In 2022, candidate attraction is all about answering the big questions

It’s no secret that attracting and retaining talent requires more than a competitive salary and benefits package. Now more than ever, the necessity for businesses to be both transparent and vocal about moral and ethical subjects is essential to getting ahead in the war for talent.

In the wake of COVID-19, we’ve undergone a huge change in societal expectations and perceptions. Individuals have become increasingly aware of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues linked to the products and brands they interact with on a daily basis.  The pandemic has caused everyone to pause and reflect on what’s really important – and their place of work is certainly not immune from these concerns.

We’ve seen seismic events around race, equality, health and the environment reported in the news globally, which has caused employees to turn their attention to their employers and ask the biggest questions there are:

  • Why do we exist?
  • How are we positively impacting humanity?
  • How are we limiting our impact on the environment?
  • How are we impacting our direct communities and enabling them to flourish?
  • How are we enabling equal treatment and opportunities for all?

And more importantly – how does this all link to my own values system and sense of purpose?

Present and future generations of talent, particularly in STEM, will put much more stock into these factors than we’ve previously seen, and employers need to be ready to answer these questions. Failure to adequately address these problems may cause businesses to lose talent, both new and existing. And in some cases, this may cause significant reputational damage.

So how can businesses engage with these  important questions?

 

Authenticity is key

Employers can’t just give lip service to these ethical and moral concerns.

To attract and retain the best talent in 2022 and beyond, businesses need to demonstrate an authentic response. With our lives – both personally and professionally – being scrutinised online, it is all too easy to tell when a business is making false claims about the work they are doing within the community.

It serves nobody to provide false or unrealistic answers to these questions. Doing so can, in some cases, do more damage than not answering at all.

The key to answering these questions is transparency:

 Don’t be afraid be honest if you have ongoing work to do when it comes to answering some of these questions. People don’t expect perfect answers to these questions – but they do expect a genuine desire to tackle them and proof of action.

Set realistic goals – you likely cannot make your company carbon neutral within the next two weeks, so don’t promise that you can.

 

Ensure your brand identity is reflective of your company views

Branding is no longer singularly about aesthetic identity – in 2022, your brand identity is a way of distinguishing yourself from the competitors and clarifying what it is you offer that makes you the better - or in this case kinder and fairer - choice. Your brand is built to be a true representation of who you are as a business, and how you wish to be perceived.

“A good definition of brand strategy is the considered intent for the positive role a company wants to play in the lives of the people it serves and the communities around it.” — Neil Parker

The crux of public perception is that it builds up whether the business actively engages with it or not.

The result can be a good or bad reputation. Understanding and adapting your branding only means that you take the reins and control what that reputation looks like. Therefore, we recommend that your branding and messaging, as well as internal and external communications, are all consistent with your company values.

 

Embed your wider purpose into your company culture

In 2021, a survey by renowned tech network Built In showed nearly 50% of active job seekers cited company culture as a driving factor when looking for work. A strong company culture attracts better talent and, more importantly, has a greater chance of retaining that talent. When people have a sense of belonging within an organisation, or feel that the company they are working for is aligned to their own personal values, they're more likely to stick around for the long term.

If you cannot identify a cohesive company culture, it may be worth undertaking a culture audit. Essentially, this is a way to evaluate current company culture, see what is missing, and establish a plan to make corrections.

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