The idea that having a strong employer brand is something no one ignores anymore. 75% of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before applying and 56% of recruiters say it is a top priority. Those numbers have us pouring over job advertisements, career pages and social networks to show an authentic and accurate brand that appeals to our own definition of the dream employee. An A-Player. It might seem like an impossible feat to actually find such a creature, but we stand behind our well-thought out mission and values while hoping he or she is indeed out there. Or do we?
Imagine this: An organization needs a new graphic designer. Someone who meets a few skill requirements and is proficient with your company’s software of choice. The direct manager and hiring manager are sure to place those qualifications in the job advertisement, but because they know all about employer branding and what candidates want, they include the unique brand traits the team has been developing. One highlighted perk is how dedicated the company is to work-life balance. When the new hire is brought in, however, the workload is high. Soon, the manager is asking her to work through lunch, quickening deadlines and hinting at later clock out times just to ensure all is taken care of.
Read more on the link between employer branding and employee engagement.
More than a Mission
You can guess what the new hire is thinking at this point. Obviously the managers meant well when they told the new hire she would have a balanced work-life schedule, but an employer brand promise is far more than wishful thinking. The descriptions and career site values can be written in a meeting, but the traits of the actual organization are alive, dynamic and entirely dependent on the people within the organization. Values adjust with the people who come and go and change with the times and lifestyles. Sometimes, even the work and projects being produced within the office walls can affect the culture of an organization.
As for the above situation, well, 40% of all employee turnover happens in the first 6 months, so unless the company or new hire changed their wants/needs, chances are she became a part of that statistic. The business is reliant on what you promise and how you go about ensuring that promise is kept. It’s not enough to want work-life balance for your employees. As the old saying goes, you have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. If you’re ready to ensure you’re keeping your employer brand promise, good for you. Read on to see how to start.
40% of all employee turnover happens in the first 6 months. Unless you want high turnover, do this:
Build Better Communication
In order to know how you are perceived versus how you are actually following through, you have to ask the experts. As with any company culture question, your experts are already on your payroll. Firstly, think of your Employer Value Proposition (EVP) and the values you’ve developed based on it. It’s important to see if your people agree. In order to do so, create an anonymous survey for employees in which you ask questions about their feelings on the policies, perks and culture you feel you have created. For example:
- What do you perceive to be our workplace values?
- Do you feel we have a healthy work-life balance?
- Do you feel you have freedom to make choices within your department?
- Do you have any reservations with taking a personal day should you need one?
Poll your employees on how they feel about the current company policies, perks and culture, like this:
Take this feedback to heart. It will not be easy if findings are less than stellar, but the chance to improve will be so valuable. Your employees will appreciate the chance to discuss the environment they spend so much of their life in. Pay careful attention to what managers say versus what employees are laying out during this phase.
ICYMI: Check out the 7 predictions about the future of employer branding.
Hold Leadership Accountable
Once you have a clearer view of what is and isn’t working within your organization, you can begin ensuring that day-to-day work is supporting the overall goals and promise. For instance, are you hoping to have a team of self-starters with a lot of initiative? Then be sure that micromanagement isn’t running rampant.
Put processes in place that clearly delineate how projects should be completed and how to approach leadership with new ideas. If better work-life balance is a goal, discuss time management tools and set strict rules for vacation policies, personal days and work hours. If the company promises something to employees, be sure management is sticking by those rules for their teams.
How do you communicate and implement goals within your organization? Have you tried this:
Collaborate on Follow Through
It may seem like this all falls on the manager and while it really is up to leadership to ensure no one is falling back on company promises, everyone has a responsibility. The hiring team must base decisions on who will suit the established practices and culture and find new employees based on those principles in addition to the desired experience and skills. Employees should be encouraged to discuss any struggle they may be experiencing as well as share the wins when they happen.
The average direct cost for a new employee (not including training) is $57,968 and the average cost to replace an $8/hour employee is about $5,500. Turnover is expensive which means the pressure to hire the right person the first time is on. While you can’t guarantee all hiring decisions will be the best ones, being open, honest and transparent about the your promise to employees is a great way to see candidates who fit your company culture. It’s also a great way to keep those skilled and so far loyal workers on your team.