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Quality seals for employer branding

Current research project provides insights into the impact of quality seals.

Attracting, developing and retaining talented employees are core elements of human resource (HR) management. The labour market, just like any other, is highly competitive, not only for prospective employees but also for the companies looking to hire new people. A current IMC Krems research project has provided fresh insights into this topic through a study of employer branding, which focused on the impact of quality seals on job descriptions.

Portrait von Denise Kleiss und Martin Waiguny

The new research study by Denise Kleiss and Martin Waiguny examines the extent to which references to social responsibility affect the perception of employer brands.

Ethical values and corporate social responsibility are especially important aspects of corporate culture for members of Generations Y and Z, who are only just starting out in the world of work. Entitled “Diversity and social responsibility in employer branding”, the study looks at the extent to which references to social responsibility affect perceptions of employer brands. As far as these outside perceptions are concerned, an increasing number of accreditations and quality seals have become established over the past few years, which are designed to clearly highlight a company’s social engagement. “For this reason, we are investigating how far the presence of quality seals – which indicate diversity and a sense of environmental responsibility – has an effect on the ways in which job offers are judged,” explains the author of the study, Denise Kleiss.

Quality seals highlight values

Particularly in terms of the ecological side of corporate social responsibility (CSR), an extensive system of quality seals and audits is now in place. According to signal theory, these seals represent an opportunity for job applicants to cancel out information asymmetries in the application process. During the process, both companies and applicants sends signals designed to boost their own attractiveness. Due to this effect, it can be assumed that securing a quality seal is a means of emphasising CSR as a corporate value and that this can generate advantages.

Diversity highly effective

The study revealed that displaying a quality seal can be beneficial for employer branding. Particularly for companies with highly diversified workforces, it pays not to select just one single certification, as this runs the risk of sending a signal that is too narrowly focused on one group. But more than that, the various diversity-related quality seals are aimed at different target groups. “This also explains our finding that when it comes to diversity-related seals, posting job adverts with several quality seals delivers better results than displaying just one. Companies that use multiple quality seals are underscoring their values and showing how they apply their perception of diversity,” said Martin Waiguny.

Although seals are probably not the main reason for choosing one prospective employer over another, the signals they send in job advertisements can definitely serve as a pre-selection criterion for applicants, and create advantages, as the findings of this study and previous investigations show. The topic of diversity will be examined more closely in future studies.

About the study authors

Prof. Martin K. J. Waiguny chairs IMC Krems’ Academic Board and is a professor of marketing and consumer behaviour. His research concentrates primarily on different aspects of persuasion in various contexts, including the influence of our environment, games, social media and all types of advertising.

Prof. Denise F. Kleiss teaches on IMC Krems’ English-language programmes, specialising in HR management and business administration. Her research is mainly concerned with HR management, employer branding and job attractiveness. 

Science Coffee Walk & Talk: For a coffee with Martin Waiguny and Denise Kleiss: