Just like today’s customers, today’s employees have increasingly high expectations of the businesses they work for. And with the talent pool looking more and more like a small pond, it’s imperative employers build a brand that attracts and retains the best talent on offer.
While Australia’s talent shortage is not as dire as globally – Manpower Group’s 2018 Talent Shortage Survey shows 34% of Australian employers are struggling to fill positions compared with 45% globally – it is nonetheless a significant challenge.
Twice as many medium and large companies in Australia (50-249 and 250+ employees) find it hard to recruit as micro firms (under 10 employees). It’s tough for small organisations (10-49 employees) too, with 32% having difficulty attracting the skills they need.
And if a business does manage to secure the right talent, then they have the challenge of keeping employees engaged and on board. Indeed, outstanding employee experience (EX) has become the competitive edge no business can afford to ignore. Why? Because highly engaged employees improve customer satisfaction and revenue, and because at any given time, a large number of the workforce is considering ditching their employer for a better offer.
The stakes are high. So how can businesses hire and retain the talent that will drive their future success? Since we've just been named Australia's Best Place to Work, we think we can help! Start with these four recommendations.
Your employer branding needs to be as strong and unique as your customer-focused branding. It’s a vital component of effective organisational leadership. Just as you attract, engage and retain customers, you need to do the same for employees.
An ‘Employee Value Proposition’ (EVP) is a useful way to to help you define what makes your organisation special to employees. Gartner defines EVP as having five key attributes:
If you can list meaningful responses to these then you’re close to defining a clear and differentiated message around your employee brand. Gartner suggests that if you get it right you can decrease your employee turnover by just under 70% and increase new hire commitment by 30%.
Chances are, your business provides a stellar hiring and on-boarding experience that sees new employees leaping out of bed to start their second day of working for you.
But then what? That first day is just the beginning of the employee experience. It’s the rest of the journey that really counts. Just as you map the customer life cycle, the employee life cycle needs similar attention. Managing and planning for the long-term is key to developing and enhancing the employee experience.
An engaged employee has clarity about their role and how it contributes to the purpose of the business. Don’t leave them guessing. Instead, show them every day how their actions help build your business success.
Just as customers leverage the power of the connected world to explore their options and express their loyalty (or lack thereof), so do employees. The employee voice, when amplified through employer review sites like Glassdoor, is powerful and smart organisations will create advocates for their business.
Culture doesn’t just happen, it’s something that’s alive and develops with intention. It comes from actions and is driven by leaders. Sure, you can take all the pieces of culture you’d like your business to have, but, like a bad jigsaw, it doesn’t mean all the pieces will fit together.
To attract and retain employees, culture needs to be differentiated, authentic and, ideally, built on a purpose beyond profit.
Inclusion has also never been more important to driving employee engagement and satisfaction. In 2018 the Diversity Council of Australia with Suncorp developed the Inclusion@Work Index, showing employees in inclusive teams are:
Employees are used to seamless and connected experiences in their personal lives, so the friction they experience when accessing information and communicating at work can come as a rude shock.
Your business might be bending over backwards to make CX as smooth as silk, while employees are left floundering with outdated technology and clumsy processes. More often than not, when a business introduces a technological solution for employees it is selected and deployed based on the needs of the business. The employee’s needs are neglected, and adoption is low.
Smart use of tech can invigorate individuals, drive value into the business, increase innovation and enable employees to work without barriers. Frictionless productivity improves EX and benefits the business culture. More than one in five IT leaders say improved employee-facing technology is critical for their company to compete, yet only 21% say their current technology maximises employee engagement. If there were ever an opportunity for competitive advantage, this is it.
Something as straightforward as giving employees the power to communicate easily over smart, enterprise-grade business apps from any location will go a long way to unifying your workforce and building your employer brand.
Along with a robust engagement strategy underpinned by empowering technology, your employer brand should be your key tool when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. Your people, like your customers, can be your greatest advocates, as long as you align EX with their expectations and the company’s vision.
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