ensuring culture fitDuring the hiring process, both employer and prospective employee consider the benefits to both parties. However, that consideration alone is no longer enough to entice and keep top talent. Today’s candidates, particularly those from Gen X, are particular about cultural fit.

Ensuring cultural fit starts with developing and maintaining an employer brand that the highest performing candidates have come to expect. And according to Brandon Hall Group’s Human Capital Management Outlook 2015 study, “strengthening employer brand” was identified by 78% of organizations as the most important talent acquisition activity (behind only improving the quality of hire and attracting more talent).

Building employer brand is all about creating and sustaining desirability to work for and with an organization. The best employers are intentional about showing (not telling) prospective employees why working for their organization is the only right choice. They do so in at least four ways:

  • Inclusion and Diversity
  • Recognition and Rewards
  • Work-Life Balance
  • Career Development and Opportunity

Inclusion and Diversity

This element of employer brand is all about enabling innovation, creating trusted partnerships with customers and suppliers, and contributing to the success and sustainability of the business by directing formulating and linking a company’s inclusion strategy to the organization’s shared values – respect for all individuals and the diverse contributions of all. To execute effectively on a diversity and inclusion strategy, the best organizations focus on the workplace, the workforce, the community, and the marketplace. They orient effort around initiatives like zero tolerance for discrimination, formal inclusion and diversity training for all, Inclusion Governance Councils to provide thought leadership and support on implementing an inclusive culture, and community and regional initiatives.

Duke Realty’s inclusion and diversity solution earned it a Brandon Hall Group Gold Award of Excellence for its measurable results on sales, marketing, and other critical business metrics.

Rewards and Recognition

This element reflects the extent to which employees feel fairly compensated AND regularly acknowledged for their contributions. At least two keys prevail in an effective rewards and recognition strategy:

  • Fair, not necessarily equal, compensation.
  • Compensation that goes beyond the number of dollars included in paychecks.

All employees, and particularly top performers, are motivated by more than money. In addition to fair pay, employees are looking for social recognition, crave positive feedback, relish in a “thank you” from managers and peers, and desire some recognition of the extra effort they’ve put in.

Check out the U.S. Security Associates’ “Winners’ Circle” recognition program, another Brandon Hall Group Excellence Award winner.

Work-Life Balance

This element reflects the extent to which employees have what they perceive as daily and meaningful satisfaction in four areas: in work, with family, with friends, and with self. Being a Boomer (or maybe it’s my Type A personality), I’m not yet convinced that work-life balance actually exists, but I am fully convinced that our younger colleagues believe in it. The balance can be influenced by the availability, or not, of such workplace practices as flexible work arrangements, telecommuting, virtual work, compressed work weeks, unlimited vacation options, sabbaticals, and other forms of working arrangements and practices that enable employees to more easily participate in four quadrants of their lives in a manner that brings them delight and acceptable levels of achievement.

While a quick search of “work-life balance” turns up more than 1,500 published reads on the topic, I am particularly struck by Lafarge’s approach. The head of HR felt strongly that getting work-life balance for employees would mean better business results. He is taking the stand seriously, committed to understanding what work-life balance means and making it a part of Lafarge’s culture by 2020.

Career Development and Opportunity

This element of employer brand refers to organizational commitment to offer learning and development to all employees to grow their skills, enhance their professional experiences, and optimize their careers. In very innovative cultures, development and opportunity emphasizes both professional and personal enrichment via coaching, mentoring, networks and knowledge sharing, job assignments and rotations, on-the-job learning, formal training programs, and self-development tools.

ConocoPhillips understands the value of career development. Its solution ensures a talented, global workforce that has the right skills and the right will to achieve strategic business goals.

Creating and implementing an employment value proposition that attracts and retains talent whose contributions make a real business difference is a careful mix of elements with the right balance of each. How are you creating an employer brand and employment value proposition that do more than merely prop up your talent strategy?

Until next time…

Laci Loew
Vice President and Principal Analyst, Talent Management
Brandon Hall Group

Laci Loew

A principal talent analyst and consultant with Brandon Hall Group, Laci is expert in all areas of human capital management particularly talent management, leadership, leadership development, and succession management. She has worked in the public and private sectors consulting global and matrix Fortune companies across all industries on integrated talent initiatives. Laci holds a bachelor of science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; earned her MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management; and is currently a PhD candidate in organizational psychology. Laci’s hometown is Chicago and she is based in Las Vegas.

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