How To Stand Out as a Great Employer – guest blog by Empowered People HR

What does it mean to be a great employer and why should it matter?

Something you may not know, Brighton is home to 3 times as many digital/tech companies than anywhere else in the UK. Aren’t we lucky! Not only do we live by the sea, in our vibrant city, we’re also surrounded by talented people – but we’re all fighting for the same talent. It’s not an employer’s world anymore, so there just isn’t enough talent. When you advertise for a developer these days you’ll be lucky to get 10 decent applications. That’s one of the reasons why Talent2018 and other events are so great to attract talented people to our city and to showcase the wonderful businesses and entrepreneurs we have here. So what else can we do to make sure people want to work for us?

Over the last few years, there has been a definite shift in attitude in company culture. Now we’re focussed much more on employee experience. It’s challenging for businesses to stay relevant in the employee world, especially in an SME where you’re focussed so much on running the day to day. But you can’t ignore the importance of employee experience.

In this Forbes article you can learn some easy takeaways from the big players and adapt to your environment.

For some companies they fail to see their employees as they do their customers – why is that? If you were putting together a marketing plan then you’d be looking at your customer personas and start to target your content around each of those. Well, we need to do the same for our employees. That doesn’t mean that you must have more processes, more benefits or more of anything, it just means you need to be open to the idea that one size doesn’t fit all and tailor your employee experiences to think about what will attract, develop, motivate and help them achieve their goals.

The physical environment (including flexibility), the tools & technologies we use and health & wellbeing is at the forefront in pioneering employee experience models. So, it’s not just about cake Friday or table football – think about what’s going to help them be the best person and employee for you. Companies need to be the enabler to helping their employees achieve more.

You could start simply by implementing a coaching style of managing your staff. Throw away annual appraisals and processes that don’t make a difference. Start by talking to your employees – engage with them. Either through regular feedback vehicles like 121’s or surveys or just day to day chats when making a cuppa. Understand what they want and what you can do to help them. Yes, of course you have a profit to make and sales targets to hit but if you want your employees to really understand and connect with that and achieve great things for your business then you need to take time to do that.

Today above anything, people want autonomy and flexibility – they don’t want to clock in and out. And Flexibility has to mean just that – not just flexibility when it suits the business – give and take. Be transparent and be clear of what it is expected of them and the conversations should focus on realising that. Manage the outcome and trust your employees to deliver what they need to. We’re all adults; we know what we need to do.

During my time as HR Director I won many awards, Investors in People Gold, Sunday Times Top 100 Best Places to Work, Great Place to Work, European Great Place to Work, Working Mums awards. All fantastic achievements but it was the attitude from the top that made winning those awards possible. Everyone knew the importance of employee experience. It wasn’t an add-on to the strategy, it sat very firmly at the heart of it.

Hanna Smith, Empowered People HR

Hanna Smith, Empowered People HR

And it’s not just employee experience you have to consider. Candidate experience is just as crucial and arguably they’ll be times when it is more important. Don’t be one of those employers when they receive an application it goes into the ether and the candidate never hears from you again. They’ve taken the time to research your company, research the role, spent hours putting together their CV covering letter/portfolio – you need to show them the courtesy that you’ve considered their application properly and feedback in a timely fashion. Give feedback to them, help them. Because if you don’t, you bet your bottom dollar they’ll remember your company as rude and didn’t care about their employees – is that what you would want your customers to think? No? All of this is your reputation. Reputation as a market leader and reputation as a great employer – it all has an impact on the bottom line!

Some quick wins…..

  • Revamp your careers page, make it inviting, use clean language that’s going to entice people to work for you. Use a tool like textio to see who you’re more likely to appeal to – you’ll be surprised!
  • Social media. Talk about how great you are, what you’re doing, what it’s like to work for you. Showcase your achievements and accolades or your employee engagement wins.
  • Run a quick employee survey to find out what’s working, what’s not and put a plan together to address the concerns. Be transparent and commit to creating a great place to work.
  • Invest in your people managers. Don’t think about this when there’s a problem, think about it now. People leave managers not companies, so they say – don’t risk losing great talent through poor or mediocre management.

If you want to talk about this in more detail or need help putting a plan together then contact Hanna at Empowered People HR.


Remember, if you or your business is looking for advice on finding, training and retaining talent, we’re only a phone call (01273 692 888) or email away!

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