It’s safe to say that there has been a multitude of changes since 2021 that can affect how talent may feel about the brand of their employer and how they may feel about working at their company. With significant economic, political and social changes in recent years, employees have been noted to value different aspects of their employer brand. For example, The Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) analyzed trends from 2019 to 2021 to observe potential changes in job indicators from before the pandemic and during the peak of the pandemic. They found that there were some positive movements in job indicators; such as benefits, and minor negative movements in other indicators; such as colleague relationships. However, there is limited research surrounding these employer brand fluctuations since then, particularly exploring trends from 2021 to 2022. Subsequently, we believed it would be salient to analyze overall employer brand trends from 2021 to 2022 to gather insight into what aspects of employer brand have changed and further explore the rationale for these changes.
We explored thousands of publicly obtainable pieces of discourse on user-generated platforms; which consist of employer review sites, forums, social media, and other platforms. We collected all the English language-based comments we could find over 18 months from Q2 2021 (April 2021 to June 2021) to Q2 2022 (April 2022 to June 2022) from recurring companies to make a fair comparison. We then used sentiment analysis to translate this to an Employer Brand Index (EBI) score using our bespoke methodology. We produce a score for each of the sixteen attributes on a 0 to 10 scale, with 10 being the highest score you can get.
We analyzed several recurring client companies using 12 months of data for this research. Thus, it should be viewed as a brief depiction of employer brand trends in FMCG, Technology, and Healthcare companies in this time period.
After calculating the EBI scores for Q2 2021 and Q2 2022, we analyzed the score changes from these two quarters to assess which attributes to further explore using a thematic approach, as seen in the figure above. While there were no significant negative changes since Q2 2021, three positively-affected attributes stood out as key areas to raise; Career Progression, Change & Stability and Management & Organization. We focussed on these attributes as they are the attributes that presented the most significant change since Q2 2021.
In our EBI methodology, Career Progression is viewed as how talent perceive their career prospects at the company, which can include discourse on their professional growth opportunities, networking, and career path. From observing the trends surrounding this attribute, the main theme that emerged is an increased salience placed on growth opportunities.
The Change & Stability attribute reflects how talent feels about the stability of their jobs and the company more generally. This includes comments on layoffs, long-term prospects, new hires, location openings/closures, restructuring, and company profitability. From the trend data analyzed, a core theme that could be observed in Q2 2022 was an increase in the celebration of new positions and work anniversaries.
The Management & Organization attribute reflects how talent value the company’s leadership & organizational structure. This includes commentary on the organizational structure, leadership competence, internal politics, and leadership decision-making. From observing the data across the 12 months, the main theme highlighted was there was an increase in discourse commending the management style and management listening to the employee voice.
Subsequently, we are going to explore these three attributes in further detail to assess the potential rationale for the themes found in Q2 2022.
As seen in the graph above, it can be observed that the attribute Career Progression saw a relatively significant score increase since Q2 2021. After thematically analyzing the commentary across quarters, it can be seen that this score increase could be attributed to increased salience placed on growth opportunities in the commentary in Q2 2022. Talent comments would include ‘Thanks to my wonderful colleagues for the learning and growth opportunities and to X company for promoting #GrowthMindset’ and ‘A lot of growth opportunities in X and processes for a structured individual development plan’. This suggests that there is a more recent trend in encouraging talent to feel their career growth is essential to the company and ingrained into the company culture; which talent appreciate as it makes them feel further invested. As a result, this is a positive occurrence surrounding Career Progression that should be continued to retain talent.
In Q2 2022, talent may have concerns surrounding inflation and other unprecedented changes in the job climate; which would cause them to attribute more salience to job security. This may contribute to the significant score incline, particularly from Q1 2022, as seen in the figure above. This positive change in score for the Change & Stability attribute can be seen as a result of an increase in celebratory posts from talent about their new role or work anniversary at the company. A significant portion of these comments would also commend the company for providing excellent development resources, career growth opportunities, and networking opportunities. According to the Harvard Business Review, there is an increase in varying perceptions of job security, with individuals valuing aspects of flexibility and career growth. Subsequently, this highlights the importance that employers need to place on flexibility and career development to maintain new and long-tenured employees.
Similarly to Change & Stability, it can be observed that Management & Organization saw a particular increase in score from Q1 2022. The commentary in Q2 2022 presented a higher proportion of positive commentary, which particularly appraised the good management practices displayed and having a less hierarchical relationship to management. For example, comments would suggest that “the culture around hierarchy in the company allowed for your voice to be heard”. According to The Oxford Review, this flexible approach to the organizational hierarchy that strays away from rigid processes allows for the productivity and the performance of employees to be better prioritized. This is understandable as positively responding to talent concerns and thoughts can contribute to talent building trust with their employer, which would incline them to resonate with the employer brand of their company.
To summarize, we looked at recurring client data from Q2 2021 to Q2 2022 to discover and further analyze any noticeable trends in our 16 EBI attributes. We found primarily significant positive changes in the attributes; Career Progression, Change & Stability, and Management & Organization, for this time period. For Career Progression, we found there is increased discourse around having growth opportunities, which allows them to feel further invested. For Change & Stability, there is a more recent surge of commentary celebrating their new role or long tenure at their company, with a particular appreciation for the development opportunities their role has provided them. For Management & Organization, there is greater mention of good management practices and employee voices being heard, which is particularly notable as this was not as high of an occurrence in Q2 2021. These are all the noteworthy positive employer brand trends that we observed that would be desirable to maintain due to the longstanding benefits it may come with, such as retaining valuable talent. As a result, this emphasizes the importance of monitoring employer brand trends across quarters going forward to assess and inform current practices.
Rumesha Wisidagama is a Data Analyst with Link Humans, helping clients understand and measure their reputation as employers with the Employer Brand Index.
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