by Jaya Dass, Managing Director of Randstad Malaysia & Singapore

As employers, we constantly think about how we can improve our employer brand.

Developing and investing in a strong employer brand that resonates with today’s employees from different generations can be daunting, but not impossible. PETRONAS, Shell and Nestlé have consistently ranked within the top three most attractive employers in the last four years that we’ve conducted the Employer Brand Research in Malaysia.

How are they doing it?

how to improve the value of your employer brand?

In order to attract and retain talent for longer, companies need to have a thorough understanding of the support that workers are expecting from their employers.

Employees no longer feel obligated to be grateful or loyal just because they are employed by you. According to our latest Employer Brand Research, more than 1 in 4 local respondents (29%) said that they want to work for a new employer in 2019.

The average tenure of millennials is about two years, and this will likely be even shorter in Generation Z. If you think the same talent attraction and retention strategies that were practiced 10 years ago are still adequate in securing the top talent of today, think again.

By 2020, millennials and Gen-Zers will make up 75% of the workforce. It would require a concerted effort from employers to communicate and position the value that they want to deliver to attract candidates and retain their employees.

This year’s Randstad Employer Brand Research revealed the motivations of employees across four different generations - Baby Boomers (ages 55 to 65), Generation-X (ages 35 to 54), Millennials (ages 25 to 34) and Generation-Z (ages 18 to 24).

employer brand attractiveness across generations
employer brand attractiveness across generations

understand the career motivators for different generations

Younger employees are already reinventing traditions. They no longer buy into the notion that job hopping is a negative attribute. Instead, it is seen as a practical career strategy. To them, they are pursuing the next most exciting opportunity to acquire new knowledge and skills.

Employees are also not attracted to novel office perks. Instead, they want a more holistic and positive employee experience. Today’s workers value autonomy more and they constantly seek improvements, a better quality of life and instant gratification from their employers.

1. gen-Z

Findings from our Randstad Employer Brand Research 2019 indicated that Gen-Z employees want good training and a career that offers progression opportunities. This is important to them, as they need to learn how to transition from school to work. Money is another important factor, as many would want to move into the city for better convenience or buy a car to commute.

2. millennials

45% of millennials said that they will leave if there are no career growth opportunities - which include progression in the form of a pay rise or promotion. A lack of a strong career roadmap could greatly impact their personal income and ability to finance their other aspirations, which will motivate them to look for other employers who can meet their expectations.

3. gen-X

Gen-X employees generally share similar traits with millennials but what differentiates them distinctly is that Gen-Xers are more aware of a company’s financial health. Companies that are financially healthy are perceived to have the ability to invest more in their people, which could potentially translate into higher pay, larger bonuses and more exposure and training opportunities.

Therefore, it is important to consistently build and communicate your employer brand - one that your potential candidates want to buy into and be a part of, even after you have employed them.

It is critical to acknowledge that the employer brand is not an off the shelf, one-size-fits-all strategy. It is how your employer brand develops over time based on your company’s goals and vision, and how it measures up against your competitors.

why it is important to invest in employer branding?

Our 2019 white paper about employee experience mentioned that organisations that excel in customer experience have 1.5 times more engaged employees than organisations that don’t. Happy employees are said to be 31% more productive than unhappy ones, resulting in 37% higher sales - not to mention all the health and well-being benefits that come with higher levels of job satisfaction.

When employees feel that they are at their highest productivity and doing things with people they respect, companies benefit. Corporate goals are achieved faster and better with satisfied, motivated and engaged employees. Staff turnover and absenteeism will be significantly reduced, which in turn lower work disruption and costs.

The secret is to see your employer brand as an always-on strategy rather than a short-term initiative. I encourage companies to always put aside resources on employer branding every year because good employer branding can generate long-term cost savings, build employee loyalty and reduce turnover.

how do you get started with employer branding?

As Virgin’s CEO, Sir Richard Branson said, “Put your staff first, customers second and shareholders third.”

This statement is a game changer in present-day organisational theory. Based on it, here are my three recommendations on how companies can attract new generations of talent and prioritise employee experience.

1. treat your employees like your customers

A majority of companies prioritise customers over their employees. A customer feedback is often looked into within 24 hours, whereas employees’ feedback are sometimes not even collected or followed up on. Companies need to place their people first, so that employees feel supported by the company that they work for. After all, your people are the first human touchpoint for your customers. Many studies have shown a strong correlation between engaged employees and happy customers - which more often than not translates to higher profitability.

Instead of reinventing the wheel which would require brand new strategies and additional resources, HR teams can collaborate with marketing teams to adapt customer engagement tactics to increase influence on talent.

2. invest in your employees’ well-being

If you truly believe people are your biggest asset, then the resources that you put into attracting, retaining and engaging your people should at least be equivalent to what you invest in your customers.

If you take an employee-first approach towards your human capital strategies, employees would start to gain positive experiences at work.

While novel perks such as a well-stocked pantry and sleeping pods may attract a larger candidate pool, a positive employee experience is the reason why the best people want to keep working for you. Eventually, what your own employees say about you will speak louder than these office perks.

3. employer branding needs some patience and a long-term strategy

Understanding employer branding is a long-term strategy and an uphill battle to fight as returns are hardly immediate. You need to be persistent and consistent about strengthening and communicating your employer brand to your potential, existing and past employees. Your employer branding initiatives need to reflect the fast pace of change that we can observe in the job market, and complacency can be a killer.

resources on employer branding available for download

For a more thorough look at employer branding, download a free copy of our recent Randstad Employer Brand Research 2019 Malaysia report or our latest white paper, Employee Experience: the first step in the customer journey.

If finding exceptional talent to drive success is a key challenge for your business, register a vacancy with us and we will be happy to help.

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