It’s a job-seeker’s market out there. Talented people have the pick of the crop, which makes attracting great staff a challenge, even for the best businesses.
A good salary, job title and perks might tick the functional boxes for a potential employee, but people are increasingly looking for more from their job.
Here, Vanesha Din – co-founder and director of HR and recruitment advisory firm Sprout – talks about how the world of employment is changing, and how a strong brand story creates a competitive advantage for employers.
“Job seekers are interested in the impact that the company has more than ever,” says Vanesha. “Topics like mindfulness, well-being and work/life balance are at the forefront of conversations, which is influencing how people think about work, and how work fits into their life.”
This is translating to a growing need for employees to feel more personally connected to and aligned with their workplace. More and more, people are asking ‘what’s this company’s purpose?’, ‘what’s the impact that this business has on its customers or the world around it, and is that a positive one?’
“This doesn’t mean that a company needs to be changing the world.” Vanesha is quick to reassure that it’s more about being able to clearly articulate the positive impact the company has on its customers’ lives, and a vision for how the company wants to increase their positive impact as they grow.
She also notes that nowadays people often trade off money for a stronger sense of purpose, meaning that companies with a better story can make their salary budget go further. “As work and life are becoming intertwined, individuals will sacrifice salary if they feel that there are other rewarding factors in a role – which could be about connecting with their individual purpose or wanting to contribute in a different way.”
And story has as much impact on keeping people as it does on attracting them. “We know that when individuals are ‘connected’ to the vision, purpose or impact a business has on its customers, this results in a higher level of staff engagement.
“A good story that ties into the culture, team values, the environment and expected behaviours of employees will have a positive impact on how people feel in their roles. The sense of individual purpose and achievement results in a happier, more engaged and more productive employee.”
Without a strong story, says Vanesha, “you’re likely to attract & retain people that are only connected to tangible benefits like salary, location or job title. The problem with just relying on these factors is that they can change and in a strong job market like it is currently, they can also be offered by your competitors.”