Craig PointonAndy CurlewisAuthored by Andy Curlewis, SVP Brand, Digital & Comms and
Craig Pointon, Global Head of Executive Search
at Cielo

Creating sustainable corporate value has never been more important or challenging than in today’s changing world and the future of work is accelerating on the back of COVID-19, digitization and the reputation economy.

With company valuations increasingly weighted towards intangible assets such as reputation, culture and people, organisations have been forced to take a fresh look at how they create value. To get ahead, organisations are shifting focus to quality leadership, employer brands and reputation. The right mix of these can enable a future-focused business strategy built on differentiated products and services, and memorable experiences for all stakeholders, inside and out – especially customers. 

Talent magnetism & the reputation economy

Your talent brand matters. All the communication that is featured on your company website, social media platforms, emails and reputation websites should ideally come together in a cohesive employer brand story, that separates your brand from competitors and inspires people to voluntarily spread the word. 

According to the Indeed Talent Attraction Study, 94% of people are more likely to apply for work at a company that actively maintains its talent brand. Moreover, 84% of job seekers say the reputation of a company as a potential employer is important. When recruiting for in-demand talent, companies need to select quality employees using their employer brand, just as much as the candidates are expected to prove their worth in the interview. 

The use of technology, creativity, data and human interactions build a differentiated experience for talent – whether they are successful or not. In a communication-savvy age, candidates expect their experiences with potential employers to be consumer-grade and increasingly simple, mobile-enabled and personalised. Long gone are the old days of 20+ minute job applications. Ultimately, the purpose of employer branding is to match more jobs to more people, more often, at greater mutual value and more efficiently.

Designing your offer for talent in the 21st century 

An employee value proposition (EVP) is a holistic framework that companies design to showcase clear value to a potential employee which is based on reputation, leadership, culture and financial standing. Essentially, talent wants to know if the company is a leader in the marketplace; if it is growing; and if it has a plan for the future.

An EVP is the promise that an organization makes to candidates and it is conceptualized based on extrinsic and intrinsic needs:

Extrinsic refers to money, status and power and includes the categories of rewards, organization, brand reputation and location.

Intrinsic refers to dimensions of satisfaction, fulfilment and enjoyment and includes the categories of work, opportunities, culture and lifestyle.

For each category, it is imperative that an employer considers what is the value that they can provide to a candidate. This value is then bolstered when it is aligned with the overarching leadership vision. Finally, the key for a fully developed EVP is to recognize that it is an evolving mix of needs between both extrinsic and intrinsic factors that ultimately drive a successful hire who is engaged, motivated and inspired.

How optimising your employer brand adds value

Increasing your reach into the talent market through attraction delivers greater return on investment from owned media with reduced spend. It yields a higher volume of quality candidates and can be instrumental in hitting diversity targets. In the acquisition phase, when sealing the deal with the right candidates, acquisition costs (admin and business downtime) are reduced due to better candidate matching and there is increased salary negotiation power due to a strong employer brand. Plus, there is likely to be less dropout due to enhanced pre-boarding and engagement programmes.

Delivering on the employee promise during the activation phase delivers reduced attrition due to better matched hires. And employees deliver better performance, stronger advocacy, more referrals and higher sales. The employer brand experience is ongoing and requires engagement throughout the employee’s life cycle with the company. Higher staff turnover equals higher costs, with frequent onboarding and training having to be conducted every time a new employee is hired. It makes sense to continue to “market” your brand from within –especially to your existing people.

Experience marketing

The talent life cycle maps out the path of key stakeholders of today and tomorrow in the business. It begins with attracting the right employees through a strong employer brand. This is followed by conversion to brand advocacy and onboarding.

The ongoing experience marketing process for employees should incorporate continued engagement throughout their stay at the company and incorporate performance analytics, metrics and growth opportunities. Finally, a formal offboarding process closes the loop.

The three steps to adapt your employer brand

  1. Know your audience – Identify and get to know your current employee, future candidates and alumni. Examine who will see your message, how they will feel about it and what the extrinsic and intrinsic drivers are.
  2. Reflect your brand’s mission, vision and values – Don't become something you weren't before – speak to who your organisation truly is.
  3. Make content relevant, accurate and appropriate for your audience – Are you finding the right balance between the head and the heart? And is it localised fully?

Change is inevitable

Change has been thrust upon us – both in the customer and talent markets. Inclusive and collaborative cultures that are more agile than traditional command hierarchies are trumping old-fashioned models. 

When you're hiring, personalisation and speed are key. Advanced careers websites and CRM experiences are needed more than ever as careers traffic soars and the need grows, to engage much larger talent pools and communities of people for longer and with more nuanced messaging. 

Besides branding and talent acquisition infrastructure, an equally important – but far more fluid consideration – is content and reputation management. Everyone turns to social media for information. Social media reputation management and content strategies can be pivotal in attracting both employees and customers. Positive user-generated content and conversations are the end-game – the ultimate prize. 

The rise of COVID and lockdown measures have seen a 61% increase in social media engagement. That includes a 40% WhatsApp increase and 58% across WeChat and Weibo.  Web browsing is up by 70% and 67% of KSA and UAE nations saw a significant increase in their social media browsing during COVID, spending most of their time on WhatsApp and Twitter. KSA and UAE have the highest penetration rates at 86% and 95% respectively.

Content, content, content!

The new generation of candidates’ values communication more than any before it. Digital traffic is soaring. Social media engagement has risen to unprecedented levels. Messaging appears and disappears in the blink of an eye. And relevant, interesting content is the only way to attract quality candidates and customers. 

Does your content strike the right extrinsic/intrinsic balance? Does it speak to both the head and the heart? And is it localised for your target audience? Do the messages you are sharing reflect your brand's mission, vision and values? Brands should stay true to who they are and never become something they were not before. 

Engaging content builds trust – with employees and with customers. Opinions can be made or changed if content is compelling and convincing enough to challenge perceptions. In the current climate, employers are working harder to catch the attention of quality talent and retain staff. Becoming an "employer of choice" means that you must find ways of standing out among your competitors. And the EVP is only strengthened by content that supports a strong company image.  

Relevant and engaging website content, seamless social media marketing and reputation management, informative, attractive job adverts, and solid branding elevate your company above the rest as an employer. Attracting talent is not only a short-term job. It is an ongoing content generation exercise that positions your company as an attractive prospect in the long-term.

Best practices in action – company case study

Aster DM Healthcare: Brand Promise “We’ll Treat You Well”

People are at the heart of every relationship Aster builds. Their brand promise of ‘We’ll Treat You Well’ extends to their colleagues, patients and customers. Aster trusts its colleagues as valuable members of their healthcare team and truly believes in the core philosophy - people and service is their business. Their commitment towards quality care and improvement of human life is reflected with the aspiration of becoming the most trusted healthcare brand in the world.

Aster DM Healthcare has more than 350 establishments consisting of hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, diagnostic centres across 8 countries. They have over 19,000 employees, with female employees representing 60% of their workforce, from 68 countries who are guided by their core values of passion, respect, integrity, unity, compassion and excellence.

Aster’s EVP primarily revolves around its strength of providing a great work environment - working at Aster DM Healthcare means having the exposure of working at a large international organization but yet having a sense of belonging and visibility within the healthcare organization. Their team-building and supportive culture along with their approach of being care takers in supporting each other helps employees to thrive in their careers. They believe every voice matters and maintain an open-door policy across leadership to encourage honest communication and sharing of opinions.