A happy and satisfied employee is likely to be more productive and stay for the long run in an organisation. Is it the culture of putting employees first, the employer’s goodwill or material benefits that become the decisive force for new and existing talent to choose their ideal employer? The Randstad Employer Brand Research (REBR) 2023 reveals, work-life balance, good reputation followed by attractive salary benefits are the top three most important drivers for employees while choosing an employer.
To explore the growing relevance of employer branding in the current disruptive business landscape and how organisations can implement it more effectively to attract, engage and retain talent, People Matters spoke to Viswanath PS, MD & CEO, Randstad India. Below are excerpts from the exclusive interview.
How do you see the growing adoption of employer branding practices in the current disruptive business landscape? How can it be made more effective?
Vishy: While the physical workplace may be evolving, employer branding remains crucial. As per the Randstad’s Global Talent Trends Report 2023, 65% of human capital leaders in India say talent experience has become more important to their organisation during the past 12 months. Organisations which continue to invest in building a strong and compelling employer brand will thrive in the current disruptive business landscape and continue to attract top talent, especially in competitive industries.
This is even more relevant for a country like ours where 65% of the population is under the age of 35. Gen Z and millennials have unique expectations and preferences when it comes to employers. They look for purpose and value, work-life balance, career development and growth opportunities, diversity and inclusion, technology & innovation, transparent communication, employee well-being. It will thus become imperative for employers to turn their focus on employer branding in the future. As per the Global Talent Trends Report 2023 by Randstad, 92% of Indian employers have said that their organisations are more focused on talent experience than ever before.
To make employer branding more effective, organisations should clearly define and communicate the organisation's values, culture, and employee value proposition (EVP). Encourage employees to become brand ambassadors, improve candidate experience, leverage technology and social media platforms to effectively reach and engage with potential candidates, invest in employee development and well-being. Last but not the least, keep a pulse on employee sentiments to identify areas of improvement.
Do you think EVP drivers like work-life balance, strong reputation, and attractive salary & benefits can contribute towards a business’ ROI?
Vishy: Yes, absolutely these certainly can contribute towards a business's ROI in several ways. In fact, the findings of Randstad Employer Brand Research (REBR) 2023 reveals, work-life balance, good reputation followed by attractive salary benefits are the top three most important drivers for employees while choosing an employer.
A favourable EVP can positively impact employee engagement, motivation, productivity and contribute to employee retention. When employees feel that their work-life balance is supported, they are more likely to be engaged and focused during work hours. A strong reputation can foster a sense of pride and loyalty among employees, leading to increased commitment to the organisation's goals. Additionally, attractive salary and benefits can contribute to job satisfaction and overall well-being, which can translate into higher productivity levels. Also, organisations that offer a desirable EVP are more likely to attract top talent, which can again lead to increased productivity, innovation, and overall business success. There is strong data to back this up, 92% of the of the employers in India believe the goal of their talent strategy is to have a measurable impact on business performance as per the Randstad’s Global Talent Trends Report 2023. Studies suggest, companies with high employee engagement are 21% more profitable.
At Randstad we believe in a “People First” approach and our organisational growth over the past few years speaks volumes about the benefits of a strong employer brand. We are GPTW certified 4 times in a row and this year we have been ranked among the top 100 best places to work in India.
The REBR findings reflect the state of employee-employer relations along with trends that impact the overall job market. According to the REBR Report for 2023, 43% of the respondents intend to switch employers in the next 6 months, while 30% have already switched in the last 6 months, a trend that has seen a steady increase from 2022. Do you think building and investing in employer branding could help tackle this issue?
Vishy: Absolutely, building and investing in employer branding can play a significant role in tackling attrition within an organisation. However, one must note that attrition can be a result of a whole lot of factors and there is positive as well as negative attrition. As an HR services company, we strike a fine balance in enabling retention of good talent, as much as we are conscious of connecting potential talent to the best employers.
A brand that makes the right investments on employer branding both externally and internally in a systematic, strategic way - engaging with existing and potential talent well in advance and is equally focused on external perception as much as internal employee experience - is always ahead of the curve on finding the right talent pool.
Actively seeking feedback from employees to understand their needs, expectations, and areas for improvement and acting upon them as a part of the employer branding initiative demonstrates a commitment to employee satisfaction and engagement. This can address concerns and challenges that may contribute to attrition by offering competitive compensation and benefits packages, growth opportunities, and a supportive work culture. Recognising and rewarding employee contributions further strengthens employee loyalty and reduces the likelihood of attrition. Employer branding efforts can also focus on showcasing opportunities for professional development and career growth within the organisation which would encourage employees to stay with the company to advance their careers, reducing attrition.
Satisfied employees are more likely to stay with the company rather than seeking opportunities elsewhere.
What, according to you, makes REBR stand out among many such surveys on employer branding?
Vishy: What makes the Randstad Employer Brand Research (REBR) stand out is that it is the most comprehensive and in-depth research which is completely independent, involving 163,000 respondents across 32 countries, covering almost 75% of the global economy.
The research captures the perceptions of the general audience, aged 18-64. Unlike similar surveys, HR officers, staff or experts are not invited to take part in the survey, which guarantees maximum objectivity. The respondents are asked to identify the companies they recognise and then indicate whether or not they would like to work for them. In the next step, they evaluate the attractiveness of each of the selected companies based on several key EVP drivers such as work-life balance, salary & benefits, career progression, diversity & inclusion etc. The winner of the Randstad Award in each country is based on how appealing the selected company is as a potential employer to the talent community.
As a matter of fact, REBR has been offering valuable insights into trends shaping the job market, evolving priorities of the talent community, and cues for employers to redefine their relationship with the workforce for the last 23 years globally and 13 years in India.
To cite some more insights, women surveyed by REBR placed greater value on non-material benefits (86%) than men (79%). What do you attribute this trend majorly to?
Vishy: I would attribute this trend to a combination of societal, cultural, and individual factors.
Traditionally, gender roles have placed women as primary caregivers and responsible for managing household and family-related tasks. This continues to be the case even today in most households, if not all. It goes without saying, societal norms and cultural expectations also play a very important role in shaping individuals' values and priorities. As a result, women may place more value on non-material benefits that align with their role as caregivers and support their ability to balance work and family life.
How do you look at the future of employer branding as HR practitioners embrace the use of AI and predictive analytics?
Vishy: Artificial Intelligence and predictive analytics holds potential for more targeted, data-driven, and personalised strategies that align with the evolving needs and expectations of employees and talent. Needless to say, AI and predictive analytics will revolutionalize employer branding as HR practitioners increasingly embrace the same in the future.
HR leaders can leverage technology across all levels of the organisation - be it streamlining HR operations, enhancing talent management, improving learning and development, fostering employee engagement and collaboration, or promoting data-driven decision making - to stay relevant and build an enriching workplace.
AI and predictive analytics can help HR practitioners identify and target the most suitable candidates and facilitate personalised candidate experiences. AI-powered learning platforms can deliver personalised learning content based on employees' skill gaps and learning preferences. Generative AI tools can help monitor social media platforms to gather insights on what employees and candidates are saying about the organisation allowing HR leaders to identify trends, sentiments, and areas of improvement. AI-powered sentiment analysis tools can analyse online reviews, comments, and feedback to assess the sentiment around the employer brand enabling HR leaders to understand the perception of the organisation and take proactive steps to address any negative sentiment. By analysing HR data, predictive analytics can forecast workforce trends, identify flight risks, and anticipate skill gaps.
However, maintaining human connections and personalised interactions will continue to remain important for building trust and fostering genuine relationships with employees and talent even in the future. It will therefore be crucial to balance technological advancements with human touch and ethical considerations.
The Randstad Employer Brand Research (REBR) has become the gold standard in employer branding benchmark and gives in-depth insights on what is working for top employer brands in India and across the globe.