As the war for talent intensifies, companies are under immense pressure to innovate and differentiate themselves in their bid to attract and retain the right talent and resources. The good news is a strong employer brand leads to 50% more qualified applicants. According to the 2018 Employer Branding Now report, forward looking companies understand the important role employer branding plays in hiring success. They are working on aligning their employer value proposition (EVP) with their company’s mission and vision, core values and HR/talent strategy.
Here are four key trends in employer branding that are likely to take center-stage in 2019:
Leadership by example
Leadership focus has traditionally been customer-oriented with brands striving hard to symbolize the ideals they want to be known for in the market place. This equation is rapidly changing with leaders now paying equal attention to promoting their organization’s reputation as an employer. New recruits and employees are increasingly looking to relate to leaders who embody the values the organization stands for. CXOs, in turn, are responding by setting the standards for tone, passion, ethics, work practices and enthusiasm that they want in their organizations. Lego, Google and Starbucks are just some examples with strong leadership that personifies the work ethics and culture these brands stand for. Going forward, leaders will need to ensure they spend as much time looking inwards into the organization as they do externally and deliver transparently on their employee promises. They must engage, listen and lead collaboration, both internally and externally. Leadership teams that “walk the talk” and champion the employer brand are the ones that are drawing, inspiring and motivating talent to deliver beyond customer expectations.
Focus on atypical employment models
Job roles are becoming more transient than ever before and the typical 9-to-5 job is no longer an aspirational target for the new-age employee. With technological advances in communication, better rural broad-band and increasing popularity of 4G, physical workplaces are losing their glamor. Companies need to allow and plan for atypical work practices, including remote working, flexi-working, hot-desking, project consulting, unlimited leave practices and more. Netflix and LinkedIn offer their employees ‘unlimited vacation’ which works well in an environment based on trust and mutual respect. Dell created the ‘Connected Workplace’ program that enables employees to work remotely.
Emphasis on employee growth and wellbeing
Another crucial aspect shaping employer branding strategy is the emphasis on employee well-being. Many organizations have reworked their reward and development policies to include a multitude of well-being programs. However, there is still a large gap between what is offered by most corporates and what employees expect. Deloitte reports that expanding well-being programs to encompass what employees really want and value is now essential for organizations to boost the firm’s social capital and project an attractive employment brand. Companies will also need to focus on increasing employee engagement and invest in employee growth and career development, making them feel valued.
Social-driven recruitment and AI: Social media continues to be one of the most invested channels for accessing new talent. This will increase in the coming years and employee-focused communication, both internal and external, will gain significant momentum. However, there will be a paradigm shift in the way organizations use social media - from merely representing the brand online to consciously guiding employer branding strategy and social communication to achieve corporate objectives. There will also be greater software integration and the use of AI to increase employee engagement and productivity. For instance, better use and analysis of employee data for enabling more effective interventions and developing tailored plans for employee learning and development.
Employer branding is a relatively new concept and is evolving - like everything else in the millennial workplace. Employees will increasingly control the conversations in the recruitment process, and organizations need to listen, adapt and evolve to address their needs. Companies that put the candidate in the driver’s seat, supported by strong strategy and leadership, will be the ones that win the talent war.