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What employees want; creating an employment brand

What employees want; creating an employment brand

Vodafone, Government/public sector, Telcom NZ and Westpac are the most frequently nominated brands people would like to work for, according to an employment branding survey of over 260 New Zealand jobseekers by specialist recruiter Hays.

The reputation of the company, professional development and training provided, then career opportunities were the top reasons supplied for choosing these employers, and were nominated ahead of salary or benefits. This demonstrates the value of creating a strong employment brand.

“As candidate shortages continue, forward-looking employers are focusing on what needs to be done to attract talent,” said Jason Walker, General Manager of Hays New Zealand. “Like any consumer brand, an employment brand communicates your identity as a company to others. It isn’t just a statement you adopt because you think it sounds good; it’s the essence of what your company stands for. In association, it communicates to potential employees what it’s like to work for your company.

“When an engineer considers future employers, a certain firm instantaneously comes to mind. When an accountant seeks a move, certain companies are approached before others. This is the power of employment branding and is a major differentiator in the recruitment marketplace.

“But it’s clearly not just about the ‘logo’. Our survey demonstrates that what most of us perceive as important, i.e. the ‘look and feel’ is not what we should be primarily focused on. Rather, the message needs to be more complete – the culture, values and environment are of much greater interest to potential employees. All advertising, whether direct or ambient, is contributing to the perception of your organisation being built by potential employees.

“A compelling Employee Value Proposition is also an integral element of employment branding and the recruitment strategy. It sets out who the company is, what is expected from employees and what employees receive from working for the company. In short, it reveals what your company offers that employees value. This includes defining not just the salary or job responsibilities and opportunities, but the company’s culture and ambitions.

“As skills shortages continue to test candidate sourcing and attraction strategies, and competition for the best possible staff remains high, it is no surprise the issue of employment branding continues to gain attention,” said Jason.

The survey also found:

A company’s reputation as an employer is important in a candidate’s decision to work for them in almost 9 out of 10 cases. 84 per cent would not work for a company with a bad employer reputation who offered a higher salary than a company with a good reputation. In determining a company’s reputation as an employer, 70 per cent of employees view treatment and support offered as ‘extremely important’. Also rated as ‘extremely important’ were the relationship between management and staff (62 per cent), training and development offered to employees (60 per cent) and quality of products or services (33 per cent). According to the survey, people judge a company’s potential as an employer primarily on their ‘fit’ with the company’s vision, culture and values, followed by the company’s products or service and experience received as a customer of the company. 66 per cent would not apply for a job with a company who’s vision, values and culture they did not agree with. Cultural ‘fit’ with the company and its values was also the most important factor in helping candidates associate with the company they work for, closely followed by contributing to decision making and company direction. A company’s vision, culture and values is the most important factor in determining an employee’s ongoing perception of the company they work for. To maintain a company’s culture and brand with existing employees, communication, professional development & training, employee involvement, management style and a consistent image/vision require addressing. 39 per cent of employees would resign from a company that did not live up to what was promised in the recruitment process or marketing. 18 per cent would resign if the company did not adhere to stated company culture or branding. Hays offer an element of caution: base your branding on truth. “This is one example where it really does need to ‘do what it says on the packet’,” said Jason. “A danger lies in presenting a cool and hip brand to a young audience if that is not what your company, in reality, is all about. The employment experience – both during and after the hiring process - has to measure up to the employment brand, otherwise you over-promise and under-deliver, leading to higher turnover.“

Of 260 responses, the top-ten New Zealand most frequently named ideal employers were: Vodafone Government/public sector Telcom NZ Westpac Air NZ Fonterra Bank NZ ANZ National Bank ASB

In a separate survey, Hays asked over 500 employers for their view on employment branding. 70 per cent viewed employment branding as important; 34 per cent of those said it was critical to their talent plans while 36 per cent said it was something they’d like to get to soon. 30 per cent of employers surveyed said employment branding was not on their agenda.

A report with full survey results and suggestions on creating an employment brand can be found at http://www.hays-hps.co.nz/news/ausworkplace.aspx

- Ends -

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