People are looking for more meaningful relationships, and this does not stop at work. Potential candidates want to understand the purpose behind their role. And employers like you want to hire the best available talent today, who have the potential to grow with your business. How can you make this happen?  

People want to understand the purpose behind work, explain Bart Klompenmaker and Steven Houben, Executive Directors at Michael Page Netherlands. “In the past our top candidates just wanted to work for one of the so called blue chip companies, but that is not what they aim for anymore,” says Steven Houben. “They want to be able to identify themselves with the values of the company they work for.” 

“It´s not about material things anymore, such as a company car or a good salary, it´s about what your job means for society as a whole and that you can develop yourself,” says Bart Klompenmaker.  

By understanding the purpose behind your company and being able to explain it to an audience outside of your employees, you will be able to hire the best available people. Although not all employers do this, the ones who do will more consistently and efficiently attract the talent they need to grow into the companies they wish to become.   

Communication and access to information today is quicker, more widespread and deeper than ever. Instant messaging, social media, in-company networks and review sites have opened worlds of information to everyone. Adapting to this new reality through genuine conversations will bring better candidates to your company, because purpose-driven cultures work.    

Key Insight: The search for meaning at work is a key driver for the best available candidates. People communicate differently today. Companies that react to this and speak to candidates and employees with this in mind will prosper over those that do not.

The flexible workforce is growing 

The gig economy, interim contracts and temporary contracts have all grown in importance in recent years for employees and employers. There is also a tacit understanding that a job for life no longer exists nor may even be appealing. 

“The new generation of candidates have a much more flexible view on their career,” says Bart Klompenmaker. “There is big group of candidates who want to work on a project basis for different employers. They are not looking for permanent contract. Unfortunately, the labour legislation in the Netherlands doesn´t fit this new reality. It´s telling that the legislation for contractors and interims is based on a law from the beginning of the last century.”   

Harmonisation of social rights whatever the relationship to work, needs to happen, so that both full-time employees and part-time employees are treated the same. If universal social protection for all workers were to be introduced, regardless of their employment status, this would further protect individuals and facilitate the changes the labour market is going through, giving more flexibility to employees and employers.  

This calls for a rethinking of local, national and regional labour laws and social protections. “The Dutch government is lagging behind when it comes to legislation,” says Bart Klompenmaker. “The laws that are used to for flexible or freelance contracts date from the beginning of the last century. The current legal status focuses too narrowly on permanent, full-time contracts.”   

The statistics back this up: temporary contracts grew by 25% in the EU27 from 2001-12 (permanent contracts 7%), almost half (43.9%) of employees aged 15 to 24 were working on a temporary contract. In the Netherlands almost 2 million people have a flexible contract and 1.1 million people are self-employed. 

Key Insight: People are willing to work under many different contracts today, but the social safety net has not adapted to this new reality. Employers can drive this change by valuing all employees independent of their contractual relationship, benefitting both parties by creating the flexible workforce you need to grow.

How do you differentiate your company from the competition?  

Salary and a good company name used to be the primary motivators for candidates. And job offers that use these parameters do still attract applicants. However, hiring managers admit that interaction with standard form job offers is falling across all platforms.  

In today’s landscape, applicants want to understand the achievements and social commitments of companies. They want to know what causes and issues the company supports. They want to know what it is like to work at a company and understand the purpose behind their mission, to deeply understand company values. Why? Because today, people are more aware of equality between genders and minorities and want to see non-discrimination rules put in place to protect themselves and others.  

As long as candidates are pre-selected using available technology, why would they not use the tools at their disposal to pre-select employers? Candidates want to understand what position they will occupy, to understand their tasks in a wider context, allowing them to evaluate their real, actual contribution to the company mission to achieve more fulfilment in work and life.  

How can you combat this? By being clear about the question's candidates ask, or at least have the answers they are looking for. Michael Page interviews thousands of candidates every week and understanding what candidates look for drives our business. We can help you look at your company from the perspective of potential applicants and come up with responses to the following questions:  

  • Why choose your company over another if the offer is similar?

  • What type of management do you practice?  

  • What tools will I use to make my work more efficient, effective and productive?  

  • What impact will my work have on the business?  

  • How will I reach my goals?

Key Insight: A good offer today involves more than just a high salary and a good company name. It should help to differentiate your company from others, but also give an indication of what working with you will be like.  

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