Seeking talent today? Start with the ‘why’

7 min read | Geoff Fawcett | Article | Recruiting | Employer branding

Seeking talent

People are the heart of your organisation, yet attracting and retaining the best talent is a constant challenge. Fierce competition, ongoing skills shortages, and changing candidate expectations are requiring employers to rethink their talent management strategy.

So how do you engage the people you need, when you need them? A competitive reward package remains persuasive, but this mainstay offering must be balanced with a wider meaning and purpose. From adopting a learning culture to supporting societal causes, differentiating your employee value proposition (EVP) is critical when sourcing crucial hires and persuading your best and brightest to stay.

  • Understanding your organisation’s unique offering is vital when developing strategies for employee retention.
  • Each organisation’s EVP should be bespoke, yet certain levers can be used to keep employees invested.
  • Your employee brand is a strong talent attraction tool, but must be backed by an authentic employee experience.

How to define your organisation’s EVP

Offering competitive remuneration is only one piece of the hiring puzzle; now, more than ever, employees are looking for a sense of purpose, with objectives and opportunities that go beyond profits alone. To elevate your EVP and talent acquisition strategy, it’s more important than ever to articulate your organisation’s unique message: the ‘why’.

Why should a person work for your company? And crucially, why should they stay? Answering this requires you to consider what differentiates your company’s values and workplace culture from that of others. This should take a human-centric approach, considering concepts such as autonomy, shared purpose, and personal growth.

Key opportunities

While each organisation’s EVP is a unique model, there are certain areas that can be tapped into when defining your EVP, and making employees feel invested:

  • Upcoming talent groups are paying particular attention to organisations that actively support sustainability efforts and contribute to communities. Over half (54%) of Gen Zs and millennials say they research a brand’s environmental impact and policies before accepting a job offer, according to Deloitte Global’s 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey. Moreover, the latest Bupa Wellbeing Index Report revealed that over two-fifths (42%) of staff would be willing to earn less if their role were more climate-positive.
  • Candidates are seeking employers that offer meaningful upskilling opportunities, being acutely aware of the urgent need for new skills in an era of AI and automation. Cultivating a learning culture is not only an important way of future-proofing your workforce, but a clear statement that you care about their professional journey – something that won’t go unnoticed. Companies worldwide have an approximately 7% higher retention rate at the three-year mark with employees who learn skills on the job, according to LinkedIn’s Talent Trends Report.
  • Hybrid working patterns are now the norm, but adopting evolved ways of working could differentiate your EVP and strengthen your talent attraction strategy. According to our What Workers Want 2023 report, over two-thirds of employees (68%) would be tempted to move to an organisation that offered a nine-day fortnight, and over half (52%) would be tempted by a four-day working week. If you do adopt a flexible working option, make sure it matches the needs of your workforce, and is visible to prospective candidates.

Aligning your employer brand

Closely linked to your EVP is your employer brand – the way that the outside world perceives your organisation. While you can influence opinion and shape a certain narrative, your company image isn’t something that you can directly control.

"You could have the flashiest branding in your industry, but a poor employee experience will quickly surface and dispel the illusion."

However, there are methods of bringing your brand to life. A thoughtful social media strategy can offer a window – one that’s carefully curated – into your organisation’s values and purpose. Likewise, a branded microsite can be a powerful way to champion your company culture and draw in the candidates you need. It’s also possible, and highly recommended, to use these digital tools to segment your employer brand, personalising the candidate experience and finding the exact talent you need.

Be careful, though, that your brand doesn’t become just another marketing project; ensure that you can back your claims with a strong EVP. You could have the flashiest branding in your industry, but a poor employee experience will quickly surface and dispel the illusion. To add legitimacy, make your people the ambassadors of your employer brand: encourage them to shout about the sponsored tree-planting day they went on, or perhaps invite individuals to post articles about being their authentic selves. Ultimately, it’s your employees who will author the success of your EVP and its public perception.

Start with the ‘why’…but don’t forget the ‘who’

Your employer EVP and branding are not static concepts – or a one-time declaration that remains latent on your website homepage.

It’s crucial that you continually refine your EVP, making sure it reflects your evolving employee expectations and workforce composition. For example, do you understand what working patterns your people prefer? Or are you acknowledging the contingent workers that increasingly support modern workforces? Be sure to gather feedback, measure your employee metrics, and redefine your EVP as needed.

Depending on your industry or organisation, there may be only so much you can do when establishing a meaning that goes beyond the material. For many, work is simply an enabler, and your organisation’s purpose may not resonate with all your employees – no matter how proactive your EVP strategies are, However, by actively listening to your people and evolving your promise, you’ll create a compelling reason that your organisation is the place they – and potential candidates – should invest their skills, time and energy.

Our Direct Sourcing service increases awareness of your EVP and brand, and grants access to the talent you need, securing a competitive advantage in today’s tight hiring market.

Request a call back today to find out how we can help you.


About this author

Geoff Fawcett, Director, Hays UK&I

With over 20 years’ experience within the industry, Geoff’s previous roles providing integrated recruitment solutions to the financial markets has led him to partner with a range of corporate clients. His position is pivotal to ensure Hays deploys the right recruitment solutions for businesses within UK & Ireland; RPO, MSP, SOW. He manages the internal sales strategy in addition to leading the Hays Consultancy Service (SOW solutions).

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