As the South African economy starts to reopen, many sectors have had to innovate to find new ways of working that meet the changing needs of consumers. As a result, businesses will be looking to hire seasoned professionals with new or unique skills to usher in this new era.
Due to the Covid-19 operating environment, many talented and capable job seekers are looking for new opportunities to demonstrate these capabilities. For organisations that have not experienced the financial pinch of Covid-19, now may be an ideal time to attract top talent.
For organisations looking to hire, a strong employee value proposition that will entice strong talent needs to be supported by the employees already in the business. By taking care of current employees during a time of global crisis, you can create an echo chamber where employees share their appreciation of your business on their personal and professional platforms. Making your business attractive to those seeking to create value in the next phase of their career.
Many organisations fall into the common trap of focusing extensively on its client-focused messaging and employee messaging isn’t treated as much of a priority. As management focuses more on business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) communication, internal communication can fall by the wayside leaving employees feeling unappreciated.
Business-to-employee (B2E) communication, in which the employee is the main focus of the organisation, is essential during this time to attract and retain well-qualified staff. Organisations need to translate their employee value proposition into a distinct brand positioning, narrative, and a focused message map.
Employees are the most critical stakeholder in business today, and it is essential that we apply the same finesse and rigour to driving employee behaviour that we do to driving consumer behaviour.
What’s not working
Companies can no longer expect that one-size-fits-all messaging will attract and retain the unicorn type of talent that they are looking for. Employees want to be communicated with on their terms and about issues that they care about, not just on a professional level but also on a personal level.
As we have seen through the Covid-19 pandemic, current employees are vital stakeholders, and focusing exclusively on customers during this time will leave employees feeling out in the cold. Employee wellbeing, both physically and mentally, must be prioritised, to ensure a happy and productive team.
Employees aren’t impressed by flashy internal communications campaigns, they want to see value from their employer throughout their working experience in small, everyday ways. Employers need to present a compelling employee value proposition that highlights the defining qualities of the employee experience and ties back to the business strategy.
The recipe for a strong employer brand
Insights: Gathering insights is the starting point for any strong employer brand, by interrogating research and finding these insights you can create a clear employee value proposition that defines your unique strengths as an employer, positioning you to successfully attract and retain the talent you need.
Organisations should start by gathering and analysing employee sentiment and interviewing recruiters to determine what factors are moving the needle in retaining and attracting top talent. Edelman’s Workforce Listening tool is unique in its ability to gauge employee sentiment without the need to conduct a survey.
Look at what your competitors are doing in order to ensure your employer brand is distinct and ownable. We’re seeing some large retailers giving essential workers additional bonuses for working through the pandemic, while other organisations have given employees funds for home office equipment. Actions such as this go a long way in building trust internally, which will ultimately be demonstrated externally and attract talent.
Experiences: The employee experience starts from before the contract has even been signed. From the first interview, it’s important that you demonstrate why someone would want to work for you. As much as we focus on client messaging, we need to focus even more so on current and potential employee messaging.
Once someone joins your team it’s important to have an activation blueprint prepared. This should articulate what employees will be thinking and feeling at each stage of their experience from induction day onwards.
One of the primary challenges we help clients tackle is how to bring together employee experiences and creativity to create a blueprint that inspires passion and productivity among employees.
Analytics: Lastly, analytics. Crunching the numbers will result in an always-on, ever-evolving employer brand program that gives you confidence that your program is successful and cost-effective.
This would be made up of both micro and macro measurements. Real-time monitoring of your employer brand programs will help inform ongoing decision-making and tracking trends in both sentiment and business performance will help detect challenges and successes and adjust programs accordingly.
We believe that in order to successfully welcome new employees we must bring them along the journey with an equal mix of art and science. The science consists of the processes, tools and behavior analytics to reach the right person with the right experience at the right time. The art is the storytelling and culture shaping expertise that accelerates and amplifies that journey and makes it stick. Together, they create a compelling experience that shifts mindsets and behaviors to drive long-term impact.
Karena Crerar is advisory lead at Edelman Africa1
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