The unemployment rate in the US currently stands at 3.7 percent, the lowest since 1969 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Across the country, businesses are struggling to fill positions, especially in industries like manufacturing, tech and healthcare.
This has naturally led to a job market where prospective candidates enjoy a disproportionate share of the power dynamic. Employers are competing for qualified talent, and job seekers have more options and leverage than they did even just a few years ago.
Increasingly, job candidates are looking for employers whose mission and culture align with their own preferences. This is especially true of millennials, who now make up more than one-third of the US workforce. Not only are millennial candidates more empowered than they’ve ever been in their working lives, but they also have access to tools and information for job hunting that weren’t available to earlier generations.
Chief among these is Glassdoor, the website that allows current and former employees of a company to anonymously review their employers and bosses. Glassdoor represents a new and important shift in labor market dynamics and a potentially dangerous blind spot for executives and HR directors who aren’t actively considering its potential impact on their recruitment and business goals. More than 770 thousand companies are reviewed on Glassdoor, and the average employee review for a company is 3.3 out of 5 stars.
The rise of Glassdoor and sites like it means that a modern employer needs to have two marketing strategies in play at all times: one for customers and one for employees. Traditional product marketing has long enjoyed focused attention from the business community, but employee-focused marketing has lagged behind and has never been more essential.
Modern companies need to crystallize their Employee Value Proposition (EVP), according to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM). SHRM describes an EVP as, “How a company wants to be perceived by its employees. It embodies the company’s values and ideals and is a fundamental step in defining an employer brand strategy for talent acquisition.”
“It’s difficult to overstate how essential top talent is, especially in the tight labor market that we’re seeing right now,” said Don Robertson, Chief HR Officer, Northwestern Mutual. “Desirable candidates have serious leverage in this environment, and that’s particularly true for positions that require a high degree of experience or technical skill. Job seekers know this, and companies find themselves competing as much for employees as they are for customers — maybe more. The EVP is critical. You need a people vision and an EVP that resonates.”
A recent McKinsey report cites surveys that show that 73 percent of employees are “thinking about another job,” and notes that “The fact that Baby Boomers’ decades of knowledge and experience are now leaving the workplace forever makes this state of play even more unsettling. People often underestimate the cost of turnover: The more information- and interaction-intensive the job, the greater the threat to productivity when good people leave it, and the more time and money must be invested in searching and onboarding. And if competitors poach your talent, they get an insider’s understanding of your strategies, operations and culture. Talent matters because its high value and scarcity — and the difficulty of replacing it — creates huge opportunities when companies get things right.”
It’s essential, then, that companies cultivate an Employee Value Proposition that ensures that workers feel inspired, supported and aligned with the company mission. An effective EVP should naturally be reflected in positive reviews and feedback on Glassdoor and similar websites. Marketing and HR professionals need to monitor their Glassdoor rating and consider what the trend of the feedback is telling them about where to focus more attention. Leading companies investing in EVP are using new technologies to methodically reach and engage employees — and measure who they’ve reached. Most importantly, though, businesses now need to understand that their EVP requires as much consideration as their other marketing efforts. Attracting the right talent attracts the right customers and creates the agility to compete in tomorrow’s markets.