That Little Agency https://www.thatlittleagency.co.uk Tue, 14 Jul 2020 11:00:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.1 Public sector employer branding. It’s time to be that employer of choice https://www.thatlittleagency.co.uk/public-sector-employer-branding-its-time-to-be-that-employer-of-choice/ Mon, 13 Jul 2020 19:53:24 +0000 https://www.thatlittleagency.co.uk/?p=6114 The public sector has always offered more in terms of career opportunities than it gave itself credit for. Think of a role – and you can be sure that there’s...

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The public sector has always offered more in terms of career opportunities than it gave itself credit for. Think of a role – and you can be sure that there’s a public sector version offering more responsibility, more flexibility and a better work-life balance than the private sector. And yet it’s often seen as the less exciting choice – a grossly unfair label. But could that simply be down to a poor employer brand?

The problem has been a lack of belief from the public sector itself. For too long it has lived in the shadows of the private sector and the perception that somehow, it’s just not as attractive or desirable. We know differently. We’ve worked with a number of public sector organisations – including local authorities, universities, NHS Trusts and the police. Each one has had a great story to tell. We think it’s time other public sector employers felt the same way.

For very obvious reasons, our public services have been in the spotlight these past few months and have enjoyed a huge wave of public respect. It takes a crisis to show how much we all depend on them. In fact, we couldn’t live without them. But, it’s not only this new found level of respect, there are a number of reasons why we think now is the time for the public sector to stand up and say ‘we are a great place to come and work’. Here’s why.

A sense of purpose and meaning

Even before the outbreak of COVID-19 and lockdown, evidence showed a movement away from financial reward to a need for purpose in the roles that we do. Recruiters have noticed a shift away from interview questions like ‘what are the pay and benefits’ to ‘what does the business do to support the community’, ‘how does the work benefit others’ and ‘how does this role make a difference’?

Public sector organisations are ideally placed to meet the change from reward to purpose. They always have been. What other work could so positively impact the lives others? Where else can you actively take part in your community than in a public sector role? As people search for more meaning in their lives and work, the public sector can justifiably offer roles with clear purpose. This is a very powerful employer proposition, particularly now.

People want more flexibility in their lives

The impact of COVID-19 on the way we want to work has been huge. In the UK, views of remote based jobs were 2.5x higher on LinkedIn in June compared to March and applications for these roles increased by 189%.

The public sector has long been recognised as a flexible employer. It’s one of the differentiators that appeal to those who couldn’t fit their lives around the conventional 9-5. It’s good for diversity too as it attracts the talent that wouldn’t normally apply for full-time roles especially those that can’t physically be in the office.

But does the public sector risk losing its flexible working advantage? A growing list of businesses are adding their weight to working from home and offering more flexible working arrangements. These include Facebook, Royal Bank of Scotland and Google to name a few.

The public sector is still recruiting

The news about job losses has been grim and is only likely to get worse. The end of the furloughing scheme is set to coincide with a big economic downturn as the damage COVID-19 has caused to the economy takes effect. Not surprisingly, according to Personnel Today, employers in most sectors report a sharp drop in their intentions to hire. The third quarter of 2020 has an overall net employment outlook score of -12%. At the same time, the public sector is expecting to boost its workforce by 2%.

The fact that the public sector is one of the few sectors still recruiting makes it an attractive proposition. But, it does create a new challenge. In the new world of work, the public sector may find itself facing a new competitor for talent – other public sector organisations. They can’t all sing from the same hymn sheet. The challenge is how to position them as different from each other, finding that point of difference and communicating their particular combination of purpose and culture.

The public sector is free from reputational COVID-19 damage

There’s no doubt that this difficult time has created complex challenges for organisations in the way they have managed their people. Some have responded well. Others, mentioning no names, haven’t and they are already paying the price in reputational damage on social media. The public sector hasn’t suffered any negative publicity and can hold its head high. Quite the reverse has happened, benefitting from widely felt respect and gratitude.

So, what does the public sector need to do to build its employer brand?

Let’s take it that you agree with us and feel there’s never been a better time to emphasise the many benefits of working in the public sector. It’s time to think about building on this. To better tell the employer story, to articulate the unique opportunities that are available and change the way that people see the public sector as an employer. The first stage is about a change in mindset.

Stop thinking like a public sector employer

Or at least stop thinking like a public sector employer used to think. That an employer brand is something for the private sector and not for them. That people know all about them anyway because they’ve been around for years. They may well – and it’ll almost certainly be an outdated view – one that sees the local council or police force as the ‘safe bet’, a convenient flexible option. It’s time to think like a destination employer. One that is proud of the extent of opportunity they offer and confident in its sense of purpose.

Define your true employer proposition

Sure, the public sector has long offered flexible working. It’s been one of the main differentiators from the private sector and often a card to play to compete against higher salaries. However, everyone is now jumping on the flexibility bus. Far better to focus on the meaningful work done by our councils, police and other public bodies. What will make candidates want to achieve that sense of purpose at one public sector employer ahead of another?

Another opportunity could be to focus on the sheer size and scale of some of the budgets managed by the public sector. For accountants, lawyers and engineers – the opportunities to work on projects of a scale they’d not get access to in the private sector mean a fast track to earlier responsibility. Being able to identify what sets these opportunities apart creates the basis for some powerful recruitment messages.

Focus on the candidate experience

Public sector careers haven’t always enjoyed the best presentation. From lacklustre recruitment adverts to equally uninspiring careers sites, the public sector seemed adept at perpetuating the misconception that their roles, indeed their entire culture, lagged behind the private sector. We’ve noticed a real desire to change this. Working with clients like Leicester City Council, Derbyshire Constabulary and Manchester Metropolitan University, each has wanted to build a careers website that put the candidate experience centre stage.

For example, Leicester City Council wanted to deliver a website to engage a wide audience of job seekers – from social worker to solicitor; traffic manager to traffic enforcement officer; teacher to technologist. A site where all content is available within a single click and uses social media as a way of articulating their culture. When we met them, it was clear that the council’s people are their very best advocates, so they are placed at the centre of every aspect of the website. They feature on every page, blog or job and in every piece of video.

Take a look at Leicester City Council’s careers website.

Align workforce planning with the employer brand

The public sector excels at workforce planning. Most large organisations have a team covering the needs of the future workforce, developing a plan for who they need and by when. But, a plan is only beneficial when it leads to capturing that planned for talent. Aligning workforce planning data with the development of the employer brand will allow the public sector to give focus to particular groups where talent will be critical and in short supply. As such, an employer brand can become a significant support in attracting the talent needed to satisfy the workforce plan.

Conclusion

The pandemic has shifted opinion towards the many positive aspects of working in the public sector. This presents an opportunity that shouldn’t be wasted. The opportunity to shape how the next generation perceive working in the public sector at a time when our services are riding high in respect. More and more people are searching for meaning to their future careers. The public sector offers an opportunity to give back, coupled with stability and flexible working. This is surely the time for the public sector to tell its employment story and shine.

Need a little extra help?

If you are thinking of developing your employer brand, we’ve produced a handy 10 point checklist that will give you the structure to manage the project. You can read that here: Building your employer brand – a 10 point checklist.

If you feel that your careers website is looking a little tired, you might want our free website audit. To get your free copy, simply click on the link below and complete the request form. We’ll review your website against our key criteria and within 48 hours we’ll pass you back our findings. We think that you’ll find the results of the audit really very interesting.

Request your free-of-charge careers website audit

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What makes compelling content for your careers website? https://www.thatlittleagency.co.uk/what-makes-compelling-content-for-your-careers-website/ Thu, 18 Jun 2020 17:15:41 +0000 https://www.thatlittleagency.co.uk/?p=6094 Our previous blog covered what makes a good careers website. It was well packed too – so much so that we had to leave the topic of content out. We...

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Our previous blog covered what makes a good careers website. It was well packed too – so much so that we had to leave the topic of content out. We felt it deserved a whole blog all to itself. A careers website is all about attracting and converting your candidates – or at least inviting them in to get to know you a little better. So, your content matters – from the opening strong headline to the information about the organisation, your culture and what your existing employees think. And don’t forget that your visitors are probably job seekers – so a well written job advert helps too.

If you are planning your next careers website or want to re-fresh the content on your existing one – this is for you. We are going to walk you through the things that make great and compelling content. We’ll stop by some of our own sites along the way. So, let’s get into it.

A strong employer brand

OK, this isn’t exactly ‘content’ – but it influences all the content on your careers site. Which means a poor one won’t exactly help keep a candidate on your site – if they’ve even been there.

Having an employer brand isn’t optional. You have one whether you like it or not. As long as there’s employees with an opinion, there’s an employer brand. It’s based on their thoughts, feelings, perceptions of you as an employer – good and bad. So, to build your brand (and then be able to create credible content) you have to get beneath the surface and find out what people really think – and preferably like.

Find the good bits, manage the negatives. Create a brand that your ideal candidates want to buy into and your existing people love. They are a big part of your content – they can’t rave about working for you if your brand sucks.

A strong headline

So, your employer brand is working well. Candidates have heard good things. Your site has good visibility and has been setup with good SEO. It’s all come together and your ideal candidate has arrived at your site. They’ll be curious, wanting to find out more. That’s where a strong opening headline really helps.

Why? Because you’ve only have a few seconds to engage them once they’ve got there. The first thing they’ll see is almost certainly going to be your headline. But what does a good one read like?

Here are a number of headlines from sites we’ve produced. Some are quite succinct and dynamic single lines, others are a short statement that gives an insight into the culture and what it’s like to work there.

Telegraph Media Group: You make the story
Derbyshire Constabulary: Shaping the future. Making a difference. Doing the right thing
Pinsent Masons: Take the law into your own hands
Toolstation: Together, we’ll get the job done
Hastings Direct: Clearly Hastings Direct

Often the headline emerges from the creative process as the employer brand develops. However, if you want your candidate to be motivated to move beyond the headline – that headline has work to do.

Your mission, values and cause

Your headline has piqued their curiosity – they want to know more. High on the list will be the reasons why they would want to work for you – instead of somewhere else. You’ll answer this through your Employer Proposition. This defines the key attributes that you would like people to associate with you as a potential employer. A big part of this (and really important to candidates) are your values and what you set out to achieve as an organisation. Will they want to be a part of that?

Again, like your employer brand, your proposition will influence your content. You can’t be passionate about your values and how everyone is behind your purpose if you don’t know what it is. You can’t ask employees to write a blog or show their enthusiasm in a video if what you do (and the values that drive your organisation) aren’t clear. Video? Did we just mention video?

Video

Video is now a major part of most careers sites and we rarely launch a site without one. The goal of a good recruitment video is to show potential candidates what it’s like to work for your company. It’s where an organisation, their people and their employer brand are brought to life. You need a recruitment video as part of your content strategy. What’s more, research by CareerBuilder in 2018 found that employers received a 34% greater application rate when they added a video to the job postings on their sites.

Our video for Telegraph Media Group is just 1 minute 11 seconds but manages to both show their purpose in today’s constantly changing landscape as well as reinforcing the ‘you make the story’ recruitment message. Our film for Manchester Metropolitan University is over 5 minutes long and offers a deeper dive into their organisation and the roles they offer.

If you are thinking of producing a video, you’ll find plenty of tips in our article ‘A little guide to producing a compelling employer branding film‘. And the good news is that you don’t need complex editing equipment and expensive software. Thanks to smartphones which have increasingly high quality video cameras, video should not beyond any organisation with even the smallest budgets.

Add a blog

The case for video is strong, but there are still many people who like to read a blog to written by those actually working for you. In every organisation there will be a talented writer. Find them and use them – their voice will be authentic and is likely to resonate with similar people with the same values. Given that you’ve done a good job in recruiting people who engage with your values and purpose, a blog about what it’s like to work for you should attract more of the same.

We built a blog into our careers website for Telegraph Media Group. To see how much a blog article brings the organisation and its opportunities to life, read this by Jade Clapham who is doing an Events Apprenticeship at The Telegraph. A blog is also a good way to show Google that you are adding fresh content that it can find and index. It’s good for your SEO and that will boost your career site in search rankings which will attract more potential candidates. You see, all of this clever content stuff works together.

Diversity and inclusion content

“We’re committed to our people”. Every organisation should be, most will say they are but how many actually demonstrate it? One of our own clients wanted to show that they did – which why we’ve built a comprehensive diversity and inclusion page into the recently relaunched careers site for Derbyshire Constabulary.

Using original photography, it creates an authentic view of a diverse organisation, covering their plans for cultural change and how they plan to build a positive and supportive workforce. A particularly strong feature of their diversity and inclusion page is a carousel of the support networks available to their staff.

Well written job ads

If you’ve done all of the above, you’ve got an engaged candidate on your careers website. They’ve watched your video, read your blog, got a good idea of your values and feel you are an organisation they’d feel comfortable working for. This should be the moment of glory when they become an applicant. It should be, but it often isn’t.

The problem often lies in the job advert itself. A poorly written effort consisting of cut and paste from the job description, bullet points and absolutely nothing about why they might want to apply. You almost had them too. So, we’ll finish with one of the most obvious ‘need to get right’ parts of a careers site – the jobs themselves. That’s why we’ve written this helpful little piece on the topic. ‘A little guide to writing a successful job advert’.

How does your content shape up?

We’ve covered what makes compelling content in a good careers website. We hope that’s been helpful – but what about yours? To help you gauge whether your content matches up to the expectations of the modern job seeker we have developed the Careers Website Audit. The audit will benchmark your careers website against best practice in site content – and a whole lot more. We also look at design, structure, functionality, and candidate experience.

To get a free copy of your Careers Website Audit, simply click on the link below and complete the request form. We’ll review your website against our key criteria and within 24-48 hours we’ll pass you back our findings. We think that you’ll find the results of the audit really very interesting.

Request your free-of-charge careers website audit

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What does being ‘a great place to work’ actually mean? https://www.thatlittleagency.co.uk/what-does-being-a-great-place-to-work-really-mean/ Sat, 02 May 2020 12:02:12 +0000 https://www.thatlittleagency.co.uk/?p=6055 … and, even more, is it still relevant? Everyone has had to manage their work in different ways these past few weeks – and new opinions are forming by the...

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… and, even more, is it still relevant?

Everyone has had to manage their work in different ways these past few weeks – and new opinions are forming by the day. Just as organisations are noticing how their people have responded, employees have an opportunity to re-assess their relationship with their employers. Did it feel like a great place to work beforehand? How do they feel now?

The longer we remain away from work in the physical sense, is the concept of ‘a great place to work’ really going to be relevant? Instead, should we really be talking about a great way to work? Should we have been all along? After all, its actions that really count, regardless of where we are based.

While ‘work’ as we know it has fundamentally changed due to COVID-19, all the key ingredients that make up a great place to work haven’t gone away. What will differ is how employers deliver them – and that’s already starting to happen.

So, what makes an organisation a great place to work?

Every organisation likes to think it’s a great place to come and work, or they should at least aspire to being one. But the experience is a very individual thing and will vary person to person. However, there are some core characteristics that really have to be there.

Trust and transparency

The Great Place to Work website – who run the awards of the same name – base them on a combination of auditing trust and culture. Certainly without trust – which goes both ways – you can’t have a great workplace.

Employees must trust the people they work for while leadership and line managers need to trust their people. And, there’s nothing like a crisis to test levels of trust. Leaders need to be upfront and transparent about the challenges ahead. People need to feel they can be trusted to work on their own initiative to resolve problems and do the right thing. Like any relationship, without trust there’s very little to hold it together.

The organisations that can offer a workstyle that’s built on trust – which is even harder when teams aren’t physically present, will be delivering the most important aspect of a great place (or way) to work. And it needs to be felt at all levels. The more transparent you are, the more trust your employees will have in you.

A supportive culture

Mass remote working isn’t easy to manage. Being away from the usual place of work and colleagues can cause isolation, anxiety, mistrust and a loss of a feeling of purpose. It’s during difficult times that the true nature of an organisation’s culture is seen for what it is. We aren’t talking about free beers on a Friday, a funky sleeping pod and a pool table. None of that will matter if the culture of an organisation falls flat.

A new ‘new normal’ will emerge, there will be less physical presence in the traditional workplace but the culture still needs to offer mutual support, promote trust, recognise and reward effort and give meaning to work. In particular, some employees will have mental health issues arising from enforced changes, furloughing and possibly bereavement. A supportive culture will reassure them that it’s OK not to be OK.

A great culture needs to be adaptable when the going gets tough but stay true to the values people expect. Getting there requires a long-term view that puts people over short-term business results, delivered with a style of communication that is frequent and authentic.

Recognising a life outside of work

If there’s one thing that organisations surely appreciate more in the current climate – it’s that we all have lives outside of work and, due to home working, the lines are increasingly blurred. If organisations weren’t flexible before, and haven’t adapted, they are going to find creating a culture that’s considered ‘great’ an uphill task.

Today’s great place to work offers flexibility and benefits that help employees focus on family when it matters. Extended parental leave programmes for both mothers and fathers, unlimited holidays and flexible home working all recognise that in order to work productively and be engaged, life outside of work has to be respected.

We think that the past few weeks will give many more people a taste for home working and organisations should expect conversations about keeping that going to start soon. After all, if employees can demonstrate they they’ve been able to work just as effectively at home, it makes the argument to be present in the office hard to defend. Which brings us to…

A farewell to presenteeism?

It’s been a tough few weeks for micro-managers who thrive on seeing their people hard at work in their offices. The longer we are absent from the physical ‘place’ of work and maintain productivity – the less we actually need to be present. And that spells the end for presenteeism – which can’t come soon enough.

Organisations that want to be a great place to work will embrace the notion that it’s not where you work, it’s what you produce. So, farewell to long commutes that serve no purpose than satisfying outdated working practices and hello to flexibility, giving away control and really demonstrating trust.

In conclusion

Our last post, Protecting your employer brand, argued that how organisations treat their colleagues during this challenging time will define their employer brand for decades. It stands to reason that, in order to create an attractive employer brand, the organisation needs to be considered a great place to work. The two are inter-linked.

What it means to be a great place to work, measured by trust, transparency, a supportive culture and greater flexibility hasn’t changed – but the focus is now more about the way that’s delivered, more than where it tales place.

For some organisations, the foundation blocks have been in place from the beginning and they’ve adapted well. For others, recent events have accelerated the need to engage and develop their people in ways they might not have thought of even a few weeks ago. For them, creating a great place (or way) to work is also a great opportunity.

Need a little extra help?

We are That Little Agency, we help employers tell their story and we do this by developing award-winning employer brands and careers websites. All designed to help you deliver measurable results. If you feel that you’d like some help, support or even a little chat around selecting your ATS, defining your employer value proposition, developing your employer brand or any aspect of your talent attraction strategy just drop us a line. After all, much of our best work has started with a cup of tea and a biscuit.

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Protecting your employer brand. It’s in your hands https://www.thatlittleagency.co.uk/protecting-your-employer-brand-is-in-your-hands/ Wed, 01 Apr 2020 19:15:01 +0000 https://www.thatlittleagency.co.uk/?p=5962 Yesterday I posted a simple and stark message. How you treat your colleagues during this challenging time will define your brand for decades. Value your people. Keep them safe. Help...

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Yesterday I posted a simple and stark message. How you treat your colleagues during this challenging time will define your brand for decades. Value your people. Keep them safe. Help them help you. Now, more than ever, your employer brand is your brand. That’s because the way employers are treating their staff is generating huge coverage – both good and bad. All the more reason why protecting your employer brand should be high on your agenda.

So, this blog is about how you can look after your employer brand while all this craziness is going on. How you can ensure your brand sits positively in the eyes of employees and candidates and how, with a little adjustment, you can still recruit and engage new hires and work remotely.

But it all starts with recognising that … where there’s an employer brand, there’s an opinion.

What are your employees saying about you?

Over the years people have asked me for a definition for the employer brand. There are many but I always go back to the simplest. It’s what your employees say about you when you’re not in the room. Which means, in the current climate, there are some interesting conversations going on.

The good – and the walk of shame

Now, I won’t mention any names but there have been some high profile examples shared on social media. Some employers can hold their heads high, doing all they can to support their staff, calling in daily, recognising that many colleagues have their kids at home, looking out for mental health and wellbeing.

Others are proving that even in a crisis, profit comes before people. Staff are ‘let go’, unpaid or encouraged to look for work elsewhere. Some employers are still insisting their people commute, putting their health and those of others at risk. These short term actions will have long term impact, and not in a positive way.

So, here’s what we would do to help both you, and your employer brand, emerge from this in the best possible shape.

Protecting your employer brand – our tips

Remain positive. We will get through this. This is a testing time but people are often more resilient than we might think. As a manager or recruiter, you may have concerns about remote working but employees and candidates may be far more comfortable than you think. Your organisation might be new to this, but most people know others who already successfully work from home. Many examples are already emerging showing organisations not only adapting, but thriving on it.

Remain true to your values. Many of the negative stories emerging about the way some organisations are treating staff focus on saying one thing – but doing another. You can’t say how much you value your people if you then decide to not pay them or ask them to find jobs elsewhere – but expect them to re-apply when it suits. At all times values have to be lived and breathed by the organisation and its management to really make that connection with employees. They need to be authentic and experienced beyond joining – it’s probably the most significant contributor to the employer brand having lasting credibility.

Keep a sense of team and purpose. Your organisation isn’t just a place to work, for many it’s a social hub where colleagues are friends – and do important work together. The feeling of team is a key part of the employer brand and needs to be supported the longer working from home is a part of our lives. You have team socials at work – so do the same online. Who says Zoom calls have to be all about projects? Get to know each other a little more. Anything verbal and visual that builds morale will help.

Create engaging and authentic content. With your offices closed and no opportunity to visit your workplace as part of the recruitment process, what you put on your careers website and social media will be more important than ever. Does it reflect your culture and values, would it help your candidate learn a little more about you?

So, make the content authentic so that it gives the best and honest view of what it’s like to work for you. And update it to include some of your working from home experiences. You can record and then edit Zoom calls into a video – you can’t get more authentic than that. You’ll be starting new hires as remote workers – at least for the short term. Show what it feels like to experience that with you.

Manage your remote candidate experience. It’s very likely you’ve already started to interview more by video. How is that going? In reality many of the processes are the same, it’s the just the technology that adds in a few additional steps. So it pays to plan for these as the interview has to work doubly hard. Your candidate will have checked you out beforehand for sure, so this is the part where they are judging you as much as you are them.

Making sure the tech works is a must and, just as you’d want to put them at ease in person, do the same with a video interview. Get on the call first so they are not staring at a blank screen, be mindful of your background, try to find a quiet place and, as you’ll be starting them as remote workers – develop some questions that will test their remote working skills. Finally, make sure your post interview communications are prompt and clear. This will help manage expectations and keep the candidate engaged in the process.

Recognise effort. Finally, recognition is always welcome at the best of times. So, it can go a long way in helping to cope with working from home where it’s easy to feel like effort is not being seen. Take the time to acknowledge and call – people will be giving 110% in very challenging conditions. This will help reinforce your values and the engagement and motivation coming from it will be well worth it.

In conclusion

As the organisations that found themselves trending on social media for all the wrong reasons will know – it doesn’t take long to damage an employer brand. When the dust settles, it will be those employers who did the most for their people who will have the best reputations, the strongest employer brand. It will be those that, despite the huge challenge, found a way to look after their people and do the right thing.

For further information

If you feel that you’d like some help, support or even a little chat around protecting your employer proposition or any aspect of your talent attraction strategy just drop me a line. After all, much of our best work has started with a cup of tea and a biscuit.

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Understanding your employer proposition. A practical approach https://www.thatlittleagency.co.uk/employer-proposition-a-practical-approach/ Tue, 03 Mar 2020 09:43:07 +0000 https://www.thatlittleagency.co.uk/?p=5911 On Thursday, 27th February a gathering of Bristol’s HR community met in the shadow of the world’s fastest ever passenger jet, Concorde. Buckled up, we went through a supersonic session...

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On Thursday, 27th February a gathering of Bristol’s HR community met in the shadow of the world’s fastest ever passenger jet, Concorde. Buckled up, we went through a supersonic session around employer proposition and employer branding. I was in the pilot’s seat for this one, as the guest of H2R Selection … OK, that’s enough, I’ve run out of Concorde references. But I will share the main points we covered on the day. Please put your seats into the upright position and prepare for take-off. Sorry.

Employer brand – you already have one

I’ve said this many times before and this talk was the prefect place to make the point again. As an employer, whether you know it or not – and whether you like it or not – you already have an employer brand. In essence this is what your employees and possibly your candidates already think about you. It’s what they might say if you weren’t in the room. And in most instances, they’ll have different views.

So where does employer proposition fit in?

This is the answer to the question ‘why would somebody work here as opposed to somewhere else?’ But, and I am going to prick an industry taboo here, there’s no such thing as a single employer proposition! Mainly because:

  • It will differ from one role to another
  • It will differ from one department to another
  • It will differ from one location to another
  • It will differ from one generation to another
  • It is certainly different to what your leadership teams thinks it is.
  • You can’t create or destroy it.

The good news is that, despite all of this – you can influence it.

And why should you care?

Because more and more of your candidates will be doing their research before making the decision to apply. They’ll be looking on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed – keen to read what others (not you!) are saying about what it’s like to work for you.

They’ll want to know about your culture and values. They’ll look for insight on you and they’ll make their own decisions whether or not you are a good cultural fit.

What’s more, research from LinkedIn found that a strong employer brand could result in a 43% decrease in cost per hire, a 28% decrease in employee turnover – and a 50% decrease in the time to hire. That sounds pretty compelling to me.

So, what are the building blocks of a strong employer proposition?

I’m glad you asked. There are three characteristics at the heart of this:

  • It’s authentic – what you are saying is believable and credible
  • It’s attractive – what you are offering is what your target audience wants and needs
  • It’s distinctive – you message is different from your competition for talent.

But, where do you start?

That Little Agency helps clients understand their employer value proposition (EVP) with a six step process, these are the questions you’ll need to ask yourself. Here is a very brief summary:

Step 1 – Benchmark: Where are we right now? What are our competitors up to? How do we stack up?
Step 2 – Preparation: What do we want to get out of this exercise? What does success look like? Who are we talking to? Your target audiences may well be very different employee categories.
Step 3 – Ask … and listen: What do people want? Do they think we can offer it? Can we really offer what they are looking for? This stage is all about gaining insight.
Step 4 – Distill this insight: You are looking for a set of universal truths, these will be – your employer personality, your employer proposition pillars and, maybe, you’ll get this into a single statement.
Step 5 – Map these against your key employment groups: What messages resonate with which audiences? What should we be saying?
Step 6 – Develop your employer identity: Ask yourself whether you align with you corporate identity or not, launch it internally first, embrace your people, make a statement.

Practical examples

Throughout the presentation I shared examples of two very different EVPs – for retailer Toolstation and the Telegraph Media Group. I am happy to share the slides if you would like to email me directly. mark@thatlittleagency.co.uk

We thought we’d share a few comments from the room

Some of the points made in the wrap up included:

“Salary is becoming far less important to candidates, they are increasingly asking about our values as a company and what we are doing to give something back.”

“You can get a lot right internally with your hiring process – but it all gets let down with a poorly written recruitment advert. There should be less ‘you will do this’ in copy, and more emphasis on ‘what you could achieve’ in the advert.”

“LinkedIn is making a great push into the recruitment market. It’s always been good for sourcing candidates, now it wants to be the job board of choice.”

“It’s well worth getting all the information a candidate might need on the careers website before they find you. You only get one chance to make a good impression so make sure all the content is there.”

“Understanding your employer proposition is continuous project. Build into any work milestones for re-evaluating, re-validating and re-launchin as your business evolves.”

“Understand your target audience and don’t expect all job types to fit into your culture. For example, if you want to recruit developers, don’t expect them to wear suits – you need to compromise or they just won’t join you.”

“The whole recruitment process starts internally with your culture. Get this wrong and successful recruitment will always be a challenge.”

“It’s a good idea to keep in touch with people who have left you at the six month point. Such ‘Boomerang employees’ won’t yet be fully engaged with their new employer, that’s your ideal point to try and re-hire.”

Big thanks to

Richard Freke and Bryonie Madine from H2R Selection for inviting me to speak and to our fantastic audience for their interest and many great contributions.

For further information

If you feel that you’d like some help, support or even a little chat around developing your employer proposition or any aspect of your talent attraction strategy just drop me a line. After all, much of our best work has started with a cup of tea and a biscuit.

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What makes a good careers website? https://www.thatlittleagency.co.uk/what-makes-a-good-careers-website/ Sun, 01 Mar 2020 10:24:26 +0000 https://www.thatlittleagency.co.uk/?p=6075 I am doing a few webinars over the next few weeks and one that I’ve been asked to do a number of times is around the subject of careers websites....

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I am doing a few webinars over the next few weeks and one that I’ve been asked to do a number of times is around the subject of careers websites. But what makes a good careers website? There has also been a few interesting discussion threads on some of the groups and forums around what a careers website’s primary function should be – information, conversion or just looking cool.

Whatever it is your careers website has to deliver a lot. It’s often a candidate’s first contact with your employer brand and acts as a portal into your live vacancies. But candidates aren’t only interested finding a job, they want an insight into what it is actually like to work for you. If they can’t get that from your careers website, they’ll go elsewhere.

No pressure then. You need a careers website that delivers an engaging candidate experience and gets them over the line with an application, so what makes a really good one? As I mentioned above opinion doies vary. But really it’s a mixture of everything – a great process, compelling content and making an emotional connection. So I thought I’d walk you through some of the features we’ve built into some of our recent sites. We’ll even offer a critique of your current site – more of that later.

Make sure it can be found

You want your careers website to be found and 85% of job searches start from a search engine. How the site is built and structured behind-the-scenes can have a big impact on your position in the search engine results. Google like sites that offer a good user experience. The better (and faster) that is, the higher the search result rankings. Cumbersome coding or too many large images that make it slow to load may drive visitors away and negatively impact site ranking. Your site should be designed to be highly visible to the search engines with all pages developed to be successfully indexed. And that includes the jobs pages which should be programmed specifically to be indexed by ‘Google for Jobs’.

To index your careers site, your site map needs to be submitted via Google Search Console. We’ve gone in to a lot more detail about indexing and SEO in our article ‘Making sure Google can find your careers website and vacancies.’

While on the topic of visibility, it’s always a bugbear of ours when we see a careers site that’s hard to find on an organisation’s main site. Many candidates will first arrive at your corporate site so don’t make it hard to find the careers pages by hiding the link at the bottom of the page. Clear navigation to your careers page from the main corporate site helps attract candidates. Obvious really.

Make it uniquely yours

Your people are often your very best advocates, and they’ll be who your candidates will want to hear from and believe. They can help deliver key content and offer a real insight into the culture. That’s why they should be placed at the centre of every aspect of your careers site and feature on every page, blog or job and in every piece of video.

To deliver an authentic look and feel, an investment in bespoke photography can really bring a site to life. All our sites feature real employees – the days of stock photography ‘people shots’ are long gone. Our careers website for Derbyshire Constabulary features the work of photographer Peter Corcoran (www.petercorcoran.com) and we think they perfectly show their people taking pride in their work. We’ve used the same approach for Toolstation where using their own people not only adds warmth and humour to the site, it was really popular internally and ensured a lot of buy-in for the site.

Make sure users can find what they’re looking for

On average, 80% of visitors come to a careers website to search for jobs. So, why not make it easy for them with the search function front and centre? That’s what we did for Derbyshire Constabulary and Phoenix Group. This ensures that the right people quickly find the right jobs.

For The Telegraph we introduced a search bar to the homepage that not only searches the live jobs on the website, but also directs the user towards pages and blog articles that it thinks will also be of interest to them. Since adding this feature we have seen a significant increase in traffic towards content pages and blog articles from the homepage.

Capture candidates at the point where they’re ready to apply

Google gives preference in searches to sites that are mobile compatible. It’s also a lot easier for your candidates to engage with and find what they want. If your careers site isn’t mobile friendly, you’ll be losing candidates full stop. If you have an existing site that isn’t mobile friendly, a new careers site is the time to change things. Here’s something we wrote on mobile applications – it’ll give you some pointers.

Here’s a practical example. We know that 49% of visits to the Phoenix Group careers website are on a mobile device, so we worked closely with their ATS supplier, Sage People, to offer visitors the opportunity to apply via their smartphone. And for those who don’t want to, they can bookmark the vacancy that interests them and apply later via a desktop.

Embrace new technology (where appropriate)

For the Manchester Metropolitan University we worked with eArcu who developed a chatbot to help potential candidates with their questions around the University, the roles available, Manchester itself and any hints, tips or advice on making an application. It offers job seekers another way of interacting with the Manchester Metropolitan University recruitment team and has been phenomenally popular.

Understand what accessibility really means

It isn’t all about devices and screen readers. Accessibility is about ensuring that everyone can understand your website. The Telegraph careers website makes use of ReciteMe, a Cloud-based web accessibility solution which allows the website user to customise their website in a way that works best for them. This innovative tool makes the website not only accessible but useable by all. The Telegraph believe that everyone should have the opportunity to be able to access their jobs and the ‘Accessibility toolbar’ supports job seekers who are neurodiverse, visually impaired or speak English as a second language.

Make the candidate experience as seamless as possible

We know and have worked with many of the popular Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) suppliers – such as Oleeo, Workable, Sage, ePloy, SAP, Lumesse and Workday – and we’ve even helped clients choose the right one for their needs. Most organisations have them so, we think it’s a good idea to integrate them into careers sites.

Integration often means you can control the formatting of the job details, pull relevant jobs into relevant sections of your website and ensure that the jobs can be better indexed by Google, Indeed and the other search engines. It helps towards a better response and it improves the candidate experience. Often candidates don’t even know they’ve left your site and gone to your ATS, integration can be that smooth.

If you are thinking about revising your ATS system, you’ll find this a good read … ‘How to plan and spec your Applicant Tracking System.’

Make your content as compelling as possible

If you’ve got the far and are thinking ‘why hasn’t he mentioned content?’ then the follow-up blog to this will reveal all. Yes, of course content matters – from the opening strong headline to the information about the organisation, culture and, increasingly, the use of video. And a well written job advert helps too. There’s a lot to cover – that’s why we thought we’d give it the attention it needs in an article all of its own.

How do you think you shape up?

We’ve covered all the main points that make up a good careers website. We hope that’s been helpful – but what about yours? To help you gauge whether your careers website matches up to the expectations of the modern job seeker we have developed the Careers Website Audit. The audit will benchmark your careers website against best practice in site design, structure, functionality, content and candidate experience.

To get a free copy of your Careers Website Audit, simply click on the link below and complete the request form. We’ll review your website against our key criteria and within 24-48 hours we’ll pass you back our findings. We think that you’ll find the results of the audit really very interesting.

Request your free-of-charge careers website audit

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