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    Is brand going to save you from The Great Resignation?

    The Great Resignation is the post-pandemic wave of employees who have, or are about to, abandoned their jobs in droves – and we’re told Australia is next.

    This phenomenon is wreaking havoc on talent markets, with 40% of workers considering leaving their job by the end of this year, according to a recent Microsoft study of 13,000 people in 31 countries. While management has always dictated terms, the war for talent has shifted power to employees in the effort to attract and retain talent.

    Workers are tired of corporate behaviour where bad bosses are rewarded, tone-deaf companies cover up truths, and profit is not shared with the workforce. Add the pandemic conditions of burnout from an increased volume of work as fewer people are  employed to do the work and you take away the traditions of ‘the office’ – workers have had enough.

    The data tells the story in the 2020 Limeade Employee Care Report which identified the criteria for the trend:

    • 40% burnout
    • 34% organisational change
    • 20% lack of flexibility and/or discrimination
    • 19% insufficient benefits
    • 16% lack of support for well-being

    The rate of resignation is significantly highest in the 30-45 age group where there is a 20% increase from 2020, according to Harvard Business Review

    The main reasons mid-career employees are most at risk are:

    • It’s harder to train junior employees remotely, creating demand and leverage for mid-career churn
    • Intended transitions delayed due to pandemic creating a latent surge
    • High workload and hiring freezes
    • Other pressures such as family and finance

    The role of Brand and Employer Value Proposition (EVP)

    When you take away ‘the office’, what does it mean for employees to work for your business?

    Your company’s brand differentiates you and makes a promise to customers about what you believe, what you stand for, and how you approach business. Your brand is also a key reason candidates elect to join you, and stay with you. While it is the key to customer loyalty, it is also the key to workforce engagement. Brand is the values and experience you give your employees. When ‘the office’ isn’t available to them, your brand needs to be woven into your operations  so it can be experienced by your people every day, from anywhere.

    You need a purpose agenda woven into your brand. Knowing what your company is doing to address the environmental and social crisis unfolding around us is critical. This is so both your customers and your workforce are able to connect with you on an emotional and values-based level, beyond a simple transactional exchange. It is this corporate leadership and societal contribution that customers and employees are increasingly looking for, especially post-pandemic.  Your employee want lives and work with meaning. When the going gets tough, they want to know you’re going to get going and do good, for people, the planet and your workforce.

    Many businesses develop an EVP to ensure the layers of brand and purpose are translated into a more targeted commitment to employees. This is around  the unique benefits you offer your employees in return for the skills and experience they bring to your company. An EVP allows you to deliver very targeted employee-centric messaging. You can adapt and improve this  as work conditions and business rhythms change without having a deleterious impact on your external brand. An EVP gives you a platform for tactical campaigns that respond to circumstance and sentiment.

    Your recruitment and retention action plan

    So how can your business be future-proofed with the Great Resignation soon reaching our shores?

    1. Start with brand. Assess how brand is supporting your business as it trades in a pandemic economy
    2. Determine your workforce health. Assess whether you have a recruitment or retention issue and quantify the financial impact of this on your business.
    3. Ensure your brand is performing internally. Determine how the brand is perceived by your employees and develop an EVP that allows you to create and/or increase brand impact internally.
    4. Create an omnichannel brand experience for employees. From onboarding to delivery, ensure your brand and values are woven into processes and interfaces.
    5. Measure success. Continue to iterate your EVP to make communication more successful, engagement stronger and sentiment more positive.

    Put simply, your brand and your EVP are your first and last lines of defence in the Great Resignation and the ensuing War for Talent.

    First published on TheDesignThinkers.