Employer Branding - How to stand out from the crowd

4 minutes read
By Saadiq Samodien, Online Events Specialist, Top Employers Institute
Saadiq Samodien
Regional Marketing Manager APAC

Sofia Merlo, CHRO at BNP Paribas, caught up with David Plink, our CEO, on the 23rd of March 2022 in our first virtual fireside chat of 2022: Employer Branding - How to stand out from the crowd.

As the struggle for top talent continues, employer branding is more important than ever. For an organisation to attract and retain the best talent, their brand needs to be clear and understandable. In 2022, employer branding remains a top priority for organisations and as a result, finding the right mix between the vision, mission, organisational culture, personality, and marketing messaging is key! 

Read ahead to get a snapshot at some of the highlights from Sofia and David's engaging discussion and fill in the form (on the right-hand side of the page) to get the complete fireside chat to watch whenever you have a moment.

The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of banking to the world. This was not always the case, as the financial crisis tarnished the image of the banking industry. Organisations had to slowly rebuild their brand . At the centre of this work is aligning the purpose of an organisation to each employee.

The power of purpose for employer branding

 Serving their clients is at the core of BNP Paribas. That was the first thing that they kept in mind when they began developing   their employer branding strategy . That's because the actions of employees are there to express the purpose of the organisation.

Employer branding is first what you are really doing on the ground – and this is then translated to a communication and marketing plan. In the end, authenticity always shines through. When you want to attract newcomers, the best attraction is your current employees.

Collaboration between HR and marketing

Sofia emphasised that employer branding is not the sole responsibility of HR or marketing. Ultimately, it is a collaborative effort between both departments. HR is there to ensure that the correct organisational culture is in place. This translates to the best form of employer branding, which is having employee ambassadors. The end responsibility of employer branding cannot be alone with HR and marketing. They work with managers and employees to ensure that what they communicate externally is applied internally.

What makes an employer brand stand out from the crowd?

There are various elements to make your employer brand stand out. In particular, Sofia mentioned three elements that make BNP Paribas stand out:

  • Commitment to Sustainable Development Goals: At the core of BNP Paribas's purpose is the pursuit of positive environmental impacts. In line with this, they've joined the Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA) to fight climate change to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050.
  • Diversity: BNP Paribas were one of the first big companies, in 2004, in France to hire someone to specifically look at all areas of diversity. This is managed with strategic KPIs and action plans. Diversity is a key strategic pillar in positioning themselves as an employer of choice.
  • Internal mobility: Part of the DNA of BNP Paribas is internal mobility. This enables employees to move across business lines and in different positions. Many employees remain with BNP Paribas for a long time for this very reason. Just last year, they had over 20 000+ internal mobility moves.

How to build your own brand and career

Sofia has had a long and diverse career with BNP Paribas, with opportunities in business, HR, wealth management and career management at various levels. At the core of this is her "willingness to take risks". Furthermore, she advises everyone to build a strong network, not only those within your department but across business lines and diversity groups. Sofia poignantly ended the webinar with the best pieces of advice she has received from her carer"

  • “Dare to take risks, dare to speak, dare to ask for what you expect."
  • “Have a good balance between your work and personal life. “

How BNP Paribas uses the Top Employers Certification

BNP Paribas is proud to be certified in 15 countries and ranked in the top 10 Employers in France. This proud achievement is shared with all employees and managers and is part of the attraction and retention strategy. For countries that are not yet certified, they are looking at ways in which their practices can be improved. The objectivity and the value of external feedback received cannot be understated.


Table of contents
Employer Branding - How to stand out from the crowd