Last week I had the honor to speak at the Czech PR Klub workshop Employer Branding. I talked about my experience in 2015 – 2017 with leading integrated communications and building a fresh new employer brand for Foxconn Global Services Division (FGSD), the European aftersales service division of Foxconn, the largest technology manufacturer in the world.
The PR Klub workshop was full of relevant questions, presentations and up-to-date information about the overheated Czech labor market. All speakers agreed that an employer brand is so much more than a marketing tool aimed at supporting new hires. What truly stands at the core of an employer brand is the experience that your current employees undergo in your company. So if your bottom line is not solid – if your current employees are not happy and their work experience is not positive - any new employer brand you might try to build will stand on clay feet.
Figures speak for themselves: the Czech Republic has the lowest unemployment in Europe. Up to 25% of Czech employees are currently willing to change their job within a month and more than 50% in three months. Some companies are already facing a skyrocketing 30% fluctuation. For the remaining employees, staying often means more work for less pay – newcomers are often paid at least 10% more than current employees.
So I started to think what exactly could companies do right now to create a more genuine, complete and nurturing work experience for their employees. As always when looking for answers I turn to the Enneagram, a complex and dynamic system of personal development that provides a genuine map for understanding human behavior.
For those of you unfamiliar with it, the Enneagram describes nine structures of personality, including their mental and emotional needs / fixations. So, with the question of how to improve a company’s employee experience in mind I took a tour of the nine personality structures according to the Enneagram and came up with the following answers.
- Frustration and growth. Ask yourself what frustrates your people at work. What in your strategy, processes and overall set up hasn’t been thought through in full detail, leading thus to major frustrations? What issues could your company fix today so your people could experience an immediate rise in the quality of their experience at work?
- Nurturing, help and support. Who helps your people when they feel lost? Who is there for them when they need to orient themselves in the way your company works? Do you allow your people to train, mentor and spend enough time with their colleagues so they can derive a sense of meaning from human connections going beyond immediate work results?
- Success and failure. What are your people’s chances for outstanding success in their tasks? What will be the response if they fail? Does your company work with failure openly and transparently or does it rather push people to “work creatively with the truth (aka results)” just so they can keep face – and their jobs?
- Uniqueness, creativity and autonomy. Can your people be themselves at work? Can they show emotions, uniqueness and an original approach to getting things done? Can they create something new, do they have enough autonomy during work and influence on the final result?
- Objective information and critical distance. How much does your company value objective information? How much information and data is enough? Who helps your people to gain critical distance in key moments and make important decisions that balance hard data and intuition?
- Fear and certainties. Are your people afraid of making mistakes? How present is your management for them, how encouraging and supportive? How trustworthy is your management in the eyes of your employees?
- Novelty and fun. How interesting, new and fun it is working for your company? What can you do to help your employees to derive a sense of meaning beyond results from their work?
- Power, influence and control over resources. Do your people have enough power, control and influence over resources to get their job done? Or do they experience insufficiency and humiliation at work?
- Peace of mind and room to regenerate. Do your people have enough room to relax and just be even during work time? How relaxed or tensed is the atmosphere in your company? How inclusive is your company, how accepting for each employee just the way they are? Do your people enjoy enough sleep, rest and overall peace of mind so they can experience joy at work?
By looking at each of these areas and fixing what you can fix right away you rise the chance of your people feeling happier at work. A better employee experience means a chance for you to retain your people within the next months and year. A genuine company culture putting employee experience first is a blessing not only for Employer Branding experts. Looking long-term, it is also the only solution for companies caring about sustainability.
For it is only companies that are wise enough to turn today’s Czech labor market crunches into an opportunity that will be here to tell the tale after the next crisis will hit us full front, regardless of when and where it might come from.