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#BizTrends2023: Predictions for employer branding inside and out

For many, the 2022 finishing line could not have come sooner. Generally, people were feeling beyond mentally and physically depleted having had to navigate their way through the post-pandemic year. This is not all doom and gloom though, as it has highlighted, now more than ever that people remain at the front and centre of companies' successful survival and competitive advantage within our "now normal" dispersed workplace environments. For companies to retain, nurture and attract the best talent in 2023, listening conversations, and being attuned to employees' raised expectations and needs must be ongoing.
Celeste Sirin, MD of Employer Branding Africa
Celeste Sirin, MD of Employer Branding Africa

The 2022 Global Talent Shortage Report from the Manpower Group confirms that the global talent shortage is at a 16-year high as three in four employers report difficulty in finding talent. Thus in 2023, labour markets will continue to recuperate in securing and attracting top talent. It’s no surprise then that many companies are quickly realising that a strongly defined, competitive and differentiating EVP (employer value proposition), coupled with a recognisable employer brand is now critical.

Employer branding trend #1: Internal mobility - mutually beneficial

Within uncertain labour markets, companies are shifting towards mobilising and investing in the development of their people internally, rather than recruiting anew. Earmarking and grooming existing employees into newly created roles while at the same time future-proofing their businesses. For companies it improves employee retention, reduces unnecessary hiring costs and strengthens their EVP to attract highly sought-after talent. For employees, and especially with Gen Zs, expectations of career development and growth are a necessity within any EVP.

Employer branding trend #2: Internalising the EVP

Smart companies will prioritise the repositioning and reintroduction of their value propositions through interweaving them through their employee lifecycle (onboarding, performance management, succession planning). This with a view to reminding, retaining and galvanising detached employees to their company’s culture, values and offering. With high inflation, employees are favouring compensation, benefits and stability. However, the strong desire for intangible perks e.g. four-day weeks, remote working, a purposeful career (with a strong environmental or societal connection), flexibility, health and well-being etc, persists.

Employer branding trend #3: “Human” leadership will become more central to driving culture

CHRO’s and HR leaders are under pressure as they face ongoing disruption, having to navigate their complex environments caused by macro influences of evolving job functions, the rise of hybrid work, skills shortage, digital transformation, economic, inflationary and political uncertainties.

A recent Gartner HR Top Priorities 2023 Report on 800 CHRO’s confirmed that there is a strong calling for authentic, adaptive and empathetic leaders who can lead and assist employees to navigate and mitigate the impact that change may have on employees’ work and, more importantly, their mental and financial well-being. The repetitive need for HR leaders to dial up on delivering a more human-centric value proposition and “value chain” focused on the whole person is becoming increasingly evident. Focused feelings and features that match employee needs eg. tailored recognition, flexibility, personal growth, shared purpose and values etc. is being echoed across the globe.

Employer branding trend #4: Extended diverse talent marketplace

As the skills gap continues to grow, companies look towards employing across diverse talent pools i.e. contingency, gig contractors, freelancers, retirees and boomerang (returning past employees) to meet their business objectives. Fortunately, with remote working becoming normalised, expansion into global talent markets becomes more accessible. A tailored talent acquisition and recruitment marketing strategy encompassing a unique, attractive and transparent EVP is essential for companies to address their diverse talent pools, and to stand out from the rest.

Employer branding trend #5: The future of recruiting remains in advisory, marketing and influencing

A recent LinkedIn report confirms the following three emerging key skills are becoming increasingly important: engaging passive candidates (85%), analysing talent data to drive decisions (84%), and advising business leaders and hiring managers (82%).

For recruiters and talent acquisition specialists to avoid being left behind, the dire need to shift from “order fillers” to trusted advisors to their hiring managers, cannot be highlighted enough. Power skills such as problem solving, communications, analysing, negotiating, storytelling, collaborating, marketing and branding will determine how well talent teams will perform against talent competitors in 2023.

Apart from the abovementioned five employer branding trends, prospective employees will continue to look towards companies not only “showcasing” but intentionally actioning their key drivers to advance diversity, equity and inclusion, purpose and ESG (environmental, social & governance), and humanising the working experience through listening and amplifying the employees’ voice.

Recruitment and talent acquisition teams have an opportunity to reframe, build and repurpose themselves through offering a wealth of additional value. Exploring and/or advancing untapped opportunities of people analytics, retaining and developing their existing workforce to become skills-based, training leaders who adopt employer branding and recruitment marketing to become great influencers, advocates and marketers.

The only certainty is uncertainty within global talent markets. The choice rests with talent leaders to embrace this landscape of golden and exciting opportunities in the year ahead.

About Celeste Sirin

Celeste Sirin is an employer branding specialist, speaker, facilitator and founder of Employer Branding Africa which aims to develop employer banding best practice in South Africa by educating South African leaders. She is a leading authority in positioning and elevating employer brands for companies, offering extensive insight into local, African and international employer branding trends.
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