Are you as good as your job ads?

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HRs are tasked at attracting the best brains, talent and skill to ensure their organisation can compete against the finest companies in the world. However, are HRs in danger of overselling a role to entice top talent?

It’s a common problem, a company’s board demand top talent to fulfil its positions and naturally assign their HR team to recruit the crème de la crème. HRs scurry back to their departments and give their ads the ‘marketing bling’ to attract employees to their organisation.

But does overselling, or painting too pretty a picture really work? Employees may already have in mind what it may be like to work for an organisation, for example: Virgin, entrepreneurial and forward-thinking etc, or Facebook, high proportion of millennial workers and flexible working etc, but all recruitment processes, from the job ad to signing the contract, should give applicants a real insight into the role and that of the organisation, otherwise you could be heading for disaster.

I often think competition is fiercest between HRs during university ‘milk-rounds’ as organisations fight for the cream of the crop. All are pushing their brand to the fore, highlighting their training schemes, salary packages and development opportunities.

However, it’s these very young and impressionable minds, that are sometimes the hardest to fit to the right organisation. Graduates have limited business and work experience with many still ‘not knowing what they want to do’, which means many are more concerned about the salary to pay back their student debts, than considering which organisation is going to offer the best environment and benefits to enable them to thrive.

For HRs the perfect match is someone who’s going to be fully engaged with their work, go the extra mile, fit in with their company’s ethos and want to stay with the organisation long term.

But once the initial attraction of a pay cheque has worn off, HRs have to look at themselves and their organisation to understand why employees lose their passion for their role, or ultimately leave the organisation. You have to ask yourself a set of questions:

  • Did the job live up to its promises?
  • Do you offer a nurturing environment?
  • Was the new recruit really the right fit for your organisation?

If you answer negatively to any of these questions, then you may have a problem. The best place to start to resolve any issues is with your leavers and joiners surveys. Make sure your surveys really get to the heart of these issues, and if they don’t, amend them to suit your current needs.

Consult with staff and middle managers to their thoughts on the situation to help guide you to a new way forward. I always think it’s very healthy for the board and middle managers to take a step back once in a while and consider why people would want to join their organisation, and why they may want to leave.

Once you’ve got a good grasp of the situation it would be advisable to create or reflect on your Employee Value Proposition.

What is an Employee Value Proposition?

In basic terms an employee value proposition (EVP) is what employees gain in return from working at your organisation.

In basic terms an employee value proposition (EVP) is what employees gain in return from working at your organisation.

This will include salary, benefits, career development and company culture. Don’t just look at what salary you’re offering and assume because you pay the most everyone will work their hardest and want to join your organisation, there’s much more to the employee experience than pay.

Consider what you already offer employees and reach out and listen to employees about what matters to them. Ask, why do they like working for your organisation? Reflect on your main drivers for employee engagement? What are the main trends for employees leaving the company?

Also, take a look at what your competitors are offering; you don’t have to match it or beat it, but you may get some ideas how you can move your own EVP forward to suit your own company’s ethos.

Take a look at your recruitment

Do managers take on new recruits because they have the skills, but do they ensure they’re a good fit with the company’s ethos?

If you’re an engineer down, a new pair of hands may be desperately needed, but if that person doesn’t share the same work ethic and passions for the role, will this increase productivity on the factory floor over time, or will other engineers become less engaged in their role?

Once you’ve taken on board all of the research and reflected on where you’re at as an organisation, you’ll need to decide which direction your EVP is heading.

Here you’ll need to consult with your key stakeholders, such as senior management and marketing directors. They should all help shape your EVP and offer strategic input.

Once you’ve collated all of the research it’s time to create the EVP; this will need to be closely aligned to your company brand values and ethos. Here it’s almost a copy and paste job from the marketing team’s brand offer, but consider the difference between what the customer’s experience with your brand is and that of your employees.

For example: a customer may only pop into your store once a week and buy their favourite magazine. The employee experience may be very different if staff are standing behind the till or stacking shelves 40 hours a week. But, you’ll still need to utilise your brand’s strengths to create an inspirational, aligned, differentiated and easy to remember EVP.

Implementing your EVP

Now you have your EVP it’s time to implement the strategy across the whole of your organisation to ensure the entire employee experience lives up to expectation.

Don’t forget an organisation would never be successful if it was only full of one personality type or just crammed with high achievers.

You’ll need to reflect on all recruitment policies, advertisements and interview procedures, right through to career development and exit strategies. It’s not going to change overnight, but you’ll need to set yourself targets and deadlines for delivery.

You’ll also need to reflect and consult employees along the way that the messaging has been delivered effectively and that your EVP is on track.

Over time you’ll need to monitor staff retention levels and closely monitor your leavers and joiners surveys. It would also be wise to tweak your employee engagement and staff surveys to measure the effects of the EVP on all aspects of the business to ensure your employees are engaged, productive and enjoying working at your organisation.

Don’t forget an organisation would never be successful if it was only full of one personality type or just crammed with high achievers, just check out one episode of ‘The Apprentice’ to see how ‘top talent’ will only fight with one another to be seen as ‘top dog’.

An effective EVP will look at the needs of the organisation and will focus on the employee experience most required by the kinds of people the company needs. 

If you're looking for great talent, check out Indeed.com and post your job today. 

About Gary Cattermole

Gary Cattermole

I am a dedicated employee research expert with over 15 years experience in helping organisations gain deeper insight and understanding of what makes their employees tick.

Currently I am a Director at The Survey Initiative - a boutique employee research organisation.  I have the pleasure of working with organisations as diverse as the Telegraph Media Group, Schaeffler, Epson, Royal Society of Chemistry, PhonepayPlus, Places for People and Ashtma UK.

Over the past 3 to 4 years a large degree of our work has focused on employee engagement and assisting organisations in getting a grounding on what is driving engagemement in their organisation - this is through a range of research techniques from surveys to workshops.  In addition, we have been facilitating actions and implementing techniques to help Senior and Middle managers better understand what engagement is and what they can do practically, on a day to day level, to create an environment where employee engagement can thrive.

I'm delighted to be part of HR Zone and contribute to discussions, articles and blogs.

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