Last month, Avencia hosted two workshops to discuss techniques for the attraction of diverse talent. Joined by resourcing and HR professionals from across the insurance and asset management markets, we explored the challenges and opportunities presented by today's hiring landscape. One lesson rang true across the board: the notion that perceptions of a brand can breed a reality that businesses do not always see.
Content With Context?
All too often, we focus on the here and now of a hiring problem without trying to understand the context behind it. Why, for example, would a business prioritise dealing with unconscious biases if it had a shortage of applicants in the first place? Perhaps the perception of that business is deterring interest – a reality that can’t be fixed by looking internally.
"It's worth remembering that whatever you put out to market can easily be interpreted differently than you intended. Companies need to be mindful not to create additional roadblocks by inadvertently presenting a negative image."
David Parker, Lead Learning and Development Consultant, Avencia
The perceived D&I of a business has shot up the resourcing agenda in tandem with market desire for more inclusive working practices. This is particularly evident within the insurance industry, where D&I still has a way to go. If companies want to increase engagement and drive applicant diversity, they need to step back and reflect on their external brand voice and messaging. After all, attracting diverse talent is about appealing to the broadest possible audience – and perception is key to that.
Bridging the Perception Vs. Reality Gap
Job adverts, company websites and careers pages are the first touch-points that give an insight into your business. Forums like Glassdoor and LinkedIn provide perspective on the reality of your employee experience, as easily accessible sources that prospective candidates can use to form their assumptions. Review these platforms, and your social media presence, by considering:
- What your website says about your brand
- When your careers collateral was last updated
- Whether your job adverts use gender/culturally coded language
- How the reality lived by your employees plays out on social media
- What employee experiences you can share to enhance your employer brand
- If your careers page truly reflects your culture
- What attracted your recent hires, and whether these expectations have been met
Objectively reviewing and re-conceiving this activity is a great starting point for gauging how your company is regarded in the market, and the actions you can take to present an employer brand that speaks to the reality of your offering.
An effectively positioned employer brand reduces hiring costs by facilitating proactive dialogue with passive candidates, in turn attracting interest from broader talent pools. Conversely, a workforce that appears homogeneous will showcase the company in an exclusionary light, discouraging engagement from underrepresented groups and preventing opportunities to counteract the image.
"We're passionate believers that companies will benefit from an accessible employer brand that combines authenticity and inclusivity."