Councils' USP is their focus on employees as people

By Sonia Tanda and Anne Sullivan and Sue Atkinson | 24 November 2021

The pandemic changed the overall landscape of the public sector, which like others, is struggling to recruit and retain. Prior to COVID, local government’s recruitment unique selling proposition (USP) traded on a strong flexible work offer; condensed hours, term-time contracts and working from home.

Now this has been embraced by most employers a competitive edge has been lost. Relying on old brand pillars, values and visions is likely to appear outdated, especially against those who have evolved. So how do you sell the benefits of the sector? By developing a robust employer value pro-position (EVP) to attract and retain talent at all levels. The stats don’t lie. Employers with an EVP pay on average 11% less salary. And 59% of employers felt their EVP had enhanced engagement by at least 10%.

EVP is why an employee would prefer working at your organisation over another. It answers the questions ‘why should I work for you?’ and ‘why should I stay?’ in a consistent, original, true and relevant way for target audiences like social workers, middle managers, or directors. Your EVP must be embedded everywhere – job ads, candidate experience, screening tools, websites and more.

We know that technical skillsets are hard to recruit currently and local authority pay is not comparable to the private sector. So, the emphasis of your EVP needs to be on training up and teaching employees.

Most councils have an incredible narrative. It’s time to talk about your diversity and inclusion strategy, physical and mental health initiatives, and your organisational culture – and the public sector’s USP, its focus on employees as people, your care for their lives outside the 9-to-five.

Sue Atkinson, Anne Sullivan and Sonia Tanda are EVP experts at Penna

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