Five steps to creating a memorable and compelling talent experience.
By Jennifer Klimas
Today’s talent market is highly competitive, with organizations across all industries fiercely working to attract and retain top talent with hard-to-find skills. In fact, according to recent research by The Conference Board, CEOs, CHROs, and CFOs around the globe consider attracting, hiring, and retaining talent their foremost concern for 2018.
Due to this ongoing talent scarcity, it’s more important than ever that organizations create a memorable talent experience—one that gets employees excited about their company and provides a rewarding workplace experience. This involves two key elements: improving the candidate experience and enhancing the workplace experience for employees and contingent workers alike.
According to Randstad Sourceright’s 2018 Talent Trends report, which surveyed more than 800 C-suite and human capital leaders around the globe, 92 percent of employers say that a positive candidate experience is essential to attracting and engaging talent. Seventy-five percent of employers plan to improve their candidate experience in the next year, and 46 percent are increasing their budgets to do so. In fact, many large enterprises such as Sutherland, PwC, and Johnson & Johnson report that they are investing in HR technology advancements to help improve the application process and keep candidates more engaged.
In addition, Randstad Sourceright’s research shows that enhancing the workplace experience is also a top priority for employers today, with 31 percent of employers maintaining their budgets and 51 percent increasing their investment in employee experience. Some forward-thinking companies are even creating roles that are solely focused on the workplace experience. For example, as Airbnb’s global head of employee experience, one of Mark Levy’s most important responsibilities is to encourage a sense of belonging among the company’s workers. This creates a better environment for employees to establish and maintain the all-important relationships with hosts that the company relies on.
So, how can organizations create a memorable talent experience that helps to build employer brand, attract the right candidates, and improve retention? Here are five strategies to get started.
1. Ask employees for feedback on what they find important. Employees are often happier and more engaged when they feel they’re being heard in the workplace. For example, a growing number of workers are looking for alternative work arrangements, such as part- or full-time telecommuting or flexible work schedules. Many would like to take advantage of new workplace technologies to streamline their day-to-day tasks, such as collaboration platforms or automation. Others would like their workplaces to have more amenities, like healthy food options, on-site yoga lessons, or even personal valet services. By regularly surveying talent or holding employee focus groups, companies can gather the necessary information to help provide a better talent experience.
2. Keep the workforce informed. When candidates and employees feel as if they’re not being kept in the loop, their engagement suffers. Today’s candidates expect a personal response after applying for a job, as well as feedback if and why their application was rejected. At the same time, employees aren’t always informed about their organization’s latest business developments, organizational changes, or strategies for the future. Instead of losing engagement—and talent—due to a lack of communication, HR professionals should take the time to let candidates and employees know where they stand.
3. Reinforce workers’ sense of purpose. Employees increasingly value having a sense of purpose in their work. For today’s workers, it’s important that their employer’s mission and values align with their own. According to a LinkedIn report, purpose-oriented professionals are more likely to stay with their company for more than three years than non-purpose-oriented professionals. In addition, 73 percent of purpose-oriented professionals say they are satisfied with their jobs, compared to 64 percent of non-purpose-oriented professionals.
To ensure that employees remain engaged, organizations should regularly reinforce a sense of purpose by recognizing the imporance of their employees’ work and the impact they make on their team, co-workers, and company. It is important to acknowledge the role each employee plays in the success of their company, team, or business unit.
4. Maintain a friendly work environment. Hostile workplaces are detrimental to both employee well-being and productivity. Yet, 20 percent of adults report that they have been the target of sexual harassment in the workplace—and 75 percent of those that spoke up about it say they experienced retaliation.
To facilitate a welcoming environment that ensures employees feel comfortable at work, organizations must establish robust anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies. Moreover, they need to ensure that these policies are communicated effectively and enforced at every level of the company. Organizations also need to consider other environmental factors and workplace policies that might make employees uncomfortable—and adjust and educate accordingly.
5. Gain alignment throughout the organization. For an outstanding talent experience, hiring managers, talent acquisition teams, and HR leaders need to be aligned with a range of other stakeholders, including IT, facilities management, and the C-suite. Every business unit contributes to creating a positive, friendly, productive work environment and culture, so this must be a company-wide effort.
Providing a positive candidate and employee experience is no longer a “nice-to-have.” The quality of the talent experience will determine whether someone shares a positive comment or detrimental negative comment on their social media channels. It can also be the difference between gaining or losing a customer or brand advocate. Creating that memorable talent experience is critical to ensuring that companies can attract and retain the talent needed to succeed.
Putting the strategy, tools, and resources toward delivering a positive experience for current and future employees can go a long way to improving how organizations are perceived both internally and externally. Companies can enhance candidate and employee engagement, improve productivity, increase retention, and support employer brand by ensuring that everything—from the application process to employee engagement strategies—is focused on delivering a positive experience.
Jennifer Klimas is the director of employer brand at Randstad Sourceright’s Talent Innovation Center. Learn more about this trend and others impacting the HR industry in the 2018 Talent Trends report.