Employee value proposition and recruiting

bigstock-Leader-And-Ceo-101287331Retail is presently in the middle of what has affectionately come to be known as a ‘war for talent’. Candidates have the upper hand and retailers are going the hard yards to recruit top talent.

When it comes to securing exceptional talent, one of the most valuable assets a retailer has is its corporate reputation. A poor corporate reputation does little good for a company’s employee value proposition (EVP) and can make recruitment not only tough, but also expensive, as the need to leverage remuneration becomes a key motivator for driving talent decisions.

Corporate reputation was recently put under the spotlight with the release of AMR’s 2016 Corporate Reputation Index, which rates companies against seven individual factors, including products and services, innovation, workplace, citizenship, governance, leadership and performance; all strong components for securing new talent as well as retaining star employees.

There were no surprises as to which organisations came out on top and which have slipped in the rankings. This goes to show that despite all of the challenges faced by businesses in Australia, including increasing costs and mild consumer confidence, there are some businesses with a clear vision that have focused their attention on the big picture, staying true to their EVP, and this has translated into maintaining a strong corporate reputation.

In business, we’re quick to compare sales figures and footprint, but when was the last time you compared your employee value proposition with your retail peers? Whether you’re a multinational or an online start-up, if your EVP doesn’t stack up you will face an uphill battle to recruit the talent you need.

In recruitment, remuneration is key to any discussion. But what candidates are more interested in is a deep dive into a retailer’s EVP; from the work environment, leadership and career progression through to working arrangements (the more flexible the better). It is the sum of a retailer’s EVP that candidates are comparing when presented with more than one career option. Unlike a salary package, candidates know all too well a company’s EVP and its culture are not negotiable.

But it’s not just being able to define your EVP, it’s how you market your EVP – as you would a customer value proposition – that is key to the talent acquisition process. So for those retailers without a clearly identifiable EVP in the local market, the path to securing top talent is more difficult and requires retailers to challenge market perceptions, which is where an intermediary can play a critical role in making introductions.

While your EVP is important in attracting top talent, it is equally important in retaining talent. Employees are having more forthright conversations with their employers and challenging their own employer’s value proposition if it doesn’t accurately reflect the reality. At the same time, we’re also seeing retailers turn their attention to their EVP knowing that if they don’t, they risk employees potentially leaving.

So, has there been any relief on the talent battle lines for retailers? Even with the recent closure of some of Australia’s local names in retail, there is still a shortage of talent at the top end, which is forcing retailers to think more strategically about their talent pipeline and put in some serious legwork to connect with and maintain relationships with the broader retail talent community. And where talent does become available, retailers are creating roles and changing their organisational structure to accommodate a critical hire rather than wait for the next time the stars align.

While retailers remain in this talent tight market, what is clear is that it’s not about being the biggest name in retail, or an open cheque book. It is about relationships, reputation and your value proposition that will see you win the war for talent.

Richard Wynn is managing partner at FutureYou Executive Recruitment and can be contacted at richardwynn@future-you.com.au or 0448 416 172.

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