Companies need to attract the best employees to stay profitable. But how do job seekers make decisions on which offer to accept? Why do they prefer one company to another? The answer often lies in the perceptions about the company – the employer brand. Wages and workload are important, but they only come into play once a candidate has applied for a job. In fact, initial decisions are often made on the associations job seekers have with the company and its image, wrote a study. Employer branding doesn’t only help increase the attractiveness of companies to potential new joiners, it also strengthens retention, motivation, satisfaction and the identification of employees with the company employees work with.
When it comes to the world’s largest companies, IT companies and consulting agencies dominate the rankings of top employers. The logistics industry lags far behind, and transport companies do not even make the cut.3 According to PwC study ‘Millennials at work’, 7 percent of respondents would not want to work in the transportation and logistics industry solely based on its image. In this study, its popularity ranks close to the metals or banking sectors. These sectors also tend to be associated with lower wages.
Looking at these results, researchers see a strong need for a better and ‘sexier’ image for the industry. Experts feel that more visibility and transparency would help so more talented individuals are joining the team. Importantly, logistics companies are still considered to be more attractive than traditional transport firms.
See also: The Components of Great Employer Brand
How can individual companies overcome a sector’s poor reputation? One way might be to use corporate responsibility (CR) efforts to help build employer brand. In one study looking at the main reasons why job seekers accepted a position in a logistics company, ‘employer values’ tied with job security as the third most cited criteria (after ‘more money’ and ‘career advancement’) – 15 percent rated it as the most important factor in their decision, almost as many as cited salary concerns (20 percent). In fact, more than half of logistics employees expect strong CR initiatives from their companies.
Experts view CR as a trend, rather than a fundamental shift, and do not believe its importance will continue until 2030. Instead, experts believe that companies should concentrate on innovation and business development as the most important factors in ensuring solid revenues and safe jobs.
Certainly not every expert sees CR as a passing fad. In fact, some positive voices think that CR will become the standard evaluation criterion for companies. And as companies become more global and look to demonstrate a commitment to fair working practices and sustainable environmental practices in every part of the world where they operate, CR can break down social and cultural barriers.
A strong employer brand is absolutely vital, both for retention as well as recruitment. While HR budgets could be focused on filling open vacancies, it’s important to take a longer view and invest in activities which build employer brand. That means understanding what image organisation has now. Companies can start by looking internally and externally, such as:
It’s also important to take a systematic approach to HR planning. In the past, an assumption has held that the market analysis element of a strategic plan is paramount, and how a business resources up to meet the plan is something that has worked out later. Now, leading businesses are looking beyond the next budget round to plan talent needs. A longer-term strategic view is needed, if they want to close the gap today and map how talent needs will change.
Lastly, adjustment is important too. For an employer brand to be successful over the long-term, it needs to be authentic. So if you are promoting advancement opportunities, but most potential high-flyers complain they have hit a dead end mid-career, you’ll need to rethink either your recruiting messaging or your development procedures.
Article first appeared on Logistics Jobs Asia