Did you think your ideal talents change jobs because your business needs to hire? No, of course not!

People change jobs when specific work-to-life riddles become pressing enough to get solved.

Now, the only thing you need to know of course is what are work-to-life riddles and why this information might be life changing for your hiring success and employer branding.

What are work-to-life riddles?

Work-to-life riddle is a term we coined in my team at Emine a few years ago when we were developing the Magnetic Employer Branding Method.

We are talking about all sorts of important enough reasons why talents activate on the job market to make career related changes.

The obvious ones:

  • I’m graduating and need a job.
  • My temporary contract is coming to an end and I need to find a new job.
  • My firm laid-off staff and I lost my job.
  • I want to climb up the ladder and I cannot get an opportunity at my current job.
  • This job no longer feels exciting. I’m bored.

The less obvious ones:

  • I got comfortable working remote during COVID-19 pandemic and want to keep it this way in the new normal, but my boss told me it won’t be possible.
  • I started a family, my priorities changed and I need a workplace where being a good parent won’t be a problem.
  • My spouse got a new job and we are moving 500 miles away.
  • I found the love of my life in another country and want to move there.
  • The culture in this company is not matching the way I feel comfortable working.
  • Our CEO changed and so changed the great work atmosphere here.
  • This used to be a startup with a family feel. Now we are a venture capital backed corporation and I’m a small business employee.
  • My boss denied my a salary raise without an explanation.
  • I’m new in this city and need a job where I can also gain a social circle and not feel so alone after working hours.

Talents have multitude and multi-layered reasons why they end up changing a job. And just the same, they have multi-layered reasons why they keep staying in one company for many years.

Why understanding the reasons to change jobs are key to your hiring success?

When we hire, we have an opening to fill in a specific hiring need in our company, right?

But talents are not changing jobs because we have a need to fill. They change jobs once there is a pressing enough reason for them to make permanent changes to their every day lives.

What we need to understand as the recruiting party is that human beings are wired to avoid change. Change means danger to our crocodile brain. We are not making changes to our career unless there is more pain involved to stay where we currently are.

Another important thing to understand is that your ideal talent is not looking for the job you are promoting. They are looking for a resolution to their work-to-life riddle.

The three layers of a work-to-life riddle

I learned the three layers of a problem from Donald Miller’s StoryBrand. I think these three layers can be applied to the reasons why people change jobs.

An external reason

An obvious external reason for starting to look for a new job is when one is out of job. A similar obvious reason would be a temporary contract coming to term.

These are external reasons. They are obvious and they kick on the change process. But they are not the reason why anyone would choose your opening. That’s why promoting a job title and calling action on helping to fix your hiring problem does not work.

An external reason seems like an obvious reason, but it hardly ever is the reason why the talent you want to hire applies for your opening.

We must give more credit to a human being. They want more than a title.

An internal reason

We all have inner drivers, motivators, values and beliefs with a self-awareness crust. The internal reason is typically the driver when it comes to choosing a place to apply to work for.

Internal reasons impact our self-esteem, how we feel about ourselves and how we want others around us to experience and perceive us.

Between several available opportunities with the same title and job description, how do we choose?

We choose the company who we believe to be the best match with who we are now and who we want to be in the future.

When we take time to craft the job application, we give that effort towards a company, a work place, a work community and a boss who we believe will appreciate our effort and where we can be who we are every day.

And finally, we are driven towards people who we believe can guide us to a path where our work-to-life becomes more meaningful for us today and in the foreseeable future.

A philosophical reason

Miller also talks about philosophical problems.

In the work-to-life context, philosophical reasons have to do with ethics, moral and values.

The driver to resign and change jobs can also be a moral or an ethical reason.

I don’t feel comfortable working for a mission or a customer promise that I see morally wrong. This might happen when management changes or a family business is sold to a company driven purely by commercial goals.

How to work with work-to-life riddles?

People are not changing jobs for external reasons. External reasons are only drivers that may kick off the actual process of doing something about it.

The talents your company pursues and wants to hire make their career changes based on internal reasons specific to their work-to-life riddles.

As a recruiter or a talent marketing pro, you need to start finding out what are the reasons your applicants had when they started to send applications and what made them send their application specifically to your business.

Going deeper than the surface helps you to understand the typical reasons that are pushing people to make a change as huge as changing the work they do.

Next, you need to pay attention to the reasons why people choose to accept a job with your company as well as the reasons why people choose to stay in your company even if they are being head-hunted.

And finally, you need to develop your product called a unique employee experience in your organization based on those ingredients where your culture and value base match with your top talents’ inner reasons to change or stay in a job.

When you understand what work-to-life riddles your best talents tend to have and you figure out for which types of work-to-life riddles your company is able to present a meaningful resolution, you are much closer to signing up your ideal talent.

Listen to episode #64 of Building a Modern Employer Brand Podcast

In this episode of Building a Modern Employer Brand -podcast, I am introducing you the concept called  “work-to-life riddle”. We coined this up a few years ago at my agency Emine when we introduced the Magnetic Employer Branding method.

If you are a Finnish listener, Vaikuttava Työnantajabrändi metodi is what I’m talking about and the name we gave to work life riddle in Finnish is työ-elämäpulma. Just so that you recognize them cause you are likely to consume our expansive Finnish talent marketing blog at emine.fi.

Episode-length:  25:15 min

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