The working world is evolving and HR professionals need to keep up. Improving collaboration, increasing job satisfaction and optimising talent attraction are just some of the challenges in an ever-changing HR landscape.
As an HR department, you’ll undoubtedly be aware that building and maintaining a strong brand strategy is paramount for business success.
1. Don’t get burnt by reviews
In an increasingly digital world, building trust with people is difficult, due to the lack of face-to-face interaction. One resource that many individuals will utilise is online reviews.
People are instinctively cautious of brands, but trust the advice given by people who have had prior experience. Online reviews can and are being used to great advantage by many businesses to sell products and services, but as employers now have to sell themselves to potential talent, what people are actively writing about them is more important than ever.
When purchasing a product or service online, most of us will read several reviews to ensure that what we’re purchasing meets our expectations.
“In our busy world, we constantly look for clues that can help us determine the truth in uncertain situations. Here are some examples:
- I was in a new town and judged the popularity of a restaurant by the number of cars parked outside.
- Two people were shouting directions in an emergency. I made a judgment that a man had more authority because he was wearing a doctor’s lab coat.
- I visited a client and tried to learn a little about her personality by the items she had displayed on her desk and on her office walls.
Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people reference the behavior of others to guide their own behavior. We have a natural desire to behave “correctly” — whether making a purchase, deciding where to dine, or deciding whether a person is credible.”
– Mark Schaefer
Reviews play a large part of our decision making process, especially when researching anything online, including your brand.
In a survey conducted by PowerReviews, ratings and reviews scored second only to price as the most important consideration affecting a purchasing decision. If the same logic is applied to a job search, a poor review could cost a company the chance to employ top talent.
Even back in 2014, BrightLocal’s 2014 Local Customer Review Survey revealed that “88% of respondents read/used reviews to determine the quality of a local business………no matter how good your website is, or how compelling your offering, your customers will seek out other opinions”.
With sites such as GlassDoor offering active and passive candidates the ability to read what past and present employees are saying about a brand, HR really do need to start thinking about the perception of their business by employees.
Unlike many review sites, comments left on GlassDoor are anonymous and, as such, remove the moral constraints that many people feel when leaving feedback if they can be identified.
If a potential (or even engaged) candidate reads a number of less than flattering comments about an employer, then they’ll likely think twice about continuing with their application.
Making efforts to encourage advocacy among your workforce is a far more productive and rewarding strategy than ignoring the need for engagement within your workforce.
2. Employer branding cannot be ignored
If you believe that simply offering an average wage to employees is enough to retain them in the long term, and encourage the best from them, then you’re very much mistaken.
Gone are the days when employee expectations ended with a monthly pay cheque. It’s the 21st century and employers are expected to be empathetic to employees needs and offer benefits accordingly.
Many employers expect their employees to be ‘plugged in’, even in their own time, using smart phones and SaaS technology. If the lines between working and personal lives are deliberately blurred, then brands need to put extra effort into accommodating personal priorities.
Talent attraction is now akin to sales and if you’re not as an attractive prospect as other employers, then your recruitment efforts will suffer – incurring additional recruitment costs and increasing your time to hire.
Promoting your employer brand‘s a great way to attract engagement from people who may or may not progress to being applicants, but that’s not the point. Whether someone does or doesn’t eventually become an employee, their positive impression of your brand will contribute to future recruitment and marketing efforts.
Employee engagement, although overused as a buzzword for a while now, is vital to a brand’s success. In a recent poll conducted by Steelcase in partnership with Gallup, 87% of employed people are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” at work.
Disengaged employees affect productivity, can negatively impact morale and will be more likely to seek out alternative employment. These symptoms not only affect your employer brand, but also increase turnover and absence costs.
Reasons given for the lack of engagement often include not being able to:
- Concentrate easily
- Easily and freely express and share ideas
- Feel relaxed and calm
- Physically move and change postures during the day
- Accommodate mobile workers
- Feel a sense of belonging to their company and its culture
- Work in teams without being interrupted or disrupted
- Choose where to work within the office, based on the task they are doing
- Socialise and have informal, relaxed, conversations with colleagues
Employees don’t want to be planted in front of a desk for the best part of the day, unless they feel they’re making a difference in some way.
Employers have a responsibility to create a company culture where their workforce is proud of what they’ve achieved at the end of the day. If your employees simply ‘work’ for you and don’t believe in your brand messaging and mission, then this needs to be addressed.
Collaboration and teamwork are essential, not only as a means to get stuff done, but also to improve cohesion within your organisation and build relationships. If you have a number of disparate departments that never communicate, then you don’t have a culture of inclusion and collaboration.
3. It’s easier than ever for your employees to change jobs
Job satisfaction across the UK has dropped to its lowest point in two years, according to a survey of 2,000 workers by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
Where there is low job satisfaction, there will inevitably be an increase in workers looking for a new job – and it’s easier than ever to do so.
With apps performing live smart searches for jobs on mobile devices, a new role is never more than a swipe away for any employee who isn’t fulfilled in their current job.
LinkedIn and Reed provide apps that allow potential candidates to apply for a role within a business with one click. ONE CLICK. When it’s that easy for employees to look for an alternative position, can you afford not to make efforts to ensure that they don’t feel the need to install such apps?
Online recruitment portals make it easy for anyone to apply for a position through a company website, often to the point of interview, with a few clicks and simple forms. This not only makes it easy for the applicant, but allows brands to cast a wider talent attraction net, using social media to link to their portal.
Social media also encourages individuals to interact and engage with companies, making it easier to learn about their brand. This type of company/individual relationship makes the recruitment process far less daunting and removes the barriers that may be keeping some employees in a role that they’re not really happy with.
4. Simplicity outperforms bureaucracy
According to InformationAge, “the UK’s workforce is currently the least productive of all the G7 economies, at 20% below the average. Further research has shown that the average person in a large enterprise can spend up to two days a week completing inefficient admin tasks not associated with the job they are paid for”.
Removing or streamlining bloated procedures and processes will increase productivity, reduce frustration and confusion, and potentially save money.
Regular reviews of the policies your brand have in place can help to ensure that your business is as productive as it can be, and that employees are clear and happy with the way things are done.
In an increasingly remote world of work, making efforts to simplify how your employees can achieve their goals will benefit both them and your brand. New strategies, online solutions, tools and apps are made available everyday which could replace older procedures and improve productivity. Even if there wasn’t an alternative a couple of weeks ago, there could be today, so regular checks are essential.
Coles, a $7.6 billion food company attribute keeping things simple and focusing on productivity as the reasons for successful first quarter financial results in the 2016 financial year.
5. HR should drive change, not resist it
HR should be leading the way when it comes to improving the working environment for its employees. Continually researching best practices and the latest tools to optimise business processes should be an everyday occurrence.
HR has, or at least should have, a top-level view of the people, programmes and processes within an organisation, and as such be able to lead change. HR should have the skills to engage and influence employees, but also to facilitate change management.
Resisting change will hinder business success and growth, as well as stifle innovation and impact productivity.