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Working the Future

Our future of work blog 

06/10/2017, 23:01


 Your business idea has paid off. You’ve successfully made your first sales, proving the potential of your offering. You now need to scale. This means hiring new people to help take your business to the next level. You know the skills you need...

Your business idea has paid off. You’ve successfully made your first sales, proving the potential of your offering. You now need to scale. This means hiring new people to help take your business to the next level. You know the skills you need, you create a job description and you go out to market. And then...? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. You get a couple of applicants, but no-one that meets your requirement.

As a recruiter for 20+ years, I’ve watched business branding evolve and significantly impact the way we all interact with businesses. I’ve also seen a significant change in recruitment trends across the last 10 years, driven by a change in the way people make decisions about whom they want to work for.

The days of advertising job openings in hard copy are obsolete. 20 years ago, a newspaper or industry journal would tell you which jobs were available in the city of your choice. Today, job searches are almost entirely digital. The challenge here as an employer is simple. The internet is an overcrowded and busy marketplace, with so much going on that it’s almost impossible to make any kind of impact, unless your business brand is well established and recognisable.

It’s only going to get harder
Futurists tell us that the world of work is changing. Rapidly. Every week, new technology comes on-line to change the way we work, saving time and money along the way. Automation and AI are set to take over any repetitive tasks and, as a consequence, many job functions will no longer require human input. With many aspects of core commercial activity undertaken by machine, in the future, human contribution will become far more specialised and fragmented.

The financial crisis of 2008 taught many workers in developed economies that there is no such thing as job security. This has led, inevitably, to a ’me-first’ mind-set as we no longer believe in a job for life and instead look for opportunities that will work for us, that will enhance our lives and careers in some way.  Today’s workers, particularly those with sought-after skills, need a reason to even consider a job opportunity. It’s an increasingly fickle market.

Most workers want interesting work, or to work for interesting companies. Those with strong brands are able to far more easily convince workers of their potential as employers. Branding, however, can be both costly and time-consuming, so how to do smaller companies with less cash to burn compete?

Know and share your values
As political and economic landscapes become increasingly volatile, we each look for ways to reconnect with our value systems. These are our internal moral codes - our sense of right and wrong, and in times of conflict or fragility, most of us look to reinforce our values, sometimes without even knowing that we are doing so.

Introducing Corporate Narrative
A corporate narrative is the means by which a business can tell prospective workers, customers, partners and other stakeholders what its values and vision are. It tells the story of why it is what it is, and what it strives to achieve in the world. This story, when well told, acts as a really effective magnet, compelling the audience to want to find out more.

A corporate narrative is the story of where your business has come from and where it is headed.  This should naturally reflect the founding stakeholder’s (and thus the business’s) values, alongside its purpose and vision. A compelling corporate narrative will both attract people to your business and will make them want to be (and remain) a part of it.

Corporate narrative that accompanies a job description can be a game-changer. A well-written narrative will outline what the business values in the world and will provide an opportunity for like-minded individuals to ally themselves to the ’cause’. For organisations that have not had the time or budget to build an established corporate brand, a corporate narrative is a simple and effective way by which to showcase offering, purpose, values and vision.

It goes without saying that this must be backed up by truth - an inauthentic story will stand out by a mile and ultimately do more harm than good.  A story well told however is an invaluable tool by which to attract workers to your business. In the future of work, it is a necessary, if not vital component of commercial success.

If you’d like to hear more about how corporate narrative can help your organisation, contact us for an informal chat today. 

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