The number of people in work in the UK reached a record high of 32.54 million in January 2019, the highest rate since records began back in 1971. ¹ And according to the National Office of Statistics’ Labour Market Commentary in March 2019, the tightening market will mean employers will find it increasingly difficult to hire due to shortages of new recruits. ²
In this labour market employers need to be recruitment ready, working hard to develop an employer brand. According to LinkedIn, 80% of talent acquisition managers believe that an employer’s branding has a significant impact on the ability to hire great talent. And 50% of candidates said they wouldn’t work for a company with a bad reputation. ³ Increasingly, candidates are looking for a whole raft of factors and wellbeing benefits, not just monetary rewards when looking for a new role. Companies should be working hard to promote their brand image, company values and opportunities so candidates can assess whether the company is right for them.
Candidates are looking for an alignment of values. Just as a business markets its unique selling point (USP) to a targeted audience, companies should be promoting its employee valuation proposition (EUP), with considerations such as career development opportunities, flexible working hours, good reputation, career progression and other added value benefits. Margaret Zimmer argues that companies focus on the CX (customer experience) but forget about the EX (employee experience). 4 She thinks this is short-sighted and said that by creating a strong EX will encourage employees to become brand ambassadors, ultimately driving business results.
Companies that offer these added value benefits need to be communicating these values as part of their brand reputation to attract future talent and ensure a smooth recruitment process. Those companies who do not offer added value benefits are already disadvantaged in this competitive labour market.
There are some very simple ways to communicate your values to potential employees and it should start with your corporate website. Collingwood Research5 suggests a separate recruitment website will have more effect, but for most companies, having a very good recruitment section on their existing site will suffice.
Company values can be showcased on the ‘About Us’ section on their website so that potential customers and employees can understand the company’s purpose, history, ethos and vision. Videos, such as site tours, customer case studies and employee interviews can also help customers and employees alike make an informed decision about the company. And don’t forget, potential employees will visit the company social media platforms as well as the company website. Social media is a great way to communicate the human side of a business as well as the perks such as free dental care or gym memberships, as well as birthday celebrations, company get-togethers, training and leadership programmes, even cake and free fruit! Even if you are not currently recruiting, ensure the careers page of your website is welcoming to people who are interested in future opportunities. All of these activities will help to ensure that any prospective candidates looking at your online footprint will find alignment with their requirements. Ensuring you have a robust brand reputation in the wider market is important however if you are looking to recruit the best talent away from the competition.
The modern workforce
The Recruitment Grapevine says that in politically and economically uncertain times, companies need to change their approach to recruitment.6 They suggest that the modern workforce is constantly evolving and that interim professionals or consultants offer companies a more flexible, modern approach that is appealing to both employers and employees. Interim professionals or consultants can offer a fast start in weeks instead of months of the usual recruitment process, they can be cost-effective because you only pay for their time on a project by project basis, it provides the business with an increased flexibility, to increase and decrease manpower as required, they provide a highly-skilled, fresh perspective, enabling the business to take on more project-based work and helps to bridge the employment gaps that may arise.
Social Talent asks of employers ‘are you ready for Generation Z’ – the next generation of employees and consumers born between the mid-90s to 2000.7 Technology is second nature to them and it is integral to how they run their lives so it’s important that employers find a way to speak to them this way. And if they don’t, the repercussions can be huge. In 1973, Xerox didn’t understand, predict or prepare for future consumer wants, and gave away the graphic user interface and the mouse design to Steve Jobs. The thought of different or individual users’ future wants and needs was not on their horizon and we all know how that decision ended up. Don’t become the 1973 Xerox of the 2000s!
The Netflix approach
It is interesting therefore to see how other companies are finding ‘the Netflix approach’ to talent and culture so compelling; probably because they’ve seen how successful Netflix has become, in part by following this business model. In 1998 Netflix disrupted the DVD market by introducing a subscription model and we all know what happened since. But Netflix also had an innovative, if very controversial, approach to its management philosophy including:
Whatever your views on how Netflix manage their employees and the on-going debate, there is no doubting its success, and they do not have the same problem of recruiting and retaining top people like other companies.
¹ BBC News report 22/1/19
² Labour Market Commentary March 2019 National Office of National Statistics
³ Blog CEO, Lead Inclusively Denise Pirrotti Hummel
4 Blog Margaret Zimmer
5 Blog Collingwood
6 Recruitment Grapevine
7 Blog Social Talent