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Faced with the current labour shortage, employers are focusing more on working conditions to stand out and attract candidates. To do this, recruiters are putting an emphasis on the main advantages of the jobs they're offering, and on all of the benefits and perks that employees can receive.

The employer brand and employee value proposition (EVP) are becoming competitive assets in talent recruitment and retention across all sectors. In this article, we explore the reasons behind this new approach in the job market and the importance of working conditions in hiring and retaining staff, as well as some suggestions that can make all the difference.

Working conditions to enhance employer branding

The  Inaugural 2023 Hiring & Workplace Trends Report from Indeed & Glassdoor found, among other things, that the current labour shortage could drag on for years to come. As a result, working conditions, social benefits and perks, employee wellbeing, and diversity and inclusion are becoming important factors in attracting and retaining job seekers in a job market which is in complete turmoil.

A convincing employer brand means that job seekers and the wider public see your company as one that offers employees an attractive value proposition, pleasant working conditions and a great experience overall.

The importance of employee wellbeing

Studies have demonstrated a strong link between flexibility and job satisfaction. In fact, numerous company empirical experiments have all proven that work satisfaction is centred around multiple favourable circumstances. The physical environment, schedule, premises, status, pay, social benefits, and perks are essential elements. However, it is not enough to stop there. A sense of achievement, recognition from superiors and peers, individual progression, work suited to the employee's skills and personality, and independence and responsibility are also vital to professional wellbeing.

Benefits and perks are a deciding factor

With the baby boomers out, the millennials in, and the arrival of Gen Z on the horizon of the labour market, employers are having to take these new needs into account.

Millennials and Gen Z place greater importance on work-life balance, work environment, and mobility. What's more, they want their career to have meaning, and they want to feel like they are bringing something tangible to their jobs.

A recent study published by HEC Montreal looked at the benefits and perks listed on the websites of 99 reputable companies in relation to their employer brand*. The three main ones listed were:

  1. work environment (33%)
  2. diversity programs and policies (19%)
  3. benefits programs (18%)

When talking about the work environment, the employers in the study placed a particular emphasis on corporate culture, management values, and opportunities to get involved in the community: volunteering, social responsibility (33%), and sustainable development (21%).

Working conditions that employees value

Do the best job seekers prefer your competitors? Perhaps it's time to re-think your employer brand and your EVP. 65% of applicants say they withdrew from the hiring process due to an unattractive EVP. The working world is progressing at speed, and the status quo just isn't a viable option anymore.

Focusing on corporate culture

Millennials stay 2 times longer with companies that encourage diversity, inclusion, and belonging than with those who do not. Given that millennials will soon occupy an important place in the job market, it's no surprise that companies are directing their resources toward those efforts.

Unfortunately, a survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Express Employment Professionals found that fewer than 50% of companies in Canada have a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policy. 

On that note, Indeed has created this ebook on the importance of belonging to workplace wellbeing and employee retention.

Encourage a work-life balance

The pursuit of a balance between personal and professional life has gained traction in light of the recent changes following the pandemic. Lockdown, the Great Resignation, remote work, the importance of family, and people reassessing their lives have brought this issue back to the forefront of people's minds. Nearly half of job candidates would like to work for companies who prioritize a healthy work-life balance—a requirement that comes immediately after pay conditions.

Focus on employee wellbeing

In Canada, 47% of workers say they feel burnt out during the typical working day, compared to the global average of 39%. The problem is that burnt out employees are 2.6 times more likely to search for another job. What's more, professional burnout leads to absenteeism, decreased performance, and a toxic work environment.

Work happiness is important. Besides loyalty, staff happiness also has a sway on other key advantages for the company, such as:

  • better employee engagement
  • an increase in workforce productivity
  • better relationships with clients and between coworkers
  • greater profitability
  • enhanced employer branding

Support professional development and progression

According to a staff skills employer survey conducted by Statistics Canada in 2021, more than half of businesses (56.1%) said their employees do not have all the skills needed to do their job to the required level.

Business growth should therefore centre around HR training and development to develop the core skills and abilities that are essential to the organization.

A training and career progression plan which takes into account each employee's aspirations and potential also encourages staff engagement and mobilization.

Prove social responsibility

Clients increasingly want to do business with companies who are committed to a social cause. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is also a deciding factor in job seeker recruitment and retention. Organizations like Novae regularly rank the most responsible companies in Canada. CSR can be consolidated with strategies such as:

  • philanthropy
  • reducing your carbon footprint
  • sustainable development
  • community involvement
  • fair treatment of suppliers and partners
  • client and employee experience

Listen to your employees

EVP and employer brand are dynamic goals that are constantly evolving. Given their importance, it is essential to listen to your employees and regularly ask for their opinion on subjects that matter to them. Their responses and their happiness ratings can then inspire an action plan and suitable measures to prove that the company truly values its employees' happiness. Your employees will be quick to share their experiences with each other and online, be they good or bad.

In the new job market, working conditions have taken on a whole new meaning that goes beyond the basics. While those are still important, candidates and employees are demanding more and more from their employers. In the current labour market situation where supply exceeds demand, it is now crucial to rethink your employer brand and your EVP to attract and retain the best talent.

*Article in French