There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic, which paused the world in 2020, is still affecting a lot of people. Apart from the adjustments that workers were forced to make, a large number of professionals either lost their jobs or were asked to work from home.
The workers that were made to work from home during the pandemic actually consider themselves the lucky ones, because not only did they enjoy the many benefits and flexibility that comes with remote work, they also got to keep their regular jobs, which saved them the stress of job hunting during and after the pandemic.
But even with all the upsides of the seemingly changing work models, companies are still experiencing a serious employee exodus. People are leaving their jobs for other opportunities, and even though many people are out there trying to get jobs, the employee turnover is badly affecting businesses and organisations. What could be the reason for this?
The mass employee exodus after COVID-19 lockdown explained
It is clear that employees are eagerly departing their workplaces, particularly after the COVID-19 lockdown ended.
In fact, it has become so much of a trend, it has been termed The Great Resignation of 2022. And if companies don’t adjust the way they operate in terms of work organisation and employee compensation, the issue of employee turnover will surely get worse.
At the peak of the pandemic when many workers were forced to continue giving the same output while working from home, it initially looked impossible to achieve. But after a few weeks, workers started getting comfortable with the flexibility.
They learned how to work optimally and be very productive, while enjoying the advantage of not having to commute to work every morning. Another perk of working from home is the way it bonds family members together — especially those who previously had limited time together because of tight work schedules.
Of course, everyone knew that the pandemic would be over at some point, and they would be asked to get back to working at the office, so it is safe to say that the mass exodus of employees since the lockdown of 2020, is partly due to the comfort that remote working presented to people.
After experiencing such a comfortable way to work, many people did not want to return to the office anymore, so they started looking for jobs that would allow them to continue working from home, even after the pandemic.
From another angle, the pandemic gave people time to think. As they spent more quality time with their loved ones, they started to realise the importance of pursuing a more meaningful career. So those who were working in companies that did not make them feel happy, started developing plans to leave.
Additionally, many people harbour desires to start a business of their own. With the pandemic not only giving them time to ponder but also presenting the threat of mortality, many of these individuals started recognising that they should actively start pursuing their unrealised ambitions. So many people resigned from their employment to launch a startup.
As an employer, these factors affect you. Because when your best hands start leaving, you will spend a lot of money recruiting and training new workers in a way that ensures your business will keep flowing as if no one had left.
People may accept a job for financial reasons, but if they realise that they are earning less than they should be, or if their future plans do not align with the values of your company, they are going to leave you for a competitor in the industry or a new venture altogether.
We are seeing the extreme effects of this in industries such as aviation, where thousands of employees were stood down during the lockdown phase of the pandemic. As they were forced to seek alternative employment, the industry is now experiencing unprecedented staff shortages. The world is travelling again, but there are insufficient staff available to address the deficit. Sydney Airport alone has 5000 job vacancies right now.
In order to keep employees loyal to your company, you need to give them a healthy work-life balance as well as juicy remunerations — and this is where the employee value proposition comes in.
How to define and implement an employee value proposition (EVP)
As far as employee loyalty goes, EVP has proven to be a powerful force that keeps workers happy and makes them feel seen and appreciated by employers. Most of the people who quit their jobs would not have done so if they were properly rewarded for performance, and that is what EVP is all about.
In simple terms, an employee value proposition refers to the benefits and rewards that workers get in exchange for their time, skills, and overall performance at the workplace. Many employers think that EVP starts and ends with paying the agreed salary amount, so it comes as a surprise that their workers are leaving them for competitors within the same industry.
If you really want to keep your workers in your firm, start by reminding yourself that the payment of salary alone will not make your company stand out. Everyone else is doing that, so why should your best hands stay with you when there are so many options to choose from?
Attract the best applicants and retain them by first of all, defining what the employee value proposition will be in your company. Invest in it, and finally, implement it in the best way possible.
To offer EVP, your workers need to experience non-monetary rewards in addition to their salary. And your purpose as an employer should be to attract, motivate, and retain top talent, deliver shareholding value, and even inspire your subscribers or customers to be more loyal.
Since businesses are different, you need to plan your EVP, and implement it with respect to all the strengths of your unique business model. Take a look at the core parts of a perfect employee value proposition:
- The financial aspect
This is the most obvious part of an EVP, because most people want to be rewarded with money for their skills — that’s why they got the job in the first place. It takes first position, not because it includes the basic salary, but because the fastest way to lose good employees is if they can’t make good money and live comfortably while working for you.
Your employees expect an agreed amount to be paid to them after certain intervals. But as a good employer that knows the importance of EVP, you can go further by adding special bonuses, as well as other financial incentives such as paid professional training.
- Employee benefits
Outside the financial rewards, employment benefits are another important component of an EVP. Since every other employer will pay for their skills with money, your business should give them something more — and it should be something unique to your company.
To make things even more exciting, let the employment benefits of each promotion be better than the previous one. This is going to make your workers more motivated, because they will have something juicy to look forward to; something they know their colleagues in other firms will not get at the same level. These benefits may include perks like health insurance, a gym membership, birthday packages, take home cars, paid time off, retirement benefits, company-funded vacations, wardrobe allowance, and so much more.
- Career growth
This is one of the best ways to attract the best hands into your firm, especially young, brilliant minds.
While most applicants look for the jobs that offer great salary and employment benefits, the recruits that genuinely want to grow with a company are those who want to develop their careers.
Of course, money is important to them. But they also want something that will not be short-lived because they have a plan for their career development, just the way you have a plan for your business growth.
So, to implement a good EVP, career development should be one of the main things to offer your employees. Here are some of the questions that the most brilliant youngsters look for answers to when studying your employment offer:
“If I start working here now, how long before I get my first promotion?
How long will it take before I can become a manager?
Will I be able to work here and also further my education?
What certification does this firm require before they promote me?”
These are the questions your career development opportunities need to answer as you plan your EVP. And if you want to give these youngsters the best career development opportunities and keep them loyal to your firm, train them.
Technical and leadership training will attract many of them. But promotion, sponsored courses, mentorship, and the opportunity to work on high-class projects will keep them feeling appreciated, so they will stay loyal.
- A positive working environment
Your EVP must include a work environment that is sane and positive. No one will stay in your company if the workplace is toxic.
Even if you add all the perks in the world, your best and even mid-level workers will leave at the slightest opportunity if their mental health is compromised. So you must prioritise work-life balance for every employee.
There should be a good communication system and people should be able to work in a flexible manner. Encourage team bonding, beautify the office, and don’t forget to show your workers that you care about their wellbeing.
- Your company values and culture
The way things are done in your company reflects the culture and values. To attract job applicants, your business should not be known to have a tight working culture.
Being too strict will only put people under pressure and they will become toxic to their subordinates as they grow. So plan your EVP in such a way that things are done in a friendly, yet productive manner.
Encourage people to ask questions freely, and organise departmental hangouts to encourage team building.
What role does remote work have to play in all of this?
If there is anything to learn from the pandemic, it’s that remote working or the work from home model is here to stay. This is why you should plan a working environment that will be a hybrid of both office resumption and remote working.
Try as much as possible to not enforce a strict 9 to 5 working model, at least not every single day of the week. If you don’t embrace remote work, people will leave your company!
Why is it important to position yourself as an employer of choice?
Companies no longer enjoy all the power when it comes to employment. Opportunities abound, and the best candidates are the ones vetting the companies they will apply to.
So, positioning your business as the best place for the most skilled people to work is a great way to attract these rare talents, and will also make you stand out among competitor firms in your industry.
Most hiring managers are struggling to develop strategies that will drive the best job seekers to their companies. But what they fail to realise is that millenials and Gen Z workers are looking for a workplace that is as meaningful as it is challenging.
They demand more accountability and just want to have easier access to leaders of the business. Whether you like it or not, it is just how the world has become.
With this in mind, positioning yourself as an employer of choice means that amidst all the other policies of your employer brand, you also need to include social responsibility, a clear path to development, diversity, and respect for the LGBTQ community.
The new generation of smart workers look for these things, so when they find it in your company, they will choose you over the other firms.
How marketing can assist with recruitment
Marketing can be very helpful with recruitment because the same tactics that are used to attract and retain customers, can also be used to do the same for employees. On your company website, having a career page is a very good way to attract talent. It will tell them what past and current employees love about your workplace, and also promote open positions.
Videos are also useful, and you can maximise them the same way testimonial videos are used. Have your happiest workers make a video, saying what they love most about working in the company. Post it on social media on special occasions — like workers day.
This will show people what your company has to offer, and more job seekers or even gainfully employed people who are seeking better opportunities will reach out to your hiring managers. Get in touch with your marketing team and discuss the other ways that their strategies can merge with recruitment. You will see the impressive results. Just ensure that everything you put out there is 100% true.
Ethical marketing is very important, so you should never lie or whitewash the truth about your employer brand. If you do, any success you get from such strategies will be temporary, and you will also give your business a poor reputation.
Demand generation strategies such as webinars, and lead generation strategies also work very well for recruitment. When the recruiter and the marketing manager of your company team up, powerful things can happen. A hybrid team of recruitment marketing is born and together, you can attract and retain the best talent in the market.
At the core of recruitment marketing is your EVP. You lead with values, educate and inspire before you ask someone to consider a job at your organisation. It is important to nurture future employees as you would in marketing before a purchase. That way, you build rapport with your prospective employee and let them ‘buy’ into your company culture and company values first, then into the role they are filling.
In recruitment marketing it is all about creating a position applicant journey during which a potential candidate will go through 6 stages: Awareness, Consideration, Interest, Application, Selection and Hire. In each stage, you try to spark interest, address pain points of the candidate and persuade that your company is an employer of choice. Understanding and mapping out the applicant’s journey is an essential role of the recruitment marketing team so they can understand how best to create touchpoints for the candidate. These touchpoints can be digital, e.g. your website, webinar or social media channels as well as offline, e.g. conference, word of mouth. Each touchpoint plays a vital part in the effort to convert the candidate into a potential applicant. The way you communicate at each stage is crucial for the success of your recruitment marketing campaign. Your EVP will be the North Star of these communication pieces.
The applicant journey doesn’t have to end when a candidate submits their application. You can continue to nurture your relationships with candidates even if they aren’t successful, by sending timely updates and thanking them for their time. This will show that you value their interest in your company and might encourage them to apply again in the future. You could also send them additional information about your company, such as study materials, to help them learn more about what you do. By staying in touch with candidates, you can create a positive experience for them even if they don’t get the job, which can only help improve your employer brand.
The candidate journey is the process that a job seeker goes through from the moment they learn about a company to the moment they accept or decline a job offer. The candidate experience is the sum of all the interactions that a job seeker has with a company throughout the recruiting process. Both the candidate journey and the candidate experience are about people and relationships. The goal is to create a positive, memorable experience that will encourage candidates to continue doing business with the company. Employee value propositions (EVP’s) play an important role in this process. By clearly articulating what the company has to offer, EVP’s help to attract and retain top talent. As such, they should be an integral part of any candidate journey or experience strategy.