After a decade of riding the Irish economic roller coaster, business owners and managers are ﬁnding it increasingly difﬁcult to retain and attract talented people. This challenge is hitting every sector of the Irish economy but it is of particular concern to the hardware industry, where knowledge and relationships have always played a pivotal role in business success.
But why is the hardware sector ﬁnding this so difﬁcult?
The answer is Brand.
The world has evolved into an environment in which ‘Brand is King’. Existing and potential employees are attracted to recognisable brands with employees having become increasingly brand conscious and brand loyal over the past ten years – a period in which most of the hardware sector was focusing its energy on survival – not on brand building. So is your brand doing what it has to do? Is it working for you? Is it retaining and attracting the best people? What is a brand anyway?
A brand is much more than the name over the door. Yes, it is that, but it is also so much more. Your brand embodies your reputation, your vision of the future and the values by which you operate your business; how you interact with employees as well as customers.
Organisations who attract and retain the best people will often have a well-deﬁned and articulated brand. This is referred to as an Employer Brand.
An Employer Brand that is speciﬁcally designed to engage employees and to connect with them takes the Employer Brand one step further – this is called the Employer Value Proposition.
There are many aspects to an Employer Value Proposition, but three elements are key, and that is the need to have clarity on;
If you can’t paint a picture or vision of the future that adheres to an employee’s (or prospective employee’s) view of where they want to go then you shouldn’t be surprised when they don’t want to come on that journey. Every employer should be able to clearly deﬁne their plan for the future, the stages of development required, and the role to be played by each person in the business – and you need to articulate that and communicate that to your employees so that they will be onboard for the journey.
Everyone is interested in reward, but studies consistently show that it is not the priority with the majority of employees or prospective employees. However, studies also show that if you are not able to deﬁne reward in terms other than pay then you better be ready to pay and keep paying. Reward can be deﬁned as a bundle of beneﬁts available to those who work in your organisation.
Training, pension contributions, ﬂexible working are all beneﬁts and it is important you communicate all available beneﬁts. This is known as a Total Rewards Package. If you are committed to rewarding your employees, you could consider reporting the Total Rewards Package to your employees annually.
Finally, but most importantly, everyone has a fundamental need to feel fulﬁlled. We spend the majority of our waking moments working and if that is not a beneﬁcial experience then we will not stay. Again, studies have shown that prospective employees will rank lack of fulﬁllment as more important than pay as reason for looking for a new job.
Every current or future employee will be expected to juggle his or her professional and personal life. The stresses and strains associated with this are real and challenging. How your organisation responds to this challenge is critically important in deﬁning the sort of employer you are. Positioning real solutions, processes and structures to manage these factors will help you to keep great people and attract new ones.
As long as the hardware sector continues to depend on industry knowledge and relationships as a cornerstone of success, then having the best people in the business is fundamental.
Has your business taken steps to securing this cornerstone?
This Business Support article featured in the September/October 2018 edition of The Hardware Journal.