Building a Successful Employer Brand: The Siemens Case Study

Attracting top talent has become increasingly challenging, prompting many companies to enhance their reputation as employers. Recognizing the growing significance individuals place on job satisfaction and an inspiring work environment conducive to personal and professional growth, employer branding has emerged as a key focus for numerous organizations. In this article, we explore the case study of Siemens, examining the strategies the company used to establish a successful employee branding.




Siemens AG, headquartered in Munich and Berlin, stands as a prominent German conglomerate and the largest industrial manufacturing company in Europe. With international offices, the company operates across diverse sectors, including Industry, Energy, Healthcare, and Infrastructure & Cities. Siemens is renowned for its leadership in medical diagnostics equipment, such as magnetic resonance imaging systems and computed tomography, making it a key player in laboratory diagnostics and clinical IT. This case study explores Siemens' approach to building a winning employer brand, emphasizing its significant role in the global workforce with approximately 351,000 employees and a 2017 revenue of around €83 billion.


Today, Siemens holds the eighth position among the most sought-after employers globally in the IT and engineering sectors, securing the sixth spot in Germany. Rosa Riera, Vice-President of Employer Branding and Social Innovation at Siemens, articulates the company's ambitious objective of ascending into the top five, surpassing giants such as IBM and Intel (Fröndhoff & Höpner, 2017). Riera further emphasizes:


“We were convinced that we still have a great offering for the labour market - as our products make a true impact on society as a whole and help many people. The effects our solutions had were enormous, but the talent market was not aware of this. In the past we didn’t manage to convey this effectively in our storytelling. We want to change this moving forward” (Universum 2018, p.3).


Why is This Subject Important?


In the contemporary landscape, the competition to attract top talent is intensifying, compelling many companies to enhance their standing as employers (Cappelli, 2015). Recognizing the evolving priorities of individuals, companies acknowledge the significance of job satisfaction and a stimulating work environment that fosters personal and professional growth. Additionally, the global job market, particularly in Germany, is witnessing a scarcity of skilled and educated professionals (DW, 2017). Consequently, employer branding has emerged as a paramount focus for numerous companies.


‘Future Makers’ Campaign


As part of the 'Future Makers' initiative, Siemens aimed to showcase the meaningful contributions engineers could make to the advancement of both current employees and potential candidates. The cornerstone of a robust and trustworthy employer brand lies in the company's workforce—the essential element for understanding the significance of the organization and its work to its employees. Riera emphasizes that the internal atmosphere holds greater significance than external portrayals. The company's reputation hinges more on the perceptions conveyed by its employees to the external world, particularly through social media networks.


Research and Insights on Data


Siemens initiated collaboration with the employer branding consultancy Universum to conduct research aimed at comprehending the external perceptions of the company. Specifically, Siemens sought to gain insights into the opinions of engineering students, examining the values associated with the company from their perspective. Subsequently, the research delved into understanding the internal perceptions within Siemens. A total of 700 participants across seven pivotal markets (the UK, Germany, India, China, the Middle East, the US, and Brazil) engaged in focus groups, sharing their opinions and sentiments about Siemens as an employer. The research revealed three key opportunities (Kemp, 2017):

  • Limited companies boasted an international and diverse workforce on a comparable scale.
  • A scarcity of companies engaged in work of comparable significance, such as enhancing transport networks and automating cities.
  • Despite Siemens having a workforce of 351,000 individuals actively contributing to 'building the future,' their story remained largely untold.




In light of these data and insights, Siemens established the following objectives:

  • Enhance awareness among employees regarding the company’s mission.
  • Increase awareness among employees concerning the company’s culture and values.
  • Attract external candidates to Siemens’ Careers & Jobs website.
  • Establish a dedicated Medium blog for the 'Future Makers' campaign.




Siemens, often perceived as old-fashioned and conservative by current and potential employees, recognized the need to reshape its image. The company's communication department aimed to portray Siemens as youthful, diverse, dynamic, and appealing to both existing and prospective talent, adopting a more inclusive approach. To execute their global employer rebranding strategy, Siemens enlisted the expertise of the R/GA London agency. The resulting 'Future Makers' campaign aimed to position Siemens as an innovative and modern employer, initiating the company's digital transformation journey (Synergy 2017, p.12). Siemens placed a special emphasis on showcasing its people and their stories, illustrating how they actively contribute to shaping the future at Siemens, as highlighted on the campaign's Medium blog.


“By telling these stories we are not only shining light on the ground-breaking work and opportunities available at Siemens but also creating a large volume of snackable digital, mobile and social content assets that are available to be used and shared in all markets. This perpetual approach to ‘people first’ story content is designed to inspire, educate and promote conversation both inside and outside the business and to drive consideration of Siemens as the ‘employer of choice’” (Future Makers, 2018).




Siemens' public relations and communication professionals eschewed a traditional approach involving posters and flyers. Instead, the campaign strategically centered around innovation and digitalization, aligning with the prevalent trend in many companies. Recognizing that their target audience, comprising current and prospective employees, particularly the younger generation, is accustomed to operating within a digital and fast-paced environment, Siemens opted for a digitalization-focused approach. This shift aimed to enhance their employer branding initiatives, aligning more closely with cultural and talent expectations.


They initiated the transformation by revamping the hierarchy of their brand colors, injecting more vibrancy and cheerfulness while moving away from a conservative and cold aesthetic (Figure 1). Subsequently, they developed the 'Siemens 360°' app, offering current and prospective employees an immersive exploration of Siemens' world through authentic employee stories worldwide (Figure 2). The app featured six stories presented in a virtual reality format, aiming to strengthen internal collaboration and attract new talent by showcasing inspiring narratives about colleagues in a 360-degree perspective. Every employee within the company's global divisions received cardboard glasses for viewing the films. Additionally, potential applicants at events and trade shows were provided with glasses, connected to a cell phone, offering them a glimpse into the Siemens work experience.

Figure 1: Logo of the ‘Future Makers’ (Siemens AG 2017)
Figure 1: Logo of the ‘Future Makers’ (Siemens AG 2017)
Figure 2 : Siemens 360°, iPhone Screenshots (2017 Siemens AG)
Figure 2 : Siemens 360°, iPhone Screenshots (2017 Siemens AG)

In addition to creating a dynamic logo and developing the app, Siemens established a Medium blog dedicated to showcasing stories of employees worldwide engaged in various company divisions. This Medium blog serves as a meticulously curated hub for all 'Future Makers' narratives, spotlighting the diverse roles within Siemens. Weekly posts are featured on the blog and cross-promoted on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Siemens places a strong emphasis on the individuals and their stories, emphasizing their valuable contributions to the company. The blog's editor note highlights this focus, stating:


“When our founder Werner von Siemens first scribbled down his electrical inventions in the 1800s, he couldn’t have known the impact his company was about to have on the world. More than 170 years later, we owe a lot to one individual. But we are also exceptionally proud to employ 351,000 of the world’s brightest minds who continue to create and progress ground-breaking products that shape the world we live in. That’s where Future Makers comes in. From helping to find the cure for cancer, to creating International Space Station windows, to teaching IT to thousands of young engineers in Mumbai, our people share what it’s really like to work with us. This is their platform, their voice, their story” (Future Makers, 2018).




The outcomes of the campaign were as follows:

  • 99% of employees reported feeling more connected to the business and its overarching mission.
  • 98% of employees emphasized that they now had a better understanding of the company, its culture, and values.
  • 98% of employees stated that they felt more engaged at work.
  • Siemens' Careers & Jobs portal experienced a 55% Month-on-Month surge in visits, along with a 67% increase in the average time spent on the Siemens Careers & Jobs website.
  • The Medium 'Future Makers' blog garnered over 100k views.

Siemens successfully adopted a new strategy by placing employees at the forefront of discussions, leading to increased attraction, retention, and development of top talent. This shift towards a more inclusive and engaging corporate culture challenged traditional structures and conservative thinking, emphasizing the significance of individual employees and their unique stories within the company. Consequently, Siemens fostered a fresh environment where each employee had a voice and actively contributed to a culture of dialogue. Rosa Riera underscores this approach, stating, "We are a global company, but we have leaned on local employees and filmed different films for each region. People need to see themselves to really connect with the story" (Kemp, 2017).


Assessment and Management of Risk


The main concern with the ‘Future Makers’ campaign is that the company has to keep its promises made during campaign’s implementation. It would be frustrating both for the new employees and the company if, after experiencing a nice virtual Siemens reality, employees find themselves in a bureaucratic environment with long processes and traditional management structures. Riera stresses that talented young people enjoy autonomy and flat hierarchies, and that they prefer to work on interesting projects during which they can realise their ideas.


According to research conducted by Glassdoor, an employment website enabling individuals to anonymously rate their companies, a company's values and culture play a significant role in shaping its reputation as a desirable employer (Bersin, 2017). The study indicates that, beyond salary and benefits, employees emphasize the importance of investing in leadership, fostering a positive company culture, and promoting employee development when deciding whether to recommend their company as an appealing workplace. Additionally, many employees seek employment that provides personal value and meaning. Specifically, individuals under the age of 35 consider 'career opportunities' as the primary driver of an employment brand. The ability to advance and thrive in their roles stands out as the leading factor influencing job satisfaction and future earnings for this demographic. Consequently, companies fostering a culture of learning and career growth are poised for success in terms of innovation, sustained growth, and employee retention, outperforming peers that resist adaptation.


Hence, Siemens needs to formulate and implement precise procedures and processes aligned with the messaging conveyed in their 'Future Makers' campaign to prevent potential crises and protect their reputation. As a sizable corporation with diverse divisions worldwide, effective coordination is crucial to ensure clarity for both the employer and employees regarding their current standing and future direction.


Recommendations for Improvement


Drawing upon the examination and assessment of the 'Future Makers' campaign, the following recommendations aim to enhance it:

  • Set SMART objectives – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound – as they contribute to more effective outcome measurement. The campaign is ongoing, but it is crucial to define a specific timeframe for assessing the results.
  • Siemens operates in various locations with employees hailing from diverse cultural backgrounds, each with a unique approach to work. Therefore, it is essential to formulate objectives with cultural considerations in mind and assess outcomes accordingly. Additionally, both inputs and outputs should be evaluated from this cultural perspective.
  • Following the campaign, existing employees have transformed their perception of Siemens, gaining a deeper understanding of its values and culture. However, there is no information provided regarding potential employees and candidates. Further research is needed to ascertain whether these individuals comprehend the company's culture, values, mission, and vision. Conducting a dedicated study on this topic will enable the company to identify potential employees, gather insights on their perceptions of the company and work environment, and understand their views on the application process, interviews, and overall recruitment procedures.
  • The Medium blog was established to enhance the brand's visibility among both current and potential employees. During the evaluation phase of this initiative, it is advisable to employ more targeted social media metrics. Metrics such as likes, shares, and comments can offer insights into the resonance of the content with the audience. Additionally, tracking metrics like exposure, engagement, influence, and action can provide valuable data. Merely assessing the number of blog views is insufficient, as it does not provide insights into audience behavior.
  • In addition to the blog, it is crucial to engage in social media listening to monitor any discussions about the campaign. Setting clear goals and outcomes, evaluating both quality and quantity, and analyzing the content are essential components of the evaluation process.
  • Distributing press releases to pertinent journalists could be a valuable strategy to enhance awareness of the campaign and position Siemens as the 'employer of choice.' However, it's noteworthy that the company did not actively engage with the media during the campaign, leading to a lack of media evaluation.
  • Communication and public relations professionals should employ transparent evaluation methods to demonstrate to both employees and clients the origin of the data and the analytical process applied.



In conclusion, the increasing challenge of attracting top talent has driven companies to prioritize and enhance their reputation as employers. The growing emphasis on job satisfaction and a motivating work environment has made employer branding a top priority for numerous organizations. The current case study sheds light on the strategies employed for successful employee branding, while also highlighting areas where further improvements in strategy and tactics could contribute to even greater success in attracting and retaining top talent.


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