At the end of last year, we took a deep dive into employer brand and why we feel it will be key to attracting the right people to your organisation in 2022 and beyond. With a global shift in employee expectations, it’s never been more important to be an honest and transparent brand.
In this piece, we’re going to be looking a little more at the tangible efforts that employers can and should be making to attract employees. It’s worth noting that this goes far, far beyond salaries and benefits, with a recent survey from Barometer putting salary fifth on a scale of importance, being topped by leadership, structure, culture and opportunities.
Brand and culture
This isn’t just about being clear on your overall brand purpose and values, but demonstrating it through marketing channels where you know potential employees can find you.
The tables have turned a little here. A few years ago, the conversation was centred on employers checking potential employees’ social media accounts. But with a number of notable and high-profile media backlashes, organisations have cooled off and it’s now jobseekers that are trawling brands’ social media pages for insight into what it might be like to work for them.
Your online presence is your ‘shop window’ into how your company operates. From how you speak about your staff to how you demonstrate success, your Instagram business profile is just as important as your website’s careers page. Here are a few quick tips to get you started:
- Be consistent in your messaging, whatever the platform
- Measure your outputs – analyse what works and what doesn’t
- Respond and reply, and consider how to deal with negativity, if any
- Allocate ownership. Who looks after these channels?
Find your employer brand voice
Tone of voice isn’t just for marketing copy and social media. Job descriptions and adverts are often the first port of call for potential employees. Get this wrong and you’ll lose them in an instant. Millennials, gen Y and gen Z are all looking for challenges and opportunities in their work, and despite misconceptions, they are not a ‘turn up, get paid’ generation.
A good job description is not a page of bullet points littered with benefits, targets and KPIs. It should be human, inspiring and exciting. Consider working with a marketing or brand team to give your copy the prestige and clarity it deserves.
Remote and flexible – it’s what the people want
Throughout the pandemic, the world sent employers a clear message. A great deal of employees enjoy working from home and want to continue to do so. It’s also widely apparent that employees require flexibility around everyday factors such as childcare, healthcare and wellbeing.
Whilst some businesses smoothly transitioned to a distributed way of working, others are still struggling. What’s important here is that organisations listen to the wants and needs of their employees. If brand X aren’t willing to offer WFH options, and brand Y are, it’s clear that many employees will favour the latter. This isn’t just something to be considered for job seekers. Companies are actually losing employees as organisations order staff to return to the office.
Hire for attitude as well as aptitude
When’s the last time someone asked to see your GCSEs or O-Levels during an interview? We’ll bet just about never. Whilst experience is important, qualifications have taken a back seat for quite some time (more so in some sectors than others).
Many businesses are hiring staff based on ‘fit’ in a bid to uphold company culture. This is a trend echoed by employees, 83% of which said that workplace culture is something they look for in new roles. But there is a caveat here, and it’s a pretty big one. Don’t build a cult. You may laugh, but if you become too precious over who you do and don’t hire based on their cultural background, and you’re veering dangerously close to descrimination.
We don’t need to sell you diversity in the workplace. It’s the right thing to do, and gender, ethnicity and age should not affect the choices made by hiring managers. In 2018, a third of US employers said that they are ‘less likely’ to hire transgender workers. We hope the world has improved somewhat since that research, but we certainly aren’t all the way there yet.
Hiring for diversity is a no-brainer, but there are myriad benefits to building teams with different backgrounds.
- 85% of global enterprises believe diversity is crucial to fostering innovation
- 79% of companies believe that diversity initiatives have positively affected company culture
- 83% of executives agree that a diverse workforce improves a company’s ability to retain clients
Create a ‘clubhouse’ culture
Working from home is great, you don’t need to convince us. But it’s not for everyone. A Forbes study found that 90% of gen Z workers desire and value a human connection when it comes to at-work communication. Platforms such as Slack and Teams are only a partial solution.
Remember to reconnect as a team, and create a space or a time for employees to meet, work together and socialise. We’ve seen a number of businesses refer to their workplace as a ‘clubhouse’ – open to all at any time, and a central place for employees to come and go for work and pleasure.
Leave space for learning
Whether a specialist or a generalist, there’s always something else to learn. That could be a new programming language, a new application, or a new method of working. Staff are hungry for knowledge, but with 24.5 million of the UK’s employees working 40+ hours a week, it’s difficult for many to find the time for training and learning.
Organisations that offer upskill budgets, learning opportunities or on-the-job training will excel here. Learning is closely linked to job progression, and this is reflected in Glassdoor’s 2020 employee survey, citing internal career opportunities as the second most important job factor.
Recruitment and rewards
Think of recruitment as a long game
Reactionary recruitment can be damaging, and here’s why. Think of recruitment as a strategy and a continual marketing effort, not a momentary process to solve a temporary problem. A proactive approach to recruitment not only builds a pipeline of roles and candidates, but goes some way in formalising your internal recruitment process.
Try to be more proactive in your recruitment efforts by:
- Building a pipeline of roles for the year ahead
- Agreeing upon a clear recruitment process
- Giving clear and honest feedback to candidates
- Never stopping looking for the ideal employee
We’ve seen it all before: “I’ve bought every iPhone ever and still have to remortgage the house to upgrade to the new one.” Brands, for the most part, suck at loyalty. Whilst we understand that everything comes at a price, it doesn’t cost much to reward loyal customers. Or in this case, employees.
Referral bonuses are a great way to encourage your staff to recommend potential new employees. And if you’ve built your existing company culture well, you can expect more shining stars to walk through the door.
Long-term loyalty shouldn’t be forgotten either. Go a step further than offering an additional day’s holiday. Think about your employees on an individual level. What would benefit them? What makes them tick? What’s going on outside of their work?
There’s a lot to digest here, and there are implementation challenges for companies whatever their size. For small businesses, budget can provide challenges around formalising the recruitment process or executing marketing efforts. For larger businesses, time and process can be a blocker, with the age old adage of “But we’ve always done it this way” causing many a speed bump and eye roll.
Something to consider if you’re either of these kinds of business, or anything in between, is a brand agency. Outsourcing to or consulting with an agency that specialises in employer brand can give you the kickstart that you need, and help you on your way to building a culture and process that you’re truly proud of.
If you want to start 2022 with some positive conversations around employer brand, we should talk. Get in touch today.
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