We’re well and truly into 2019, which gives us time to reflect on the talent trends that are emerging this year. Among the top trends, we’re seeing a shift that puts the employee experience at the centre of the talent management journey. Increasingly, employees are expecting ongoing feedback, personalised benefits and self-directed learning opportunities, while job seekers expect to be treated and marketed to like consumers. To attract and retain talent, we’re seeing organisations creating a consumer-grade experience at work which reflects their attractive, authentic employer brand.
1. Employee-led learning
Organisations are moving away from top-down development frameworks and instead empowering employees to lead their own learning. And employees are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to securing development opportunities. In the last six months, PageUp has seen an 80% increase in employees requesting managerial approval to undertake a learning activity. Rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach, organisations are creating personalised learning paths to help develop employees in their current and future roles. This holistic approach creates a constant journey of personal self-improvement, where content is tailored to each employee and based on both personal development needs and interests.
Almost 60% of employees want to learn at their own pace and 94% of employees say they would have stayed with their organisation longer if it invested in their career development. If you consider people to be your most valuable asset, then their development should be a top priority. With this in mind, consider how your people like to learn and offer flexible options that let them learn at work, or on the go, when and where it suits them best.
2. The rise of everyday performance
The reinvention of performance management is well under way. Instead of the much-dreaded annual performance review, an everyday performance approach looks to provide regular feedback that continually drives performance, supports development and engages individuals. This new performance framework shifts the emphasis from assessing past performance to setting future goals and aligning expectations. The approach is already being widely-adopted: 76% of organisations have moved to a continuous performance management approach, and this trend is expected to accelerate, underpinned by collaborative goal setting, ongoing-feedback and opportunities for personal development.
If your organisation is still relying on the traditional sit-down annual review, consider building a feedback loop into daily operations. Avoid a top-down approach to performance management and leverage technology to implement a system of continuous feedback and regular check-ins that builds employee engagement. Equally important is encouraging employees to adopt an everyday approach to performance. Empowering employees to give or request feedback at any time – not just during formal reviews – gives a 360-degree perspective of their performance. These regular reviews and check-ins provide a great chance to introduce customisable benefits and rewards based on micro-goals and milestones, which brings us to our next point:
3. Personalised benefits
Aligning rewards with employee performance is the most important factor in increasing employee engagement. Instead of static once-off benefits and bonuses that come after the yearly performance review, high-performing organisations are embracing flexible, personalised benefits that respond to real-time performance milestones.
Even though the shift to continuous performance management is well underway, the overwhelming majority of companies (91%) only conduct salary reviews once a year. Compensation still plays a major role in how satisfied and engaged your employees are, but it’s not the only benefit that matters to the workforce. This year, we’re seeing a move toward personalised benefits that go beyond purely monetary compensation.
Personalised, holistic and adaptive benefits are powerful: these can be as simple as giving an employees flexible time to pick up their children from school, or a day off to pursue something they’re passionate about. Don’t underestimate the power of recognition: employees who receive regular small rewards (including acknowledgment and thanks) are eight-times more engaged than those on an annual bonus cycle. Organisations now also realise that wellness – mental, emotional and physical – is important. In addition to traditional gym memberships and dental cover, companies are also providing onsite meditation, counselling services and quiet spaces.
4. A consumer-grade experience for jobseekers
Have you ever abandoned a survey, application form or process on your mobile device because it was too long and complicated? Like consumers, jobseekers appreciate an application process that is easy, quick and simple. In response we’re seeing a trend towards streamlined, mobile-optimised application processes that treat the jobseeker like a consumer. Shorter application forms, autofill and the ability to pull information from social media profiles and the cloud all contribute to an efficient application experience.
In the past year 19% of applications were submitted via a mobile device, PageUp research shows. That’s up from 15% at the end of 2017, and notably higher than the external benchmark of 16%. Just as consumers expect a mobile-optimised shopping experience, candidates now expect to search and apply for jobs from their mobile devices via a simple, easy and streamlined process. This is especially important in industries that have low desktop usage such as retail, healthcare, mining, and manufacturing. The easiest way to test if your application process is mobile-optimised and applicant friendly is to apply for a job via your career website on a mobile device. If you find the experience clunky or time-consuming, takes steps to improve it. Organisations should also consider how mobile technology and a consumer-grade experience can be used throughout the entire employment journey – not just at the point of application – to build and maintain employee engagement.
5. Authentic employer branding
To attract top talent in a competitive labor market, it’s necessary for organisations to cultivate a strong employer brand. Creating an employer brand means articulating what makes your institution a great place to work: whether that’s benefits, culture, social responsibility or flexibility. An appealing employer brand is important, but an authentic employer brand is imperative. Seventy-five percent of jobseekers consider an organisation’s employer brand before even applying for a role, and over half (52%) visit the company website and social media sites to find out more information.
Review sites like GlassDoor and Indeed make it almost impossible for organisations to fabricate their employer brand, which means the employee experience is now a strategic priority for human resources.
When articulating your employer brand, consider: What sets your organisation apart from the rest? What are your organisational strengths, defining characteristics, culture and values? Highlight what differentiates your organisation from your competitors. In addition, there are a few factors that make an organisation attractive to applicants across the board.
The top five factors that appeal to jobseekers include:
1. Salary and employee benefits
2. Job security
3. Work-life balance
4. Work atmosphere
5. Development opportunities
Interestingly, organisations rate financial performance and reputation within the top five factors that attract applicants. This misalignment between what candidates want and what employers think they want creates an opportunity – if your organisation performs well in any of the above areas, showcase this as part of your employer brand.
As we move towards the second quarter of 2019, it’s clear that the focus is on making the employee experience personalised and authentic. Candidates want an application process that fits into their busy lifestyles, and they want authentic an employer brand that reflects what they value in a workplace. Employees want to learn and develop in ways that suit them, and they want to receive benefits that are personalised and relevant to their lives. People are an organisation’s greatest asset and making sure you work for them, while they work for you, will be the number one priority for this year.