When Human Progress Is the Center of Your Employer Brand

WRITTEN BY: Jörgen Sundberg

Merck Group has dedicated itself to furthering human progress through science and technology. It’s a lofty mission and one its team takes very seriously, particularly employer brand leader Chris Dinwiddy.

As Global Head of Employer Brand and Social Media Recruitment, Dinwiddy is responsible for bringing Merck Group’s EVP to markets around the globe and keeping tabs on its 57,000 employees. He sees himself as uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between employer brand and recruitment marketing—two interdependent but, for many companies, historically siloed functions.

What does this work look like when an organization’s goal is human progress? Dinwiddy identifies a few areas of focus that have guided his team’s success.

You Value Curiosity

Merck Group’s EVP, “Bring your curiosity to life,” carries two meanings for Dinwiddy. It invites employees to nurture their curiosity, but it also encourages employees to direct that curiosity toward improving life on earth. Curiosity isn’t just a trait of a great hire; it’s a skill that helps Merck Group make the world a better place.

Curiosity also motivates the employer brand team’s investment in its ambassador network. With so many markets worldwide (including China, the US, Germany, and others), Dinwiddy has realized the importance of nurturing one-on-one relationships with regional heads of recruitment and demonstrating an interest in their unique region.

“That resonates, I think, with people,” he says. “If you’re sitting in a remote region, and you’re a long way from HQ, you want someone who’s going to do things for your region, not necessarily tell you what you have to do.”

You Stay Innovative

Embracing tech innovation might seem obvious for a science and technology company, but at 352 years old, Merck Group is one of the oldest brands in its sector. Staying innovative is a priority for Dinwiddy’s team, especially when it comes to employer brand activation and measurement.

When courting an in-demand demographic, filling a specific role type, or launching a campaign, the employer brand team relies on SAP SuccessFactors tools and custom landing pages. They keep a close on their Google Analytics and other sources of quantitative data, while also tracking more qualitative feedback (candidate comments like ”I didn’t know much about you before I applied” or “I’ve seen your brand around”) to measure success.

The team is also trying out a new tool that’s been instrumental in gathering employee-generated content: an app called PathMotion, specifically designed to help candidates connect with employees. Users can record video testimonials and other content straight to the app, which then publishes to the web for prospective talent to browse.

You Prioritize Humans

“The recruitment industry’s drifted in the last few years away from corporate and polished,” Dinwiddy observes. Now, candidates are responding more to honest, authentic, and candid messaging.

Externally, this change has impacted how Dinwiddy’s team partners with recruiters and presents the employer brand to candidates. He recognizes that recruiters play a key early role in communicating Merck Group’s employer brand, and to do so accurately, everyone on both the recruiting side and employer brand side must operate from the same human-centric mindset.

Internally, the employer brand team prioritizes employee storytelling and letting Merck Group’s people speak for themselves, without the expectation of corporate polish. Whenever possible, employer brand campaigns foreground employee testimonials about what they love about their organization and how they work. Human emotion also factors into Merck Group’s employer brand pillars, where words like “joy” and “curiosity” illustrate the company’s commitment to being a positive, enjoyable place to work.

For Dinwiddy, this human-centered and end-user-focused culture is key to what makes it a great place to work and such an easy employer to promote. In describing his experience at Merck Group, Dinwiddy offers the same kind of candidness he encourages in brands: “My job’s really special. I work for a brilliant company—and I’m not just saying that because they pay my salary!”

To follow Chris Dinwiddy’s work in employer brand, connect with him on LinkedIn. For help gathering data and insight that you can act on to improve your company, get in touch.


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