You know those radio ads that make all these fancy promises about low interest rates and company transparency but in the last 20s of the ad someone talks reaallyy fast about the terms and conditions? This is similar to when a recruiter (or marketer) sells brand values to a candidate, and when the candidate is onboarded they realise they were made false pretences!
A common recruitment issue companies face is the misalignment of the value propositions found at the company and the value propositions that are marketed by the recruiter to entice candidates to work for the company.
The recruiter’s job is to be the company’s hype man! They not only need to source the most suitable candidates for the positions, but they have to sell the position to the candidate. They have to make the role, and company, attractive to the candidate to foster their enthusiasm and encourage them to take the position! This sometimes leads to false impressions and expectations.
Misalignment within the business
Problems arise when recruiters make promises about the position that will not be fulfilled. For example, a candidate may be a parent and ask about the extent of flexibility in regard to working hours! The recruiter may promise them flexible working hours and the option to work from home twice a week, but then when the candidate begins their position, they find out they’re not allowed to work from home AND they have to work 9-5.
This obviously doesn’t meet their desired requirements; thus, they leave. Now you have to re-recruit and fill the (again) vacant position! Whilst the position is vacant your business is disadvantaged as you;
- have less employees working on completing tasks
- have diluted other employees focus’ as they have to take on board extra tasks
- have to spend more time & money to re-hire and onboard!
If you don’t align your business with the values your recruiters and marketers sell, you’ll find yourself faced with many consequences. The first and foremost of these consequences is a terrible retention rate. When your employees accept a position they do so with a rough idea about; the company’s values, how they’ll be treated and what the job entails.
Obviously their knowledge is minimal as all they know is; what the recruiter has said, and the information they’ve gathered from the research they’ve conducted. However, they do have a vague idea and expectation. The misalignment between their expectations, (guided by marketing & recruiters), and what they actually receive causes dissatisfaction and thus they leave.
If this happens with every new hire, or even 20- 40% of new hires, the result is a huge cost of recruitment as you have to re-hire and re-train, and you reduce the profit potential of the company as you limit the output capability of the business. In order for the business to be cohesive, HR’s beliefs must be aligned with the rest of the business’ beliefs.
The easiest way to consider the impact of misalignment is to consider the analogy of a machine (excuse my lack of creativity). When the machine is well oiled and each function is well tuned it operates in uniformity therefore it runs smoothly and efficiently. Now imagine you want to turn left but your tire is turning right, the misalignment of the steering wheel and tire causes a problem and forces you to come to a halt.
The same can be said for a business’ operations. When one department of the business promotes or believes one entity, but another department believes the opposite, the misalignment amongst beliefs causes arguments & discontent, and is detrimental to business progression and success.
Your company must be well aligned internally before you can bring onboard any new employees. There needs to be common beliefs and values shared within the business, otherwise your employees don’t know;
- the business’ purpose & goals
- the appropriate regulations to abide by
- the standards and expectations of them
When your business is well aligned it will run smoothly like a machine. One department aids the other which is a beneficial cycle that inspires success and progression. The value propositions that your recruiters’ market, such as flexibility, are accurate and thus the candidates that accept the position are those that are genuinely enticed to work for the company because they share the same beliefs found at the businesses core.
This alignment means the hard work put into recruitment results in quality candidates that are suitable for the business, and since the candidate desires are met, the company can assume they will retain the employee & their skills and capabilities
When an employee is satisfied with their position, and company values, they are more engaged with their responsibilities and the activities of the business. This in turn encourages higher productivity rates which positively impacts the performance of the business. Internal alignment is attractive to candidates, and current employees, because the business knows its purpose, and is well-functioning.
Not only is it attractive to internal stakeholders, it’s extremely attractive to external stakeholders. Who are investors going to give their money to; a business that is dysfunctional or a business who’s values and purpose is clearly defined and practiced by those involved?
How to align your business
Alignment is easily achieved if you build strong foundations within your business. To do this, you must firstly analyse your business.
Understanding your business
Included in analysing your business is undergoing research to understand shared (or not-shared) values instilled within the company culture and brand identity. When conducting your research, and interviewing current stakeholders and employees, you must ensure you tread carefully and don’t put anyone in any uncomfortable positions where they may feel they can’t answer honestly without there be consequences.
When analysing your business, you must be open to all thoughts and ideas, and not only aim to gather insider information but also review outsider information… Don’t only question the people that are extremely involved in the business’s activities and culture… question people who have minimal input because they’re the ones who will provide you with greater (unfavourable) insights. It’s important to gather as much (HONEST) information as possible in order for the conclusions made to be accurate and relevant.
Once you have discovered your brand pillars, you can begin to sell your EVP.
An EVP will vary depending based on the business’ strengths and the industry the business operates in. An EVP can be anything that is advantageous for employees, for example;
- Flexible hours
- Complementary parking/ lunch/ coffee
- Remote working
- Safety protocols
- Caring, compassionate managers
And so on.
Once you have developed (and executed) your EVP within your business, your recruiters can market the EVP with certainty that what they promise will be delivered. As well as this, they have a better understanding of which candidates will be better suited to the company as they know the brand values and can determine what behaviours erode or support the morals upheld in the company.
When they begin recruiting new candidates, the candidates that are successful will be a genuine, good cultural fit, and be ready to work for the business because the business offers the incentives they candidate deems necessary. Now, instead of having to replace employees that come onboard and leave shortly after being dissatisfied with the company and position, your company will witness a higher retention rate as employees are content with the benefits the company offers.
This reduces the risk and cost of recruitment as you don’t need to hire as often, and each time you hire you make the right hiring decision. Therefore, the knowledge regarding the business values must be shared amongst all stakeholders for internal alignment and efficient recruitment.
Work smarter, and not harder!