Randstad is one of the leading employment/staffing organizations in the world. It controls about 6% of worldwide staffing, which is a sizable number within a highly fragmented business, and it has a $6 billion market cap.
Randstad revenues mainly come from France Holland, Germany, the UK and Belgium and for 23 % from North America. Mergers & acquisitions are responsible for roughly half of the Randstad growth.
“For Randstad, acquisitions and organic growth are the two main strategies for the enterprise growth, but both are directly connected to our branding strategy”, says Frans Cornelis, CMO of Randstad. As Chief Marketing & Communications, he and his team are in charge of the coordination and coherence of the marketing and the external and internal communications processes within the Randstad Group. He also acts as the Brand Champion for managing the Randstad brand portfolio, underpinning the central strategic building block of ‘Superior Brands’.
Frans has worked for Randstad for the last 9 years and has unique insights in the Randstad business strategy.
“To effectively manage the acquisitions, we’ve created a structured process to successfully diagnose, manage and integrate organizational cultures because we believe it is the essential component of the deal value”. Their main method in deciding on the branding for an acquisition is perceptional mapping.
Perception Mapping is the information analysis application that is used to represent the changeable differences in perception that exist between two or many industry competitors. The actual mapping tries to measure the factors that clients use in making their purchase choices. Using a perceptual map allows to characterize complex relationships graphically, and that why it’s such a powerful business tool.
Frans says that Randstad routinely checks most major competitors to identify the prospective acquisitions. “When we considering acquiring yet another firm we analyze the dangers involved in combining diverse cultures before we take the next step” he says. “Once we’re comfortable that we can successfully blend the businesses, we initiate the process of acquisition”. A new acquired business usually goes almost immediately through the rebranding process. Usually it takes about 8-12 months to change all communication elements to the Randstad brand.
Randstad’s “Superior Brand” – the corporate branding strategy uses the same well-known expressions around the globe based on the slogan “Good to know you”.
This strategy allows Randstad to bridge many cultural differences and to stay relevant to local markets.
Only in some instances, when the acquired business culture doesn’t exactly fit the Randstad brand, the new business is branded differently, usually as Tempo Team.
“Having 20 or 30 brands is not in our DNA. We choose to own as little brands as possible. We only consider using a second major brand when the market share of Randstad itself is high enough. We want to make sure that we can always build sufficient scale to effectively build and maintain a brand.
This superior brand philosophy allows Randstad to not only build strong awareness, but also to enable major cost savings and high efficiency. All companies operating under the Randstad brand have access to the marketing resource management system with one photo database, branding materials, design wizards and templates.
This system is integrated with the internal community tools so it adds a layer of social interaction to intranet and turns it into living knowledge to take employee teamwork to a higher level. That is another tool that makes the post-merger rebranding easier to implement.
“You cannot create a culture by sending out communication materials. No level of advertising and marketing communication will make people believe what is not genuine or true. By engaging people internally wth social marketing tools and other internal events and platforms we have a chance to turn our employees into brand champions. Our people are the brand ambassadors of Randstad, Cornelis says. Who can better explain who we are than our combined teams?”
Starting in Belgium 10 years ago, Randstad also gives awards to companies that have been recognized by the general public as the most attractive employers. The research is completely independent, and the only major survey of its kind that provided objective measurements.
Participants are first asked if they are familiar with the companies included and then whether they would like to work for this company. This relative attractiveness is what makes up for the Award ranking. Employees, job seekers and even people who not are interested in finding a new job decide who will receive the Best Employer prize in each country. This year, the research covers 14 major countries.
Needless to say, Randstad itself is a desirable company to work for. Many graduate students treat working at Randstad as a stepping stone to get hired by multinationals, “After a few years of working at Randstad, many of our employees become great candidates, and are scouted by our clients and guess what: they continue to influence the Randstad performance but now from the other side. We are really proud of the fact that our former employees are an important source of continuous referrals.”
Every 5 years Randstad organizes worldwide events for all its employees, of identical formats and connected virtually, to keep the spirit going, says Frans. “This is a unique chance to for all of us to get in touch and spread the Randstad feeling.”
Randstad is a public company, (it’s stock is trading in Amsterdam). In the past decade, Randstad’s global market share has risen from distant fourth to global number two, making it the fastest growing global company of its kind. Just one of the Best Dutch Brands.