Keeping your employer brand alive in a remote working world

Employee experience is now core to your brand, says Celeste Sirin, MD at Employer Branding Africa.

In 2022 you will be offered one of two choices: the perfect opportunity to embrace reframing or resetting your organisation to adjust through our present uncertain labour climate or the chance of being left behind as you experience “The Great Resignation” and the resultant inability to fill your critical roles.

One thing is for sure and that is the ongoing necessity to keep remote workers attached to one’s company values through Covid-19 and the persistent social revolution.

With many employees now partially distributed outside of the workplace, companies have to work that much harder and smarter to nurture their employer brands, foster their company cultures and relook at the value that they are offering to both employees and prospective candidates.

Leaders are quickly realising that the workplace adjustments they were compelled to make – flexibility and remote working – are indifferent to their competitors, and to stand out from the rest they will need to craft something far more unique and compelling to retain and attract their future talent.

EVP innovation and relevance is key
Ongoing EVP innovation will be key to retaining remote workers connected to the organisation’s culture and heartbeat, and continue to be work in progress.

As long as the post-pandemic climate remains uncertain, so will the shifting/evolving appetites of talent. Companies that have sensitised and increased their levels of listening, communication and encouragement to hold two-way conversations will be best positioned to understand and address what talent wants.

Failure to do this will result in employees becoming detached from company values, with companies running the risk of employees becoming disengaged, demotivated, feeling isolated and possibly even seeking alternative employment.

Leaders will be required to re-energise and tailor the employee experience acknowledging the fact that, as Josh Bersin so aptly put it, the “Employee experience has become a crusade, with every HR and IT Department focused on it.

Companies realise that without providing ongoing attention to creating an employee-centric remote workforce, their customers will not be happy.

Employee experience is not just a programme to improve retention or productivity, it’s now core to your brand. If employees feel that their safety and wellbeing is being compromised, they are not being listened to or their needs are not being met, they will tell their friends and network and your employer brand will suffer.

Here are some considerations of how companies are adapting to keeping their remote employees connected to their employer brands amid the ongoing Covid-19 uncertainty
Companies that are running pulse surveys to check in and provide them with a real-time understanding of whether their EVP holds relevance for their employees versus running bi-annual employee engagement surveys, will remain competitive and reduce their attrition.

LinkedIn confirms that more than “60 percent of organisations across the world have an EVP, but the core values are not well known throughout the organisation by the people that work within it. The 2020 and post-Covid-19 culture will change this further.”

Embedding and internalising the EVP remains key and leaders need to be intentional in continually highlighting, positioning and demonstrating how employees are behaving, living out the company culture, activities, celebrating achievements/promotions and sharing interesting projects.

“Out of sight is out of mind” – more so when working remotely, thus channels of communication need to remain open.

Employees consider internal mobility, an opportunity to upskill and develop their learning as a necessity (LinkedIn confirmed that internal-mobility hires increased by 18.8 percent from 2019 to 2020).

Employees are serious about establishing a career path and look towards companies like Salesforce as an example.

Salesforce has a dedicated internal win-win mobility programme geared towards retaining employees through providing them with new roles and opportunities to progress their career.

Salesforce can enjoy sustainable growth and business results, while employees have the opportunity to establish and grow their skills sets and careers further. Internal talent pipelining should not be unfairly overlooked.

Through further repositioning of EVP internally, companies can encourage re-engagement and retain valued internal resources versus incurring unnecessary expenses in hiring, onboarding and training new recruits from scratch.

With most companies now offering remote working, what more can companies offer to prospective candidates?

Companies are building personas with a stronger focus towards streamlined EVP offerings, talent segmentation, personalised communications, tailored experiences and recruitment marketing campaigns.

In line with the above, companies might feel it's worthwhile focusing on the scope, quality and depth of work to differentiate their offering.

Different talent audiences such as sales people might want a completely different set of requirements to IT. Sales people are generally driven by recognition, growth, visibility, incentives and career aspirations.

They want to identify with what career progression is on offer, what they can enjoy as a top performer, the quality of their leader, the depth of their training and skills development, the quality and culture of the team, and how they can improve professionally.

Now more than ever people are seeking the right companies that will assist them in furthering their careers and align with their personal interests, desires and moral beliefs (e.g., Gen Z and millennials seek companies that have a greater focus on diversity and inclusion, social and environmental responsibility).

Have you considered that maybe there is an emerging shift towards companies promoting the scope/nature of work with this becoming a far more dominant, driving force over culture match for our remote workforce?

Offering flexibility across different dimensions covering location and infrastructure (where), hours and scheduling (when), scaling and technology (how), job content and sharing (what) and by the alternate workforce (who) needs to be defined, packaged and positioned correctly when targeting jobseekers, as flexibility has a different meaning for different people.

The combination of IT and humanising the candidate experience remains essential within the virtual recruiting process.

The big differentiator will be the manner in which talent advisors amplify and integrate the emotional connection (small acts of kindness, empathy and being more mindful of social challenges) and values of their employer brand to shift the candidate experience from good to exceptional.

Two things remain certain within our fluid, post pandemic remote society: first, EVPs need ongoing attention if companies are to retain, engage and attract the best people, and second, companies need to follow the golden rule of treating candidates and employees the same way as they would treat their customers.