19 October 2016

What is great talent looking for in an employer?


Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell worked in Ciphr's marketing team from 2012-2020.


Recruitment and retention Talent management


Attracting and retaining great talent isn’t easy, it takes time and effort to build an employer brand that people want to engage with and work for. The internet makes it very easy for potential job applicants to research and make a decision as to whether or not they want to apply for a position within the business. Building and maintaining a strong employer brand not only helps with your recruiting efforts but also boosts your business in pretty much every area.


Designer at work

If your employees care about the role that they play within your business and the products and services that your brand provides then they’ll perform to a higher standard.
Assuming that a salary is enough to keep employees happy is a mistake that many business leaders make and, as a result, see high turnover costs and low productivity.

Authenticity is key if you expect your employees to buy into what you do.

One of the most famous examples of the purpose driven ethic is described by Simon Sinek in his TED talk ‘How great leaders inspire action‘. In his talk (and book) he explains that the most successful brands start with the question “Why?”

  1. Why – This is the core belief of the business. It’s why the business exists.
  2. How – This is how the business fulfils that core belief.
  3. What – This is what the company does to fulfil that core belief.

Your best talent will be aligned with your brands ‘why?’ and they’ll seek fulfilment in helping to achieve its goals.

According to the report ‘ Workplace Purpose Index‘ “People are increasingly looking for jobs that give them personal fulfilment, and companies are seeing that purpose-oriented employees are more productive and successful.”

Furthermore, the report found that in the past three years (from 2016) “58% of companies with a clearly articulated and understood purpose experienced growth of +10%

Employees who are truly engaged with your brand, are enthusiastic about what they do and happy in their role will naturally have an infectious optimism and productive work ethic. They’ll be the individuals that will happily advocate your brand on social media and during offline conversations too.

A social side

With 2.3 billion social media users worldwide it’s difficult to understand why any brand wouldn’t see the benefits of an active social recruiting strategy. With the ability to search for, and share information with, highly targeted audience’s social networks offer the ability to market your employer brand for free (or sponsored) to a massive number of like-minded individuals.

No one wants to work for a faceless sterile brand with no apparent personality. Social media enables your business to showcase its personality and more informal side while still effectively marketing what you do.

Regular, useful and original industry related content not only builds your social profiles but also your brand influence and trust. When looking for an employer, talent will seek out companies that are front runners in their sector and social media is where they’ll visit to do their research.

Social media also allows a business to engage with people directly. Whether they’re conversing with active applicants, passive talent or just social followers of the company, being part of the conversation and pro-actively demonstrating that your brand has a voice is an effective employer branding strategy.

Some interesting social media stats include:

Source: Hootsuite blog


Glowing Hanging Light BulbWould you want to work for a brand that’s constantly playing catch up or would you prefer to work for an employer that strives to be the first to bring out new offerings and is constantly striving to be the people to beat?
The vast majority of people would choose the second option and this is why innovation is such an important employer brand element.

Brands who promote an innovative environment see increased employee motivation, creativity, collaboration and stronger teams. Brands who promote creativity and new different ways of thinking is an attractive employer brand proposition and one that top talent will be looking for.

Innovation isn’t just a factor that affects the services or products that a business offers, it’s often the case that they’ll implement tools and processes internally that benefit employee’s happiness and productivity.


Flexibility in the roles your brand’s able to offer will allow you to widen your target recruitment audience to remote staff or talent that may not necessarily be available should you only offer 9-5 office based roles.
The freedom to work from anywhere and not be constrained by the traditional 9-5 is an attractive proposition to anyone looking for a new role.

Interior Of Coffee Shop With Customers Using Digital DevicesEmployees given the opportunity to work from home or outside of the traditional hours are happier and more productive.
According to the FlexJobs fourth annual Super Study, flexible work options would make 82% of the survey’s respondents more loyal and 87% believe they would be healthier.

Skipping the commute and freeing themselves from office distractions also helps to improve productivity and happiness among employees.

One brand in the US decided they would change the way their employees worked by implementing a results-only environment. Employees can work at any time, from anywhere they choose and in any way, as long as they get their work done and achieve their set goals.
By giving employees the trust and freedom they want and need, they’ve actually been more productive and loyal to the business.


In a study conducted by HBR and Tony Schwartz it was found that one trait business leaders need to demonstrate is respect.

Womans hand holding craft gift box on wooden tableFurthermore “those employees that get respect from their leaders reported 56% better health and well-being, 1.72 times more trust and safety, 89% greater enjoyment and satisfaction with their jobs, 92% greater focus and prioritisation, and 1.26 times more meaning and significance. Those that feel respected by their leaders were also 1.1 times more likely to stay with their organisations than those that didn’t.

Respect also had a clear impact on engagement. The more leaders give, the higher the level of employee engagement: People who said leaders treated them with respect were 55% more engaged.”

Thanking employees for a job well done, empathy at an employee’s situation and making the workforce feel valued are all beneficial for both you as an employer and your employees.


For an employee to be a true asset to the business they need to be treated well and feel happy and content.

The working day can be a torturous affair causing stress, anxiety and unhappiness. On the flip side it can be a great place to work where employees are purpose driven, inspired and engaged with each other and the brand.

employee wellnessLeaders who empathise and really care about their people create productive, healthy and happy teams.
Those that take no interest in the wellbeing of their subordinates create disengaged and unproductive workers, why would anyone want to work for someone like that?

Whether it’s ensuring that you offer employees incentives to maintain a healthy lifestyle, realise when an individual is stressed or ensuring that your people are happy day to day, you as an employer have a responsibility to care about your worker’s wellness.

The Employee wellness survey 2016, found that a growing number of employers are now taking employee wellness seriously. 31% of employers plan to implement a wellness strategy in 2016 and 35% are planning to implement one in the next three years.

Wellness initiatives have been reported to increase employee engagement by 39%, improve company culture by 23% and increase talent retention by 13%.

According to Promorati’s 2015/2016 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey “ 55% of employees agreed that employers should take an active role in encouraging their employees to live a healthy lifestyle“