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

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.

The benefits of organisational meritocracy

What is a meritocracy?

A meritocracy refers to a workplace without hierarchy – essentially, everyone has the right to speak and the right to be heard. On this basis, employees who work hard and achieve results should progress based on their performance.

A relatively new concept, a meritocratic workplace does away with the idea that those who have served an organisation the longest or simply have the most years of experience, should work in higher-ranking roles. In a meritocratic organisation, employees are rewarded based on their achievements and nothing else, disregarding age, gender and any other discriminatory factors.

Over recent years, the concept of meritocracy has seen a considerable rise in modern workplace culture, in organisations that wish to leave behind the stuffy corporate culture of the past and embrace the future.

However, “it’s important to understand that a meritocracy is not a democracy. There is no “decision by consensus”; not everyone has a vote.” So, while everyone is heard, there is no responsibility to act on everyone’s opinions – that, of course, would result in a melting pot of far too many ideas.

Instead, a meritocratic culture is intended to make sure that every employee is valued. This is why it often works so well – the structure of an organisation does not become so flat as to overrule those voices who have the weight of experience.

To help you understand why so many companies are adopting a meritocratic culture, we’ve put together some of the top benefits of rewarding your hard workers.

Get ready for increased retention rates

Recognising high performance is a sure-fire way to ensure your employees stay with your organisation. For employees, there is nothing more demotivating than achieving excellent results for your company, only to realise that they are being overlooked due to their age or length of service.

After all, if an employee has only been with you for a short space of time, but they’ve achieved over, and above what you’ve asked of them, nothing is likely to prove your commitment to them more than rewarding them early.

Happy employees are motivated employees

According to 6Q, happy employees are more present, engaged and loyal. A meritocratic culture can result in happier employees because when their achievements are recognised, they feel their contribution is valued.

It’s common knowledge that working hard with no pay off will soon result in a lack of motivation. Employees who aren’t motivated are unlikely to care about your organisation and their role in it. As a result, they will achieve less, and eventually, move on.

A benefit to rival others

While a meritocratic culture is becoming more and more common, it is not yet the norm, and there are still many, often larger organisations with more traditional, hierarchical structures in place. This means that a meritocracy is a significant benefit, especially for more junior level employees – it implies a clear career path and significant chances for progression as long as they work hard.

This is often where smaller companies and startups have an advantage over larger companies with fixed policies and procedures. Where large organisations may struggle to overhaul their promotional systems and reward schemes, startups can implement a meritocratic structure from the very beginning. As a result, they are more likely to attract top talent and make quality, long-term hires.

How to make sure your meritocracy is fair

In a looser structure where there is the possibility for anyone to be promoted at any time, there is always a chance that some employees will be overlooked and still end up dissatisfied. Maybe some employees are just better at speaking up, or perhaps individual managers are better at recognising their employees’ achievements.

Whatever the issue, there are ways to make sure you do not keep rewarding the same people over and over again. For example, implement regular one-to-ones with team members to find out how they feel and cultivate an environment in which honesty is encouraged.

In meetings, give space to quieter employees who will not necessarily speak over other people to make themselves heard. As well as this, make sure managers have time to manage effectively. You cannot promote a meritocratic environment when some team members have proactive managers, and others have overworked managers who are unable to give their all to every member of their team.

Improving business success from the inside out

While a meritocracy isn’t always an easy structure to implement, research shows that organisations with happy employees have more business success. When implementing a meritocratic culture, there are many questions to be asked, such as how you recognise success and how you measure which voices carry more weight.

It’s important to keep asking questions, no matter how long you’ve cultivated a meritocratic workplace, to make sure that your employees are always at the heart of your answers. As long as they are, you’re on the right track to a productive, employee-led meritocracy.

Simple steps to improve your employer branding

According to Brian Clarke, we “never convince anyone of anything – we simply help others independently decide that we’re right.” That is, essentially, the purpose of an organisation’s employer brand. To help potential candidates decide that your company is a great place to work without overtly trying to convince them.

However, while 80% of talent leaders believe employer branding is the key to making quality hires, only 50% have a proactive brand strategy in place. According to research, 87% of candidates want to work flexibly. However, only 15% of jobs offer flexibility at the point of hire. As a result, there is a significant gap between what candidates want and what employers are providing to persuade them, causing a talent bottleneck.

This means that employers who have an active employer branding strategy in place are likely to attract the best candidates. So, those who have poor employer branding will struggle to attract the candidates they want to work with.

Essentially, there’s no reason for any modern organisation to have a weak employer brand. All it takes is a willingness to invest in your employees and a strategy to communicate this to potential candidates. So, candidates understand who you are, what you stand for, and whether they are likely to be a personality fit.  

To give your recruitment efforts a boost, here are some simple steps to improve your employer branding.

Stick to what’s true, not what you wish were true.

According to research, employees are the most credible source of information regarding what it’s really like to work for your organisation. This is why so many employer branding strategies now include case studies and testimonials from their own employees to communicate authentically with potential candidates.

After all, your employees are not motivated to oversell or persuade candidates. Rather, if they genuinely love working for your company, they will be proud to talk about where they work and why they enjoy it. Candidates know this, and as a result, any company which can back up their employer branding claims with testimonials from employees will be seen as having an authentic employer brand.

Of course, to create this authenticity, your company needs to provide an experience that employees want to talk about.

Ask your employees what they want.

If you want an employer brand that your employees will boast about, ask them what’s meaningful to them. Then, you can craft your brand and culture around what matters to your employees to make sure they feel individually valued. Not all workforces are the same, and different benefits are more meaningful to some people than others.

So, engage with your staff, get to know them and find out what gets them out of bed in the morning. Why not get creative with your benefits to let them know you’ve listened? Providing something that no other employer does will improve your retention rates and capture the attention of those candidates you want to attract.

Tell your brand’s story.

Gaining a reputation is all about marketing, and marketing is all about storytelling. According to Edelman, current “employees are seen as the most credible source of information”. By telling their stories of what it is like to work for your company, they can help to create an authentic employer brand.

However, there are other forms of storytelling you can use to promote your employer brand. Social media is a brilliant platform to tell your story on. 59% of candidates research companies they are interested in working with on social media. Chances are your applicants, or potential applicants, are looking you up to see if they can find out more about who you are online. So, use your social media pages, such as Instagram, to show, rather than tell employees why they should work for you. 

As they say, actions speak louder than words.

Telling a story by simply being who you say you are and marketing that effectively on social media can ensure you attract the talent you want.

According to Hubspot, “telling your brand’s story is more than what you write on your website, your blog, or even social media. It’s your values, your mission, and how you communicate them consistently to your audience.”

In this candidate-driven market, as employers struggle to find the talent they need to scale, your employer brand can decide whether someone chooses to apply to work with you or not. So, tell your story and make sure you are an employer of choice.

For more information on how to improve your employer brand, look out for our upcoming eBook. 

Employer branding for millennials

Research has found that roughly 50% of the US workforce is made up of millennials, with that percentage set to increase to 75% by 2030. Clearly then, employers need to be considering millennials in their hiring strategy and, more specifically, in their employer branding.

Who are millennials?

Every source will specify a slightly different age range. However, broadly speaking, millennials can be defined as those workers born between 1981 and 1996.

Any business who does not consider the needs of millennials when shaping their company culture will fall behind when it comes to scaling their business. Ultimately, millennials are the future.

So, with the need to engage millennials of increasing importance for all employers, what are millennials really looking for in their chosen careers? How can you ensure your organisation stands out in a candidate-driven market? 

What defines millennials?

Millennials can be defined by the following; according to Gallup research:

  • Millennials don’t just work for a paycheque – they want a purpose.
  • Millennials are not pursuing job satisfaction – they are pursuing development.
  • Millennials don’t want bosses – they want coaches.
  • Millennials don’t want annual reviews – they want ongoing conversations.
  • Millennials don’t want to fix their weaknesses – they want to develop their strengths.
  • It’s not just my job – it’s my life.

What can we learn from this?

Most importantly, millennials are purpose-driven. Work is no longer a means to a paycheque. Rather, it is a way of life and a way of contributing to the development of the world.

So, this means that those employers who understand this desire to matter, harness it in their employer branding and company culture.

How do they do this?

Employers who understand how to tap into the millennial mindset understand that candidate attraction is about so much more than salary. However, this doesn’t mean that salary doesn’t matter at all – of course, it does.

According to research, 64% of millennials said they are stressed about their finances. So, financial security is a driving factor in their career choices. However, what this does mean is that to stand out in the jobs market, employers need to be offering more than a generous salary. Instead, employers need to be offering an employment experience that provides a way of life and a sense of purpose.

What does this mean for employers?

This means that for businesses to continue to grow, they need to recognise and adapt to a new way of doing things. So, organisations need to cultivate workplace cultures that have a strong sense of belonging. Essential to this sense of belonging is the idea that every employee is an individual.

As such, they resent the idea that they are just another cog in a machine. So, they “prefer a collaborative environment to a competitive one.” Millennials value work-life balance, in which their personal commitments are recognised.

This does not mean that millennials are just looking for a good time and feel the need to be friends with all their colleagues. Rather, it means that they value positive communication and an environment which fosters healthy relationships and values the individual wherever possible.

How can this be implemented?

This does not mean that millennials want another ping pong table to make the workplace more “fun”.

Rather, a strong sense of culture is first and foremost built on a sense of respect for all individuals, not just those within the walls of the business. As such, organisations which recognise their responsibility to society and the environment will attract those millennial workers, who want to have a significant impact on the world.

As well as this, workplaces who recognise the need to flexible will have the upper hand. According to CBRE, “flexibility is freedom.” The rejection of the 9-5, profit-driven culture signals the millennial desire to be free.

So, millennials desire a sense of autonomy. As such, micromanagement is out the window. This is because millennials want to be valued for their contribution and “achievements, rather than the time they spend in the office.” The Global Talent Trends study found that “51% of employees wish their company offered more flexible work options.”

What does this mean for the workplace?

When workplaces implement these things, they will, in turn, foster a positive working environment. According to Forbes, “a good work environment beats out free stuff any day.” As well as this, research has shown that happy employees are more productive.

Of course, it’s not just millennials who want to feel a sense of being valued as well as being valuable. Employees of all ages want to feel that their “employers respect them and will provide them with what they need to be successful in both their professional and personal lives.”

By adapting your employer branding to work for millennials, you can create a workplace which is desirable to job seekers on both ends of the scale. So, don’t get left behind. Make sure your employer branding works for the millennial workers your business needs to succeed. 

Remote working: Are work-life boundaries getting blurred?

Is remote working always a benefit?

Research has shown that remote working can increase productivity levels, promote better health and wellbeing amongst employees and, in turn, increase retention levels. As well as this, research shows that 80% of remote workers have higher morale and lower stress levels.

These benefits can be due to employees having more time for themselves and a greater capacity to fulfil personal commitments, such as going to the gym.

Remote workers can make their day work for them. They know when and how they work best, so they can ensure they get the most from their time. For example, some people are much more productive in the evenings, while others prefer the early morning, as soon as they get up.

However, when the home can also be considered the office, at what point can an employee switch off from their work life and focus solely on their personal life?

When there are no specific boundaries to a remote employee’s working day, there can be an assumption that they must always be available. Without the clear boundaries of an office space, there must be clear guidelines in place to ensure workers are not expected to be on call 24 hours a day.

While there is the potential for remote working to blur work-life boundaries, there is no reason why employers cannot stop this from becoming a problem. After all, according to Time, Talent and Energy, “employee burnout is an organisational problem, not a personal one.”

How can remote working prevent burnout?

Employee burnout is an increasing epidemic, with 23% of employees feeling burnout frequently, and 44% feeling burnout sometimes.

Employees who work remotely have the ability to control their schedule. As such, “they see the world in terms of tasks, not hours.” When employees are more focused on individual tasks, rather than completing a set number of hours per day, they are more likely to “feel accomplished” than mentally exhausted. Having ultimate autonomy over their own work-life can make employees feel trusted and valued.

As well as this, remote workers can call it a day once they are finished. Workers in office spaces may be mentally done by 3:30 pm. However, when they are required to be physically present for longer than that, they are challenged to continue working past their breaking point. If workers are continually pushed past their capacity, they are at a high risk of burnout.

However, does remote working blur work-life balance?

In some cases, remote working can certainly make differentiating between work-time and personal-time more difficult. When employees have the freedom to work whenever and wherever, there can be less clarity on what constitutes “work,” and what constitutes “life.”

However, there are ways employers can support their remote workers to avoid their work hours slipping into their personal time.

Communication is the key

In an organisation with positive communication, employees should be able to be clear about when they can be contacted and expected to respond. For some employees, this will be in between the typical hours of 9-5. However, for others, these times may change.

For example, parents who work remotely may start slightly later, take an hour out to attend a doctor’s appointment, and then make up the time in the evening. If they are able to communicate their schedule clearly to supervisors, they are unlikely to feel the need to be available in their off-hours.

Good communication enforces healthy boundaries

Setting boundaries “does not mean having no expectations or accountability.” Instead, employers who communicate effectively with their staff about their limits can cultivate a respectful relationship in which workers have the freedom to do their best work.

Often, the blurring of boundaries can be a result of the expectation to be available and respond at all times. In a survey, “Americans admitted that they regularly check and respond to emails and feel required to do work while on vacation.” As well as this, “Americans have an average of 9 unused vacation days.”

So, how can employers ensure remote employees strike a positive work-life balance?

Employers can help by respecting employees’ boundaries and making it clear that workers are not expected to respond to all emails immediately. As a result, employers who clarify when an employee is expected to respond, and when they are not, will cultivate trusting relationships with their workforce.

The result of such clarity is ultimately good for everybody. Workers will have higher morale, more energy to give in their work hours, and productivity will increase. Ultimately, employees with the autonomy to choose the working hours that work for them will be more motivated and better equipped to bring the best of themselves in their work hours.

As Bill Gates said, as competition for talent increases in the years ahead, “companies that give extra flexibility to their employees will have the edge.”

So, there is no reason not to take advantage of the benefits of remote working, for your organisation and your employees. Communicate effectively to ensure that boundaries are put in place that help both you and your employees to understand when work ends, and life begins.