EMPLOYERS MUST do more than simply claim to be an employer of choice (EOC) if they are to attract and retain quality staff in today’s skills short market, according to recent research.
In a study of 2,186 candidates and 436 HR professionals, 52 per cent of candidates said they are rarely or never attracted to a company by their claims of being an employer of choice. However, 93 per cent of employers believed being an EOC is key to attracting candidates.
As a result, many Australian companies need to reassess how they attract, retain and develop their employees and where they should be putting their dollars to achieve the best outcomes, according to David Reynolds, executive general manager of Chandler Macleod Consulting, which conducted the research.
“Unfortunately, our research shows that one in four candidates have been let down in the past by their employers’ empty promises,” said Reynolds.
“Traditional strategies no longer work. Australian company executives, management and HR directors need to make a fundamental change to align the entire organisation’s activities and processes to ensure they deliver on their promises,” he added.
Of those that are not yet perceived as an EOC, 26 per cent said they plan to become an EOC in the next year, while 57 per cent plan to do so within the next two years.
The three most important EOC attributes in terms of perceived attractiveness that were identified as the same for both candidates and employers were reputation for looking after and valuing employees, career development and progression, and provision of challenging and engaging work.
However, significant disconnects between candidates’ and employers’ views on other key employer of choice attributes were shown to exist.
Candidates valued things such as a fun, positive and vibrant work environment, attractive salary and/or financial incentives, performance rewards and recognition. Meanwhile, recognisable company brand, challenging and engaging work, and definitive and strong company values were listed as important to employers.
“Clearly, there is a major disconnect where jobseekers rate their personal experience in the workplace above any company brand or values,”Reynolds said.
“Employers, therefore, need to realise that flexibility is a real imperative when looking at employee benefits and what constitutes an acceptable and meaningful Employee Value Proposition (EVP).”
Reynolds suggested a range of options need to be made available by employers to cater for the diverse and differing needs of individuals, highlighting the importance of regularly researching the market to ensure the current EVP and related benefits match the market’s needs.
Reynolds sees organisations that are becoming more like talent managers and adopting a more scientific and accountable approach as the ones tackling the issue most effectively.
Innovative solutions being offered include more flexible working hours for employees, options for employees to ‘buy’ additional annual leave, contributions toward the development of new nearby childcare centres, contributions toward graduate programs, and superannuation/incentives to delay retirement.
Other innovative approaches include keeping retired employees on retainer contract arrangements, where they are brought in for training and development or mentoring.
Effective engagement of employees is paramount, according to Reynolds, and provides compelling evidence that employers have an attractive EVP and that they are delivering on it.