how do you ensure your employer's brand promise aligns with the employee experience?

Group of colleagues sitting at a table in a meeting with a laptop, talking and smiling. Office and other people in the background.
Group of colleagues sitting at a table in a meeting with a laptop, talking and smiling. Office and other people in the background.

Our previous blogs on the latest employer brand research highlighted the ‘great regret’ trend.

Our research indicates that more than one in four employees (28%) who got a new job in 2021 intend to change careers again this year.

Are those employees questioning the wisdom of their recent move? 

To ensure that your business isn’t caught out in this potential trend now is a good time for HR and recruitment leaders to understand how to enhance their employer brand and ensure that their brand promise is aligned with the actual employee experience.

The Great Regret describes as the name suggests, regrets about leaving a job to try out a new company or position.

Recent months have revealed the trend of employees quitting their current positions after landing a new role, only to boomerang back to their previous work and company shortly after leaving.

While different reasons can be attributed to this, one significant factor to consider is how the employee experience at the new organisation might not have lived up to the expectations set during the recruitment process.

  • If you're responsible for your organisation's recruitment and employer brand, it's important to regularly ask yourself, what do people know about our company?
  • Do we know if our employer brand contributes to or detracts from our ability to get ahead in the war for talent?
  • Once we bring in a new employee, do our employer's brand promises match their reality, and are they supported in their role?

As we've explored in our latest Randstad Employer Brand Research, in today's fiercely competitive job market, establishing and maintaining a consistent, attractive employer brand is a crucial tool for attracting and retaining the best candidates.  

Many factors contribute to building and maintaining a top-tier employer brand, and striking the right balance between promise and experience is unique to every business.

five essential areas to consider will help you deliver a strong employer brand aligned to the employee experience.

Woman holding a cup smiling at her colleague
Woman holding a cup smiling at her colleague

1. address the gap between employer and employee expectations

A big area where companies can quickly become unstuck and lose new hires is when there is a significant gap between employer and employee expectations about the employer value proposition (EVP). 

To know if your EVP has an expectation gap, you first need to understand what employees are looking for.

As highlighted in the latest employer brand research, the top three factors that employees want from their employers are:

  • a good work-life balance (62%)
  • good salary and benefits (58%)
  • job security (56%)

If you can bring these three core factors to the table, you have the opportunity to tap into a wealth of talent.

However, if you’re selling the dream to potential employees and can’t deliver on it, you may fall prey to ‘the great regret’ once new employees know that the promise does not match their experience.

Our research clearly shows that while an attractive employer brand includes these three factors, not many Australian employers are perceived to offer this in reality.

When looking at how you can create alignment with your brand promise and employee experience, you need a baseline on which to measure your performance.

Start with a survey of new or recent hires about whether their employee experience matches their expectations.

This can serve as a regular temperature check that your promise matches the reality of working for your organisation.

A photo of a man working remotely
A photo of a man working remotely
an illustration of a manifying lens looking at data

find out what different generations expect from today's employers.

read workmonitor report 2022

2. understand the reality of remote working

Remote working is undeniably here to stay.

In Australia, 96% of remote workers believe they will continue to do so into the future, and 66% expect to have a blend of working remotely and in the office. 

In this new reality, employers are tasked with offering flexible work arrangements and providing access to tools, leadership training and resources that enable this.

To remain competitive, employers must also find ways to do flexible work for them without losing sight of their business priorities. Employers that can offer meaningful flexibility around where employees work and when they work and trust them to do so in the company's best interests are well on their way to becoming top employers. 

3. factor in the need for work-life balance

With work-life balance the number one driver for employees in Australia, according to the latest Randstad employer brand research, your employer brand must highlight this factor to get a foot in the door with top talent.

Work-life balance is intrinsically linked with remote working and highlights the more significant shifts in how our workplaces evolve.

According to the research, the top actions employers can take to improve work-life balance are:

  • to offer flexible work arrangements (44%)
  • training and development (36%)
  • wellness and mental health resources (35%)
  • salary protection and fair compensation (31%)
  • career development (29%)

While a work-life balance strategy will look different for every company, potential employees want to know how they will be supported. There is often a gap between what employees want and what employers offer. While this gap will always be there, the key is not to let it get too big.

This is when employees will move on and is a crucial talent retention consideration.

Our research shows that one in three Australian workers aren’t happy with their current work-life balance.

Employers can improve this by encouraging workers to work flexible hours or remotely, cutting down on overtime, providing wellness and mental health resources and offering employees training and development opportunities.

4. align your strategies with your broader purpose and values

More employees are looking for employers to contribute to improvising more general environmental and societal outcomes. The past two years' events have made many employees re-evaluate their work. Regarding world events, 26% of Australian respondents in our latest employer brand research felt work has become less important than before. 

This finding supports the broader trend of employees wanting to work for businesses with a clear purpose, mission and values that align more closely with their own.

This is a chance for employers to reflect on their broader mission statements, sustainability goals, or community-focused initiatives and consider how to bring this into their employer brand messaging to better connect with talent looking for more meaning in their work. 

Focused man and woman working on their laptop and sitting at a table in a garden.
Focused man and woman working on their laptop and sitting at a table in a garden.

5. invest in upskilling and retraining

As we already know, employers struggle to fill skills gaps within their teams and departments in a talent-scarce market. The growing trend of great regret could further exacerbate this.

To counter this, employers should look to offer more opportunities to existing staff to upskill or retrain in various areas.

This will have the added benefit of building internal expertise, boosting employee morale and job satisfaction, and contributing to the overall attractiveness of your employer brand. 

It is also a great way to retain great talent. The research is detailed on this topic - 66% of employees will stay with their current employer if offered upskilling or reskilling opportunities. 

By tapping into what today’s job seekers are looking for in an employer and working to ensure you can meaningfully offer this to these potential employees, you will place your business at the head of the queue regarding talent attractiveness.

But crucially, whatever you promise in your employer brand communications, you must ensure that this aligns with the actual employee experience.

By doing this, your business is taking essential steps to protect against the potential negative impacts of great regret.

request the research.

Randstad’s Employer Brand Research includes detailed information on today’s job seeker preferences and offers great employer brand insights to support your talent attraction and retention strategies.

download the report