It’s time to put your people at the heart of your talent strategy

It’s time to put your people at the heart of your talent strategy

We’re in an extraordinary position right now; it’s been months since we last saw all our employees in a room together and the world around us is changing day by day. As business leaders, we’re starting to realise that it is the people who have adapted to change, worked tirelessly and even made sacrifices that have helped business continuity despite the craziness around us. Plus, as CEO of Airbnb Brian Chesky put so well “when all of this comes to an end people will yearn for something that feels like it’s been taken away from them — human connection.”

People are the driving force behind any business. If the Coronavirus crisis has taught us anything it’s that companies in all industries need to put as much time, effort and dedication into their people-strategy as their digital transformation or innovation strategy; as without the right talent, a business cannot thrive.

As many businesses are preparing to return to work and embrace the changing face of their market, the competition for attracting the best talent will be even more intense. Enterprises realise the value in technical, digital and transferable skills. Organisations lucky enough to recruit will be pulling out all the stops to attract the best and brightest individuals to their workforce to help them grow and evolve. Businesses are at risk of losing their most talented and capable employees to higher wages, better progression, job security and a more attractive company culture; but in the aftermath of a pandemic can you afford for this to happen to you?

When it comes to creating a people-strategy which is truly future-proof post-COVID-19, you must ensure that your existing employees are at the heart. Great organisations treat their staff as an asset rather than an expense; understanding the value of investing in the future of their people. 

The secret is to add value today while planning for tomorrow, and here are just a few ways you can do that:

Align your vision

Defining and aligning your company vision post-Covid19 will help to increase employee loyalty and attract new talent as your business enters the new normal. HR leaders across the globe agree that employees crave a sense of purpose in their work; now is the perfect time to give them one.

Working as a team and collaborating to recover from crisis begins with having clearly defined goals and values that all members of staff can help to achieve. Employees that feel they have a sense of purpose perform better; they’re more likely to rise to senior levels, stay longer and become advocates for your workplace. Mainly because they believe in what they’re working for. Having a purpose will help you to attract and retain like-minded people, as well as stay relevant in a highly competitive post-crisis talent market. 

Appeal to all

Companies must not put all of their focus on one generation. It’s obvious that Millennials and Gen Z are the future of the workforce and have digital skills that will be useful as your business adapts. Still, your existing staff will have skills and knowledge that is invaluable to you and your company. Therefore, it’s imperative that you don’t lose them in the hunt for new talent. Make sure your benefits packages and offerings appeal to everyone while also promoting a culture of inspiration and collaboration; giving everyone a voice. Employees want to feel like their voice is being heard no matter what age, race or gender and no matter how long they’ve been at the business. 

Diversity has a massive impact on a business as varying viewpoints, ideas and goals will help you to see things from additional perspectives. Plus, a diverse workspace attracts more diverse talent, it’s a never-ending cycle that will help you stand the test of time when it’s back to business as usual.

Plan for the future

Any talent-strategy should involve talent mapping to some degree, but when coming out of a crisis, it’s even more crucial. You must analyse the people in your organisation and what your business hopes to achieve within the next few years to understand how you will get there. The market may be uncertain, but a clear plan and vision will guide you through. 

Talent mapping will allow you to identify skills gaps, work out your managers of tomorrow and spend time training and upskilling employees. All of this will provide opportunities for your existing employees to learn and advance, helping them to see a future with you and improving your employee value proposition.

Talent Mapping will also reduce risk if key members of staff do decide to move on, as junior members won’t feel overwhelmed with work suddenly. Employers need to understand that life after COVID-19 will be strange and will impact mental health, so employees must be prepared for inevitable change and feel comfortable stepping up to the challenge. However, don’t always go for like replacements. With tech advancements, the workplace landscape is always changing, and it’s likely we’ll never return to our familiar ways of working again; staff leaving may provide an opportunity to do things differently and evolve your business. 

Provide opportunities

With the uncertainty that the past few months has given us, employees want to see clear progression opportunities in their work more than ever. From learning a new skill to help in a changing world, gaining a qualification, a potential promotion or even learning more about another area of the business; providing your workforce with the opportunity to grow and learn will encourage them to stay with you long-term after coronavirus. Not only does it show you care about their future and value them as part of your business, but if they’re happy at work and have the promise of progression the temptation from another organisation will be much less. 

Be more flexible

After the coronavirus crisis left most of us all working remotely, we can’t expect to go back to the same rigid office hours. Employees have shown they can adapt to working at home and in many cases have proven it has minimal effects on productivity. They want to feel more in control of their working day and ensure their work can, when needed, fit around their daily life. This doesn’t mean you should let employees dictate when, where and how they will work but providing part-time contracts for parents, the opportunity to work from home if needed or allowing flexible hours to make time for medical appointments will work in your favour. Understanding and flexing around the implications of commitments like family life or caregiving will portray you as a conscientious employer and will mean employees are motivated to stay with you.

Hire leaders you’re proud of

A line manager relationship is the most vital relationship to an employee as it’s the individual they’re supposed to talk to about issues and trust with making their career both successful and enjoyable. In the up and coming months, employees will need more guidance, support and empathy than ever before as we’re still coming to terms with a different way of life and are surrounded by uncertainty. Having inspirational leaders that are easy to talk to and negotiate with will vastly improve your company culture. A line-manager who is perceived as a bully or makes staff feel uncomfortable is almost guaranteed to lose you employees, especially in times of crisis. Make sure all your managers uphold company values, are regularly checking on their team and are the type of person you want representing your business. Run regular training for your management teams to make sure values are upheld and remember a happy workforce will funnel down from the top.

Be kind!

As an employer, a little bit of kindness can go a long way in the eyes of your employees. We’ve seen so many examples of employers treating their staff both well and appallingly throughout the coronavirus crisis, which shows the importance of a kind attitude. Just because we’re back to business as usual, it doesn’t mean this will go away.

Simple gestures like recognition of a job well done, small gifts and bonuses or an extra day off for a birthday are just some examples of employers going the extra mile for their employee’s welfare. 69% of employees say they’d work harder if they were better appreciated; so, some small gestures of gratitude could result in a thriving and productive workforce. It’s a win-win! Remember, your employees are humans and not machines, they have emotions, so a bit of good old-fashioned kindness will always be appreciated, especially in these overwhelming times!

Making a few small changes to your company culture in the wake of COVID-19 could help you to retain employees despite temptation from outside organisations. From kind gestures to exciting opportunities, treating employees right will lay the foundation for your employer brand and encourage retention.

Business will never be the same again, and as we realise the value in our staff and personal relationships, it’s time to put your people at the centre. Remember, today’s employees want clear career-paths, more flexibility and to be treated like human beings; put these things into play and your talent will be far more likely to stay with you and help you grow in a post-COVID world.

How Can We Keep Employees Engaged During the Work-From-Home Lockdown?

Keeping employees engaged and motivated isn’t always easy, even when they’re in the office, but when your team works from home it means you need to think a little more creatively to ensure they’re happy and engaged.

As we all try to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, it’s largely technology that’s helping us to stay connected and involved, on both a personal and a professional level. Technology can play a huge role in generating employee engagement when your workforce is remote and here are just a few examples:

Put in place an effective work-from-home strategy

Effective internal communication is key to keeping employees engaged whilst they’re working from home. Ensure you have a plan in place which the entire team can be made familiar with, as this is the only way to guarantee engagement. Platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams enable ‘in person’ collaboration and involvement, albeit from a computer screen at home, offering flexibility for companies and their staff through instant messaging and video conferences.

As well as using these platforms for work meetings, team discussions and to ask questions, you and your employees can also enjoy social events and entertainment such as virtual Friday drinks and online quizzes. 

A good work-from-home strategy should engender trust and encourage co-operation between your employees, whilst also enabling and recognising great work. It should follow a structure and plan, which can add some routine into your employees’ working week.

Communicate regularly

Good communication is typically one of the biggest challenges for employers of home workers, but it’s a key element in preventing feelings of isolation. Whether communication with individuals and teams takes place over video link, instant messaging, or ‘traditional’ phone calls, keeping in regular contact demonstrates a caring company culture. Schedule regular meetings to stay in contact and keep in touch; it will boost both employee’s mental wellbeing and productivity.

Organise online social events

Zoom quizzes have become something of a phenomenon since lockdown started. It’s not difficult to understand why as they provide a welcome distraction from the world’s problems.

Similar to pub quizzes, you could play competitively in small teams or as individuals, building camaraderie and enjoying a little friendly rivalry between colleagues. It’s a great way to bring the team together and spread some much needed joy.

Virtual drinks

Friday drinks is a much-loved work social UK-wide, and you can simulate this online by gathering everyone together via video call. This type of social event is the perfect time for office “water cooler” conversation, and helps to signal the end of the working week – an important aspect of working from home when it can be difficult to separate work life from home life.

Consider each employee’s home office environment

It’s important to make sure employees are comfortable when they’re working from home, in terms of their home office set-up but also ensuring they take regular tea/coffee and lunch breaks. Without colleagues to chat to at lunchtime, it’s easy for employees to continue to work solidly through the working day, which can lead to developing mental or physical health problems as a result. Ensure your management team are encouraging employees to establish a routine and take care of themselves whilst working remotely.

High quality office furniture and supplies, such as ergonomic keyboards and office chairs, wrist rests, or simply good quality stationery, shows you value your employees and take your duty of care seriously as an employer.  

Encourage personal and professional development

Facilitating career and personal development via e-learning platforms is a great way to motivate and increase employee engagement. It can help your team to feel motivated and provides an excellent change to upskill employees before they return to work; setting you up to compete in a more ferocious market. Peer-to-peer learning via video calls can consolidate learning and allow employees to put newfound knowledge into practice whilst being mentored remotely, teamwork is a brilliant form of motivation.

Recognise and reward

Using cloud-based HR tools and resources to officially recognise and reward employees for good work is a powerful way to boost engagement within the workforce. It can be overlooked in the work-from-home scenario, but its importance is even greater in this context as it’s so easy for employees to feel unappreciated simply due to a lack of contact. Celebrate even the smallest of wins and show your gratitude for hard work. Remember your employees aren’t only working remotely but working through a pandemic which is a worrying time for all, so any positivity will be well received.

Why employee engagement is so important when working from home

Employee engagement is a crucial element in creating a healthy and enjoyable working environment, and can significantly boost productivity for companies. It can also help to improve your retention rates and reduce staff turnover, which will have positive reflections on your employer brand.

Businesses where the culture is inclusive, rewarding, and committed to supporting employees working from home, can benefit greatly, allowing them to develop a loyal and conscientious workforce which improves company culture.

In fact, stable businesses with engaged and happy employees are exactly what we need during these difficult times and may become the foundation on which we build a new and stronger economy.    

Keith Tully is a partner at Real Business Rescue, a business recovery expert specialising in negotiating Time to Pay Arrangements for businesses struggling to pay tax liabilities to HMRC.

Changing The Way You Communicate Your Employer Brand in a Crisis

Let’s be honest; the way we’re talking to each other and the content we choose to consume is quite different now to what it was at the start of this year. Tensions are high, and we’re all feeling a bit on edge which, without us realising, has completely altered the types of messaging we respond to. While previously we were living in a culture of sell, sell, sell this just doesn’t work for brands in times of crisis, as the truth is, we all have more important things to worry about right now.

The same rule applies to attracting talent and how employers should be communicating with potential candidates. When promoting your employer brand, you need to remember that priorities have changed. What your business does now and how you communicate it to your audiences will have lasting impacts on how you’re perceived as an employer.

New challenges are expected to appear in the hiring landscape over the next few months, which means new opportunities to refine your employer brand, and candidate experience will also present themselves. However, successful communication to both internal and external audiences is crucial for your employer brand to succeed in these trying times.

Here are our tips for changing the way you communicate your employer brand to connect with top talent:

Don’t stay silent forever

When this crisis started, many brands decided to stay silent for a while. This gave time to reflect; assess current attitudes and the situation before they decided what value they could offer or how their recruitment strategy would play out. However, sadly, brands can’t stay quiet forever. Eventually, people will notice your silence. In hard times, silence says more than a clear communication and audiences will come to all sorts of assumptions about your business if you don’t take the lead. 

Even if you can’t recruit right now, it’s essential to keep in touch with your audiences. Whether they’re existing candidates in a talent pool, people who are actively looking for roles in your industry or even employees that were hoping to see expansion; everyone is craving information and want to know about the state of employment. If the news isn’t particularly good, being honest and empathetic when you deliver it will have a positive reflection on your employer brand, earning you respect.

Provide support and reassurance

If you review content that brands are currently producing, you’ll find a strong focus on positive messages and practical advice. Make sure your messaging mirrors this. While you may not be recruiting, it doesn’t mean you can’t provide guidance for potential candidates as well as clients. Think about the skills it takes to thrive in your industry and centre your content around them. Show how you’re supporting employees as they work remotely or face additional risks coming into your place of work. Offer advice to similar businesses, providing ways to protect and engage staff during hard times. Even share light-hearted content like revealing secret recipes online will help you to reach and engage with audiences. Any information you can offer at this time will go a long way and will ensure you’re at the forefront of candidates’ minds when the time comes to recruit.

Try new ways of reaching people

Always wanted to try a Facebook Live? Thought about lending your expertise to a podcast series or webinar? There’s never been a better time to experiment! We’re all in lockdown, so you almost have a captive audience to test out your new material. As we consume more content online, there are even more ways to get creative, and if your content is valuable, there’s no reason not to give it a go. All brands, industry influencers and even celebrities are thinking of creative ways to produce content right now from the safety of their homes, so you’ll find plenty of inspiration. Plus, the more variations of your content out there, the more chances you have to reach and resonate with audiences.

Keep positive but be sensitive

When there is so much bad news around, it pays to spread some positivity. Ensure that no matter how scary your situation, you try and focus on the good side when it comes to communicating with audiences. Include messaging around what you are doing as a company to help the current situation, or to support the safety of your staff. Candidates and employees want to see you as a force for positivity and hope. During times of uncertainty, employees and job seekers look to leaders for all-important reassurance; so, promoting a negative outlook may create a poor perception of your employer brand.

Remember that everyone is facing difficulties right now, so while you remain positive, be sensitive too. Don’t brag too much about your achievements while other businesses may be struggling; sensitivity and consideration will get you everywhere in the current climate.

Give more context

If you’re lucky enough to be hiring, explain why. If you’ve seen an increase in demand because of COVID-19, making this clear will show that you’re helping the global effort in some way, enhancing your employer brand and encouraging individuals to consider working for you. If you advertise for vacancies that you’re desperate to fill with urgent, pleading language and no context, candidates may be concerned; what’s the rush, are people leaving? Use the fact that you can help during the Coronavirus crisis to your advantage and give people a reason to want to join you.

However, if a role has become available for another reason, you should remain clear and transparent. Even in a crisis, employees move on. Candidates are wary of employers right now, and if you act as though you have something to hide, it’s likely to harm your employer brand.

Get social

Research by IZEA Insights states that 66% of social media users are expecting their social media consumption to increase during coronavirus lockdown. If you’re not utilising these platforms to push your content, then you’re missing out. 

 As we’re all stuck indoors, we’re turning to our phones, tablets and laptops as our primary source of communication and entertainment. Now is the time to use social media as your audience is there waiting for you.

The various social media platforms are all great places to add some personality to your employer brand, showcase the human side and even add a bit of light-hearted fun. Plus, it’s easy for content to be shared so if you do something charitable for example, word will spread quickly. The more people that see the good deeds you’re doing or how your helping staff, the greater perceptions of your employer brand.

Engage Employees

Whether a company will make it through this period, depends partly on its existing employees. Anything that supports the engagement of employees is essential, so get them involved and showcase your team spirit to the world. We all know that it’s people that make a workplace what it is, and now in a time where we’re apart from our loved ones, that personal connection is more vital than ever. Celebrate your staff and the moments that you can come together as a team (virtually of course). It will help future candidates put faces to names, and it will improve the employee experience making your existing staff feel involved in the business.

Everything from internal surveys to improve your workplace to a weekly quiz will help engage employees and leave a positive reflection of you as an employer. Plus, happy employees will leave great reviews, recommend you to friends and family and paint a great picture of you; these referrals could end up reducing recruitment costs in the long run!

If you need assistance refining your recruitment messaging to resonate with audiences during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond, our employer brand experts are ready to help. We can create recruitment marketing campaigns and help you to build a ready-to-hire talent pool even if recruitment isn’t your main focus right now.

Why a Lockdown is the Ideal Time to Perfect your Employer Brand

In a competitive market, your employer brand is what sets you apart from the competition and makes candidates choose to work for you. Your reputation as a respectable employer and a great place to work is vital and, even amid crisis, will help you to attract the best talent. Unlike established brands who have no trouble attracting top talent, startups and even mid-sized businesses must work a bit harder.

Having a strong employer brand reduces your employee turnover, almost halves the cost per hire, attracts more high-quality applicants and rapidly improves your time to hire.

A survey by LinkedIn claims 72 % of recruiting leaders worldwide agree that an employer brand has a significant impact on hiring. While now might not feel like the right time to be thinking about building your employer brand, and recruitment may not be your focus, there couldn’t be a better time.

In the same survey, 39 % of respondents claimed an employer brand would be a trend to focus on in the future, and amid the lockdown, it’s imposed remote working culture and the overall global slow-down created by Covid-19, the time to focus on your employer brand is now!

Here’s why:

1. You have time

It’s quite simple, you can’t leave the house unless it’s for essentials. You aren’t commuting for an hour a day, business is inevitably slower, and priorities are changing. You and your team are likely to have more time on your hands. This is time that you could use worrying about things out of your control, or you could be proactive and work on your employer brand.

When in a normal working week do you get the chance to sit down and assess who you are and what your brand proposition is? The greatest gift this pandemic can give us is time to reflect and think creatively, rather than pushing things back and rushing decisions. In a lockdown you can take the time to work out what makes your business different and what your mission is, which will help you attract candidates when the time is right. Consider how you wish to be perceived as both a business and an employer and create a plan of how to achieve this. It can be a complete overhaul of your employer brand or simply refining and changing certain elements to position you as an employer of choice.

Perhaps it’s time to offer a survey; find out what your employees love or hate about the business, what makes them stay and what makes the leave. Discover what benefits, career opportunities and extras they truly want from you while everyone in the business has time available. You’ll never have a better opportunity to address these issues and think creatively about how to implement change.

Use your time wisely and your brand will flourish.

2. Ethics matter

Recent studies suggest that millennials and younger generations care about companies that have good ethics and a moral purpose. If anything, the Covid-19 crisis has brought this to light.

Employers who give back to their community for example, donate to food banks or offer perks to NHS workers, gain positive publicity which in turn impacts their employer brand.

While it’s easy to get caught up in business matters in your normal day-to-day life, we’re currently living in a time that is far from normal. With more organisations than ever needing a helping hand, showing your business puts purpose over profit couldn’t be easier or more appreciated. This will reflect positively on your organisation and help people, what could be a better combination?

3. People are losing faith in their employers

As many employers are showing they have a heart, unfortunately, many others are showing that they don’t. People are losing faith in their employers every day because of how they’ve handled themselves during this crisis. Covering everything from laying off staff, not offering sick pay and even refusing to provide basic protection; some employers are getting a bad reputation. Naturally, this ill-treatment should make employees reconsider their role and be more open to offers from other companies. 93% of employees say they’re more likely to stay with an empathetic employer and 50% of candidates say they wouldn’t work for a company with a bad reputation – even for a pay increase.

Another company’s loss could very much be your gain so make sure you’re promoting how you take care of your staff and why you’re so great to work with in every way possible. Ask your existing employees to spread the message using review sites like Glassdoor and Facebook, use social media to your advantage and even consider a clever recruitment marketing campaign featuring authentic testimonials and videos.

4. People are on social media

Another reason you should be pushing your employer brand on social media is that -to put it simply – people are on social media right now. In fact Twitter has reported a 23% increase in daily users to 164 million since the outbreak of covid19. We’re all currently in a lockdown which means whether we like it or not we’re spending more time than ever on our phones and on social media apps. What else is there to do in our homes? Plus with many of us working from home, we’re even on social media more during our workday (sorry employers!).

Get creative with your social media recruitment marketing and you can attract both passive and active candidates. They’re almost a captive audience right now and it would be silly not to utilise it. Post organically to showcase what’s great about your business, how you’re dealing with the crisis and what it’s like to work for you generally. Then use advertising to promote your employer brand even further to a targeted audience who are likely to possess the skills you require.

5. More time to refine the candidate experience

Once again, we’re back to the matter of time. However, now you have time to focus on your entire brand you also have time to make sure your candidate experience is smooth and simple. Make it as easy as possible for people to apply when your roles become available and your employer brand will benefit. We hate to break it to you, but no one wants to spend 4 hours on one job application even in a lockdown, times have changed! A study from Appcast states, recruiters can improve online applications by up to 365% by reducing the length of the application process to five minutes or less.

Use this time to reassess and map your candidate experience; put yourself in a job seekers shoes and see if your process is up to the standard you’d expect. 78% of job seekers say the overall candidate experience is an indicator of how a company values its people, so don’t overlook its importance.

From job descriptions to careers pages, even including how easy you are to contact on social media; candidates expect a lot and having a poor experience will damage your brand. Use both your time and your employees’ time to refine this and perfect it for when the hiring process fires back up again.

6. You’ll be in a better position when the storm passes

If you spend time building up your reputation, establishing an employer brand and refining your candidate experience during this crisis you’ll be in a much stronger position when it lifts. Getting the hard work done now means that when you’re ready to hire, you’ll be an employer of choice and you’ll have a competitive edge.

It may not seem like it now, but the storm will pass and when it does, you need to ensure you can attract the talent that will push your business to the next level. Your employer brand will do this. LinkedIn claims that 75% of job seekers consider an employer brand before even applying for a job, so make sure yours is an honest representation of your company, but also an exciting proposition for them.

Talent Works has produced an eBook on creating the perfect employer brand to help guide you through the process. Our experts are also on hand to help whether you’d like to outsource your entire recruitment efforts or simply need help with a section of it; we’re here to help you weather the storm of Covid-19 and come out ready to recruit.

Profits Before People – is Amazon Putting Business Before the Health and Well-being of Staff During COVID-19?

The news that Amazon workers in 6 different warehouses across the US have tested positive for Coronavirus in the past few days has raised many questions both across the globe and at Talent Works.

Amazon is no stranger to controversy. Exposés over the last few years have raised questions about multinational tech company’s employer brand and treatment of employees; with suffering from burn out accepted as the norm and a huge lack of basic respect and care for employees. However, their treatment of staff during a global pandemic has caused further concern for the most profitable retailer in the world. Is it right that a company puts business continuity and profit over the health and wellbeing of its staff?

What’s the problem?

Amazon has been criticised for failing to protect its warehouse workers during the Covid-19 crisis. Amazon workers in the US have noted crowded workspaces (where keeping the recommended 2 metres apart is not manageable), no testing, a lack of cleaning supplies and speed of work which means they are unable to stop and sanitise their stations correctly. Delivery drivers are touching packages that have been handled by multiple members of staff, and don’t always have access to hand sanitiser or wipes. “We’re all going to get sick eventually,” said a worker at a facility in Washington. “The vibe with co-workers is that we are all probably going to get it. It’s just a matter of time.”

Of course, this doesn’t mean just the Amazon workers could get sick, but their families and the people they live with too. It’s reported that everyone who has Coronavirus could end up responsible for infecting up to 59,000 others if they don’t self-isolate. Amazon has claimed that employees who test positive for the virus will get 2 weeks paid leave to do this, however, testing isn’t available, and many workers can’t afford to risk time off without pay if it turns out they don’t have the illness. 

For those that can afford to take the risk, it’s creating a staffing shortage due to increased demand. Therefore, Amazon has announced it is looking to hire 100,000 new workers. However, without the correct safety measures and equipment in place for warehouse workers or delivery drivers, is this safe? Or are they potentially increasing the spread of a dangerous illness through the world’s most in-demand service? If workers don’t have a safe and clean environment to work in, is it wise to be bringing more people in? It seems Amazon isn’t fulfilling the needs of safety equipment and in fact is expecting vast numbers of staff to work in cramped conditions in order to fulfil a significant influx of orders.

Is Amazon a Vital Service?

We can agree that in the wake of a pandemic, Amazon offers its customers a vital service. There’s no surprise that there is a huge surge in orders to be processed. Leaving our homes puts both us and the people around us in danger; so ordering essentials such as toilet roll, disinfectant, medication and even basic food products online can help to minimise the spread of Covid-19. For those that are particularly vulnerable, Amazon could be considered a life-saving service. The warehouse workers and delivery drivers could be as essential as healthcare professionals in our current climate. Which is why we understand that they can’t close completely and must make provisions to provide for everyone which means an increase in staff is inevitable.

However, does this justify the company putting its people (and everyone they come into contact with) at risk of a potentially deadly virus? Should it be doing more to keep its people and any potential recruits safe?

Think back to the good old days before the internet (if you can). These essentials wouldn’t have been available at the touch of a button (or asking Alexa), we’d have had to go to the shop. Those that are vulnerable would have to rely on kind-hearted neighbours and family members to help. We wouldn’t have even dreamed that we could tell a device to order toilet roll and it would be at our door in less than 24 hours.

Then there is the question of whether the general public is using Amazon purely for essentials. With a website that sells almost everything we can imagine, it’s impossible to guarantee that customers are only purchasing what they need to survive. Because why wouldn’t you throw a scented candle in the mix if you already have toilet roll in your virtual basket?

What measures are being taken?

Amazon announced that it was temporarily halting deliveries of nonessential items to its warehouses to meet demands for medical supplies and essentials; however, workers have said they’re still shipping phone cases, decorations and low priority goods. It’s one thing to stop them coming in, but they haven’t been ceased from going out which is causing more of an issue.

When the world is facing its biggest crisis since world war II, is it really necessary to put thousands of employees at risk for a new phone case? Or is the company thinking more of its profits than its employees’ safety?

What should come first?

We hope that all employers can agree that in the current climate, health and wellbeing come before all else. Your people are, of course, your most valuable asset. After all, a business is no good if its staff are unable to work. Any organisation which doesn’t take care of its staff will suffer from a poor reputation and high attrition rates for years to come. Now is a time for empathy and understanding. During a global crisis, we should all be looking out for each other. We’re all worried and feeling fearful of the things we cannot control; so, it’s time to put both the physical and mental wellbeing of employees first, no matter what.

Of course, taking care of your employers and adopting a company culture which is empathetic will only work in your favour in the long run, as your employer brand will soar. 

Many organisations globally are facing boycotts and social media slander because they’re failing to protect staff and are refusing to offer significant sick pay, but because of its convenience and sheer size, Amazon seems untouchable. However, it will be interesting to see if Amazon sees similar repercussions to other businesses who have ill-treated staff during Covid-19, or if the retail giant truly is invincible.

How to Prepare an Effective Remote Working Strategy

In the wake of a pandemic, most businesses are preparing to switch to a complete remote working strategy where possible. In the digital age, it’s possible for many employees to continue to work from anywhere without disrupting the business. To follow safety guidelines, it makes sense that businesses are looking to keep their employees at home while minimising the affect it has on both productivity and profitability.

Globally, 3.2% of the workforce, which is equal to 4.3 million employees currently work from home at least half of the time. However, only 30% of business leaders feel their organisation is prepared for the rise in remote working Covoid-19 is expected to bring.

So how exactly can you prepare a business for remote working during a global crisis? We’ve put together a list of key things that should help you and your workers to transition smoothly.

Create a checklist

All good planning starts with a list, we all know that! To effectively equip your workforce to work remotely, a great place to start is creating a checklist. You could create one for team leaders when compiling your remote working strategy to ensure nothing is overlooked but also for employees to ensure they have everything they need before leaving the office. Make note of important things your team need including logins and copies of any documents that are essential to their everyday work and you leave less margin for error when your workforce is separated. It also means nothing vital is left behind if panic sets in, which is likely in such uncertain times.

Give everyone access to tech

Remember that while some of your employees may be able to log in and work from anywhere, others may not. Source laptops for those who don’t have company laptops already or ensure they have other work they can be getting on with so that remote working isn’t an issue. If employees need specialist equipment, try and find a way to take it to them in their homes. This could be as simple as getting them to sign a document to recognise you’ve loaned equipment to them, or you may need to look into external services to help move equipment.

Make sure all files can be accessed remotely by storing them in a cloud-based system like Google Drive or SharePoint; the last thing you want is someone unable to finish a job because they can’t open a file.

Next, you should assess access to all specialist software, like the Adobe creative cloud, may be available on any computer with the correct login, but if not, this is something that needs to be resolved quickly so production doesn’t stall.

Assess pre-planned meetings

We’ve all sat in meetings and thought, “this could have been a phone call” and now is your chance to change that!

When planning to work remotely, review the meetings already in your calendar. While you won’t want to miss anything important, this gives you and your team chance to decide what can be a phone call, what needs to be a video conference and what can be resolved over email. You’ll save time and become a lot more proactive; plus, it will help you to assess all future meetings when you’re back in the office. During a pandemic, it’s best to keep all face to face meetings to a minimum, which is why Skype and other video conferencing calls will form an essential part of your remote working strategy.

Equip your management

Many employees in the digital age will be able to work remotely with minimal issues; with emails and the internet it’s never been easier. However, it’s one thing to work remotely and another to lead. Ensure leaders are given correct training in how they should communicate, how often they should check on employees and how they should manage workload when they aren’t in the office. Usual face-to-face meetings will not occur, but you need to ensure that managers are available to all staff as and when they’re needed.

It’s also vital to ensure that managers aren’t micromanaging staff. Trying to manage a team’s every move when they’re all in different locations will be a disaster as it’s almost impossible when they’re in the same office. Instead, managers should trust that the team they’ve built will get the job done by the deadline and focus on the bigger picture. Rather than taking a task-focused approach, now is the time to give staff more responsibility and managers can oversee on a wider level.

Have a communication plan

Whether teams have a phone call at the start of the day, you’re always available on an instant messaging platform or you’re going to skype once a week; it’s vital that communication remains strong. However, with remote working it’s also vital to make sure employees know when to stop working, and when to stop checking their emails to maintain a healthy work life balance.

Build a robust plan for communicating while remote working and life will be easier for everyone involved.  With tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts, constant communication is so simple it will feel like you’ve never even left the office.

But remember, without daily office chitchat, tone of voice and intent can often be lost via instant messaging and email. Employees may think they’re in trouble if you’re a little blunt or could be less perceptive to the urgency of a task if you simply message them about it, clarity is key. Of course, email and text-based communications are great but can cause a lot of issues if they’re your only form of communication. With feelings of loneliness and isolation being a very common problem for those that work remotely, don’t be scared to pick up the phone! Sometimes picking up the phone to check in can brighten people’s day and it will keep relationships strong when you return to work.

Make a system for paper trails

If your meetings and face to face interactions are suddenly changed to phone calls or video chats, ensure you follow every important call up with an email. While you may think this seems a bit excessive, you need to have a record of any decisions made to confirm what was decided. After all, if you’re speaking over the phone there will be no one to back you up if that customer or client changes their mind like if you were in a meeting with 6 other people. Make sure all employees are aware that any decisions and actions over the phone are backed up via email. You’ll thank yourselves for implementing this process when everyone is back in the office and its business as usual as it will keep your team in the loop and will avoid confusion for all parties.

Test a remote working day

If time is on your side, testing a remote working day could help save your business. Ask all employees to work from home so that you can assess how well your communication methods work, understand what isn’t working well and address the issues before you must turn to remote working for long periods. However, in this midst of a pandemic there isn’t always going to be time to test your strategy. Instead leaders must be aware that their approach to remote working will have to adapt to be sustainable. You’ll realise quickly what works and what doesn’t, so use this as a period of learning; you’ll soon be able to refine a strategy that works for your business and employees.

Hopefully these tips will make it much easier for you to implement a remote working strategy that works throughout the business. While the safety of employees is the most vital thing, it’s important that the day to day running of the business remains stable to avoid future implications. Remember that your strategy must be adaptable in uncertain times but with a huge amount of software and digital platforms available, compiling a remote working strategy that works for your business should not be too complex.

7 Reasons Your Business Needs a Facebook Careers Page

When it comes to recruiting the best talent, Facebook is a useful tool that employers often overlook. However, with 73% of Millennials finding their latest role on a social network, there’s never been a better time to perfect your social media recruitment strategy.

Recently, many larger businesses have taken to making specialist social media pages and accounts for sourcing, recruitment marketing and encouraging candidate engagement.

Having a unique place where candidates can connect with your business differentiates candidates from customers and makes the recruitment process more interactive. Facebook is the perfect place to bring this to life. Don’t believe us? Here are our top reasons why you should consider making a specialist Facebook Careers Page for your business.

Segments your audience

Your customers and your potential employees aren’t always the same people. Most of the time, someone who wants to buy your products or invest in your services won’t care about job vacancies or what you’re like as an employer; and if they did, they’d be happy to follow your careers page too.

By having a separate Facebook page for people exclusively interested in working for you, you can divide content to ensure it is seen by the relevant people who are most likely to engage and apply. This is where you can show off how incredible you are to work for to people that truly care.

Plus, the Facebook algorithm favours content that gets the most engagement. Dividing your audience into consumers and candidates is a logical way to get more likes and comments, as you know there is interest in what you’re posting. This will ensure both your recruitment and sales messages reach a wider audience so it’s a win-win!

Strengthens your employer brand

Having a place to post content about your company culture to an audience that is solely interested in your workplace, mission and values will help to boost your employer brand. You’ll be able to showcase what goes on behind the scenes of your business, post employee profiles and give an insight into your perks or benefits, all whilst speaking to a highly engaged audience that is already interested in working for you.

A designated Facebook Careers page is the ideal place to push your employer brand and all that you stand for. It’s easy for candidates to find and means they don’t have to scroll through a tonne of sales messages to find what your office and culture are like. Also, having a specific space for employees and recruitment creates the impression that you’re dedicated to your staff and keeping them in the loop which is a huge plus for candidates.

Adds the personal touch

Social media always feels personal, no matter how large the audience is that you’re speaking to. It’s a direct way of talking to people. Having a dedicated Facebook page for your recruitment efforts means that you can: engage with candidates individually, respond to messages directly, in real-time and make them feel valued. Your messages from candidates won’t be mixed with messages from customers, making them much easier to manage and giving potential employees the attention they deserve.

All of this contributes to a positive candidate experience which will boost your employer brand. Even if a candidate is unsuccessful, they’re more likely to apply again or recommend you to a friend if you’ve been responsive and helpful.

Diverse recruitment pool

Facebook is the third most-visited website in the world with 2.41 billion active users, so you’ll struggle to find a wider and more diverse recruitment pool anywhere else. As Facebook is a global platform, advertising vacancies there can provide possibilities for over-seas candidates or people who wouldn’t normally consider you as an employer to apply. This gives great potential for diversity recruiting, advertising graduate hires or even filling the most niche of roles as the range of candidates available to you is huge.

More opportunity for passive candidates

70% of the workforce are passive candidates who aren’t actively looking for new opportunities, Facebook provides an ideal opportunity to communicate with these people. 82% of companies attract passive candidates by recruiting through social media because it’s a way to capture people’s attention in their downtime when they aren’t focused on work.

A well thought out social media recruitment marketing campaign that sparks someone’s interest as they’re scrolling, may just make them seriously consider a future at your company. Then if you can direct them to your recruitment page, they’ll find even more content to showcase how brilliant you are. 84% of people currently employed say they would consider leaving their job if another company with a better reputation came calling, so having content that enforces this reputation in the right place at the right time is vital for talent acquisition.

Simple Referrals

Social media platforms, especially Facebook, make it easy to tell friends and family about current vacancies.

Current employees or other candidates following your careers page may see a vacancy that isn’t right for them but is ideal for someone they know. Whether it’s sending a link through Facebook Messenger, sharing the vacancy to their followers or simply tagging them in a post, referring a friend for a job has never been so simple.

Hiring referred candidates tends to be faster, cheaper and give lower attrition rates because most of the time, they genuinely want to work for you. Remember, if someone engages with your post it will show to their friends too (thanks Facebook Algorithm) so your potential reach becomes higher with every tag or share.

Recruit faster

One of the biggest benefits of using a Facebook Careers page to advertise your vacancies is that, like all social media, it’s instant. Within seconds of posting a job to the page, your advert will be seen by interested, engaged and hopefully relevant people which should mean you’ll start seeing applications a lot sooner.

Some vacancies need to be filled faster than others and some require very specific skillsets, so having a pool of interested candidates at your fingertips is sure to speed things up and find you the right talent quickly.

So, is it time you made a Facebook careers page for your business? If you’re looking for a place to collate talent, promote your employer brand and make the recruitment process simple, then we highly recommend it. For more information or help with your recruitment marketing on social media, contact marketing@talent-works.com and our team will be in touch!

How can you make your startup stand out in an established crowd?

The following is an excerpt from our new eBook “Cooking Up Your Employer Brand: The Startup Edition” – know-how we’ve gained over the years as we’ve worked with some fantastic businesses, large and small, in establishing their employer brand. These are just some of the ways to help a startup stand out.

Trying to make waves online with your job ads as a startup can be difficult when competing against established brands. 

Candidates in the tech industry have reported receiving up to 30 job offers per month through websites such as LinkedIn and GitHub. As a result, candidates can often feel overwhelmed with direct messages and phone calls from recruiters. 

How can you make your startup stand out against the biggest names?

As a startup, you have many advantages over large companies. However, to utilise these to enhance your recruitment efforts, you need to market them effectively. You need to make it clear in both your employer branding and your EVP how these advantages make you a top choice employer.

Creative environment with freedom to innovate

Startups are, inherently, creative environments. They’re risky ventures. They provide a playground for talent to create and explore. Startup culture should promote trial and error practices which give employees the freedom to make mistakes and succeed. 

Large companies, while providing safety and security, cannot offer this level of thrill for their employees. Startups are, as a result, an exciting option for talented innovators who want to be able to use their imagination and put their full skill set to the test.

Grow careers with the company

Where talented people may find job security and longevity with large companies, startups can provide opportunities for rapid career growth and the opportunity to learn by doing. As startups scale quickly, those early hires often fly with the business, providing an opportunity for career growth that would take significantly longer in larger corporations.

As well as this, in a trial and error environment, there is more opportunity to gain knowledge and skills on the go. While large organisations may have the finances to invest in training their staff, startups provide unique opportunities to learn by doing. 

As many people prefer to learn this way, startups can provide opportunities for employees to gain knowledge while furthering their careers.

Provide a stake in the company

Want to provide the ultimate perk that any large organisation will struggle to compete with? Offer your employees shares in your business. 

Where large organisations may win out in talent attraction is their ability to offer the highest salaries. However, many potential employees would turn down a higher salary to own a stake in the next big tech innovation to take the world by storm. Offering employees’ a share in the business, while riskier than accepting a higher salary for the foreseeable, could provide them with the chance of future financial security. 

Employees who own a stake in a company are likely to be more invested in that company’s success, resulting in greater commitment and productivity, as the value of their shares may increase in line with their hard work.  

Your point of difference

Ensure your brand messaging is clear about what sets you apart, and remember, candidates who would rather be a small cog in a large wheel probably aren’t right for your business anyway. However, with the right messaging, you will reach those who are. 

Being visible in the market place is all about emphasising your point of difference. A good place to start is to connect with specialist recruiters who already have an extensive talent pool at their fingertips, and get the word out in your network. 

When reaching out to candidates whose inbox is nearly always full, having one or two mutual contacts can be what makes the difference.

So, refine your message, then start making those connections. 

Download our new eBook here, and discover more about how we’ve helped other startups stand out.

Not measuring your employer brand? Here’s why you should be

Employer brand put simply, is how one company sets itself apart from others in the labour market. It’s communicating the values that your company is made up of so that you’re recruiting, retaining and engaging the best and most relevant candidates.

Finding your people

The era of social media has arguably lead to more transparency than ever – especially when it comes to what a business is like behind closed doors. Platforms like Glassdoor are used by almost half of all job seekers who admit that a negative company profile would deter them from applying for a role at a company.

If you can’t clearly convey the message of what your organisation is about, then chances are you may have a certain level of disengagement with existing employees, as well as not getting enough relevant candidates applying for your vacancies. In a candidate-driven market, it becomes increasingly difficult to attract and retain employees without a clear driving purpose behind you.

Critical metrics

Understanding how to measure your employer brand is key to building your company’s reputation as an employer of choice, both to external candidates and existing employees. The breadth and complexity of how this is done will depend on an organisation’s size, as well as the industry but here are just a couple of key metrics to pay attention to (if you aren’t already).

Retention rates

Calculating your retention rate is an effective method to determine who is leaving, when and under what circumstances. A simple way to work out your rate is by dividing the number of employees who stayed during a period by the total number of employees you had at the start of the period, times 100 to get the percentage.

But this calculation on its own does not tell the whole story. Are there any common reasons leavers cite during exit interviews? Are there any patterns in the people leaving? This can include people from the same business division, office or even people from similar backgrounds. Keeping track of your retention rate will help you uncover turnover patterns before it has a detrimental impact on your business.

Applications

How many applications do you see for roles? Are they coming from a particular place? By being methodical in the way you track the source of your applications, you could make better use of your recruitment advertising budget. You might not be advertising your vacancies in the most effective way – but you won’t know this until you begin to delve into your data.

Interview process & time to hire

When it comes to interviews, all hiring managers should fully understand your business’ process. How many people are you interviewing per role? How many stages in the interview process are there? Your process could be detrimental to your employer brand if it’s too long, or needlessly complicated.

Cost per hire

Cost-per-hire refers to all the associated costs with bringing a new employee on board, which is inclusive of external costs like agency fees, advertising and background checks, as well as internal costs like salaries for in-house recruiters. There are advantages and disadvantages to using CPH as a metric.

Employee referrals

If you don’t already have an employee referral scheme in place, then consider doing so. It’s an excellent measurement of how your company is perceived by existing employees. How many of your employees are advocates for your business? If there isn’t much uptake on the programme, there might be a reason.

Social media engagement metrics

Having a presence on social media is not just a box to tick; it’s an affordable, measurable way to convey your employer brand to many people. Showing off your people and what makes them great is not only morale-boosting, it’s also authentic – personal touches are far more compelling than slick campaigns.

Track mentions of your brand across a variety of social media platforms, and see what conversations are being had around it. There is a lot more value to engaged followers than a broad reach. Be quick in handling any queries or concerns and you could win points with potential candidates.

Careers page

A company’s website is often undervalued as a candidate touchpoint, but having a dedicated page for careers in your navigation bar will increase your chances of converting candidates.

Use Google Analytics to track user activity on your careers page to gain valuable (and free) insight into how candidates interact with your page. Do visitors have a clear option to send through or upload their CV? How long are visitors staying on your page? Where else on the site are they navigating to? If you’re seeing a lot of drop off at application stage it’s likely you need to shorten the process.

If you can measure it, you can mend it

The scope for how you measure your company’s employer brand is as wide as you’re willing to go, but a simple approach is a great place to start. Evaluating your current position and determining how you’d ideally like your business to be perceived, both internally and externally, is going to influence which metrics are most valuable for you to track.

However, not taking a data-driven approach to how you’re perceived could cost you great people – then you’ll be sorry you hadn’t started sooner.