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In adhering to government guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, some organisations across the UK were forced to change processes or close their doors overnight. As a result, many employees were either placed on furlough, asked to take a salary cut or made redundant. In contrast, essential service organisations saw a period of significantly increased demand, putting a strain on the existing workforce and leading to mass recruitment drives. 

Now in our third lockdown people have had the opportunity to evaluate the response of employers to the pandemic accurately. Such judgements have far-reaching effects as employees can publicly rate and review a business online for all to see. Additionally, prospective candidates are free to find everything they need to know before making an application. In short, employers that make bad judgement calls stand to lose out on top talent.

With this knowledge, businesses are placing greater emphasis on managing their employer brand and value proposition as we enter 2021. Omni’s Resourcing and Talent Planning Survey 2020, delivered in partnership with the CIPD, revealed that UK people professionals and senior HR leaders across the public and private sector rank organisational values as the most important element of an employer brand, particularly when it comes to attracting candidates (50%). This was followed by pay and benefits (44%) and career development opportunities (37%). 

The survey also found that not-for-profit organisations are most likely to view their values and the perception of their organisation in society as key for attracting candidates, whereas the public sector and manufacturing & production organisations place greater emphasis on job security. The private sector is more likely to shine a spotlight on pay and benefits in an employer proposition. 

Covid-19 has created a moment of truth for a company’s purpose and values. Rather than buzzwords hanging on a wall, core values should define the priorities of a business and shape the company culture, taking into account all of the changes and lessons from 2020. Companies must remember that it is not too late to create a set of core values or to re-engage with existing ones to establish a culture that both protects and supports employees. 

A Hall & Partners survey published in August revealed that 58% of the 1,500 global employees polled believed that the kind actions of their company during the crisis made them want to stay longer than they originally planned. The report went on to make a case for incorporating ‘softer’ values, such as ‘kindness’ into a modern value proposition as a way of establishing greater engagement and loyalty as we move through the pandemic.

To ensure values are genuinely reflective of employee needs, it is recommended that organisations take a data-led approach. Consider issuing an anonymous survey to employees and using the information to craft a modern set of values. Here are just some questions you can ask: 

  • How would you describe working here to others?
  • What type of person thrives in our organisation?
  • What values and behaviours are important to you in your role?
  • How do you experience those values and behaviours currently? Do you feel recognised in your role? What would you like to see more of? 
  • What is your favourite thing about working here?
  • In general, what would you like to see more/less of? 

As last year demonstrated, change is the cornerstone of business so as your company evolves, so should its values. Do not be afraid to revise these values regularly to ensure they still reflect the business landscape and the needs of your current and future employees. 

Download the report 

Now in its twenty-first year, the Resourcing and Talent Planning survey examines resourcing practices, and the challenges organisations are facing to provide people professionals and their organisations with benchmarking data on critical areas such as recruitment costs, employee turnover and retention. Get your copy today!