What it takes to win a RAD award for best Employer Brand. Interview with Robert Käck, King’s Global Employer Brand Manager
Just looking at King’s creative, engaging and fun careers site it is easy to see why King won the Best Employer Brand category at this year’s RAD awards. However the brand they have created goes much further than their careers page; we interviewed Robert Käck, King’s Global Employer Brand Manager, to find out more about their creative process and how they won their RAD award:
1) Firstly, Candy Crush is such a well known game - why was it important for King to create an employer brand of its own?
King was founded in 2003 and has since then done an amazing journey. We’ve grown rapidly, from a small games developer company with few employees to a listed company with offices in several countries. To be able to make that journey and hire the amount of people we needed, it was important for us to link our well-known game brands to the company brand.
I remember when I joined two years ago, my friends weren’t familiar with the brand King but almost everyone had played one of our games. Now we’ve won the Sweden’s best employer award two years in a row. We’re proud of the culture, passion and creativity that has been the key to our success.
2) What was the creative process? Did you carry out any specific research to decide on the graphics and ideas that make up ‘seriously playful’?
We tried several different routes to start with. We tested it on different focus groups, especially on our own employees. I think at King we’ve always been responsive and good at listening to our employees. King has so much talent internally and people are super creative and engaged so that was the best feedback. You need to deliver what you promise so the internal buy-in is always important when creating an employer brand.
3) Did you encounter any challenges on the way?
Oh yeah, haha. We had a very tight timeline and created the concept from scratch in three months. During that time we did internal and external research and focus groups across our target audience. At the same time, we also decided to review our existing core values. Back then, King was a rather small company and not everyone had the experience of working with an employer brand function. But I think the support from our leadership team and management made it possible.
4) Why do you think King won the award for employer brand? What do you think was new and innovative about ‘Seriously Playful’?
From the day when the concept was presented to me, I felt that it totally captured our values and culture. It breathes King and you hear people internally use it on a day-to-day basis. It’s a concept that can easily be adapted and tweaked depending on the target audience and markets.
5) I read in the Evening Standard that a real success of the employer brand was that it joined up the playful brand with actual working life at King's through employee handbooks and induction materials - it was a ‘marriage of corporate and employer identity’. How else has King taken their employer brand much further than just a quirky recruitment campaign?
My advice when creating an employer brand/employer value proposition is to implement it in already existing processes. Then it will feel more natural for current and potential employees. Besides the things mentioned we’ve also created a new website, updated our tone of voice on our social channels, created new event collateral and aligned the concept with processes such as performance management, leadership & development and rewards. So to conclude, it’s being implemented throughout the whole employee lifecycle and visualized to our employees via these processes.
6) How has your employer brand impacted your recruitment process?Candidate insight, reaching out, more applications
We now get many more applications, haha. No seriously, of course it has had an impact. Our researchers and recruiters don’t have to start with explaining who King is and what we do. Since launching our employer brand we use it throughout the recruitment process as a northern start. Every single candidate has to be matched and be a cultural fit. Think the most important thing is that now our culture is becoming better known outside the company and that’s positive for the recruitment funnel and getting people to choose you as an ideal employer.
7) The employer brand is obviously linked very closely to the culture at King, would you say that the brand has actually impacted company culture?
Definitely, we have put a lot of effort in putting our culture on display externally so to say and really tried to communicate the feeling of working at King.
People feel more proud to work for a company that’s often mentioned as a great place to work. It has an impact on the engagement internally and more people refer their friends to our recruiters. Word-of-mouth is the strongest channel for potential candidates. No fancy campaign can compete with that.
8) The term ‘Employer Brand’ is 25 years old this year. Why do you think it is still such an important factor in modern day recruitment?
It’s a competitive market to attract and recruit the very best talent. Creating an environment that attracts the best developers and artists is a crucial factor for King to continue the success we have had in the past. If we want to keep this momentum, we need to make sure we are attracting the very best people. Not only the best people in terms of that what they produce, but also equally important how they contribute to our culture through behaviours – how they live our values.
9) How important was winning the RAD award Employer Brand category? Was this something you set out to achieve?
Of course for our function it was very important to get this recognition. We never thought it would happen this quickly. But still want to highlight that this is just another proof point that we are heading in the right direction. The most important piece is that our employer brand marries up with the business strategy and continues to evolve King as a great brand and employer of choice. You can say this was just the cherry on the top.
10) What is the plan for King’s employer brand going forward?
To be able to achieve our objectives and continue to make great games we need to keep attracting the most talented developers and other key skills. We also need to offer them a creative and dynamic environment to work in. Thirdly, a great saga needs all sorts of heroes, so diversity is also something we’re continuously trying to improve, especially increase the female amount of employees in our company. And finally, retention is another key factor going forward and emphasise our employer brand via internal communication.
King are currently recruiting for HR positions, follow this link to find out more https://jobs.king.com/