The public sector is experiencing unprecedented talent shortages. Organisations from central government to healthcare have found it increasingly difficult to attract and retain candidates with the necessary skills in the face of digital transformations, recruitment freezes and budget cuts. One way to position your organisation as an employer of choice is to focus on the importance of employer branding in recruitment. Yet many public sector organisations neglect their branding as an employer, relying instead on the idea that the public sector is the ‘safe and solid’ option or outdated public perceptions and unfair comparisons with the private sector.
Good employer branding can have a considerable effect on your ability to attract skilled candidates and retain crucial employees.
What is an employer brand and why should you invest in it?
Employer branding is how you define and market the entire experience of being employed by your organisation. Successful employer branding positions you as an employer candidates would be proud to work for and as an employer that supports its workforce.
Good branding can have a positive effect on your recruitment by helping your employees feel more valued and engaged, which can help you:
- Attract candidates with hard to find or in-demand skills
Recent studies by LinkedIn found that organisations with a strong employer brand found 50% more qualified applicants for open roles
- Reduce the time it takes to fill positions and save you money
The same research found that good branding allowed organisations to fill positions 2x faster and experienced a 50% reduction in cost-to-hire
- Improve morale and reduce employee turnover
Positive employer branding can improve employee satisfaction and reduce employee turnover by up to 28%
- Deliver better outcomes for service users
Research by Gallup found that an engaged workforce was 18% more productive, 23% more profitable and experienced a 10% increase in customer satisfaction
5 Strategies for building an employer brand for better talent attraction and retention
Good employer branding can bring your organisation so many benefits, particularly when it comes to talent attraction and retention. But with smaller recruitment budgets, how can public sector organisations compete with, and set themselves apart from, the private sector when it comes to employer branding?
Here are five strategies you can employ to help build your employer brand as a public sector or non-profit organisation:
1. Stop being the ‘safe choice’ and become a destination
Many candidates are apt to perceive public sector employers as the ‘safe’ choice and public sector employers often feel that they don’t need to bother with an employer brand. After all, they’ve been around for years, they aren’t going anywhere, and many people have encountered their services at some point in their lives.
But this outdated view is holding back your recruitment. It’s time to stop thinking like a public sector employer and start thinking like a desirable destination employer. A place that people want to work. Identify what sets you apart and develop it into a powerful Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that you can use to underpin all your employer branding efforts.
2. Emphasise purpose and meaningful work
Work makes up a huge part of people’s lives and employees are increasingly concerned with how their work offers them a sense of meaning and purpose. This is particularly true when it comes to younger employees. In fact, studies have found that 94% of Millennials want to use their skills to benefit a cause, and for Gen Z ‘meaningful work’ is the most important factor for staying in a role.
Public sector and non-profit organisations are uniquely placed to offer meaningful employment that fulfils important societal purpose and younger employees are increasingly likely to have the digital skills those organisations need to succeed. Therefore, to attract and retain this talent you should emphasise how a career in the public sector offers a chance to make a difference to the community.
3. Improve the candidate experience
When it comes to candidate experience, public sector organisations have often lagged behind the private sector. Sometimes this has been down to a reliance on outdated technology or labyrinthine organisational structures. Many of us have struggled to navigate poorly laid out or complex websites and forms when applying for public sector roles or found it difficult to know where and how best to advertise roles.
However, new technology and a desire for change are helping public sector organisations put the employee experience at the heart of their branding.
Improve your candidates’ experience by:
- Developing an easy-to-navigate careers website that is accessible on multiple devices
- Creating simple, to-the-point job descriptions that adhere to best practice
- Having easy-to-use application forms that don’t require applicants to repeatedly fill in the same information
- Offering prompt, timely communication that keeps applicants informed and constructive feedback
4. Spotlight diversity and inclusion
One study by Deloitte has found that 80% of people feel diversity & inclusion is an important factor when choosing an employer and 39% would leave their current employer for a more inclusive one. By building inclusive language, imagery, and values into your employer brand you will encourage applicants of all backgrounds to apply, making it easier to attract high-calibre candidates from wider talent pools and ultimately better serve your community.
5. Shout about your benefits
While competing with the private sector on salary is unrealistic for many organisations, the public sector offers several unique benefits, a high degree of job security and a high degree of flexibility when it comes to working practices. It is not enough to assume that candidates are aware of the benefits offered by working for the public sector, instead your employer branding should be communicating these benefits and positioning overall benefits packages as just as, or more, attractive than the base salary packages offered by the private sector.
Design an employer brand that sets you apart with Morgan Law
At Morgan Law, our team of experienced consultants is well-versed in helping public-sector and non-profit organisations develop their unique brand as an employer. Our consultants work with you to develop a recruitment strategy that helps you attract and retain the very best talent and helps you meet your goals.