Learn from the experts: navigating next generation employer brand

Learn from the experts: navigating next generation employer brand

On the 4th of July 2018, MSL hosted New rules. New talent, where some of the brightest minds in recruitment, employer branding and engagement discussed changes to the talent attraction landscape, and how brands can operate amongst this disruption.

What we find, is that young people have a lack of confidence, and a lack of entitlement to be in a room.

Maryanne Matthews

The event opened with a presentation from Maryanne Matthews, CEO of the EY Foundation. She discussed  the work the foundation does to uncover hidden talent and promote social mobility within organisations. She suggests that the problem for young people is two-fold, and that there is not only a skills shortage amongst young people thanks to a lack of real work experience, but also a job shortage meaning that talented young people from diverse and often difficult backgrounds don’t have appropriate roles to go into.

In order to address both of these problems, which she feels are equally important, the EY Foundation helps address market failure, as well as enforce systemic change by working with schools, employers and young people alike. She explains that bringing hidden young talent into your workforce not only improves your talent pipeline, but also helps engage your existing employees to feel that their organisation is doing good, and also improves your client reputation.

Maryanne’s full talk can be seen below, or for more information about the EY Foundation, click here.

speaker 1

It’s about creating an eco-system that allows people to find meaningfulness for themselves

Katie Bailey

Next, Katie Bailey, Professor of Work and Employment from King’s Business School, Kings College London discussed the concept of “meaningful work” and how organisations can help their employees to find meaningful roles.

She explained that regardless of generation, the majority of workers would like to not only feel that they make a positive impact on their organisation, but that they are helping to solve social and environmental challenges.

In fact, nearly half of all workers would take a 15% pay cut in order to work for an organisation with an inspiring purpose.

She explains that a feeling of meaningfulness means that workers are more engaged, have greater job satisfaction, as well as happiness and wellbeing, and that they are less likely to succumb to stress and depression, want to quit, or be absent from work.

Katie introduced Victor Frankel’s opinion that meaningfulness is separate from happiness, and is in fact a deeply personal feeling. Generally, we feel our work is meaningful when it makes a contribution, has a purpose, challenges us and we care about it. Therefore, meaningfulness isn’t a quick fix for companies, isn’t a fad for the elite, and doesn’t correlate with how “easy” work is. For this reason, it isn’t easy to control and can’t be simply implemented.

She went on to explain that it is not for companies to implement meaningfulness, but to help nurture the journey. Often, managers can get in the way of a workers’ self-discovery of meaningfulness by not recognising their work, being unfair, disempowering them or putting their physical or emotional welfare at risk.

Watch her full presentation below to also see the advice she gives employers to help encourage meaningfulness at work..

speaker 2

The number of self-employed people in the UK could rise from 16% to 50% in the next decade.

Claire Pache

Discussing the impact that the gig-economy has had on skills and attitudes towards work, Jane Robinson, Head of Employer Brand at EY and Claire Pache, MSL’s Planning Director explained how insights into life as a contractor, and the changing world of work allowed them to develop “Project Mindset”, a platform which examined the best ways to integrate contractors (an important talent pool) into EY.

Often, she points out, the language we use around contractors can be stigmatising, forgetting that gig workers often provide cost efficiency and agility for organisations. Furthermore, contractors themselves can feel a greater amount of freedom and purpose in their work than in permanent employment.

MSL and EY investigated the motivations of contractors to better understand how to engage with them and grow their talent pool. It was important to understand the frustrations of this audience, which included a lack of progression, less of a sense of inclusion and administrative hurdles. From these responses, it was clear that contingent workers were missing support on the unique skills that their chosen career path requires.

In practice, these needs were met by Project Mindset, designed by Jane and the EY team to unpack the anatomy of a contractor, and start a conversation about the skills needed to fill these kinds of roles.

Watch their presentation in full below which incudes three tips for employers looking to improve their relationships with freelancers..

Speaker 3

When flexible working and flexible job design really works, is when there is a sweet spot between what the organisation needs, and what the individual needs

Karen Mattison

The event’s final presentation was hosted by Karen Mattinson MBE, co-founder of Timewise, an organisation committed to unlocking the flexible jobs market in the UK. Karen began by highlighting how the current work landscape was designed for a family structure that is outdated: it assumes that one party in a family will have little to no responsibilities outside the workplace, which is no longer the case. She then went on to, offer 5 learnings for employers when considering flexible working in their organisations:

  1. There is a demand for flexible working.
  2. Flexibility can work in any role.
  3. Flexible working is good for business.
  4. Flexible working can be a trap.
  5. Flexible hiring has not caught up with flexible working.

So what needs to change? Karen argues that a shift needs to occur, moving flexible working from a concession given circumstantially, to an attitude which proactively examines how jobs are designed and teams are managed. Organisations need to encourage a model which meets their needs, and their employees needs in the middle, and start a conversation about flexible working and flexible hiring across all levels.

You can see Karen’s talk in full below.

Speaker 4

Following Karen’s talk, all of the morning’s speakers were joined by MSL UK’s co CEO Jason Frank, to answer a range of audience questions.

The panel then went on to discuss whether social mobility, flexible working and social mobility, were cross generational issues. Katie suggested that there is a movement for flexibility in work particularly amongst the younger generation, who have observed how a lack of flexibility has affected their parents, but really, we all want the same things and that qualities such as meaning are universally sought. Maryanne pointed out that although we often divide audiences and needs based on age, in fact class is a divider that is often not considered. She argues that we often don’t consider that the “choice society” we live in which allows us to work flexibly or search for meaning, is in fact a privileged that individuals from lower socio-economic backgrounds do not have access to. Jane went on to discuss how in the research that they have commissioned as part of project mindset, they discovered that the qualities people look for in a workplace and a role are very similar. Claire added that, often, different generations are saying similar things, but just have different ways of vocalising the same needs.

To see the panel talk about this, universal basic income, and how a fear of letting go of hierarchy can hold brands back, watch the full discussion below.


If you’d like to register your interest in future events, or learn more about how MSL can help your brand redefine their employee communications in this changing landscape, get in touch with Claire Hutchings.

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