Part I: The Basics
The world has come a long way since the First Industrial Revolution and the queues of hopefuls, wishing to swap subsistence farming for a prosperous city life and willing to do back-breaking work in an awful environment, for the opportunity. The lure of a monthly salary and a few standard benefits like healthcare, simply aren’t sufficient to attract and retain the best talent anymore – hence the rise of the term “the war for talent”.
As the world changes, we are all seeking flexibility and balance in work and life. Thanks to social media, it’s now easier than ever to get a detailed account of exactly what it’s like to work for a certain employer. Candidates are becoming more discerning and doing a lot more research about potential employers. The tables have turned and it’s no longer “why should we hire you?”. It’s now “why should I work for you?”.
Attracting and retaining the best people, therefore, is a marketing exercise – like generating new business by attracting new clients and managing key accounts.
In the new world of work, we refer to this unique marketing process as your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and Employee Experience (EX).
There’s a lot of work that goes into crafting an employer brand and an EVP and the best employers are constantly adapting to improve their EX from the point of hire all through to retire. Here are the basics that you need to know to get started on your journey to winning the war for talent:
The Competition is Global
Previously, companies used to compete with each other within city limits or perhaps within country borders if adventurous employees were looking to relocate. This is no longer the case. The rise of technology enablement, flexible working and a distributed workforce means that the competition has gone global – especially for tech and creative talent. A software developer in Romania can work for a US company without ever leaving their living room. As employers, it’s important to question the obsession with on-site, co-located teams and to start thinking about implementing flexible staffing strategies that offer access to a global talent market without all the headaches associated with global mobility and immigration.
The Priorities have Changed
Every generation is different, shaped by their unique childhood experiences and developments in politics, economics and history. Love them or loathe them, Millennials (born between 1981-1996) now account for roughly 35-40% of the global workforce. The Baby Boomer generation, born in the post WWII “baby boom” between 1946 and 1964, are ageing out of the workforce, leaving a significant number of Generation X (born between 1965-1980) in the majority of leadership positions at work.
A recent LinkedIn Workplace Culture report found that 86% of Millennials would consider taking a pay cut in order to work for a company whose mission and values aligned with their own. By comparison, only 9% of Baby Boomers reported that they would consider this.
The Tables have Turned
The key to crafting an EVP and creating an exceptional EX, is listening.
Instead of making decisions based on what is believed to be best for the company or designing processes or deploying technology that has some sort of compliance as its only goal, smart employers are asking for input and recommendations from past and present employees.
The first step on our journey to winning the war for talent, is really a major mindset shift and understanding these three core principles above.
The real work on crafting your EVP, starts in part II of this series.