A compelling story that brings to life why prospective employees should pick you, and not only that but why they should stay: That’s how we define successful employer branding. It sounds simple. So, why do 57% of CEOs struggle to fill company positions in 2023? 

Attracting the best of the best

In the post-pandemic era of tight European labor markets and increasing productivity challenges, it’s not news that capturing top talent is a pervasive challenge for certain industries. 

Yet when we look at drivers for selecting an employer, particularly amongst future talent, a few natural themes arise from our data: Demands for a high salary, job satisfaction, long-term stability and opportunities to progress. Pretty much the factors you’d expect to see.

Not only this, but a staggering 57% of people profiled believe the energy industry has the power to change the world, neatly aligning with the increasing desire for younger talent to connect their work to their personal values and sense of purpose. This means that the key factors encouraging young talent to join firms are largely synonymous with the offering of the energy industry. 

However, a significant number of talented people who might be tempted to join organizations are currently put off by the process of actually getting the job. Subjected to rounds of interviews, testing, vetting and exclusionary approaches. A new study found that 7 in 10 UK job applicants considered or did drop out of the recruitment process because it is too long and complex. In other words, perhaps the issue is less about appealing to top talent. It’s the experience of getting hired that gets in the way of the hiring.

A few alterations would simplify this process considerably. 

If your business claims to take DEI seriously (as it likely does), it’s important to consider an inclusive by design approach to hiring. Whilst some candidates thrive in a series of interviews, others will prefer the opportunity to talk through case studies or a portfolio in a less formal setting. Outlining the entire hiring process at the start and informing candidates of the number of stages and tasks reflects a commitment to clear and transparent communication.

Keeping people onboard

What about once people have actually joined? How do businesses ensure that talent at all stages of their career stick around? 

When we say “businesses are struggling to retain employees,” we’re actually talking about “businesses are struggling to make employees feel that they belong .” Again, it’s the experience of everyday life at an organization that’s critical to encouraging people to stay. 

Since the pandemic, culture in workplaces has suffered hugely. At a time when our collective social skills have waned, burnout, exhaustion and frustration have all exacerbated sagging corporate cultures. People are less extroverted, agreeable and less open than before the pandemic, which can make fostering connections at work a challenge. 

Studies show that organizational culture is ten times more meaningful than salary and benefits when employees decide to leave a job. This means that without a strong employee experience, if people do not feel connected to an organization and each other, regardless of whether they are saving the world and earning big bucks – they simply will not want to stick around. Brand is a powerful tool that helps build a strong internal experience and a sense of belonging for employees.

Enhancing the experience

Our study shows that simplicity is key to building connection and fostering loyalty at work. Simple workplaces leverage powerful tools to connect with employees on an ongoing basis. 

Not only do they help connect the dots about why the work matters to customers, they inspire pride, make employees feel valued and foster psychological safety. They also use data to find and leverage brand champions within the organization. These people understand what their company stands for, are committed to it and, crucially, will advocate for it. 

These workplaces use a foundation of data-driven insights to connect with their employee base and build meaningful experiences that align with their brand to help employees get what they need done in the simplest way possible.

As a result, such workplaces build productivity, drive, engagement and trust: 91% of employees at simple workplaces trust their leadership, compared to 50% at non-simple workplaces. And critically, they retain more people. To put it frankly, people at non-simple companies are more likely to leave their place of work.

Why should we care?

Workplaces built on the foundation of a simple brand and strong employee experience ensure a smoother and crucially stickier employee journey, benefiting the organization as a result. 

Three keys we’ll dig into further in our session on October 23rd at the CHARGE Conference to build a powerful employee experience and help simplify your workplace:

  • Find the fact-base
  • Lead with purpose
  • Foster connection


Emma Lewis is Associate Director, Strategy