In the past, we have looked at some of the challenges SMEs (small and medium enterprises) can face when it comes to attracting the best young talent – and, of course, retaining that top talent once you have recruited them.
Depending on the sector, SMEs are often in competition with some of the UK’s and the world’s best known names when it comes to recruitment. How can the SME go about making itself visible and putting itself out there with what are often household names?
Graduates and young people often already have half an eye on landing a role and beginning their career with these top companies so, if the SME doesn’t want to miss out, it needs to somehow throw itself into the mix and attract the eye of school leavers, students and graduates.
One of the recruitment tactics that SMEs can use is to look at how larger, more well known companies go about their recruitment process. What can the SME implement into their recruitment strategy that mirrors the strategy of the more well known corporations? Whilst the SME can likely not match the finances used for recruitment by larger companies, there are still some tips that can be drawn and made use of that won’t be so costly.
One area where SMEs can really drill down on is the Employee Value Proposition (the EVP). Larger companies make full use of these both in the recruitment section of their websites and in their job adverts elsewhere. If you are an SME, have you created an Employee Value Proposition. And, not only that; have you been able to use it to your advantage?
What Is An Employee Value Proposition?
If you haven’t yet created an EVP, this article will explain what one is and how you can build one so that young talent is attracted to working for your company. Because you might not realise it yet but, even if you haven’t sat down and created your EVP, you already have one.
An EVP is not just about recruitment. It is also about staff retention. How your staff feel about your company and how they feel about working for your company is all part of your EVP. Creating a great Employee Value Proposition – and communicating this and making it a part of the workplace can help to give your staff retention figures a boost.
Young people no longer view their job as a job for life so you need to be the company where they want to apply for your jobs and stick around with the company for the maximum time possible. Your EVP has a role to play in this.
An EVP is the whole reason why your staff want to work for you. Not just good pay but other perks and benefits, too. What does your company stand for? What are its values?
Millennials are increasingly interested in working for companies that match their own values. It is no longer just about who can offer the biggest salary. It’s about other benefits such as staff development, flexible working, the ability to work from home, time off for sporting events, being involved in the local community, working for a company that makes genuine efforts to be protective of the environment.
An EVP is all about what unique value you can offer your employers. If this matches the values of young students and graduates out there, then, as an SME, you have more chance of attracting their attention and their application.
Form here, then, what is key is creating and communicating that EVP and getting the message out there.
What Is Your Employee Value Proposition?
As mentioned above, even if you have not actively sat down and noted your EVP, you will already have one. So, firstly, as an employer with an SME you need to identify what that EVP is. Is your EVP what you want it to be?
There are a few action steps you can take which will help to determine what your EVP is.
- Have an open conversation with your current team of staff. What do they think your EVP is? Why do they like working for your company? What do they think the company culture and values are? If they are not aware of the mission and values of your SME then this is something that needs to be addressed.
- Once you know how your staff view your SME, do these perceptions mirror what you believe your company’s culture and values to be? If there is a gap between how you view the company values and how staff view them, this can then be addressed so that you can align them and boost your staff retention.
- Is there anything your team of staff would like to see as part of the Employee Value Proposition? As an SME, you could be in a position to be more flexible and be prepared to add benefits or change some existing ones. This can boost staff retention and also attract more young people to apply for your roles. They need to see you as a company that they want to be a part of.
- Survey customers or users of your services and ask them how they view your company and its values. Would your SME be somewhere they would like to work and why? Are they happy to use your services or purchase your prıduct because the company values align with those of their own?
Time To Build (Or Make Changes To) Your Employee Value Proposition
Now it is time to build a dynamic Employee Value Proposition that will help you both to retain and recruit the best young talent in your workplace. This can be done with the help of the feedback from your team and could even be built with their input. Areas to consider are:
- What can your EVP offer in terms of career development? As an SME, there might not be too much wiggle room when it comes to promotion but you do have the advantage of giving staff the opportunity to work across a variety or roles so that they have a more holistic view of how the company ticks.
- What can your EVP offer in terms of benefits or perks? Again, as an SME, you will be competing with larger companies but these benefits don’t necessarily need to be cash benefits. As an SME, you might be in a position to be more flexible when it comes to staff holidays, working from home and flexible working hours which can go towards creating a better work life balance. These are exactly the types of benefits millennials are looking for.
- What can your EVP offer in terms of company culture? As an SME, how can you make yourself stand out above the competition that larger companies bring when it comes to recruitment and staff retention? Have you got a good teamwork ethic in the workplace? Perhaps you get involved in local community events and projects. Staff get togethers, social events or sporting activities can also play a part in attracting young people to your roles.
- What can your EVP do to attract applicants and retain existing staff in terms of the workplace environment? This can depend on the sector you operate in as an SME but perhaps you can offer really creative office space or work stations. Have you got a reputation as an inclusive and diverse company? Can you offer mentor support for younger, more inexperienced staff? This not only gives the younger members of your team someone to support them, it also gives the mentor more responsibility. If you are unable to offer promotions, this is one of the ways of developing your more experienced staff.
Communicate Your EVP
Once you have pinpointed and built your Employee Value Proposition, this is not the time to file it away somewhere and forget all about it. Your EVP must be communicated. It needs to become part of your workplace culture so that staff know exactly what it is.
As an SME, you also need to communicate your EVP outside of the workplace. You can do this via social media, the careers section of your company website and also in your recruitment campaigns.
If you have an effective EVP that works in practice as well as on paper, you will soon get a reputation for this and that should mean you have boosted your chances of attracting the school leavers, students and graduates you are looking for to your workplace.