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Is your EVP doing enough to attract and retain candidates in the current market?

Employee experience and feedback

Australia’s unemployment rate has reached just 5%, its lowest in a decade, and many employers are facing challenges when it comes to filling roles. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has revealed that as of the second quarter of 2021 there are 362,500 job vacancies in Australia, up from 288,700 in the first quarter of the year. This is the highest number of vacancies ever recorded by the ABS.  

There’s no doubt the pandemic has had a turbulent effect on the country’s job market and is resulting in a current candidate shortage across a diverse range of roles, from forklift drivers and fruit pickers, to customer service representatives, psychologists, civil engineers and research and development scientists, to name just a few. 

The last 18 months have changed the way employees view and approach work, but one thing holds true: businesses that want to attract and retain the talent they need to move forward must understand the top priorities of their future workforce. Put simply, the Employer Value Propositions (EVPs) used to retain and attract employees in the past – gym memberships, in-person social events and an impressive office space – are unlikely to be as enticing now that lockdowns, restrictions and working more days from home are becoming the norm. 

The pandemic has created a shift in employees’ attitudes and values, and organisations that ignore this will face even greater challenges when it comes to attrition and attraction. 

Now is the time to revisit your current EVP and assess whether it is doing enough to attract and retain employees in the current candidate-driven market. Here are a few of the drivers that are attracting candidates that you can consider highlighting within your EVP. 

 

More employees are seeking flexibility 

Perhaps one of the biggest considerations for organisations when reassessing their EVP is the resounding call from employees for more flexibility within their work.  

According to a global study conducted by PwC, three quarters of Australians say their ideal work environment is a mix of remote and in-person working, while 16% would prefer a wholly virtual workplace where they can contribute from any location. However, it is important to understand that flexibility is not just where you work, but also how and when you work. 

Depending on the type of work your organisation performs and how it is structured, it could be beneficial to start thinking about a longer-term shift towards a hybrid working model. This could be the ideal middle ground that allows employees to work flexibly on certain days of the week, then come together with colleagues for team building and collaboration on others. 

Of course, this will bring with it many other considerations for employers, who will need to create a sound strategy in order to effectively manage hybrid teams. They will also need to ensure employees are well-supported with regards to having access to an ergonomic workspace, necessary hardware, adequate internet access from home, and ways to communicate when they’re available. 

 

Diversity and inclusion will become increasingly important 

According to the Harvard Business Review, 86% of employees and 66% of HR directors believe that a diverse workforce will become even more important as roles, skills and company requirements change over time. The report also found that 76% of employees said a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers, and they will actively ask questions about diversity targets and strategies. It pays well to remember that a diverse and inclusive workforce not only increases your potential to attract candidates, but also retain them.  

Furthermore, improving an organisation’s diversity and inclusion strategy has been shown to increase innovation and improve financial return. A worldwide report conducted by the Boston Consulting Group found that companies with above-average diversity on their management teams saw an average of 19% more revenue than that of companies with below-average leadership diversity. 

Creating an effective diversity and inclusion strategy takes time and is something that will need to be addressed across multiple areas of a business, including recruitment, training and development, policies and procedures, internal communication, employee feedback and more. Establishing honest, accessible metrics around your diversity progress and remaining gaps will be critical to ensuring that efforts to build a diverse team are measurable, targeted, and impactful. 

 

Mental health support and wellbeing 

It wouldn’t be far from the truth to say that the pandemic has caused a serious mental health issue in Australia and around the world. The workforce has been met with repeated lockdowns, disconnection from loved ones, job losses and an increase in domestic violence, depression and anxiety. 

According to SEEK, 2 in 5 candidates say they would have liked more mental health support during COVID-19, regardless of whether the workplaces had existing support in place or not. It appears that in some instances, there is a gap between organisational mental health and wellbeing programs and employee needs.  

But ill mental health is not something that occurred, nor will is disappear, with the pandemic. An increasing number of Australians have complex mental health needs, and are understood to be experiencing significant, multiple, rare or persistent mental health challenges. These could include OCD, schizophrenia or borderline personality disorder, which can impact functioning both at home and the workplace.  

While an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) may help some, they are likely to be less effective for those with complex and on-going mental health needs, who may already receive support from healthcare providers. In this way, it will be important for employers to have a confidential discussion with their staff about what they require with regards to mental health and wellbeing support.  

Many people with complex mental health issues may not require organisational support or may only require it at times. Each employee could have unique needs and it’s important to understand that “flexibility” in these circumstances could mean different things. Whether it be fewer working days, a reduced workload, different working hours to make time for medical appointments, addressing stigma they face in the workplace, and so on.  

Organisations will be best positioned to attract and retain top talent by approaching mental health and wellbeing with an open mind, flexibility and agility, and most importantly, by listening to the individual. 

 

Corporate social responsibility, purpose and values 

More than ever candidates are wanting a job that gives them an opportunity to make a difference to society. In fact, a survey by Accenture found that an employee’s sense of purpose or impact on society is the second-most important criteria for young talent when considering new jobs. 

This could in part be the result of the increased connectivity of our society, as well as the blurring of lines between our work life and personal life as a result of the pandemic: as employees have brought their work home with them, it is increasingly important for their personal values and beliefs to align with that of their employer. 

Whether your organisation is aiming to reduce its carbon footprint, actively engage in supporting marginalised communities or makes socially conscious investments, this should be emphasised within your EVP. If you have a Corporate Social Responsibility team, collaborate with them on how you can showcase their efforts in your recruitment messaging.  

 

Reassess financial incentive 

Though statistics show employees place greater value on incentives unrelated to salary, this doesn’t mean it plays an insignificant part in the job-making process. This is particularly true in a candidate shortage, where shifts in wages occur quickly as a way to entice potential candidates. 

If employers are struggling to fill roles, it could be beneficial to perform some market research to ensure the salary being offered is in-line with what your competitors are offering and the current market. It may also be necessary to reassess what skills and experience you required, and whether you have the training capability internally to allow an individual to grow into a role. 

 

If you’re struggling to find talent, partner with a recruitment organisation that understands the current market and has access to a wide network of quality candidates actively seeking work. Contact Bayside Group today and see how we can help. 

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