Building a Strong Employer Brand Isn’t The Job Of Just One Team; EY GDS’ Syeda Meher Taj Reveals Why 339

Employer branding
EY
Syeda Meher Taj, External Communications Leader, Brand Marketing & Communication, EY Global Delivery Services (GDS)

There is no question that the pandemic has changed the way we all think about work. As we know, job markets slumped for many sectors and countries that were hit the hardest. In many others, however, the job market is booming – especially in the technology sector and IT/IT Enabled Services firms. Moreover, as more organisations adopt a hybrid work model, talent has become location-agnostic, and employees are more ready to move from one job to another.

Ultimately, this has led to a major shift in what employees expect from their employer, with higher remuneration no longer being sufficient to earn loyalty.

Below, I’m exploring how candidates’ expectations are changing, and how employers are adapting to attract talent in today’s job market.

Shifting candidate expectations

As the employment market has changed, employees have become less lenient towards bad hiring and working experiences. In many sectors now, good candidates can select from multiple job offers. Their choice will be determined by what each competing employer can offer to attract them.

An employee’s market operates similarly to a buyer’s market. In a buyer’s market, consumers have several brands, products, and services available at their disposal. Companies are continuously wooing them with multiple offers to acquire or retain them.

Also read: Showcasing employer branding and culture out loud has become more important: Preety Saroj, Novo India

As job candidates are now similarly spoilt for choice, they can command more competitive pay, flexible working policies, training and development, and a complete career development package. While their current employer may be ready to offer more for them to stay, it’s not just about salary – candidates are looking for the whole package.

“As job candidates are now similarly spoilt for choice, they can command more competitive pay, flexible working policies, training and development, and a complete career development package. While their current employer may be ready to offer more for them to stay, it’s not just about salary – candidates are looking for the whole package.”

Flexibility is no longer negotiable

A survey conducted by EY in March 2021 found that more than half of employees globally would quit their jobs if not provided post-pandemic flexibility. The survey received 16,264 responses from 16 countries across 23 industries, and millennials represented more than half of all respondents. 

For job seekers today, flexibility is non-negotiable.

The pandemic has shown us all that traditional ways of working can be effectively adapted with the right motivation. As a result, expectations have changed, with employees in the EY survey identifying other non-negotiables such as working remotely; health and wellness policies; and investments in technology that make working from the office, home, or anywhere accessible.

Accordingly, to attract and retain good employees, organisations need to demonstrate that they’re working to provide the best experience possible. This means regularly reassessing their concept of productivity, how it aligns with their work culture, and how they can optimise their approach for the in-person, hybrid, and digital work experience.

The candidate experience is key

A poor candidate experience can be devastating, both for the recruiting process and the company’s bottom line. Research shows that about 60 percent of candidates have had a bad candidate experience at some point in the candidate journey. According to research conducted by Software Advice, 59 percent of candidates who have had a bad experience would tell others not to apply, and 42 percent would go so far as not to buy the company’s products or services.

There are several common pitfalls that can put candidates off:

  • Complex and lengthy job application processes
  • Unpleasant interview processes
  • Lack of response from the recruiters
  • Long waiting times between each stage of the recruitment

So, what makes a good candidate experience?

Job seekers today are tech-savvy and expect their online interactions to be seamless. Whether it’s an interaction with an e-commerce brand or a recruiter, they expect tailored experiences.

To keep up with these expectations, recruiting organisations need to:

  • Stay on top of hiring trends and be agile
  • Upgrade their technology to provide seamless interactions
  • Develop an emotional connection with candidates through their employer branding programs and communications

Focus on your employer’s brand

Your candidate’s experience with your brand begins even before they apply for their first role. Their experience will continue beyond their time working with you, even as they become your alumni. This is at the heart of your brand.

A good employer brand can reduce turnover rates by 28 percent and cut your costs-per-hire by nearly half. The impact on attracting new candidates is also well established. Research has found that 75 percent of active job seekers are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand. A surprising 67 percent of candidates would accept lower pay if the company had very positive reviews online.

“A good employer brand can reduce turnover rates by 28 percent and cut your costs-per-hire by nearly half. The impact on attracting new candidates is also well established. Research has found that 75 percent of active job seekers are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand.”

Building your employer brand has evolved beyond simply building a compelling value proposition and evangelising it with your current and potential employees.

As people’s relationships with their employers, their work, and their work environment have changed, what makes a strong employer brand has changed too. It has evolved into a more complex relationship that entails trust, belongingness, and fulfilment of purpose – professional and personal. It goes beyond a relationship with your employees to involve the employees’ families.

Also read: Can a Good Candidate Experience Motivate Techies To Look Beyond Salary?

How you engage with every employee and candidate matters. Every employee contributes to the employer brand’s success and will act as a brand ambassador. For this reason, the work of building a strong employer brand doesn’t belong to just one team. Management, marketing, HR, and business teams all need to develop employer brand strategies and implement them jointly.

Every organisation has an employer brand, for good or for bad. When teams come together, they can make it a brand everyone can be proud of.

At EY, our employer brand strategies focus on strengthening multidimensional relationships. No matter what role someone plays in the organisation at EY – candidate, employee, or alumni – we strive to make them feel that they belong. We know that our purpose of building a better working world starts with our employees, and we want our people to know that too.

Registered name: EY Global Delivery Services, India
Year of incorporation: 2002
Number of employees: Over 65000
Key executives: Srinivas Rao (Global Vice-Chair), Arun Batra (Client Services Leader), Sreekanth Arimanithaya (Global Talent & Enablement Services Leader), and Mukul Pachisia (Global Operations Leader)
Business line: Professional Shared Services
Key HR factors:
The EY Tech MBA, offered in association with Hult International Business School, helps our people develop the mindset and skillset to navigate the challenges of the future. It is the first-ever fully accredited corporate MBA that is available regardless of role or position and entirely for free to all our nearly 300,000 employees in over 150 countries. EY Global Delivery Services has 8 Tech MBA grads and around 20 in the pipeline.
EY has introduced three Master’s Programs – Tech MBA, MBAN, and Masters in Sustainability.
EY Gig Knowledge Credentials, a first-of-its-kind learning program at EY dedicated to our direct gig workforce in GDS India, much like EY Badges for our full-time employees.
EY Badges offers an opportunity for EY people to earn digital badges for future-focused skills such as data visualisation, data science, and artificial intelligence (AI) and skills like transformational leadership or inclusive intelligence. Currently, EY GDS has over 1,10,000 EY Badges.
EY Wellbeing Program offers our people a holistic range of tools, information, and resources to help them look after their mental, physical, social, and financial health. The program endeavours to enable them to stay resilient and follow the path to a healthier lifestyle. Our ‘Employee Assistance Program’ (EAP) aims to enhance the emotional, mental, and general psychological wellbeing of EY people.
EY in India has set up the Neurodiversity Center of Excellence in India.
EY Purple Champions network helps drive the disability confidence agenda. The allies are coached to raise awareness about the experiences of persons with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities.

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Syeda Meher Taj is the Global External Communications Leader at EY Global Delivery Services (GDS). She is an accomplished marketer with nearly two decades of experience in marketing, branding, and communications across B2C and B2B sectors. She is one of the pioneers of employer branding in India and was recognised among the top 50 marketing marvels in India in 2021.

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