Published in CHRO SA on 1 August 2023.

In today’s business landscape, many organisations profess a people-centric employer brand, emphasising their commitment to employees. However, there is a questionable gap between what they proclaim and what they deliver on in practice.

Despite the widespread use of phrases like ‘people-led business’ and ‘people-first company’, the actual implementation of a people-centric approach may not always match the promises.

This disconnect between what is promised and what is delivered can have significant repercussions for both employees and the business. Disillusioned and disengaged employees may seek better opportunities elsewhere, leading to high turnover rates and a potential loss of valuable talent. Moreover, while a vacancy remains unfilled, it incurs costs for the company, compounded by a damaged employer brand that hinders the ability to attract top talent and adversely affects meeting business deliverables, objectives, and overall success. To avoid these pitfalls and reap the benefits of a people-centric employer brand, companies can consider the following considerations.

The super personalisation of the employee lifecycle

Tailoring and zoning in on the personalisation of each employee’s experience journey has been an ongoing area of discussion, and it has gained even more significance this year, as highlighted by the Top Employers The World of Work Trends Report 2023.

To promote a high-performance culture, companies need to focus on truly personalising their employee lifecycle and experience. Treating employees as ‘internal customers’ and recognising their individuality, cultural backgrounds, life experiences, and unique needs are crucial steps. The aftermath of the pandemic further emphasised the importance of acknowledging employees as distinct individuals, and companies can no longer ignore this essential aspect.

Purpose-lived and purpose-led workplaces

Many organisations have embraced the concept of a purpose pillar in their employer value proposition, recognising that employees seek a strong sense of purpose, belonging, and impact in their workplace. Employees want to feel that their personal goals, values, and priorities align with their organisation’s mission, ensuring they work within a purpose-led environment where everyone understands their contribution to the greater good.

Some notable examples of this approach can be seen in companies like Patagonia, Starbucks and Lego. This purpose-driven approach not only enhances employee retention but also cultivates a high-performance culture.

Personalising learning and career development

LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report for 2023 confirms that individuals who lack learning opportunities are more likely to leave their current companies, especially when they feel unable to enhance their skills and pursue personal development. To address this growing concern, employees now expect companies to actively engage in mapping and customising their learning and career paths.

This involves leaders taking a proactive role in guiding their teams’ growth journey. However, it’s essential for companies to acknowledge the importance of personalising and catering to diverse generational needs and unique preferences, ensuring tailored opportunities are available for all. By adopting such an approach, employees are empowered to take ownership of their personal growth and development.

To support this self-driven growth, companies are integrating various resources like microlearning, seamlessly incorporated into everyday work activities, as well as personalised e-learning portals, workshops, and valuable mentoring and coaching sessions. Fostering a culture of continuous learning and development not only helps future-proof individuals, but also serves as a crucial driver for the company’s success.

Recognised employees = productive employees

Recognising employees and appreciating their unique preferences are vital factors in cultivating a productive workforce. It is essential to acknowledge employees for their individual impact and demonstrate how much they are valued.

Tailoring meaningful rewards based on their contributions, whether it’s recognising exceptional behaviour, positive attitudes, or living the company’s values and culture, goes a long way in making employees feel truly appreciated.

Adopting a personalised approach instead of a one-size-fits-all strategy fosters a culture of genuine appreciation within a people-centric employer brand, ultimately leading to a high-performance driven culture. Rewards can be monetary, such as bonuses, salary increases, gift cards and vouchers, commission, profit share, etc. or non-monetary, such as flexible work arrangements, promotion and advancement, employee wellness programmes, mentorship programmes etc.

Garner the trusted voice of your employees to shape your employer brand

Harnessing employee-generated content can create a powerful people-centric employer brand. Authentic reviews, testimonials, and storytelling shared by employees build trust and attract top talent. Use online platforms like social media and webinars, as well as offline events like career fairs, to showcase their experiences. Empower your people to shape your brand, fostering an inclusive and transparent work environment.

A people-centric employer brand thrives on employee involvement, relying on the constant exchange of information. Fine-tuning and personalising one’s employer value proposition is essential to ensure that it holds relevance, and it constantly resonates and is relatable to the people. Ongoing questioning of whether it aligns with your workforce, together with measuring performance metrics and motivators, is key to the success of building a people-centric employer brand.