-based company have gained projects for the further development of both business culture and employer attractiveness. In order to reach all colleagues with the by now very comprehensive employee programme, the responsible HR managers have, jointly with the cultural advisors of noventum consulting, developed the concept of an ‘info film’. This short film presents the employee programme clearly and in a variety of interview sequences and should also help to reach the goal of a brisk participation in the next survey. The result is a testament to the creators’ approach: more than 70% of the employees participated in the currently most recent survey, which is a marvellous increase, as Christoph Görlich, Head of Human Resources, finds: “Employer attractiveness requires visibility in order to be able to shine. And we have created said visibility.”

NetCologne GmbH has been active as a regional provider of modern telecommunications services in the Cologne (Germany) area for more than 20 years already and currently has approx. 900 people in its permanent employ. As part of the telco industry, the Cologne-based company is in stiff competition for good employees and is thinking, time and again, of attractive measures to be able to participate as an employer at the forefront in the chase for attractive talent. For several years already, one of the factors of the trust-forming measure has been the participation in the GREAT PLACE to WORK® competition. It consists, for one, of a detailed documentation in which the participating companies present their own HR measures and the values associated therewith, the so-called “Culture Audit”. This documentation is then assessed by the GREAT PLACE to WORK® Institute and compared to that of other companies in order to determine the Best Employer. Furthermore, the employees are surveyed, directly, comprehensively and anonymously. The results of the survey bear decisive weight since the make up 2/3 of the overall valuation.

Do good and talk about it! Obtain feedback from employees and effect changes with information and animation 

The HR staff of NetCologne worked with a great deal of energy on improving the factors of the working conditions in-house in ever new areas of activity. Through this work on the “business culture”, they want to make NetCologne one of the most attractive employers of the region for both their employees and future staff members. For the GREAT PLACE to WORK® Benchmarking 2019, the folks from Cologne presented in the Culture Audit in 9 areas what the company is doing for the satisfaction of their employees as well as of their executives and as such for a positive business culture. The areas are:

  • “Hiring/Integrating”
  • “Inspiring”
  • “Informing”
  • “Recognising”
  • “Listening”
  • “Developing”
  • “Caring”
  • “Celebrating & Team Spirit”
  • “Participating”

What might seem quite abstract terminologically consists, in reality, of innumerable small and large measures by NetCologne that play an important role for the corporate culture. The desire was for all employees to know these varied measures, if possible, before they were surveyed regarding their employer.

The information film about our benefits was an important part of the successful communication strategy for this year's employee survey, with the result that we are now a certified Great Place to Work. We are very pleased that we were again able to increase our already high participation rate from 70% to 73%. Incidentally, the approval rate for our benefits has also risen significantly from 64% to 80%.
Working with noventum consultants was very professional and gave us great pleasure. We were particularly impressed by the speed of response, flexibility and the hands-on mentality.
In the future, the film will help us in the context of our employer branding to make employees and applicants aware of our qualities

Ingo Deluweit Team leader for personnel development NetCologne Gesellschaft für Telekommunikation mbH

In the discussion with the cultural advisors of noventum, it became clear quickly that the comprehensive documentation of the Culture Audit is not the correct medium to promote curiosity and an approving behaviour within the company. The whole had to be processed into a “somewhat easier to digest” form. The head of HR of NetCologne, Christoph Görlich, and the Head of Personnel Development, Ingo Deluweit, agreed with the cultural advisors of noventum to document the Culture Audit in a video clip and present the latter to all employees. This clip of a few minutes’ length was not intended to present the full package of employer services but rather provide an authentic overview and awaken interest in finding out further details of the employer brand.

The noventum team around Uwe Rotermund received the order to create a script, formulate the texts, film, cut, direct and manage the whole production. This job had to be completed within a period of less than two weeks so that the clip could still be distributed prior to the large employee survey. As a Great Place to WORK® Ambassador and employer branding expert that recently was awarded the Marketing Prize, the task was precisely cut for the noventum company, especially given that the Münster-based experts for business culture in recent years gained experience in the creation of video clips. The HR department of NetCologne was closely integrated into the project and hired, furthermore, various female and male colleagues as speakers for the film.

Reaching in-house employees with a video on workplace culture: ‘Film’, the recipe for success

The noventum team, which for some time has already included a professional videographer, and the committed team from the HR department of NetCologne went to work. The central idea was clear: the 9 areas of activity in which NetCologne has changed something specifically and therewith changed the culture as a whole were to be presented exemplarily and emphasised with quotes and comments from employees of NetCologne. In its implementation, the concept of the video clip for illustrating the employer services documented in the Culture Audit then looked as follows:

After a brief introductory statement by the Head of HR, Christoph Görlich, who emphasised the significance of a systematic approach to cultural development, the 9 aforementioned areas of culture are covered in 2–3 sentences, each, in the context of NetCologne. While this is taking place, film sequences from the world of NetCologne are displayed which provide additional information about the respective area of culture. The extra something are then the original soundbites which employees from all areas of business at all levels of the hierarchy had been asked for.

Within one day, the noventum consultants were allowed to carry out interviews with people not used to speaking in front of the camera who had exactly one day to mentally prepare themselves. The employees were not specified any texts. They were merely confronted with one question, e.g. “How do you experience the area of culture ‘Caring’ at NetCologne”, to which they responded in their own language with their very personal examples. noventum video director Jan Helmchen had the important task of alleviating the camera-shyness of all interview partners and creating a relaxed atmosphere even after the 8th take. With their great commitment, both the video director and the interview partners effected a highly successful job. In the end, everybody was excited about the results.

Filming, cutting, adding a soundtrack, animating: Film professional with a strategy needed

After a highly challenging, but at the same time also extraordinarily fun summerly day of shooting, the film professional Julian Meißner was then in demand since all the many snippets had to be combined into a small overall piece of art that triggered a very positive reaction in both the ordering HR department as well as in the employees. He brought the hard and structured work of the Personnel and Organisational Development Department at NetCologne across with ease and made it experiential. This strengthens the employer attractiveness subjectively perceived by the employees and increases the connection to the company as well as the motivation. As an additional benefit, the video clip will in the future also be integrated into the careers page of NetCologne and therewith become a long-term part of the employer branding which is an interesting tool also for potential job applicants.

In Summary

Especially in large organisations, employees often only know bits and pieces of what is being done for them at their own company, e.g. in management. The reasons for this are varied and the lack of information then becomes apparent in surveys such as those of the GREAT PLACE to WORK® competition. Sometimes small measures, such as a video, help to get things moving and to get a discussion among colleagues going. There are no limits to the imagination and, depending on the actor/sender, many different activities can promote communication and bring forward a positive change of the values of the own company.

The noventum cultural advisors are already looking forward to the next special challenge. Next time the task may well be to plan the implementation of a play, a song or a board game…

noventum consulting

Uwe Rotermund


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