The National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM) recently conducted a survey that found the very top internal concern for middle market managers was attracting and retaining top talent. I’ve heard it again and again, “We can’t grow at a decent pace because we can’t find employees with the right skill sets”. I even heard the owner of a successful west coast restaurant chain complain they couldn’t open their first east coast location because they couldn’t find enough waiters! Not long ago, you could entice someone to work for you by offering:
1 – a competitive salary
2 – a decent benefits package
Today, those two offerings are just the starting point. The modern employee – especially the superior employee – expects nothing less. These days, the 21st-century employee looks at four additional factors:
3 – The mission and purpose of the prospective employer
4 – The meaningfulness of the work
5 – The quality of the co-workers
6 – The corporate culture
You’ll notice these are all branding issues.
To make a compelling argument that you’re strong in these four remaining areas, you have to make what the NCMM calls a strong Employee Value Proposition (EVP). You must have what they term a strong “employer brand”, defined as the way the company’s brand is perceived by employees and prospective employees. If you’ve already been building and managing your brand properly, you’ll already have that EVP in place. You’ll be able to articulate your values and ideals. You’ll be able to share a unique and differentiating brand promise. You’ll be able to point to all the benefits of having a strong brand strategy in place: healthy corporate culture, meaningful work, and high-quality co-workers. You’ll be in good shape to attract and retain the very best candidates.
The NCMM study revealed some other surprising insights.:
• 50% of candidates who turn down a job offer from a middle market firm do so because of the lack of a strong employer brand. In other words, half the time, candidates reject your job offers, they’re doing so because they just don’t see themselves working for you. They just don’t like your brand.
• 83% of middle market executives with strong employer brands believe those brands play a role in securing and keeping top talent away from competitors.
• 79% of middle market executives agree that a strong employer brand is essential to their ability to attract top talent.
But the survey went even further. It evaluated the respondents’ employer brands and examined the correlation between strong-to-weak brands and strong-to-weak growth. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that strong employer brands attract strong employees which, in turn, results in 20.1% mean revenue growth and 12.3% employment growth. Weak employer brands attract weak candidates and average only 6% mean revenue growth and 3% employment growth. Do you need any more convincing that your brand is an asset that deserves your time and attention?
I want to reiterate that the term “employer brand” simply refers to your overall brand but as seen from the point of view of your current and potential employees. You should not attempt to create two brands, one for employees and one for everybody else. That would be expensive and counter productive.
These insights are shared in hopes of making the point that the same brand that attracts and retains good customers also attracts and retains good employees. And that’s to everybody’s benefit.
This is the fourth of an eight-part series, outlining the eight major benefits of branding. Can’t wait to learn about all eight benefits of branding? Download them here.
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