We know, we know – you really don’t want to think about 2024 just yet. But come the new year you’ll thank us. We’ve taken a sneaky peak into the future and share things to bear in mind when creating your employer brand content.
We are heading into our eighth year (yes, really) in helping employers tell their stories. This article is based on what we continue to learn from working with you – our friends in employer branding and talent acquisition – as well as picking up on those trends and news articles that shape our sector.
Trend #1: Meeting expectations in culture and wellbeing
Whether it’s the influence of Gen Z, the changing expectations we have from work or the growing recognition that we all need to look after ourselves – all of it meets in one place. The culture of the organisations we work for. Talk to candidates and they’ll ask about your culture, or they’ll ask their friends who already work for you. And they’ll be listening very carefully to what they hear.
Research supports this. Glassdoor found that more than three-quarters of applicants (77%) would consider a company’s culture before applying for a job, and well over half (56%) felt company culture is more important than salary when it comes to job satisfaction. Based on our own experiences, we only see these percentages going up next year. What’s more, Gen Z have no problem with calling out anything they don’t like about places they work. Highly creative and vocal, many TikTok accounts don’t hold back in exposing what they see as flaws in culture, approaches to wellbeing and lack of support for mental health issues. But Gen Z can lift perceptions too – when they create authentic content and share success stories which can be a powerful boost to an employer brand.
We think next year will bring an even greater emphasis on creating and sharing stories about positive, authentic and engaging workplaces. And, with burnout now something we are all aware of, employees will be looking for evidence of commitments to wellbeing in employer brand content. For further ideas on communicating culture, read our little article How to reflect your culture through your employer brand.
Trend #2: Leadership engagement with the employer brand
With the growing attention given to the messages contained in the employer brand, the more it has risen as a strategic issue. Once the domain of HR, we rarely work on an employer branding project that doesn’t also involve marketing. And that’s fine with us. It reflects just how important employer branding has become. But why stop at HR and marketing when the C-suite can get involved too – and that’s happening a lot more.
It’s simple. If you can’t attract, recruit and retain the talent you need, good luck with achieving your long-term strategic plans. Leaders have the power to energise a business so people want to stay. This isn’t lost on CEOs. In the UK, Sir Richard Branson is synonymous with his brand of leadership and people-centric culture being a pull to recruitment and retention.
We think 2024 presents an opportunity for the employer brand to be even more influenced by the involvement and support of leaders. This brings opportunity for leadership focused content but also comes with a warning. They have the power to be a strong advocate of the employer brand, but authenticity is key to any leadership involvement in employer brand messaging. Whether that is positive or negative depends on the behaviours those leaders display, what they say and where. Your CEO might want to be on your TikTok channel – but if they try a little bit too hard to be ‘down with kids’ it’ll show!
Trend #3: Employees as employer brand advocates
As well as leaders’ interest and involvement with the employer brand, your employees will have a growing and valuable voice too. LinkedIn Talent Solutions shared some interesting research, that on average, your employees have a network 10 times larger than those following your organisation. What’s more, that companies with high numbers of employees sharing quality content are 58% more likely to attract talent. And it’s no surprise to see that, more than they trust brands, employees really trust fellow employees.
So, there’s no stronger case for engaging them in sharing their experiences of working for you. We see two trends for 2024. Realising the importance given to organisational culture, employers will develop more employee based and story driven content. Careers websites will go further down this route, putting their people at the centre of every aspect of their careers website.
Candidates want real insight, and they’ll want it from those people they can relate to. To make this a success, we also see employers becoming more invested in helping their employees to share their employer stories. This will give them the confidence to become advocates and support consistency in messaging.
Trend #4: Whole people employees
We all have a life outside of work and 2024 will see greater expectation on employers to embrace this. What started with greater flexibility in work patterns has empowered employees to ask for more support in balancing work and life. Employees want to be seen as more than employees. They are whole people with outside lives and interests to manage and expect their employers to recognise this.
We are still in challenging economic times with interest rates set to continue at current rates for most of 2024. Organisations that look at employees beyond their immediate roles, acknowledging both the need to work more than one job and to support their financial wellbeing, will be in a better place to attract and retain talent. It’ll the stories of real employees enjoying the flexibility and acceptance of bringing their whole selves to work that will convey this best.
Trend #5: Making friends with AI
It wouldn’t be an article about future predictions without mentioning AI. Are we a leading authority on the topic? No. But can anyone claim to know what the future holds from a phenomenon that develops by the minute? Again, probably not. But what we can say is AI is here, it’s being used in recruitment processes, and this means the writing will be on the wall for anyone who doesn’t want to embrace it. Just as anyone who understands Google Analytics has the valuable skills to interpret what is happening with your careers website and candidate journey, AI is going to be one of the top skill sets in demand.
In terms of content, remember that we are telling the stories of real people and that’s not something AI is going to be able to replace. If you want to reflect what your people say and like about working for you, it has to come from them. AI isn’t going to add any humanness or warmth that they don’t already have. But, if you do your own interviewing and transcription, you’ll know it can take up a lot of time. We use AI powered transcription services to greatly reduce the time spent and with very good accuracy. You can also use generative AI to enhance the sound of your interviews, remove background noise and improve pictures.
If there is one constant through every trend, it’s that whatever you say – and whoever says it, your employer brand content needs to be as authentic and human as possible for it to achieve the engagement that will see it shared. This has always been the case, but the demand and appetite for it is perhaps stronger than ever. As for AI – in the words of the great Noddy Holder, “Look to the future, it’s only just begun…” er, don’t we always hear that around this time of year?
Need a little help?
If you feel that you’d like some help, support or even a little chat around your careers website or aspect of your employer brand and talent attraction strategy just drop us a line. After all, much of our best work has started with a cup of tea and a Zoom call.