4 out of 5 ain’t bad

Dolly Parton’s generation thought 9–5 was the way to make a living, but for Gen Z, it’s enough to drive them crazy.

If you actually listen to Parton’s chef-d’œuvre, it’s a scathing review of the struggles working women faced, labouring tirelessly for little reward or recognition. So why did so many boomers take the 9-5 ethic to heart?

Gen Z have a different opinion of work

More and more, attitudes are shifting to flexible ways of working. And smart brands are listening, seeing how they can align their purpose and attitudes to this new approach. While many are quick to apply purpose to external communications and customers, many neglect the most important people – employees.

There’s a thirst in HR departments now more than ever for brands to create employer brands that resonate not just with potential candidates but with existing employees too. And with the likes of GlassDoor, there’s no hiding place for employers – their message to prospect employees must be authentic and truly felt by those within the organisation already.

Could less be more?

Here’s an example of how a brand’s purpose can really impact its employees – the 4-day week. For many, the only way to get the 4/3 split was to sacrifice 20% of your wage – a move most couldn’t afford to make.

Then people started talking about brand purpose – employee wellbeing, productivity and job satisfaction were the sudden starts of agendas. When one business took the plunge, trials were a runaway successes.

Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand financial services company, bravely switched their 240 employees from 5 days to 4. Why? Because their founder, Andrew Barnes, believed that it ‘was the right thing to do. We want people to be the best they can be while they’re in the office, but also at home. It’s the natural solution.’

When asked to score leadership, commitment, stimulation and empowerment, staff scored all higher than the same survey a year before. Work-life balance scores increased from 54% to 78%. There was no drop in the total amount of work done, and no reduction in pay for employees.

The trial dominated headlines across the world and led to more companies following suit. The Wellcome Collection is perhaps the biggest adopter in the UK so far.

While we’re not suggesting everyone does this, it’s certainly a sign of changing times as brands look to create work environments driven by purpose rather than profits.

Reduced working hours aren’t the only way for brands to demonstrate purpose to employees

Reducing working hours isn’t right for everyone, and it certainly won’t be the magic wand to solve employee retention, your purpose informing your employer brand in your way, could be. For purpose to resonate with your people, it needs to be rooted in truth and felt every day. And while strong employer brands keep employees satisfied, they also have very tangible effects on business.

Research shows that a good employer brand can;

  • Reduce time-to-hire by 34%
  • Lower cost of sourcing by 43%
  • Improve quality of candidates by 44%
  • Increase referrals by 30%

With brands switching on to the recruitment and retention power of employer brands and demonstrating purpose for employees, it’s a must to figure out and communicate your stance if you want to attract the best talent to your business.

See how we did just that for Arco here. As the UK’s leading supplier of personal protective equipment, Arco’s purpose is simple – keep people safe at work. Their ‘It’s not just safety gear’ campaign elevated the brand from just another supplier, to one with genuine values and purpose.

Want to find out more about how an employer brand could impact your business? Get in touch here.

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I am not a number

This article is the second in the series about Gen Z and how to harness the power of brand purpose for this new generation. Discover more insights and read the whole content series here.