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Mind the perception gap

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What is it that potential employees look for in an employer? According to research by Croner, there is a big gap between what employers believe makes their organisation an attractive place to work and the reality of candidates’ considerations.

As a result of this perception gap, says Croner, organisations risk failing to recruit top talent .

For example, 65 per cent of the 150-plus employers surveyed believed that company reputation was the most attractive attribute for potential employees.

But a YouGov survey commissioned by Croner found that among employees only 22 per cent felt that reputation was important – placing it at sixth place in the employees’ wish list.

In the employers’ list second place was the quality of the workplace culture/environment, while staff development initiatives such as training and promotion were third.

As far as employees are concerned, the top attraction is location of work – cited by 47 per cent – with holiday entitlement coming second. Flexible working and bonuses were ranked equal third.

The quality of an organisation’s workplace culture and environment was ranked in fourth place by employees.

Gillian Dowling, technical consultant at Croner, believes many employers will be surprised at the surveys’ results and will have to re-think long held entrenched views.

“Today’s employees aren’t solely motivated by money and are looking for other perks and conditions to help them balance their work and home life. Although little can be done about location, home working can be a powerful benefit to employees, as can offering other flexible solutions such as later start times or job sharing.

“Employers may be missing out on top talent by failing to accommodate flexible working needs. Evidence suggests that offering such benefits can lead to commercial gains due to improved employee relations, staff morale and retention.

“Over the coming months employers will have to rethink how they are going to attract the top people. Employers may have to be more inventive about the benefits they offer. And, with changes to statutory holiday entitlement expected to come in from this October onwards, even the option of being able to offer extra holidays as an enticement will have less appeal to job candidates in a competitive market place.”

Meanwhile, separate research from Peninsula BusinessWise cites pay as being the top motivator for employees, with 43 per cent saying a good rate of pay makes a good employer.

This was followed by 19 per cent citing bosses who listen and respect workers, 17 per cent saying company benefits and just 12 per cent opting for office culture.

Peninsula managing director Peter Done said: “Nowadays it appears that employees are simply motivated by one thing: money. The business environment is becoming increasingly cutthroat, and in order for employers to keep hold of their top employees they are being forced to break the bank.

“Striking a balance between professional and personal satisfaction in the workplace is a common dilemma for many of today’s employers. While employers try to promote a flexible workplace with equal opportunities and recognition for hard work, increasing workloads require employees to input longer hours; so finding the right balance can be very difficult.

“It is important to communicate with employees on a regular basis, whether it’s through appraisals or through regular one to one meetings. A good employer will always willingly listen and respond to their workers’ issues or grievances.

“Employees want to know what is going on throughout the company, and this adds to a general feeling of importance and valued contribution. If employees are not informed and are simply left in ignorance it can lead to confusion and worry.”

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