Choice is the New Competition for Organizations

Today’s post comes to us from board member Sharlyn Lauby. a.k.a., The HR Bartender and president of ITM Group, Inc., a training company focused on developing programs to retain and engage talent in the workplace

It shouldn’t be a surprise that there’s been a shift to a candidate-driven job market. And organizations are feeling the impact. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) report titled “The New Talent Landscape”, 68 percent of HR professionals are experiencing difficulty recruiting candidates. This isn’t expected to go away anytime soon. The Washington Post reports that “2018’s Challenge: Too Many Jobs, Not Enough Workers”.
This scenario is exactly why employers need to focus on the candidate and employee experience. Because employees have choices. And similar to the customer experience, if a candidate or employee doesn’t like their experience with the organization, they will go elsewhere.
At this year’s KronosWorks conference, I had the chance to hear Stacey Kervin, SHRM-CP, HR Practice Lead, speak about how to design a winning employee experience. She spoke about how our expectations as consumers are influencing our expectations of employers.   So, it makes sense to use the principles behind a winning customer experience to drive the design of a winning employee experience.
Let me add that, when organizations are talking about defining their employee experience, it’s important not lose sight of candidates. There are opportunities in the hiring process to show candidates what the employee experience will be like. And one of the first impressions people receive of the employee experience is during onboarding. Think of onboarding as the process that connects the candidate and employee experience.

4 Employee-Centric Concepts to Consider

Kervin outlined four concepts that organizations can use as the foundation for designing their employee experience: transparency, personalization, real-time, and tech-enabled. Here’s how each one plays a part in the candidate and employee experience.

  1. Transparency is centered on giving candidates a real look into the organization and the job. During the hiring process, companies can use realistic job previews to give candidates a glimpse into the organizational culture. Managers can also discuss with candidates (and then employees) what’s expected from them. HR contributes by making sure employee handbooks, training programs, performance reviews, etc. all contain company standards and performance expectations.
  2. Personalization includes giving new hires a roadmap so they know what their first day, week, month, and year will look like. Of course, we’re not talking about down-to-the-minute detail. But even providing a checklist of activities helps employees to know that the company has a plan and wants them to succeed. Speaking of success, personalization also includes rewarding and recognizing employees in ways that are meaningful to them.
  3. Real-time focuses on being in the moment. Hiring managers and HR should put themselves in the candidate and new hire’s shoes. Consider adding a preboarding process for activities like new hire paperwork, benefits enrollment, etc. to get them out of the way early. Not only does it fulfill the company’s compliance requirements, but it satisfies the employee’s needs. While it’s true that managers and HR have a full plate of responsibilities, taking care of employees is one of those roles. Make them a priority.
  4. Tech-Enabled means two things. First, be where your future workforce is. From a recruiting perspective, that includes social media, mobile, etc. On some level, today’s candidates expect companies to be tech savvy. Organizations don’t have to be early adopters but they do need to use technology to maximize productivity. There is still value in human interaction, but that doesn’t mean companies can’t use tools like Slack or apps (such as Done or Habit List) to make employees work lives easier.

Align Your Employee Experience with Culture

Doug Conant, former CEO of Campbell’s Soup once said, “To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace.” Organizations with best-in-class experiences will have candidates, employees, and customers choose them. But remember, perks aren’t the same as experiences. Foosball tables and free food are nice. We’re not saying don’t offer perks. However, a true employee experience is based on trust, relationships, moments of truth, and technology.

P.S. Be sure to register for Stacey Kervin’s upcoming webinar on “New Hire Momentum: The 3 P’s of Onboarding You Can’t Miss”. It’s scheduled for Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at 1:00p Eastern. And if you’ve already got something planned, sign up anyway so you can get the recording afterward. The program is eligible for SHRM and HRCI recertification credit. Before the webinar, take an advance peek at the research study that will be discussed.

8 thoughts on “Choice is the New Competition for Organizations

  1. Great post. As a Director of HR it is getting more and more difficult to recruit high-quality talent and interactions with potential candidates and giving a great experience to potential new hires is key for any company.

  2. Sharlyn has some great insights here, especially aligning the employee experience with culture, because as I have found, culture (and not engagement) is the REAL driving force in so many successful and forward-thinking companies.

    But I would add one more insight to her list — money. One of the reasons there is such an employee shortage is that way too many companies only seem to want to hire relatively young and inexperienced people they don’t have to pay very well.

    In fact, there are a great many older workers with deep, solid experience looking for new jobs who can’t get the time of day from many organizations because with that experience comes a higher salary that companies just don’t want to pay.

    Something needs to give here. There’s a great many underemployed or out of work older workers who have a lot to give if companies would simply dig into those record earnings they have been generating and hire them at a reasonable pay level.

    Yes, there are some shortages in some fields, but the notion that there is such a widespread lack of hireable employees is just not so, and you can hear from them (and their frustration in finding work) all over social media.

    Maybe 2018 is the year companies go after these people. I sincerely hope so, but I’m not holding my breath.

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