This week I had the distinct pleasure of hosting the world’s leading authority on Employer Branding, EBI CEO Brett Minchington. On the second year of his 20 country/30 city Employer Brand Global Tour, Brett (who occasionally resides in Australia) is about to publish his 2nd book on the subject, Employer Brand Leadership: A Global Perspective. While I have enjoyed our conversations and alliance specific to the Consulting, Brand & Communication Strategy work we are both doing what I have found most enlightening about Brett’s contribution to the industry and our time together is his unique world view. Shaped by experiences working with the world’s leading consultants and industry practitioners Brett offers a real global perspective. Prior to his 30 hour journey back to the land down under I invited him to share some of it here. What follows is a message from Employer Brand International Chairman and Author Brett Minchington.
I find around the world people are looking for similar propositions in their employment experience. Whilst there is some variance based on their stage in the employment lifecycle, people needs can be grouped into five key areas. Employees are seeking:
Fair pay for fair work – there is an imbalance of this in developed v developing nations and my concern is that developed nations have built their business models reliant upon continued access to lower wages in developing nations. We are seeing wage increases in countries such as China and India which are forcing companies to re-think their labor allocations and practices or face increasing pressure on margins.
Recognition for performance – relationships play a key role in how performance is rewarded – it’s not always a case based on merit! My concern is that workplaces around the world are becoming much more self-centered as a result and this will make it increasingly difficult for companies to build employee loyalty to drive employer brand equity,
Personal development – employees want to leave in a better stage of personal and professional development than when they arrived,
Respect– no matter the industry type or nature of work, employees want respect from managers and fellow workers, and
Friendly working environment– for many people around the world they spend more time at work than with family and friends which they care most about! So if leaders can somehow create a working environment which contributes to an employee’s sense of belonging that is good for employers and good for society!
The key differences I find in the USA compared to other regions I travel around the world can be grouped into 3 key areas:
Connectedness – Americans have been quick to embrace technology and trends such as social media to the point where I feel they have one of the most (if not the most!) collegiate workforces in the world, they are on 24/7! The challenge will be how to balance this speed with productivity and employee and customer engagement.
Pace – the rate of innovation and change – I find American companies are very focused on innovation and growth to drive increasing shareholder returns, sometimes at the expense of their most valuable asset, their people! This is at odds with how value is created in companies today – it’s the intangibles such as brand, people, IP, etc which contribute most to company value and if companies can’t keep employees engaged, they’re at risk of having a workforce which is not fully optimised.
Competitiveness – I find America is by far the most competitive country on the planet, it’s win at all costs. The U.S has a reputation outside its borders as being focused on hard, rational performance measures with less focus on intangibles such as people. My concern is this focus may continue to drive innovation where people are replaced by robots leading to a whole range of social and health issues.
I thoroughly enjoy my visits to America and connections with my American colleagues. Their approach to business is refreshing and they always seem to find a way to overcome adversity. American patriotism is a wonderful part of its character!