Who you are is as important as what you do
So many businesses define themselves by what they do; “We manufacture steelworks”, “We’re a food processing plant”, “We’re a transport company”, or “We do shop fittings”. Now this may be 100% accurate, but it doesn’t really tell prospective employees what type of company you are. We’re not talking about what you do, but rather who you are as a company. What is your company culture, what do you place the most value on, and how do your employees get involved in this.
Now you may be wondering, why is this even important? We’re a business, we do what we do, why does it matter how we do it? It matters because if you want to attract the top people in the industry, the people who will do really well and help the business grow, those people are looking for more than just a good salary and benefits.
The marketplace is dynamic and ever-changing, even more so in the last decade thanks to technology and the impact it has had on life as we know it. Similarly people’s expectations of a job have also changed.
Salary is no longer the main reason people move to another company, or what they look for in a new job. More often it is an opportunity for career progression, promotion, and learning that typically attract people. Or it’s because they have heard that it’s a fabulous place to work because the company looks after their staff, is open to hearing about new ideas and encourages employees to develop themselves. It’s no mistake that some of the largest and most profitable companies in the world – Amazon and Google, to name a few – are also top ranked as employers. People scramble for opportunities to work there.
This is because people worth hiring want to feel part of something good or worthwhile, they want to feel as though they have a purpose and that what they do makes a difference in the world, even if only in a small way. They want that ‘something more’ and know that they’re not trudging to work each day just to bring home a paycheque. This is why they ask the question: “Is this a company I want to work for?” And it is also why if as a company you want to find great people to work for you and keep them, you have to know who you are as a business.
How to find the answers employees are looking for
What’s the reason behind what you do? What drives you to do things better? That passion is what’s important because it is what employees will be able to relate to. Think of what you do in terms of who benefits. Is it the community? Is it business customers? If you can articulate what makes their lives easier or better that’s a good starting point.
The ‘who’ can also be defined by what’s important in terms of business values. Are you a company that’s committed to really listening to customers and delivering what they want? Are you conscious about the environment and use only compostable packaging? Or are you passionate about social upliftment, giving opportunities for people to gain new skills even when they’ve had limited education.
Today, if companies want to attract great people they need to have something good to offer – a vision and values that employees can buy into and that is communicated clearly so that everyone knows what you’re really about.