According to LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2016, 59% of companies invested more in their employer brand than in the previous year. Five years earlier, employer branding was just emerging on the scene as a focused effort for recruitment teams. Today, it’s a core component of a comprehensive talent strategy.
That’s because one of the biggest challenges businesses face in 2017 is how to attract and retain the best talent in fiercely competitive environments.
It’s one of the main drivers behind the changing role of Human Resources (HR). No longer faceless names separated from the wider business, responsible for hiring, firing, and the ugly bits in between, it’s the job of HR to create a social, mobile, and consumer-style experience for employees.
Jean Meister, a partner with Future Workplace, writing for Forbes, said: “The next journey for HR leaders will be to apply a consumer and a digital lens to the HR function, creating an employee experience that mirrors their best customer experience.”
Meister refers to a survey of CEOs conducted by Fortune, which asked whether they thought their company was a ‘technology company’. 67% of CEOs said yes. And just as almost every company is now on a journey of digital transformation, technology has created the potential to transform every aspect of business.
Within HR, the latest digital technologies can be used to deliver an employee experience that is people-centric, personalised, compelling, and highly shareable. Employers doing it well have become fashionable to work for.
Even the term HR is being replaced in more fashionable job titles once met with stifled sniggers. The emergence of the Chief Happiness Officer (CHO) and the Director of Fun at new and established organisations reflects an increased ambition to cultivate a contented workforce to recruit and retain the best talent.
Part of the shift towards an emphasis on retention is generational. Research by Liverpool Victoria, one of the UK’s largest financial services businesses, revealed the typical Briton entering the workforce today can expect to have nine jobs, including one major career change, across 48 years of working. That’s a new job every five years.
So how do you create a compelling employee experience?
20 years ago, a good compensation package was all the motivation people expected or thought possible from their employer. But where base pay plus commission and a generous annual leave entitlement was once enough to keep employees happy, that’s no longer the case.
As younger generations enter the workplace, a good work/life balance is more important than a hefty salary. Successful businesses have recognised this and company benefits are changing.
According to Glassdoor’s 2015 Employment Confidence Survey, 60% of people say benefits and perks are a major factor in considering whether to accept a job offer. The survey also revealed 80% of employees would choose additional benefits over a pay raise.
As described by Harvard Business Review: “Google is famous for its over-the-top perks, which include lunches made by a professional chef, bi-weekly chair massages, yoga classes, and haircuts. Twitter employees enjoy three catered meals per day, on-site acupuncture, and improv classes. SAS has a college scholarship program for the children of employees. And plenty of smaller companies have received attention for their unusual benefits, such as vacation expense reimbursement and free books.”
So the modern employer’s mantra has become about cohesion, community, and communication. A shift in itself, the tools to achieve this have also undergone something of a reinvention.
In the past, businesses have used email, messaging, social platforms and intranets, but typically only engage about 20% of their people. The traditional approach can be inconsistent; many internal communications programmes are disparate and delivered cross-functionally, with little collaboration between HR and other key departments.
The most successful HR leaders are leveraging functions outside of their own, in particular, IT, marketing, and communications, to create a seamless experience and embed their values throughout the workplace.
From stakeholder engagement, sales enablement, compliance or supporting IT transformation, the creation of a simple, secure, branded application is proven to radically improve performance. Using analytics, businesses can make better decisions, track audience engagement and learn the optimum way to tell their story and create the most compelling employee experience.
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