According to the Economist, America is producing more output than it managed 18 months ago – all with roughly six million fewer workers.
This has been one of the most defining moments of the past hundred years; automation, smart processes and innovation has replaced what was yesterday seen as an acceptable level of manual process and procedure.
In this new, lean environment, high calibre talent has never been more important. But attracting and retaining top talent is no easy feat – particularly in a job market where loyalty has gone out the window.
New research shows more than half of all employees in North America plan to look for a new job in 2021, while a quarter plan to quit their jobs outright. On top of that, since the start of the pandemic, 46% of employees feel less connected to their company, 42% say company culture has diminished and just 21% say they are very engaged at work.
We can’t sit back and ignore the elephant in the room. Companies with an outdated employer brand are accelerating their lack of relevance and appeal, resulting in a loss of once loyal team members and an inability to attract new hires who can fill their shoes.
Clearly, something needs to change – and fast.
At a time when people are desperately searching for purpose, impact and belonging, marketing an effective employer brand is the only way to position your organisation for lasting success.
There’s very little companies can do about the great resignation – or is there?
This period of flux in the labour market is complicated and multifaceted.
There are plenty of new and exciting opportunities available to high calibre talent, which means good companies are losing good people.
Equally, though, many organisations have been put on the back foot by failing to adapt, update and implement compelling employer brands. For some industries, it’s the difference between thriving and surviving.
The stats don’t lie. 86% of jobseekers say they research company reviews and ratings before deciding on where to apply, while 1 in 2 candidates say they wouldn’t work for a company with a bad reputation – even for a pay rise.
Adapting to change quickly is no longer good enough. To come out on top, organisations need to anticipate change and market their employer brand ahead of their competitors. This will ensure your company is seen as a place to find purpose, impact and belonging.
In a world where brand and reputation are more important than ever before, now is the time to tell a compelling story, discover your differentiation and be seen as the most relevant and attractive place for top talent.
This is where most companies fail
Given the culture we operate in – where employee loyalty is at an all-time low and the wants and needs of jobseekers are changing constantly – most organisations are at least aware of the value of a well-defined employer brand.
But there’s a big problem – and this is where most companies fail.
Common practice says an employer brand should showcase the best aspects of your company – the perks, benefits and assets people stand to gain. This model was taken from the consumer advertising industry, where brands market products and services to consumers that focus on all the amazing qualities and features it has to offer.
Now think about the business world. Can you name one company that doesn’t have any downsides?
No? Well, here’s the truth.
Bragging about strengths is only effective for a short period of time. It might work to get more applicants, but it certainly does nothing to find people who are well-suited to your culture.
Instead, what you need is an employer brand that is going to satiate what your audience wants; that will combine empathy and understanding to communicate how your proposition can authentically resonate; that will build real affinity and connection on a deeper level.
How to win with a ‘Give & Get’ employer brand
Jobseekers are intelligent. They’re looking for far more than shiny, surface-level attractiveness. Candidates crave substance, meaning, purpose and, more than ever, a sense of belonging. If they aren’t finding it in their current role, they’re willing to leave it behind.
So how do you satiate this audience?
It comes from a well-defined and confident account of who you are, which must include the harsh realities of your company, the adversities of the role, the gaps to be filled and the roads to be navigated.
We call this approach a ‘Give & Get’ employer brand.
It’s a mutual value exchange that:
- articulates the expectations, harsh realities and challenges people must be willing to overcome to thrive at your organisation
- communicates the benefits (financial, physical and emotional) that people stand to receive in return
This employee value proposition is a two-way street that clearly outlines what a company demands in return for the spoils on offer. If your business can offer a coherent account of why not everyone is well-suited to your employee experience – and if you can be honest about the capabilities required to thrive – then I guarantee you will win out over shallow attempts to lure people in.
The race to update employer branding in the next 12 months will see the industry mature more than 10 organic years, as businesses realise the power of brand when applied to talent attraction and retention.
My advice is simple. Be clear on the reputation you need as an employer to remain relevant and differentiated, define a strong ‘Give and Get’ proposition and invest in the smartest aspects of your talent experience.
This will help you prove and propel your employer brand – before the company next door eats your lunch.
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