Many organisations are experiencing the challenge of attracting talent in a depleted talent pool. It can be tempting to throw our hands up and claim it’s hopeless. But as Plato said a couple of years ago, ‘necessity is the mother of invention.’ The tight labour market has created the opportunity to create a competitive advantage.
To leverage competitive advantage, we must consider several questions. Do we understand what employees are looking for? Does our workplace embody the desired factors? And how do we promote those factors in the market?
So, what are employees looking for? Our research and experience in working with a range of businesses and other organisations reveals several themes. Today’s employees are looking for a workplace that enables them to balance work and life commitments, provides a career pathway, and embodies a culture that aligns with their values. Oh, and the job has to pay well. It’s not all about the warm and fuzzy. The current cost of living pressures has seen remuneration as a significant motivator for changing employers. But money aside, there are things you can do to become an employer of choice.
Today’s workforce is looking for flexibility. At PVW Partners, 65 percent of employees are on some form of flexible work arrangement. This flexibility includes remote working, compressed hours, part-time hours, and the ability to ‘purchase’ extra paid leave. Employers may be concerned that having people working from home could negatively affect productivity. However, most evidence suggests that productivity often increases when performance expectations are clearly understood.
Lack of career development opportunities is another top reason why people leave employers. New employees start assessing their future in the organisation during the onboarding phase. PVW Partners recently took on seven new team members and dedicated a week to onboarding and setting them up for success. Well-structured onboarding programs clearly show the trajectories that employees can take through the organisation. Presenting career trajectories needs to represent more than a political stunt. The modern employee has been to the puppet show, and they have seen the strings. Employees must see how progression works and the realistic time frames involved. If you are serious about creating employee career pathways, you will have a learning management framework. New employees need to see how they will acquire the knowledge, skills and experience that will enable them to progress in the organisation. Creating career pathways and aligning a learning management framework is easier said than done, and in the case of PVW Partners has been a four-year journey.
Mediocre management and poor cultures ranked as factors one and three when explaining why employees left a job (pay was number five). Consultant Bill Marklein summed up culture nicely:
‘Culture is how employees’ hearts and stomachs feel about Monday morning on Sunday night.’
Employees won’t stick around long in a workplace where they are trying to survive each week. Managers play a substantial role in leading and creating the culture through the policies and systems they implement, the behaviours they role model and their willingness to act on the poor behaviour of others. When PVW Partners came into existence six years ago, the Partners recognised that creating the right culture would be critical to building a successful practice. They diligently identified the values underpinning the culture – values enabling employees to feel a sense of belonging and achieve their potential. As Partner Greg Peel identifies, “an organisation’s culture can be fragile and needs to be consistently monitored, attended to, and nurtured.”
So how do you let people know that you are a great place to work?
Many organisations now have a section of their website dedicated to potential candidates, explaining their careers and what the organisation is like to work for. Additionally, including references to the organisation’s culture can also be beneficial. A challenge with this approach is that every organisation has access to words, and many of us have become cynical about marketing hype. It is easy to say that Millennials are just job-hoppers. However, research has found that many Millennials claim that organisations over-promise and under-deliver on the employee experience described at interviews and onboarding. So, if you are promoting it, be sure you can deliver it.
Arguably, word-of-mouth is the best kind of marketing. When current employees refer candidates to your business, you deliver on your Employee Value Proposition. PVW Partners has formalised this process through an employee Recruitment Referral Program (RRP). A RRP payment is payable to employees who refer a successfully placed candidate to a role within the firm.
As Stephen Covey stated, ‘put first things first’. Being an employer of choice requires that what you offer aligns with what employees want. Therefore, we suggest you start by defining your Employee Value Proposition and then identify the gaps between the current and desired experience. As PVW Partners has found, it’s not an overnight process but is worth the effort and creates a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Main image: L-R: Chelsea Rowse, Ashley Gealy, Ben Flanders, Samantha Crossley and Samantha Maccarone.
Read our recent online article from PVW Partners – ATO Secrutiny of Family Trust Arrangements.