Company overview-the starting point of the employer branding strategy
The past few decades NN brought a lot of exciting times and employer branding development to the life of NN Insurance in
Hungary. From becoming a market leader in life insurance 20 years ago to going through a full organizational agile transformation journey earlier this year, NN is truly reinventing itself with the leadership of CEO Imre Sztanó.
With an insurance agent network of 1200 headcount spread across 25 locations in Hungary and on top of 350 employees working in NN headquarters in the capital in Budapest, NN is a household name on the market. NN operates as a subsidiary of NN Group N.V. and boasts of a strong global background: founded in the Netherlands, present in 18 countries with 14.000 employees across Europe, a clientele of 17 million people and a revenue of 5.6 billion EUR.
Connecting all the dots through employer branding
Our aim was to build an integrated employer branding strategy that not only supports business
strategy but is aligned with global EVPs and filling them with real local content. We set out to build a
program where every single step along the way is connected and together they provide an integrated
- Employee experience
- Onboarding experience
- Recruitment events
- Local ambassador program
- Social recruitment
- On-demand HR communication
By connecting all the dots NN became a more inspiring, personal, agile and engaging employer brand
to talents in-house and to talents we’ve never reached before.
Internal awareness: employee activation
Inspiration thrives from real people and real stories. Our main objective was to gather a group of
ambassadors who can actively contribute to developing our global and local values and building the
reputation of NN on the job market. By helping ambassadors understand and integrate our values they will use their voices to spread their own stories about NN and what matters to us.
External awareness: becoming relevant for Gen Y-Z by boosting digital channels
You make your reputation and you have your success based upon credibility and focusing on experience is at the heart of our strategy. Communicating what goes on within the company both internally and externally will give us the opportunity to show the world what it’s truly like to work at a market-leading insurance company. We aim to support business and recruitment needs by encouraging employee advocacy and creating content that is relevant and inspiring for our target group along the way to create a credible image of NN as an employer.
Candidate experience and offer acceptance rate
We set out to achieve a standardized candidate experience journey and reach a higher offer acceptance rate by introducing design thinking. By mapping experience points, setting milestones, and redesigning the whole process with the involvement of the HR and recruitment team we can achieve measurable business impact.
Employer branding challenges
Who wants to be an insurance agent?
We start off with this simple question. Though NN has good consumer brand awareness, the prospect of
working in the insurance sector doesn’t necessarily tick all the boxes of our talent pool. Bringing down
stereotypes of the insurance sector will be our main objective in reaching true business impact. In the end it all comes down to how we can support the business and employees in delivering their best day after day.
Integrated employer branding strategy and HR communication challenges
What we started off with was a traditional and centralized organization, with HR functioning sometimes on an ad-hoc basis, being reactive instead of proactive. With building an integrated employer branding strategy our aim was to connect the dots to become a more inspiring, personal, agile and engaging employer brand to talent in-house and to talent we’ve never reached before.
Employee need gap in a segmented organization
It is crucial to know your target group in order to make decisions based on facts. At NN we had several
different segments with different business needs we needed to take into consideration. The agent network of 1200 headcount had both long-term and quick win expectations that needed to be addressed, while the headquarter in the capital was dealing with very different issues concerning the labour market’s war for top talent.
Agile transformation journey
At the time of our coming into the picture, NN was in the middle of a three-year pilot transformation journey of becoming a full-agile organization. Supporting a large organization in the middle of a huge transformation and getting measurable results while doing so was no easy task. Arriving in this situation and at the same time understanding and balancing business needs, tide agent network expectations and high market competition was a challenge.
What we did in the employer branding strategy
Step 1. Employer brand diagnosis with company leaders (January 2018)
As a very first step in building an integrated employer branding strategy for NN, we conducted 60-minute
individual executive interviews with C-level leaders. Our aim was to understand their needs and expectations, and corporate and individual business goals.
Step 2. Organizational employer brand diagnosis – Build on employee needs, develop experience gaps (February 2018)
In this stage, we compared the needs of the NN’s labour market target group with the real NN employee
experience. Knowing the overlaps and differences between the two enable us in building an effective
employer branding strategy. For NN to become a relevant employer, an employer branding strategy needs to be built that reacts to the needs of the target group with credibility.
Actionable Brandfizz method, quick win results and mid-term strategical directions
We conducted internal and external control group 1-on-1 interviews and focus groups with a 50-50% network and headquarters ratio involving 523 participants in total. Our target group was extremely segmented, as we had geographic segmentation involving basically the whole country and business unit segmentation as well.
Global EVP content base with local flavour to be relevant
During our research, what we found was that the target group’s TOP 5 needs differ per segment. What
matters to everyone is the company atmosphere. Related attributes such as community life, corporate
events and creating a platform for colleagues to maintain good relationship with each other must be the
basis of employer brand strategy.
Step 3. NN Inspire Day, launching the NN ambassador program (April 2018)
To bring the NN employer brand to life and provide experience to employees on the way, we launched NN Inspire Program. Using the power of real people and real stories to spread corporate values and inspire each other the concept of NN Inspire Day, a full EVP workshop day with inspiring speakers and professional storytelling training was born.
NN Inspire Day internal event campaign
Leading up to the event our focus was on drawing attention to the importance of inspiration in our daily lives and registering as many potential ambassadors as possible. We didn’t stop at posters and internal
newsletters, but took the event campaign to the next level with some inspirational and creative activities:
- A self-serve Inspiration Library installation with a unique NN Inspire design
- 122 inspirational books
- 300 Inspire Note inspirational bookmarks
- 20 internal communication A3 posters
- Internal newsletter invitation with voluntary application to the event
A day of inspiration and sharing stories: NN Inspire Day
104 employees participated in NN Inspire Day and more than 30 of them shared their stories on stage. We invited TEDx speakers and board members to start off the day by sharing their inspiring stories. Afterwards participants took part in a storytelling training where they learnt some useful tips and tricks on how to be engaging storytellers. The positive feedback encouraged us to take NN Inspire Day further in our integrated employer brand strategy later that year.
Step 4. Employee Experience Journey Priorities (July 2018)
To emphasize our people matter and what they experience at NN matters we turned to design thinking to
map and connect all relevant milestones in the employee experience lifecycle. In order to support HR,
the recruitment team and leaders to see the big picture of all the major employee experience points we used a visualization technique and installed a 12-meter-long employee experience journey map in the office space.
Step 5. The turning point: success to progress with integrated strategy and quick materialization
(August- September 2018)
Implementation is key. Those companies are the most successful that can implement their strategies the
fastest. By synthesizing all available data, the leadership team quickly identified the main priorities that
require implementation first in the employer branding strategy.
Three main priorities emerged:
- build employee advocacy while focusing on employee experience
- extend recruitment channels, especially on online and social media platforms
- proactive and on-demand internal HR communication strategy to address the biggest gaps
NN Career Facebook page launch (October 2018)
One of the key priorities was to support the business, especially the agent network in fulfilling their
recruitment needs. NN Career Facebook page was launched with the purpose to broadcast credible
information and make NN an attractive employer of choice for Gen Y-Z.
We aimed to build a structured career Facebook page that brings measurable results. During the
preparational phase, these were the main principles we took into consideration:
- Using your own image portfolio will produce higher engagement than using stock images. We introduce our ambassadors, giving the page a personal touch and a platform to lift our employees and provide them with a platform to build their personal brand and credibility.
- Monthly content matrix and typology are planned 4 weeks in advance. Copywriting, hashtags policy and carefully selected sets of emojis are designed to mirror our persona’s style. We make sure our content matrix follows the 80-20 rule, meaning 80% of the posted content is entertainment and only 20% are job ads or fill recruitment needs.
- Acting and measuring provide data. To beat your competitors always measure and recalibrate and do so as quickly as possible. Our best practice is to link traffic-generating social media platforms with career pages by using UTM-tagged links and customized short links to measure conversion rates in Google Analytics.
NN Inspire Challenge photo and video shoot (November 2018)
Encouraged by the overwhelming feedback of 100% of NN Inspire Day participants wanting to hear more
stories the NN Inspire Program continues in the form of the NN Inspire Challenge. With NN Inspire Challenge we invited our ambassadors to share their very own stories on camera and take part in building the reputation of NN as an employer.
NN Inspire Challenge and video concept
Seventeen ambassadors tell their inspiring stories and star in their own videos. Ambassador stories are real, but carefully aligned with corporate and agile values. To make the whole experience gamified for the
ambassadors, the video with the biggest reach across all social media platforms wins an award.
Preparation day and script concept
We supported our ambassadors in writing their own scripts with the help of a professional storytelling
trainer. All videos are made up of four components and incorporated one of five agile values into the
opening, the local value of inspiration in the story section and one of three corporate values in the
Four days of video and photo shooting
We spent four full days shooting seventeen unique videos and taking video thumbnails and profile pictures with the ambassadors. The ambassadors also received the full support of a public speaking trainer to perform as well as possible and be part of an exclusive experience during the shoot.
NN Inspire Challenge Premier event
Celebrating our people matters to us. Leading up to the movie premier event we created movie posters and sent out internal newsletters with movie teaser trailers. All ambassadors starring in the videos were invited as VIPs and the event was open to all staff. The videos were on screen for a full day and anyone was free to pop in during the workday and have some popcorn and coke to maximize the cinema experience.
What we achieved
NN Inspire ambassador program – impact
With NN Inspire Day and NN Inspire challenge, we managed to encourage employee advocacy by giving our employees a chance to use their voices and share their stories. 104 inspired participants, 30 inspiring stories and 17 unique videos later we have an engaged team of active employer brand ambassadors who present a credible image of NN as an employer. As well as giving our employees experience and engaging them, we now have external communication content that distinguishes us from competitors.
Social recruitment channels
Creating a platform for colleagues to maintain a good relationship with each other was a must-have element of our employer brand strategy. Using the NN Career Facebook page to lift and engage employees was an instantly evident quick win. “Meet our NN ambassadors” content typology includes a picture of an NN ambassador and an inspirational quote about their daily lives at the company. Our first ambassador received 300+ reactions…not bad for a three-month-old Facebook page. In its first three months online, the page reached over 130.000 users and had 10.000+ video views.
HR communication to become relevant
Starting from traditional HR communication in a matter of months HR became relevant, experience focused and on-demand. Due to the new HR communications practices NN Insurance became an award-winning employer brand: winning Top Employer 2019 certification in Hungary and being the only insurance company to receive „Lovable Workplace” and TOP 10 „I would work here” awards in Hungary based on 20.000 votes.
Experience with employee activation
After one year of researching, designing and implementing our integrated employer branding strategy NN ambassadors understand our values and use their own voices to communicate them. Building an
ambassador program was not merely a form of content creation for social media, but also an internal
engagement and business support tool. Board members see the measurable results and the impact of
employer branding: NN Inspire events run with +63 NPS score.
Beating the market on digital platforms
Competitors are game on, we need to keep up for fear of being left behind. Our contents react to our target group’s needs and reached over 130.000 users in 3 months and became the third largest source of visitors to NN career page in a matter of three months and we have only just begun.
Boosting offer acceptance rate significantly
Whether you reach a lot of people or have a profound impact on a few people, their memories of you are your afterlife, which is why candidate experience matters. The agile transformation and experience mapping methodology have had an extraordinary impact on the new, seamless recruitment process. For example, offer approval time has been reduced to an average of 1,8 weeks from 4 weeks, the time to hand out an offer is now twice as fast and the offer acceptance rate has grown by 50%.
Integrated employer brand strategy has a greater impact than building PR campaigns quarterly.
The source of sustainability is supporting business, and employer branding is valued when it helps
employees and businesses in reaching their strategic goals.
If you are complaining about the speed of business in the digital age, remember that the world is
never going to be as slow as it is now, so the question is how you stand out.
Measurable processes bring measurable results, which allow leaders to make responsible decisions
in prioritizing and budget planning.
Case Study contributors
Authors: Adam Horváth, Anita Zvezdovics, Szilvia Szörcsök