Opinion: How to be the Company People Want to Work for - WorldHRDiary

October 23, 2018

Opinion: How to be the Company People Want to Work for

Author: Ryan Carroll, Country Manager, Randstad Malaysia

With the unemployment rate hovering around 4%, it’s no surprise that companies are once again competing for high performing talent who can leverage the strong economic conditions to maximise their profits.

This year, we saw companies engage in a ‘salary war’ to retain their people or poach experts from rival firms as a result of market growth. Good candidates may have received multiple offers from companies that promise them a higher salary, better employee benefits, or both. Companies are also seen to be offering employees fast-tracked promotions or higher bonuses to minimise turnover.

Ryan Carroll, Country Manager, Randstad Malaysia
According to the Randstad’s Employer Brand Research this year, financial remuneration still ranks highly for the Malaysian workforce. This indicates that there is a high chance that both passive and active job seekers will jump on a lucrative job offer once it presents itself.

Despite these efforts led by companies and according to our quarterly work mobility survey coined as ‘Workmonitor’, 48% of 400 people in Malaysia said that they had switched jobs in the last six months. Out of which, 43% decided to make the switch for better employment conditions and another 30% were ready to take up management positions.

This mobility trend shows that Malaysian employees seek more than just financial benefits and begs the question, “If people are not only chasing the money, what exactly are they looking for in an ideal employer?”

Your employees have a direct impact on your employer brand.

Employees show up at work every day, expecting and wanting to be productive and check tasks off their to-do lists. They want to work with managers who motivate and inspire them, interact with technology that can enable them to be more productive, and be recognised fairly for their work - in ways that go beyond just pay.

When their expectations are not met, employees will start to explore other job opportunities. They will also start to share their negative experience with their friends or even on their social media channels. If a number of your employees and alumni speak out about their discontent or of their negative experience with you, it is likely to cause irreparable damage to your employer brand and discourage good talent from working for you.

In a recent poll conducted by Betterteam.com, 50% of workers said they wouldn't work for a company with a bad reputation - even with a pay increase. This is a vicious cycle that all HR professionals either want to prevent or get out of, and the crux of the solution lies in the power of the employer brand.

How can you change the perception of your employer brand?

Companies with strong employer brands like PETRONAS or Shell usually have no problems attracting and retaining good talent, no matter how the economy is tracking. These companies have chosen to play the long game, by focussing their resources on building a powerful employer brand. They invest to better understand what motivates people to apply for a job with them, stay with them, or why their employees leave. They also seek find out what people are talking about them and how the business is perceived by the public.

The employee’s expectations of an employer constantly changes. As an employer, it is your responsibility to find out what are the changing expectations and motivations of your candidates and employees, so that you can develop an agile attraction and retention strategy that plays to your strengths. 

As a start, employers need to acknowledge that a high salary and bonus is not the only way to attract and retain good people. Essentially, employees want to have the opportunity to grow and develop, inside and outside of the workplace. They may lean on you to support them through learning and development programmes, progression opportunities and care for their well-being.

Most importantly, companies need to ensure that their staff realise the full value of these investments, since they typically don’t come cheap or happen overnight. This can be achieved through constant communication between the employer and the staff. Employees should also have a channel where they can share feedback with the management team - which is critical to help employers gain better visibility and perspective on what works and what doesn’t, as well as insights on how you can improve your policies and initiatives for a more engaged and productive workforce.

The key to a strong employer brand is your people.

When companies hire for a role, they are not just looking for specific technical skills and experience. Some of the most exceptional companies we work with are constantly seeking talent who have the potential to take the company to new heights - either by upskilling themselves or to be groomed for leadership positions.

When your people appreciate the investments that you have put into their career and well-being, they will start sharing their positive experiences with their friends and families. Ultimately, you should aim to convert every employee into your brand ambassador. Hearing how an employee feels about working for an employer carries significantly more weight than a polished corporate video. When candidates read positive reviews of your company online, they will be more inclined to apply for a job with you.

The 2017 Randstad Employer Brand Research backed this trend reporting that 52% of job seekers in Malaysia are influenced by the opinions of friends and family when they are evaluating the reputation of potential employers.

This further illustrates the far-reaching effects of an employer brand and the need for companies to continuously invest in their employees’ experience. Employers that take care of their people will be able to stand out from the competition and have an easier time attracting quality candidates without having to engage in a ‘salary war’.

With the employee’s experience in mind, the 'Enriching the Employee Experience' white paper explores what constitutes an experience and how companies can influence their workers’ attitudes and behaviours throughout their employment journey and beyond. When we look at the employee’s journey, we should focus our efforts on the key milestones that have the highest impact on the experience, starting from candidate attraction all the way through to them being alumni of the organisation. Each of these milestones is then further explored in three broad categories - cultural, physical and technological. How well companies perform in these three categories will determine how positive or negative the experience will be and the power of the employer brand to be the company people most want to work for.


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