Corporate Eye

Reputation and ethics – or how to hire in ASIA-Pac

business-ethics-codeIn today’s post we set sail for the shores of ASIA-Pac to find out what jobseekers are looking for in a hiring company.

Company prestige appears to be one major attracting factor. “Corporate reputation is something very important to people,” says Heather Thompson, Armstrong Craven’s Singapore-based director, “Companies that have been through a difficult time in terms of reputation may experience negative short term consequences but, we find that they can maintain their status as a great employer if they have made a long term commitment to, and investment in a market.”

And then there’s ethics as an attractor to consider: “Working with a major life sciences company moving into Asia,” Heather goes on to say, “we conducted some research on the best employers in the sector, and people told us they want to know they are helping people to live better and live longer. This association of doing something positive for society and making a difference carries a lot of weight in terms of what makes a great employer in ASIA-Pac.”

There appears to be a real jobseeker need to work for companies that command respect, especially with their peers. But respect and reputation alone aren’t enough for some candidates, and there’s growing evidence of an addition need to work for a “good” company.

Ernst and Young’s (EY) 2015 Asia-Pac fraud survey polled employees and management to see if good corporate governance had any influence on hiring. And the results were very interesting, if not that surprising.

A majority of respondents said good company ethics were a key factor in their career decisions, while an impressive 80% of respondents said they wouldn’t work for a company with a record blemished by corruption scandals. With major anti-corruption drives in parts of ASIA-PAC, this really shouldn’t come as a major surprise, but the strength of this response makes this desire to work for a “good company” something that employers can’t ignore.

So what can corporates do about this desire to work for “good companies” that command respect?

We think corporates can respond to these needs by providing plenty of content emphasising company strengths and key history milestones. Find those parts of your company story and culture that make you stand out from the crowd and shout about it! If your company has a great CSR or innovation story to tell, or a fantastic history of innovation, make candidates aware of it, on your main website and social media outposts. This can be done by incorporating more “About Us” style content in your Career pages, or promoting key links from jobseeker pages to other area of your site. Another approach could be to include prominent key company facts on all web pages, and by offering jobseekers “What you need to know about us” factsheet downloads that emphasise what sets your company apart from its rivals.

And what about ethics? Well, the obvious thing to do is incorporate ethics into your online Careers content, or if you already have some there, review it and beef it up if necessary. It’s important to emphasise that ethics and good governance content needs to be well-designed here – it needs to be accessible and easy to understand in other words. If your governance content is likely to make jobseekers start scratching the back of their head, it might be time for a content review!

One way to address this accessibility factor is by talking about the ethics and values that provide the foundations for your workplace culture, and then use leadership interviews to demonstrate ethical leadership. Better still, use a video interview of your CEO and ask them to talk about the ethical side of your company’s culture, and how all employees can make a difference.

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Den Cartlidge

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