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Not just a concept: first steps of building an HR brand

Collaboration with Rusprofile
April 2022

In a nutshell

As a rule, we work with our clients in a diverse way. Our first collaboration with Rusprofile has started with the org chart redesign. All the work done helped us during the second collaboration.

Rusprofile is a service for checking and analyzing legal entities and entrepreneurs. Here one can check the current status, taxes, finances, partnerships, and other essential data on companies collected from official sources. Currently, the company has over 30 employees.

To fit the new org chart, Rusprofile needed more employees. However, the task turned out to be complicated: unaware of its perks, candidates could not find any information about the company. As a result, Rusprofile lacked job applications. Some Rusprofile’s applicants lacked skills or did not match the company’s culture, meanwhile, potentially fit candidates tended to quit before interviews. The solution was to build an HR brand.

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Collaboration period:
May — November 2021

Rusprofile before the project 

  • The company lacked any exact strategy of communication with the candidates. Rusprofile is a stable self-sufficient business with market salaries. It has a small team and offers unusual tasks to products and developers. However, the advantages of the company were not represented in the candidates' market. Rusprofile tried to attract new employees with such cliches as “comfortable working conditions and official salary”.
  • The company was unknown in the candidate market. Nobody could find anything about its team, founders, and culture on the official website, social networks, or in the media. Rusprofile was depicted only in a couple of media articles. 
  • Applicants lost interest at the stage of initial acquaintance. The search for people could take months.

Our first steps

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Results

  • Rusprofile has structured communication with candidates. Now people can learn about the company, its values, culture, and the challenges it faces.
  • Rusprofile got a consistent candidate path. 
  • The company became wider represented in the candidate market. Now loyal applicants with a suitable level are more prone to come.
  • Rusprofile has its initial HR brand that can be further developed.

Rusprofile's request


<div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Dmitry Strelkov, Rusprofile</div>

The company is actively growing, and all the departments need new employees. However, hiring has never been our piece of cake. Candidates used to know nothing about us and couldn't find information about the company and the team. So, we lacked job applications. 

While talking to TYPICAL, we understood that our hiring processes lacked efficiency. We wanted more loyal and fit candidates to come. So, we decided to explore our value proposition and develop the HR brand. 

<div class='p-container'><div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Anastasia Minetto, TYPICAL</div>When TYPICAL was involved in hiring, we searched for Rusprofile's designers and products. During the collaboration, we faced a big problem. The company's website was the only source of information about it, but still, it didn't represent its team and founders. The interviewed products, however, wanted to learn more about the business and the company's self-presentation.</div>

<div class='p-container'>Another problem was that the company attracted mostly weak candidates. With its complex and challenging product, Rusprofile couldn't hire them.</div>

<div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Valeria Rozova, TYPICAL</div>

Ilya and Dmitry are very lively, energetic, and interesting people. They are thoroughly involved in what they are doing. For example, the guys have offered interesting tasks to developers. They have both high load and open data work. Not all companies have such tasks, but candidates simply have not known about them. Probably, only the founders knew about the benefits for developers, but still, they had no idea of how to sell their service. So, our task was to start building the company's HR brand.

Stage one: research and EVP creation

<div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Anastasia Minetto, TYPICAL</div>

Working on an HR brand always starts with an EVP (Employee Value Proposition). An EVP has much in common with a value proposition for clients. The difference is that it depicts the perks of a company as a workplace. An EVP is similar to the description of a mission: it reflects the characteristics, values, and culture of the particular company. In a word, it is something that points out its unicity. However, an EVP is not an eye candy, it represents the company as it is, shows all its pros and cons. Building an HR brand should start with an EVP: if there is no value proposition, there is no point in building the employer's brand. 

Candidates receive points from EVPs via different channels. They include job descriptions, interviews, and media publications. Thanks to EVPs, companies can explain why they are worth working with. Now Rusprofile doesn't say that it simply aggregates data, but explains why its tasks and processes are attractive. 

To describe the EVP of Rusprofile, we conducted a comprehensive study. We talked to the founders, several products, and an engineer. Next, we conducted an internal content analysis and studied how employees communicate in Telegram and Slack. Then, we analyzed their task boards. We understood how the interaction within the team works. For example, in Rusprofile, employees are not much into small talk but are always ready to help. So, the EVP got the following: "We appreciate constructive professional communication and feedback without obscure wording." 

Then, we conducted an external content analysis to understand how the company is represented in the media.  Also, it was important to explore its social networks. My task was to study any points of contact between the company and potential candidates. 

Separately, I explored the job descriptions. Boring and conventional, they didn’t reflect the perks of positions and prevented candidates from applying. Probably, they consisted of requirements and administrative conditions. As for posts in Telegram, they were not adapted to the particular channels and simply duplicated full job descriptions. Therefore, we made guides on communicating with candidates and advertising jobs. 

Next, we conducted a competitive analysis. Since we have been working with product teams for a long time, we already knew products' expectations. Therefore, we focused on Rusprofile’s competitive advantages for engineers of the same stack.

Additionally, we wanted to test another hypothesis. The prefix "rus" in the company’s name seemed to dredge up images of state institutions. So, the company had two options: to change its name or to become more popular among products and engineers. We discussed this point and decided to focus on the candidates' loyalty.

<div class='p-container'><div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Ilya Moshin, Rusprofile</div>Actually, I would like to work on naming, but not while building an HR brand. This is quite a serious thing to do. We need to thoroughly understand why we are changing it. Besides, no matter what the name is, there will always be people who will liken it to something wrong.</div>

EVP done

<div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Anastasia Minetto, TYPICAL</div>

While working on EVPs, we always discuss the company's advantages and disadvantages with the project team. Perhaps, the disadvantages are always more detailed because we want to convert them into opportunities. Let's check some examples. 

Rusprofile just got its product team. There are no constant processes, everything is at its beginning. It can be regarded as a disadvantage. However, this striking feature can be advantageous. In their EVP, Rusprofile says: "We are building a product office from scratch. For a long time, we had no products at all, but we are open to a product approach. We are founders eager to give you enough responsibilities and let you lay the foundation for further product development.” Thus, we emphasize the uniqueness of Rusprofile and cut off candidates who are not interested in this work.

We did the same with a complex backend. It was important to represent Rusprofile's amazing offer which is rare for the market. It includes work with open data that has lots of errors. On the one hand, it is a difficult task. Data will be aggregated from everywhere. So, it is important to check its initial quality so as not to spoil the results. On the other hand, this task is highly interesting for developers. 

So, the EVP got the following point: "Working with open data may be challenging: it may be tricky to make the most of the governmental data. The thing is that providers don't tend to make convenient data. Each department has its own logic for packaging and processing data."

<div class='p-container'><div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Ilya Moshin, Rusprofile</div>EVP showed that we didn't pay enough attention to various important aspects of our work that could be decisive arguments for potential candidates. We knew it ourselves, but professionals got an outside perspective on everything and formulated it correctly.</div>

<div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Dmitry Strelkov, Rusprofile</div>

We discovered that we have perspectives, and the team is interested in everything. People are involved, ready to discuss, engage, and spend time on it. This discovery surprised me.

<div class='p-container'><div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Ilya Moshin, Rusprofile</div>For example, we never regarded the friendly atmosphere in the team as our advantage. Our employees tell us about it sometimes, but we never paid enough attention to it. Probably, people should stay friendly everywhere. However, many people find it very attractive. They admit that other companies lack it.</div>

Stage two: communication strategy development and website upgrade

<div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Anastasia Minetto, TYPICAL</div>

To make the candidate path consistent, we needed to connect all contact points and turn them into a communication strategy. Media publications and job descriptions always raise the following questions: "What kind of team is this?", and "Where can I find more details?". Candidates read the materials, then, they visited the site, but couldn't find anything.

<div class='p-container'><div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Valeria Rozova, TYPICAL</div>Rusprofile had no informative website, but they really needed one. We conducted research and explored how other companies represent themselves in Russia and abroad. Most of them were pretty common with standard job pages. The main insights concerned the content itself.</div>

<div class='p-container'>Next, I offered the guys three scenarios of work: the easiest option, the option that required actions, and the most difficult one. It involved changing everything on the main page and adding pages about the team, the project, and working in Rusprofile. The guys chose the hardest way. All the site changes were made together with their product designer Leo.</div>

<div class='p-container'>For the "About the Project" page I talked with the founders, the products, and Leo. All the needed information was already in the guys' heads and in the EVP. I also relied on data from research on Rusprofile users and on real product usage cases. When everything was added, the founders decided to describe some unusual cases. For instance, we learned about a scientist who studied the names of companies borrowed from the Old Russian language. He asked Rusprofile to provide him with analytics. The guys helped the researcher, and their collaboration resulted in a scientific publication. Now this story is on the website. As for the whole work, in my opinion, we had a cool section useful both for clients and candidates.</div>

<div class='p-container'>Then I developed the "Team" page. The EVP and the fact that we hired almost the entire product team ourselves helped a lot. We decided to enliven this section with quotes from the product, designer, development manager, and, of course, the founders. When we designed it all, I realized that the page needed photos. We found a photographer and got pics of the team.</div>

<div class='p-container'>The last page "Working in Rusprofile" was the most difficult. It was supposed to include job descriptions and reflect the further candidates' flow. This page is full of tags, photos, and bullets. Probably, it looks modern but has nothing extra, only the things that fit candidates. We nailed the conservative website design, so the page looks attractive to candidates. As a result, the guys received the first relevant response already in the middle of the project.</div>

Stage three: media activities launch

<div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Daria Bondarenko, TYPICAL </div>

An EVP helps to set a certain vector of communication. It enables us to write about something unbeaten and uninteresting. Also, it helps to cover only the relevant topics we have enough expertise for. In a word, an EVP provides speakers with foundational topics. For example, if a company has a highly loaded system and develops custom solutions for business tasks and its product, it can write about them.

To think the media plan through, I talked to the founders, the product manager Olga, and the designer Leo. Each of them got a speaker profile (information about the speaker for the media). When the speakers were defined, we planned eight media activities. We sent two materials by developers to Habr, wrote an article with the designer, and participated in a podcast. Next, the founders gave several interviews, textual and video ones. So, we managed to reach different audiences within a small number of activities. We managed to distribute forces and shed light on the different aspects of Rusprofile's history.

<div class='p-container'><div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Dmitry Strelkov, Rusprofile</div>Before TYPICAL, we had little PR experience, but we learned a lot during this project. Now we know how podcasts and video interviews are made, and how to prepare for them. TYPICAL made us ready for every event. They taught us what questions we could be asked. So, we knew what to expect.</div>

<div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Daria Bondarenko, TYPICAL </div>

Since the guys had little communication experience, we started with theory, explained how everything worked, and next applied this theory in practice. This educational stage is usually the most energy-consuming, so it is especially important to be not just a teacher, but a partner. 

Firstly, I conducted a workshop with Q&A for the project team. I covered everything that affects the success of media activity. For example, I depicted the process of article creation and pointed out what is interesting to journalists, and which articles they take and which they don't. Also, I explained who can become a speaker.

Next, I prepared guides for the guys. If we went to a podcast, I made a document about its author, potential questions, and a guide on how to answer texturally. I also made a guide on how to choose topics for media. It would be useful for the guys to define the topics themselves or delegate them to a new PR manager in the future. Another document was a list of topic-related media platforms and possible formats. Dima wondered why they needed such a huge number of documents for 8 media activities. We made a system that could be scaled. With its help, preparations for activities took 15 minutes instead of an hour.

For Habr, we brought in an editor who already had experience blogging on this site. He helped us to write the article in the fit style and pointed out all the features of Habr. As a result, our article on protection from parsing caused a resonance. Reactions were contradictory, so the guys from Rusprofile also gained experience in crisis communications.

Before each activity, we reread the EVP that enabled us to see what to broadcast and how to answer certain questions. 

<div class='p-container'><div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Valeria Rozova, TYPICAL</div>Probably, his project also educated us in some way, we learned a lot. For instance, we were challenged by the lack of involvement. To solve this problem, we were working hard all the way through. We got to talk to the unprepared speakers, who were not much into "fooling about". So, we got a few more tools. For example, we wrote a guide on how to feel comfortable on a podcast. In this sense, the project led to the constant development of our work framework. You can read how we’ve mastered our methodology here.</div>

Results

<div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Dmitry Strelkov, Rusprofile</div>

The biggest result we see is the increase in loyalty. The efficient materials enabled candidates to explore the company from different angles. Now they understand whether we meet their expectations and interests. Now they tell us during job interviews that they have already read about us. But in my opinion, there were no dramatic changes at the first stage of the funnel. We haven't had a queue of candidates yet.

<div class='p-container'><div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Ilya Moshin, Rusprofile</div>Some candidates say that they wouldn't have come to us if they hadn't read about us. After all, there is a dramatic change. Hiring is always difficult even with a strong HR brand. Therefore, of course, some difficulties remained.</div>

<div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Anastasia Minetto, TYPICAL</div>

I must separately highlight our results with the back-end developers. Candidates became kinder, now they even praise the jobs the guys offer. They already feel this company differently. It's very cool.

<div class='p-container'><div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Ilya Moshin, Rusprofile</div>Now all our job descriptions are based on the EVP and TYPICAL guides. The plan of further action has been already discussed with Anastasia. We realized that we need to meet the hiring needs, onboarding, and then return to the HR brand again.</div>

<div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Dmitry Strelkov, Rusprofile</div>

It was the first round of building our HR brand, and the results exceeded our expectations. So far, PR seems to be the key to scaling: Rusprofile needs to be constantly resounded among candidates. 

<div class='p-container'><div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Valeria Rozova, TYPICAL</div>The HR brand is always a huge investment. You need to represent yourself on different target sites systematically. Also, you should provide applicants with accessible infrastructure.</div>

<div class='p-container'>If a company wants to develop an HR brand, it needs to work on it constantly. Surely, you can follow the strategy of Deep Mind and represent yourself as a closed company that rarely speaks up, but this approach is risky.</div>

Working with TYPICAL

<div class='h3 color-green font-25'>Ilya Moshin, Rusprofile</div>

We have already collaborated with TYPICAL in several ways because we regard the guys as partners. We always look for such people and are ready to pay the reliable professionals who know the mechanics better than we do.

Summary

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other collaborations

TYPICAL team:

Valeria Rozova, CEO

Anastasia Minetto, Chief Consultant

Daria Bondarenko, ex communications lead 

Rusprofile team:

Dmitry Strelkov, COO

Ilya Moshin, CEO

Talked to everyone and wrote this text:

Ksenia Zhebrovskaya, creator in TYPICAL

  • Talked to founders and employees. Analyzed the company's strengths, problems, processes, and values.
  • Identified the product and technologies peculiarities that can attract candidates.
  • Conducted internal and external content analysis. Explored how employees communicated inside the company. Discovered what they said about the company outside the office.
  • Described the target audience.
  • Conducted a competitive analysis.
  • Explored Rusprofile's website. Analyzed the company's presence in social networks and on job search sites.
  • Applied the study to create an EVP.
  • Explained and illustrated the ropes of companies' communication with candidates.
  • Collaborated with Rusprofile on job descriptions and remade some website pages.
  • Provided the team with guides on writing job descriptions and choosing media topics. Now the company can use them to build the HR brand on its own.
  • Explained to speakers how to present their values. Described tools and channels. Selected primary topics. 
  • Launched 8 media activities.