Recruitment: Culture, branding and employee experience to the fore

New employer brand research finds that for the first time in 10 years, employees are no longer motivated by money as their top priority. By Katherine Swan.

Covid had a transformative impact on how we work, what we consider most important when it comes to our job, and what will attract talent to a business.

Randstad’s 2021 Employer Brand Research finds that, for the first time in 10 years, employees are no longer motivated by money as their top priority.

Work/life balance has emerged as number one, with brand loyalty driven by how well supported an employee feels in their role.

The relationship between employers and employees has become more nuanced and driven by a desire for a healthy lifestyle beyond work, while the escalation of working remotely and the rapid rise in digital transformation has led to employees requiring greater support to deliver outside of the office.

In a job market where talent is scarce and the future is uncertain, employers must recognise that salary and monetary benefits does not equate to an employee retention strategy.  People want and expect more from their employers.

Encouraging loyalty and trust

Encouragingly, our employer brand research finds that employees are more loyal to their employer today than they were a year ago, likely due to the instability of 2020.

Of those surveyed, 66 percent feel more loyal than 12 months prior, with those looking to change roles or who have done so over the past year reducing overall.

However, the 2021 talent market continues to evolve. Many of us expected that Covid would have a greater impact on job opportunities, but the opposite has been found to be true.

What we are seeing now is that people are open to looking and companies are getting super aggressive with enticements to help make the decision easier.

With borders remaining closed for the foreseeable future, we’re expecting to see the candidate market become increasingly competitive within New Zealand, due to a growing shortage of skilled workers across all industries.

This is especially true for the construction, hospitality and agriculture sectors. As a result, if businesses want to encourage loyalty and attract the right people to their business, they must understand what employees are looking for and ensure their employee brand is delivering on this.

Interestingly, 2021 has also defined new priorities for employees, with experience and company culture rating higher than monetary gain.

Being able to work remotely and supported with good health practices have increased loyalty, our research shows.

As we look towards the second half of 2021, companies need to be clear about what this ‘next normal’ looks like and that includes addressing what work/life balance looks like for individual employees, and how flexible working arrangements are being used to achieve that.

Even in the recruitment process, employers should be asking what a candidate is after in terms of flexibility and what they can offer as a company to make sure that they are a good match.

When it comes to attracting talent, we know that 80 percent of employers believe that having a strong employer brand has a significant impact on their ability to hire great people.

On top of this, both recruiters and candidates cite company culture as one of the most important reasons for choosing an employer.

Transparency, authenticity and having a clear message helps candidates to better understand how they could fit into the organisation and builds trust from the outset.   

I would like to share some insights from Flight Centre on employee engagement during turbulent times.

Flight Centre: The strength of employer brand

Throughout 2020 and the unprecedented challenges that arose, Flight Centre demonstrated the strength of its employer brand and, as a result, its resiliency as a business.

When the Covid-19 pandemic devastated the travel industry, Flight Centre was forced to go into survival mode.

The first call of business was to quickly transition employees to work from home, a move that was made possible due to an existing flexibility plan that had been designed as a retention tool. This was only the start, however.

In the months that followed, the company had to dramatically reduce its workforce as income plummeted, with the total number of employees dropping from 1,200 to 400.

Despite this difficult and unexpected time, the Flight Centre team remained invested in, and focused on, supporting employees in any way they could.

This led to the creation of Project Remedy, an initiative designed to help employees find alternative solutions and means of income.

Flight Centre worked with more than 200 companies to share roles and opportunities with its people. Along with job offerings, Project Remedy included access to educational courses.

With the help of UpEducation, various courses and qualifications were offered for specialisations including technology, leadership, engineering, carpentry, early childhood, health and wellbeing.

In addition, the company continued to maintain regular contact with former employees.

During the pandemic, communication continued to all current and former Flight Centre employees via regular video messages and town halls from Flight Centre’s managing director David Coombes.

Former employees continue to receive messages up to twice a week, to ensure they felt involved and connected to the organisation.

Heidi Walker, Flight Centre’s GM of people and culture, says the team wanted to give their people the respect they deserved, and this became of utmost importance.

In fact, as of the start of the year, Flight Centre has offered 50 new roles within its business, and 80 percent of those vacancies have been filled by former Flight Centre employees.

This saves time in the recruitment process, as it removes the need for background checks and onboarding, and further builds a sense of trust, commitment, and company culture.

Companies like Flight Centre, while going through what was one of its most difficult periods as a business, the investment that they continued to make in their employee brand was integral to rebuilding their business.

The actions it has taken demonstrates that a well-developed employer brand can endure, even through tough times. This is an organisation that has always been human-forward in the way it operates and it has proven that in, perhaps, the worst-case scenario possible.

As New Zealand continues to bounce back from the worst of the pandemic, the businesses that last the distance will be those that invest in truly understanding their employees and build a brand that effectively attracts and retains talent throughout the journey to recovery. 

Katherine Swan is the country director of Randstad. The 2021 Randstad Employer Brand Research is based on a survey of more than 4000 New Zealanders, conducted for Randstad by Kantar.

Visited 30 times, 1 visit(s) today

A focus on culture

Rabobank’s 520-plus New Zealand employees work from 27 locations – places like Ashburton, Pukekohe and Feilding and from a purpose-built head office in Hamilton. Its employees are proud of the

Read More »
Close Search Window