Employer branding: should you hide the crap?

Let’s be honest; no business is perfect. Yeah, some are pretty good. But we all get things wrong. And we all have areas to improve. Still, when it comes to employer branding, let’s shout about the good stuff and put the rest in a drawer. Right?

Let’s leave that question hanging for a moment and go right back to the start. 

Why do we invest in employer branding? To help us attract better talent? To reduce recruitment costs? To engage existing employees?

Well, everyone will have slightly different objectives, but the crux tends to be attraction, with maybe a little retention. So, it would seem counterproductive to focus on anything other than the actual selling points of the business, wouldn’t it?

Well, our research suggests that when people are looking into a potential employer, the top two things they are looking for are 1) cultural alignment and 2) signs of their reputation.

What’s more, when it comes to choosing a job, we found that employer reputation is the second most influential thing for Generation Z (after culture) and the fourth most influential for everyone else (after work/life balance, salary and benefits, and culture).

People used words like “credibility” and “red flags” when describing what they’re seeking out in a potential new employer.

The reality is job seekers are looking at the good stuff but also digging deeper for reasons not to join.

Trust and believability

It seems safe to assume people’s behaviour is driven by a need for trust. When you read employer claims, you want to make sure they are as real as they say they are and you’re not about to waste time and energy.

So, let’s consider two hypothetical employer brands.

  • Business #1

You land on their career site. They’ve captured all the shiny great stuff that makes them look like a great workplace, with some nice personal employee content to bring it to life. Great.

You’re excited, but you do your due diligence. You look at Glassdoor and feel immediate disappointment that the reviews don’t match the company content.

So, you search for news articles about their culture and find they’ve made some bad decisions in the past. Hmmm.

  • Business #2

The business has captured all the great stuff, as before. But as you scroll through their content, these guys also make some admissions.

They made mistakes in the past, but it’s made them stronger and wiser as a result. They offer many great things, but they’re still working to improve X, Y and Z – and they invite you to be part of that journey.

Maybe they even give a narrative on their employer reviews and recent press, giving a humble understanding of their strengths and weaknesses and demonstrating the action taken as a result.

Which business do you choose?

Who fosters the most trust and belief?

A product versus a relationship

The thing is, when you look at how we market and sell products, we wouldn’t dream of highlighting the things they don’t offer people. Just picture it – “The latest iPhone has the world’s best camera but at the expense of the quality of the speaker”.

It just wouldn’t happen.

But with these products, we’re looking for volume. We want to sell to everyone.

What we’re looking to achieve in employer branding is more akin to building a long-term relationship. So more like eharmony than Amazon.

It’s about developing trust and understanding and taking the steps towards a commitment together.

Spotify admits that the way they work can be chaotic. Netflix openly says they aren’t a good match for people looking for stability or building seniority. Openness breeds believability but also increases the likelihood of finding the right person.

If something sounds like it’s amazing in every possible way, do you just think, “Wow, I’ve hit the jackpot”, or do you think “, Hang on, this sounds too good to be true”? Let’s be honest; an endless list of positives isn’t fooling anyone.

Put yourself in their shoes

It’s hard to distance yourself from the love you have for your company, your role or even your service. It’s what makes you a passionate professional.

But sometimes, the real value comes when you step back from your view of things and see it from your candidate’s perspective. Building your brand based on their behaviour and needs will bring you the most success.

So, should you hide the crap? No, you shouldn’t.

You don’t have to shine huge great lights on it, but the more balance you present, the more believable you’ll feel, and, well, the more you’ll lay down the first steps of a good relationship with the right match.

Want to know more about candidate views? Check out our research here.

Want to learn more about the Surgery and see how we’re people people? See our team here.

How do you convince a candidate to join you?

How do you get that perfect candidate to take that leap of faith? What would clinch it? And what does that tell us about how we’re really doing?

It’s a golden question. What’s the one thing we could do to convince you to join us?

For me, it’d be – show me how what I’m doing is positively helping people and positively helping the planet. And whilst I’m there, pay for some solar panels for my roof and perhaps a month’s travelling for my wife and me. Oh, and dog care whilst we’re there.

Okay, maybe I need to think that through a little more, but you get the gist.

We asked this question to over 100 people as part of a small research project. And do you know what they said? Certainly not this:

  • Make me MD
  • Buy me a boat
  • Give me shares
  • Double my salary

There were no outrageous requests. Not one.

We were shocked and disappointed. But actually pleasantly surprised! And maybe even a little moved. Genuinely, the nature of most replies was quite humbling.

What do people want? 

What is that one thing, then? What is the one thing that convinces you to join a company?

Yes, there were some of the things you might assume. There were people looking for financial reward, but more in a more measured way than you might think:

  • “More money and better working environment”
  • “Right now, it would probably be a significant salary increase.”
  • “Pay me fairly for my experience and what I bring to the table.”

It was far from the main theme.

You might also assume some requests around flexibility. And you would be right:

  • “Improve work/life balance”
  • “Show me how I can still put home life first.”
  • “four-day week“
  • “Remote work 100%”

But the absolute joy was in the consistent responses around fairness and ethics. People value being treated with respect, living up to values, honesty, and many other humble traits.

Now, we’re not expecting that to be a mind-blowing surprise – people are people. But remember, this is the ONE THING an employer could do. This is your big ask.

Here are ten responses to convey our point:

  1. “To be fair and transparent in all areas of the business.”
  2. Remove badly behaved employees to live by values.”
  3. “Demonstrate  they are fair, kind and ambitious.”
  4. “Show me how they value their staff.”
  5. Demonstrate that they put their values at the heart of how they lead and make decisions.”
  6. “Be honest about its failings.”
  7. “Show their track record to match their promises.”
  8. Respect my views and opinions.”
  9. “Convince me they give off a good energy and that they’re positive about what they do.”
  10. “Have an amazingly driven, kind team.”

And so…

And so, the question is – what do we take from this?

It’s great that people have such humble requests. Treat me fairly. Value my opinions. But it suggests these basic things are currently absent. If that’s the ONE THING you want, then the likelihood is that you don’t have it right now. Is that an assumption? Yes, but it feels like a very logical one.

So, whilst there’s a nice view of humanity from the responses we received, there’s maybe a tainted view of employers.

Are we all getting the basics wrong? 

Are we failing to make people feel they’re appreciated for the value they bring? Are we failing to be honest about our mistakes? Are we failing to show people we care about their opinions?

Here at The Surgery, we’ve always said to have the best employer brand you just need to be the best employer. And I think this underlines our view.

So, before we get excited about the snazzy things we can do to attract new people, let’s get the fundamentals right. For us, that starts with listening. Let’s ask people how we’re doing and build a plan that turns their thoughts into positive action.

Once that’s sorted, I’ll get back to negotiating that month-long trip and those solar panels 😉

Want to hear more about that research study? Download the report here.

The candidate snapshot report 

What do candidates look for in a new employer? Take a peek and find out… 

We spend a lot of effort recruiting the best talent we can. And it’s hard work.  

Employer branding is a way of making it a little easier, helping people know what you’re about before they even stumble upon a job ad. 

But to get it right we need to understand the people we’re targeting. Are they looking for their next employer? Where do they look? What do they want to find? 

These are just a few of the thing we’ve tried to uncover in this piece of research. So go on, have a read. 

Download your copy of our whitepaper: The Candidate Snapshot Report

AI – the rise of the machines or a useful tool?

Head of Digital Matt Prudente shares his expert view.

Q: Tell us what you know about AI. Do you see it as a positive or negative?

It’s a funny one. I see lots of positives and a lot of potential. But I also get everyone’s concerns, although maybe people have been watching Terminator too much!

Like anything, there are new tools that come along. I view AI as a tool. My simplest explanation is the development of a screwdriver. A basic screwdriver is great but requires a lot of effort. You can take some of that effort out by using an electric screwdriver. That’s progress, isn’t it? 

It’s how I view AI. We have a lot of repetitive tasks that can be handled by technology. We do it all the time. The Industrial Revolution obviously had a huge impact. And now, with coding and computer tasks, I think AI has the potential to be a great tool. It already is.

We’ve seen it problem solve and build websites. Platforms like ChatGPT can generate code for software like WordPress. If you want a particular function, you ask for it and it’ll create the code to drop into your website. AI handles those more mundane tasks, so you can focus on the bigger picture. 

Take Wix, for example. You can create an entire e-commerce website. It provides content, imagery and a template of your choice. It knows what works and can even apply SEO principles to it. 

And then there’s medicine and science. It’s helping come up with new drugs.

AI will make many developers nervous but it still needs someone at the helm who knows what they’re doing. I think the future will be AI carrying out complete problem solving. It needs data input – visual, language or figures – to produce the solution.

Q: Have you tested it out? Any thoughts on which platforms are performing best (ChatGPT, Bard, Code T5 etc)?

We’re at the stage where we’re figuring out what suits us. We’re already using ChatGPT but there have been some failings. We create hybrid apps and use a framework called ‘ionic’. So I tasked ChatGPT with producing a particular kind of ionic app. It came back with a series of code and told me what to do. As I read, I could see that it was wrong and outdated. There’s a limitation there which means it must be checked constantly.

Having said that, as developers, we’re meant to do code unit tests, to check something’s working correctly. We create our own code to check the code. AI could perform a task like that in a much simpler way. We want to use these tools to make the process less manual.

Co-pilot, a Microsoft AI assistant, is something I’m really interested in it. The benefits will be spending less time on laborious tasks and seeing greater output – quantity and quality – meaning a better product for the client. It’d also reduce the cost of a project. As a business, we’ll be able to deliver faster and save money.

Q: How might AI benefit/impact your role in digital?

There’s always a worry but in any role, we have to keep up. Companies pay for employees to attend training courses to improve their skills, or upskill to an area that’s needed. We should always find a place where we’re needed for work. It just adapts over time. My job changed from working as a printer’s apprentice at 16 years old, to where I am now, heading up digital for the Surgery. I’ve constantly adapted and changed, but there’s always been a job for me. We just don’t know what that’ll look like in the future.

A hundred years ago, lots of labourers had their livelihoods taken away but people still have work and there are many more of us now. AI will replace some jobs, just as it has done in the past, but other jobs will come into play because human interaction is still needed.

Q: Do you think we’ll get to a point where we can teach machines ethics, empathy and compassion?

Those are human traits based on love – different kinds of love. As humans, love is there but we don’t always follow it. We don’t always show empathy and compassion. It’s something we need to cultivate in ourselves. That makes it a challenge, for me, to say that a computer could ever be sentient because it’s feelings, not data.

With programming, humans set the rules but AI sets its own. Rules are ok but principles override rules. If you have principles, you can have two rules that cancel each other out. How will AI manage that, given that compassion and empathy feed in? Love overrides so many rules. Traffic laws, for example, are put in place to protect but what if a decision must be taken that doesn’t follow the rules, even though it’s the right and ethical course of action?

I’ve been trying to think of another hypothetical situation that might relate to this. Let’s say you have an air-conditioned room full of people, that needs to be kept secure. How would AI deal with failed air conditioning while still considering the security threat? Would it open the doors to let fresh air in? The data set might dictate ‘if the temperature reaches 38C, open the door’. Or will it watch people’s expressions, to understand feelings and emotions, and respond? Might it respond intelligently by putting people in place to act as security? How might they feel? A lot of facial recognition AI can read expressions, but subtle nuances often don’t tell the whole picture.

Q: How do you think AI and humans will co-exist?

 It depends on humans! We have choice. AI and technology all come from binary but with humans, we have a choice. It’s power. AI needs power. Computers. A man-made brain to be able to do this stuff.

When we have a power cut, it’s a disaster. AI is just technology, again. When your power tool runs out of battery, we use it manually. As humans, we have a choice as to what we do with it.

When the Industrial Revolution took place, it produced much bigger things and faster. And not long after that, we saw world wars and what was produced there. It can be great but destructive things were also created. There’s always the chance that humans can misuse tools. If you have a hammer, you can build or destroy. It comes down to human choice.

Q: Any other thoughts on AI, now and in the future?

It was 20-30 years ago that most of us were getting emails for the first time. From there, we’re using AI. We don’t have to be in an office – we can work remotely. That’s all come from huge, chunky computers. The advancements have been huge and it’s growing at breakneck exponential speed. Especially when computers are then figuring stuff out for you. The potential is amazing.

The pandemic changed the way we worked. We all had to jump on the digital bandwagon, whether we liked it or not. I wonder if that accelerated the need for AI.

HR own employer branding. Here’s why. 

Employer branding is a hot topic in most circles right now. We’re all competing for the same talent, and those companies with a clear employer brand are starting to hoover it up. But there’s some push and pull over where it sits. So, lets clear that up today.

There’s a new film out. Top Gun 3. You’ve seen the trailer and, well, it looks pretty shit-hot.

So, you stick on your aviators, jump on your motorbike/horse, and head to the local cinema to spend your life savings on popcorn and fizzy drinks.

But three hours later, you come out deflated.

It wasn’t shit-hot. Just shit. The trailers showed all the good bits, the acting was bad, the plot had holes, and well it just didn’t live up to the hype.

Much like you, other people didn’t like it too. In fact, it’s getting a bad reputation. Poor reviews flood in, box office performance falls flat, and it ends up being one of those films destined for late night showing on freeview. (All totally unrealistic as Top Gun is great, obviously).

So, here’s the question – who’s responsible?
Is it the guys at the cinema, selling you tickets and showing you to your seat?
Is it the team doing the promotion?
Is it those who kept things ticking on set?
Or is it the people who made the major decisions about the film?

Hold that thought.

Talking about reputation

Employer branding is your reputation as an employer. It’s the feeling in the gut when people hear your name mentioned. It’s how they see you as a place to work.

“John, would you ever work at Barry’s Fish and Chips?”
“Yeah, Norman works there and says they’re a lovely bunch.”

The difficulty is people’s perception can be made up of a lot of stuff, so it’s a beast to unpick. But one thing is clear – it impacts how people interact with you.

If they see you as a great place to work, you’ve got your pick of the bunch. If they don’t, well then, it’s going to be an uphill battle.

Employer branding is worth investing in.

The right team for the job

We could argue that every employee has a share of the employer brand – because everyone’s actions can impact the perception of others. But who should be the one that steps forward when the board ask how the employer brand is doing? Who should be the one trying to manage or improve it?

In a January 2023 LinkedIn poll, here’s what our 497 respondents thought:

Who owns the employer brand?

  • HR – 16%
  • Marketing –27%
  • Talent acquisition – 10%
  • Dedicated team – 46%

In an ideal world, there’ll be a dedicated team to pull the strings. Because if managing the employer brand is a bolt-on to an already busy role, expect bolt-on-to-a-busy-role results. If it’s a dedicated person or people, well then now we’re talking.

But let’s be realistic – we aren’t all financing a new team just yet. So how do our other options stack up:

  • HR know their people
  • Marketing know the brand and engagement techniques
  • Talent acquisition know the candidates
  • Internal comms know how to connect the workforce (LinkedIn polls only give four options, so sorry IC you didn’t make the list but we still love you)

All of these teams play a valuable part. Can you manage the employer brand without any one of those stakeholders? No, you can’t. Not well anyway. So, they must all be involved right?

It comes down to who made the film

Top Gun 3 had a bad reputation because it was a bad film (yep, we’re back to this pretence). And no amount of promotion, persuasion, audience knowledge, relationship building will change that.

The same is true of you as an employer.

There’s great reasons why Talent Acquisition or Marketing should ‘own’ the employer brand. If you see the employer brand as the assets and how they’re shared with the population, maybe you sit in this camp. The challenge is their ability to impact it is limited. if you’re a bad place to work, then they have two options 1) be totally up front about it and hope there’s enough people out there still up for the challenge 2) paper over the cracks and hope people don’t find out the truth until they’re too invested to leave.

How about internal comms? They can wield great influence in the business. They join people up to the vision and values, they represent the face of the business to many, and well, they’ve got eyes and ears everywhere. They can impact the employee experience, and arguably bad comms can really let a good business down.

But – there’s no substitute in investing in your people and making every effort to create a place where people want to be. If you do that, then the rest starts to fall into place. And that has to start with HR and a strategy with people at the centre.

The conclusion: make a good film

A great film with poor promotion will still do well. The reviews will be good. People will talk on social media. The quality will carry it. It could be a classic.

A poor film with great promotion won’t. There may be some early interest but the reviews will be bad, people will talk on social media, and the quality will let it down.

The secret to a good employer brand is being a good employer. Yes, there’s value to add in how we share that with the world – but we can’t escape the simple fact that a good reputation comes from being a good place to work.

Managing your employer brand comes from collaboration across the teams with the skills and the interest – but the area of the business most empowered to impact it is HR. That’s why, when push comes to shove, they should own it.

HR listen to employees. They look after the values, nurture the culture, work with managers and the board to make improvements (no doubt with internal comms supporting). They are responsible for keeping people healthy and happy.

HR can help the business create the best place to work. No other team can boast that to the same degree. And creating the best place to work will attract and retain good people.

So, if you’re starting to think about your employer brand, start with HR and the question – how can we do more for our people?

P.S. If there is a third Top Gun film, with Tom Cruise’s grandson flying the jets, I promise to come back and update this blog.

Interested in employer branding? Download our whitepaper to understand the context, case and considerations for a modern employer brand.

What the 90s video shop taught me about employer branding

Choosing the perfect film was once about glossy covers and a leap of faith. But now it’s about online reviews and realistic expectations. So, do you approach your employer branding like a 90s VHS or a modern blockbuster?

“Let’s go down the video shop”, he said.

It was Saturday afternoon. I’d switched off the Sega, and met up with my friend. We were off to rent a film from the video shop, as we called it back then in the 90s.

I remember stepping through the door, marvelling at the floor to ceiling shelves. “There must be at least two hundred movies here”. Ha, how we can laugh now.

We’d head off in different directions to gather a small pile of the videos we liked. Both finding inevitable excuses to pass the adult section several times.

“What about this one?” he said.

Return of the Killer Tomatoes. Looks interesting. The cover was some buff commando with a big red face.

“Epic”, I said, “basically Rambo with a tomato head”.

We took it home and put it on. But what we actually got was a film about giant tomatoes rolling over civilians and a mad scientist using music to turn tomatoes into people. Now, I know some people might regard this as a B-movie classic, but it was hardly the action film we’d dreamed of.

The term ‘never judge a book by its cover’ is well known, but no one told us it applied to VHS too. And in those days, how else would you judge it?*

The trouble is, the covers could really pull you in – make it sound exciting, make it look great – something that acting and special effects seemed to rarely deliver (no offence film fans, there’s still some great movies from that era).

Fast forward to 2023 and you probably get your films online after a quick search and a read of the reviews. It’s a totally different world.

Erm, I thought this was about employer branding

90s VHS often set expectations that the film failed to deliver. And it wasn’t just this one. Time after time, we were let down by interesting looking horrors that turned out to be god-awful puppet shows.

Great cover artwork would grab our attention, but it didn’t guarantee a good watch.

The same is true of employer branding. We can get attention with some slick words and big promises, but that doesn’t guarantee a good experience when you get through the door.

What happens if the experience doesn’t match the expectation? Well, in our scenario, we wasted three pounds and two hours of our life. But for you as an employer, you’d lose your candidate and all the time, effort and investment that went into recruiting and onboarding them.

And that’s if they don’t do their research and find out the truth about you first, before you have a chance to convince them otherwise.

Approach your branding like a modern movie, not a 90s horror

A lot has happened since those video shop days – perhaps most notably is the internet. And that means everyone has a voice.

For movies, you can find countless reviews online and form a good idea of what to expect. For employment, well actually it’s very much the same.

You used to be able to close the doors to the office and paint a picture of whatever you wanted to the outside world, but now the world is much more transparent, so the truth comes out (ahem, Brewdog).

What does all this mean? Well, it means three things, and some of them are biggies:

  1. Get your shit in order. If you’re losing people because you have a toxic culture or you’re not paying a fair wage, then no amount of branding will fix that. Make people want to work for you because you’re a great place to work.
  2. Build an authentic brand. Create an employer brand based on what people like about working there. Do your research, be honest about aspiration, and let your employee voices shine.
  3. Listen to your reviews. No one likes to hear criticism, but it’s how we grow. Get regular feedback, learn from your exit interviews, keep an eye on Glassdoor and be humble in your responses.

And so…

Great employer branding is no substitute for a great place to work. Fixing that has to be priority number one.

But if you’re doing good stuff and struggling to pull in the candidates, then maybe it’s time to look at how you position yourself. Just because people know who you are as a business doesn’t mean they know who you are as an employer or why they should be a part of your vision.

Understand who you really are and turn that into something authentic and inspiring. Make sure you’re the modern movie boasting the five-star reviews, not the forgotten horror setting expectations that it just doesn’t deliver.

*Whilst we were often let down by these films we also never learned. After being disappointed by a horror movie called House, we still went on to watch House II, House III and House IV. All of which were crap! Kids eh 😆

Interested in employer branding? Download our whitepaper to understand the context, case and considerations for a modern employer brand.

Storytelling: It aint’ what you do.. it’s the way that you do it

“It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it.” What a tune. 1982 apparently.

I say apparently, as I am far too young to remember the early 80s (cough, cough). My grandparents say it was a cracking time to be alive, though.

If you’re a fan of 80s music (no! come back, Millennials, this blog is for you too, honest), then you’ll no doubt already be humming it ain’t what you do. It’s a proper tune from pop giants Fun Boy Three and those era-defining dungaree-clad musical icons Bananarama.

Obviously, when the girls from Bananarama and the erm… boys from Fun Boy Three sat down to write it, they knew it was all about the secrets of successful and engaging storytelling for business. I mean, obviously, right?

You might need to bear with me on this one.

Imagine for a moment you’re a leading financial firm in a big city.

Your main rivals, Pugh, Hugh and McGrew down the road, are a leading financial firm in your city too.

You have similar clients, offer similar services and similar products at a similarly exceptional level.

There’s not much to choose between you. Maybe the biscuits you roll out for meetings are just that little bit more chocolatey. Gooier in the middle, maybe. Perhaps they just chose you because you’re right around the block from their office.

You’re going to need something to make you stand out from the rest (investing in even better biscuits ain’t going to cut it).

You need to be something different, so those big spending clients and all those shiny new graduates and talent just have to choose you over your rivals.

You need a story, a way to explain to people your why and how. Why are you here? Why are you different? How do you do what you do?

It’s all about the feels

The best stories are all about people. They’re about relationships. The relationship you have with your clients and customers and, of course, your people. They’re the ones doing your do, after all.

Through telling your story, you can create an emotional attachment – a feeling.

Tell a compelling, provable story, and it won’t matter what sort of biscuits you dish up; the power of who you are and why you do what you do will be what makes you stand out, be different.

If it’s genuine and you back it up every day, if it’s something your people can believe in and talk about with passion, then your employee engagement should soar too.

Stories are powerful stuff!

Of course, your what is important, but it’s the why that gets those neurons firing. See? It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it. The next line after that one? And that’s what gets results! Bananarama and Fun Boy Three really were way ahead of their time.

I wonder if all 80s songs had a subliminal business message?

Maybe Rio by Duran Duran is actually about creating a growth mindset in a stagnant and destabilised marketplace. Maybe not.

Here’s three things to help you bring storytelling into your business;

  • Remember, it’s about EMOTION. Get them laughing, smiling, crying, nodding along in agreement. Your story needs to connect and move people.
  • LOGIC is important too. Your why and how are the connectors, your logic, the rational sense behind your story, is your anchor.
  • Give it some CREDIBILITY – make sure you can prove what you say, back it up with tangible actions. It’ll help show you’re a source worth listening to.

If you’re struggling to unearth your why and your how, we’ll do the deep dive, find out who you really are and help you tell your story (we promise not to mention Bananrama and the Fun Boy Three ever again).

Get in touch today @ info@ineedsurgery.com

Losing a limb? It’s worse than that, Janet!

(or how to ensure your workplace EX and EVP drives recruitment and retention)

Work eh? Would we do it if we didn’t have to? If it means we can make a difference to the world around us, then maybe, just maybe, we would. As The Surgery’s Employer Brand and Behavioural expert Si Andrew told attendees at the recent Barn to Boardroom Employee Experience event, a bit of CSR and a bit of care can go a long way towards creating a place your people will love to be.

Thankfully the workplace has moved on a bit since the 1800s.

Back then, employee benefits pretty much amounted to being allowed to keep all the wood shavings you found in your pockets at the end of the day. You might have got a few hours off to celebrate Whitsun, too, provided you made the time up later. The biggest benefit was coming home after a long day at t’mill with all your limbs still attached.

Stuff matters

It’s all subjective, of course, but these days, gripes in the workplace are likely to be a little less life-threatening.

Perhaps Gavin’s hogging the office Fussball table again, or your clearly marked yoghurt has miraculously disappeared from the communal fridge (I know I sound petty, Janet, but that’s the third time this week!)

Stuff like that matters to people, and if the culture is a bit crap at your place, then it can damage your reputation as being a nice place to work.

Back in the olden days, if you had an awful day, no one cared. They’d just replace you.

Now, your people can be on social in seconds to let the world know how let down you’ve been.

Companies can’t get away with not caring any more, thanks to Insta/Twitter and LinkedIn there’s an open window into every workplace.

“The best organisations are talking about how they can inspire their people to connect and build work experiences that matter and make a difference.”

Si Andrew

It’s an employee’s market

Being happy and driven at work goes beyond yoghurt and Fussball tables, of course. If you don’t look after your people, give them what they need to thrive, they’ll be off to see what else is out there in what is still an employee’s job market.

While tracking down the yoghurt thief is a good idea, employee experience goes a bit deeper than that. You need to make sure work is supportive, fun even, and just as importantly, your people need to feel that they can really make a difference to the world around them.

Genuinely caring about your people and building work around them will give you advocates that will sell your company for you. The best employer brand is not the flashy stuff, but putting your people first.

Walk the walk AND talk the talk

As Si told the internal communications gurus attending the Barn to Boardroom event, you need to walk the walk as well as talk the talk (we may have paraphrased that slightly).

If you’re to compete with Jenkins and Jenkins Ltd down the road, you need to offer more than organic kumquat and quinoa salad in the office canteen, as lovely as that is. The perks might be fantastic and are still important, but what do your people come to work for? Why are they there?

Gone are the days when offering the best salary in town afforded you the pick of the coolest graduates.

Work has to mean something. When candidates say they want to make a difference in their interviews, they actually mean it. Can you imagine!

These days, flexibility, empathy and understanding are the most highly rated traits in employers. In polls, 70% of employees demand to do purposeful work.

Support, trust and flexibility

It’s all about demonstrating your corporate social responsibility and showing pride in developing a welcoming and supportive culture to drive your employee value proposition.

It’s about striving to be a modern and accommodating workplace, one which gives its people support, trust and flexibility.

“79% of employees want to be able to work in a hybrid (from the office and at home) working model,” Si said.

“And these days, flexibility, empathy and understanding are the most highly rated traits in employers. In polls, 70% of employees demand to do purposeful work.

“They want meaning, not just activity, and many are saying they would be prepared to compromise on their salary expectations to get it.

“Having a shiny brand isn’t enough anymore,“ Si added.

“The best organisations are talking about how they can inspire their people to connect and build work experiences that matter and make a difference.”

The impact when you get it right can be staggering. According to Glassdoor, over 85% of candidates will research a company’s ratings and reviews before applying, while a whopping 92% of people would jump ship to a company with an excellent corporate reputation.

“Employee voice is three times more credible than the CEO’s when it comes to talking about working conditions in the company,” Si said, revealing just how important having a culture you can be proud about is in recruitment.

“Driving an EVP is about listening to your people, using design in your thinking and giving your people a platform to share ideas and be involved. It’s the norm now, what people expect from their job.”

Empathise and engage

Promoting a great culture, living your values, and showing how diversity and inclusion matter to you are key. People want a good work/life balance; they want senior managers to empathise and engage.

It’s not just compensation and benefits which drive people’s work choices these days.

Knowing someone isn’t going to steal your yoghurt and not losing a limb also helps!

Si Andrew and the Surgery Team can help create your perfect Employee Value Proposition. 

Get in touch today @ info@ineedsurgery.com