What really matters in recruiting and employer branding

LEAD: Recently the first “Reply Creative Challenge” took place – what can you imagine?

Julia Saswito: The Creative Challenge is a global team competition for students and creatives, but our own employees can also participate. During the challenge, the teams, each consisting of two to four members, had to develop a creative solution in social, video, branding, customer experience or employer branding within 48 hours.

In addition to creativity, the ability to co-create is also in demand within the teams. Meanwhile, we have already spotted the first submissions and are really impressed. The finalists will now be selected by a jury of experts and will present their project live on stage in July during Reply Xchange 2019 in Milan. Immediately afterwards, the winners will be announced.

LEAD: How high is the interest in such contests – and what brings such a challenge to the participants?

Saswito: In 2018 and 2019, we had already tested this competitive format as a code and cyber security challenge with more than 30,000 subscribers. But we could not assess whether a creative variant would meet with interest. We are all the more pleased with how much response the Creative Challenge has generated: there have been 350 submissions from 561 teams worldwide.


In such competitions, the participants are not just about being creative or coding with others, but also about learning together. In addition, the potential of the individual and the team is put to the test. Knowledge, practice and an exciting competitive feeling round off the wealth of experience.

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LEAD: Recruiting obviously can not start soon enough: the Reply Code Challenge now even has an issue for teenagers …

Saswito: Especially in the field of programming, we want to get in contact with young talents as early as possible. We’ve had a regular format called “Code for Kids” for a while, aimed at Reply employees’ children. To address the age group between the kids and the students, together with the winners of the Code Challenge 2018, we have developed a teen edition aimed at teenagers between 14 and 19 years old.

The aim of these programs is to arouse the young people’s interest in the art of programming and to help them channel their motivation, creativity and teamwork. This is best in a practical challenge: You have to solve a problem in a team and work very closely together. We believe that this is the best way to experience what these jobs really are.

LEAD: To what extent is the field of digital creation in recruiting facing special challenges?

Saswito: Reply advises companies on digital transformation – so our business is heavily influenced by technology innovations, but also by changing user expectations. Digital Creation requires people who are not only at home in design and user experience, but who equally bring with them understanding and enthusiasm for technology as well as new business models.

This holistic view is demanding and the talents are in great demand not only with us, but also with all other market participants such as service providers, consultancies, creative agencies and companies.

You might also be interested in this: “Employees want to believe in something bigger”

Cyber ​​Security Challenge 3
In 2018, the competition format was first tested as a code and cyber security challenge (image) – this year the first creative edition took place. (Picture: Reply)

LEAD: Recruiting and retaining talent and experienced people is as important as ever in today’s job market. Your company has come up with some ideas.

Saswito: The Reply Digital Experience relies on a comprehensive range of training and knowledge transfer: we participate in meet-ups in various cities, cooperate with universities in the “Reply Student Tech Clash” competition and also organize international code and creative challenges Recruiting speed dating.

On the open day we give students the opportunity to get a picture of us on site and get to know individual Reply companies better. Another good thing is our “Open Beer Day”, during which informal employees and students get to know the agency’s premises during a casual conversation.

LEAD: What must be the standard for a company today when it comes to employer branding – and what mistakes can a company in your view not make?

Saswito: The most important thing about employer branding is authenticity. It therefore has to start from the inside out. A mistake would be, for example, as a company employer branding exclusively to operate outwardly, such as in the form of competitions, but not the same or a comparable offer to have internally.

In the first step, it is certainly about finding out how an employer stands with the employee and whether it hangs somewhere – for example, on knowledge transfer, training or cooperation. This then has to be worked on, whereby this process can also be communicated externally. In the end, of course, the employees are the best ambassadors, those who can bring new employees to the company through a recommendation.

LEAD: Incentivization is also an issue in this context – what is the point ultimately?

Saswito: In addition to a reward – for example in the form of money or further training – an incentive should create a positive experience that links the employee with the company. At best, incentive programs should support the employee in his personal development and improve his professional perspective in the company.

Here, we use our employee training model for employees: Workshops or lectures for other employees collect points that can be exchanged, for example, for further education or participation in global conferences, such as for a trip to SXSW in Texas , However, it is important that the employee chooses how he redeems the points – so that he can have a say in the incentive.

Finalists of the Creative Challenge will be selected by a jury in the various categories and announced on the Reply website on May 31st. The five best teams will be presenting their respective projects live on stage on July 3 during the Reply Xchange 2019 in Milan. Afterwards, the winning team will be announced.

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