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Say you'll stay....why employee experience is fundamental to recruitment and retention

Leadership 13 May . min read

The latest unemployment figures are cold comfort to businesses up and down the country desperate for staff. In this tight labour market workers are in the driver’s seat, while employers wring their hands, wondering just how they are going to fill their vacancies and beat competitors to an ever-shrinking pool of talent.

Early on in the pandemic, Global HR expert Josh Bersin said that employee experience was the new frontline in the war for talent. The great resignation wave, and a reprioritising of health and wellbeing by workers after two years of disruption and uncertainty, mean employers are having to work that much harder to attract the talent they need and to keep it.

So, what is employee experience (EX), and should we care about it? EX encapsulates everything a worker encounters during their employment journey. It’s a summary or an expression of a business and its reputation as an employer. It’s so important that every leader should be prioritising EX as an essential and ongoing business strategy.

A strong employer (or EX) brand can be a tremendous competitive advantage. But it doesn’t happen by accident. You can only lift your EX by having a sound game plan. Failing to build EX leaves you vulnerable to competitors and a sliding reputation.

The employment journey starts a lot earlier than you think. How you advertise vacancies, communicate with candidates, and interview are all leading indicators of EX. Don’t wait until onboarding to think about it, your new hire and the unsuccessful candidates have already formed their opinions, and bad first impressions are notoriously difficult to shake.

Other strategies for the current market include being flexible, and that can manifest in many ways. Are you prepared to compromise on the skill set? Would you consider making the role part-time or job share? What’s your approach to hybrid working? Would you consider a candidate from another sector? Are you prepared to comprise on experience and coach to bridge the gap? Cast your net widely and keep an open mind.

Consider tweaking your job descriptions. Make sure they really sell your organisation and what makes you unique. Talk up not only remuneration, but benefits, culture, and community giving, today’s market calls for a different approach. Be willing to change it up and see what works.

Leverage your networks. Get your team on the job by asking them for help. Create a referral programme that rewards leads that result in new hires.

And just because an unsuccessful candidate didn’t make the cut this time, doesn’t mean that they won’t be a great fit for another role. Be sure to handle rejections with the utmost courtesy and professionalism. You never know when your paths may cross again.

It can be tough to hire great talent in a tight labour market. It’s more important than ever before to get the views of your team and involve them in the solutions. You’re stronger when you listen.

 

New Zealand State Sector Leaders: Navigating Through Disruption 2019-2021

If your people were asked to rate your organisation and leadership, how would it fare against others in the sector? Download our latest State Sector Leaders' Effectiveness insights paper to learn more about where the sector leaders are performing well and where there are opportunities to improve.

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Lisa Nairne

Marketing Communications Manager

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