Attraction and Retention in the Post Pandemic World
While attraction and retention were important for organisations prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, post-pandemic it is even more crucial. Nothing is more revealing than recent Australian Bureau of Statistics (‘ABS’) job vacancy data.
High Job Vacancies
In May 2022, according to seasonally adjusted ABS figures, there were 480,100 job vacancies for private and public sectors, which is more than double the vacancies in February 2020 of 227,400.
While the data indicates an increase in job vacancies across all industries, the industries with the highest growth in job vacancies from February 2020 to May 2022 were:
- Arts and Recreation Services (259.9%)
- Accommodation and Food Services (252.4%) and
- Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services (204%).
It is interesting to note that these job vacancies are in industries with customer facing roles.
As of May 2022, the top three reasons for job vacancies based on proportions of businesses that reported at least one vacancy were replacement/resignations (80.4%), followed by increased workload (47%) and business expansion (27.8%). This order remained consistent from February 2020.
Do you have an EVP?
Given the problem filling vacant jobs, it is vital that organisations showcase their positive culture as part of an effective attraction and retention strategy. While attraction requires getting qualified and skilled candidates to view your organisation as a positive place to work, retention requires maintaining a working environment that supports current employees and addresses their various needs to enhance job satisfaction. The two are separate but related topics.
One place to start to address both attraction and retention issues is to have an Employee Value Proposition (‘EVP’). An EVP is a statement that communicates the organisation’s brand and typically focuses on three components being employee benefits, employee experience and employee development. In simple terms, it’s about what’s in it for them. Some organisations may not have an EVP and just focus on basic organisational and job relevant details when advertising vacancies. However, in the post COVID-19 pandemic world, an EVP is no longer something nice to have but a necessity.
A well written EVP will make clear to potential candidates and those already employed in the organisation what it offers in exchange for their time, dedication and skills.
An EVP should typically include:
- Organisational strengths – What makes your organisation different from the others? For example, your organisation may be a leader in a particular field;
- Compensation and Benefits – This can refer to a range of monetary and non-monetary benefits. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a greater focus on mental health issues, flexible work hours and work-life balance as well as the ability to work remotely where possible. An EVP may need to address these types of benefits to be competitive in the job market;
- Work Culture – Potential employees want to know whether there is a good working environment. Reference can be made to the leadership team, work social activities and the types of employees that work at the organisation;
- Organisational Culture – This will outline the organisation’s core values, goals and mission statement. Employees tend to want to contribute to something positive that is bigger than themselves;
- Career Development Initiatives – Employees are more attracted to organisations that have learning and growth opportunities. Employee training programs and mentorship opportunities are good ways to show an organisation’s commitment to these initiatives.
Communicate Your EVP
From an attraction perspective, your EVP can be communicated in a range of forums such as the organisation’s website particularly the careers page, job advertisements, job descriptions, Linked-In and other appropriate social media with testimonials from successful employees and when conducting job interviews.
Obviously, the terms of the EVP will vary depending on the communication forum, type of job advertised and the type of candidate sought to be employed. For example, if you wish to fill an entry level position, your EVP should highlight growth, career development and possibly course reimbursement. However, whatever the terms of the EVP it must not just be an aspirational document. The organisation needs to deliver on what it has represented, otherwise the whole exercise will be counter-productive.
From a retention perspective, relevant information concerning your EVP can be communicated to existing employees through various internal forums such as newsletters and organisational blogs. However, it is important to conduct employee surveys to ensure the organisation has an ongoing understanding of their wants and needs. This information can be obtained by asking a range of questions such as what makes the organisation unique, what are your favourite employment benefits, what support can be provided for career development and what do you enjoy most about working here? Exit interviews are also a good way to obtain feedback. This information will allow the organisation to assess whether the EVP communicated externally is appropriate or requires amendment.
It is also worth mentioning that an employee’s individual needs can change over time. What a candidate may have found appealing when recruited (for example, a company vehicle) may change over time (for example, family flexible hours of work). Therefore, it is important to be mindful of these changes for individual employees. Such information can be obtained through direct employee engagement such as performance appraisal meetings. Good retention strategies need to be focused on each employee’s individual circumstances.
Take home points
Attraction and retention strategies are important for any organisation to obtain suitable job candidates and retain talented employees. The current high number of job vacancies makes it essential for organisations to invest in this process and have an EVP in place. To do otherwise places the organisation in jeopardy of not filling vacant positions and hampering future growth.
Connect with us
If you would like to know more about attraction and retention strategies, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and a Mapien Workplace Strategist will be in touch within 24 hours. Mapien has assisted clients with the development of EVPs.