In recruitment, we often focus on the job seeker and what they can do to increase their employability. While this is important - especially in the current job market- it’s just as important for companies to consider what values and attributes are attractive to job seekers. It’s often been said that a company is only as good as it’s best employees and regardless of whether a company is actively hiring, all companies want to attract, develop and retain the best talent so they can maintain high productivity and long-term growth.
It’s in the employer’s best interest to be aware what people look for when applying for roles, or even if not actively looking, the key attributes that make certain companies more aspirational to work for than others.
So, what are the top attributes people look for? Design & Build conducted a recent survey where one of the questions asked, was what was most important to them when looking at a potential employer. This question received the most responses of the entire survey and highlighted the importance workers place on both work-life balance and professional development initiatives promoted within an organisation.
Work-life balance received top billing within the survey, where 100% of those asked considered it the most important attribute when looking at potential companies. Work-life balance isn’t a new concept, having initially gained traction in the 80s when an increasing number of mothers began re-entering the workforce. However, it’s a concept that can be hard to execute in today’s digital landscape, especially with so many of us currently working from home. The Australian Government defines work-life balance as ‘achieving harmony between different aspects of your life, where benefits gained from one area can support and strengthen others.’ In relation to work, this could mean implementing flexible working hours so that employees can better balance family responsibilities, or having the choice to work remotely part of the week.
While work-life balance has obvious benefits for employees, employers can also benefit. Not only does implementing flexible work initiatives make a company more eligible to prospective talent but it can strengthen a company’s brand. Having a reputation as a company that values and promotes work-life balance can be a great differentiating factor and set a company apart from the competition. Additionally, implementing work life balance initiatives can be a cost-saving strategy. Computer company Dell were able to save roughly $12 million a year in real estate costs by consolidating and creating more flexible workstations.
So, what does work-life balance look like in 2020? Government media group Nextgov argue that a company’s focus should revolve around integration; being able to incorporate aspects of both professional and personal life, rather than making trade-offs in the quest for balance. While many Australian companies have adapted to working remotely amidst COVID 19, to ensure the work schedule doesn’t become all-consuming, companies can utilise the many teleconference and cloud-based platforms on offer. These tools make it easy for employees to connect remotely and stay on top of priorities. Work-life balance might also take the form of adjusting designated working hours or re-delegating workloads, in order to better accommodate those who now face greater family commitments like home-schooling or being primary caregivers.
After work-life balance, the attribute that people looked for in a new employer was opportunities for professional development, which received 91.38% of total votes from respondents. Open Colleges Australia defines professional development as ‘education, observation and mentoring that can help to enhance employees in a workplace’.
Ideally professional development is personalised for each employee, based on their job position and professional goals but broadly professional development can be put into two categories, informal training (seminars, on-the-job training, conferences, networking) and formal training (apprenticeships, graduate classes, secondments, mentorship programs).
Investing in an employee’s professional development can be highly beneficial for a company as it ensures they are fostering their talent and regularly developing their skill set. Not only does this lead to an increase in quality and efficiency of work for the company, but research shows it can increase a company’s retention rate. According to Culture Amp data – a globally leading employee feedback and analytics platform – 54% of immediate retention is associated with a company’s professional development incentives as they allow employees to continue their career trajectory and demonstrate that their work and potential is valued by their employer.
Furthermore, investing in a company’s learning and development provides a company with the unique opportunity to cultivate the next generation of leaders. By encouraging employees to undertake relevant informal and formal training like conferences and post graduate degrees, an organisation can help ensure their employees master the skills needed to progress within the company and gain more resonsibility, which in turn ensures the company has a direct input in shaping it’s future direction.
Ultimately, being able to meet the criteria of current and prospective employees as a company can have significant long-term benefits. Fostering initiatives like work-life balance, professional development and strong leadership - which as indicated by the Design and Build Survey are highly valued by job seekers – helps to ensure companies acquire the best talent and most importantly retain this talent.
If you’d like to hear more about the talent acquisition process and how fulfilling both active and prospective candidate requirements can result in long-term growth for your business, our consultants are on hand to offer support and advice. Reach out to us today for more information – firstname.lastname@example.org