Great companies are made from great employees. Every company leader wants productive and loyal employees who feel a personal investment in the company’s success. If that’s the goal (and when is it not), then keeping those employees engaged needs to be a critical area of focus.
But before you engage employees, first you need to get them in the door.
Employee recruitment is too often a just-in-time process rather than a consistent marketing practice. When your company only tries to hire people the moment there’s a job vacancy, it’s anyone’s guess whether you’ll be able to get the strongest candidates in the door. Top talent is usually already employed, not out looking, and they likely have other companies fighting for their attention. You need to be regularly grabbing the attention of employee prospects in creative ways, cultivating a relationship and making the case for why your company deserves their consideration. And you need to be doing this on a large scale so that you’re building up a strong candidate pool in your backyard.
While recruiting needs to be thought of as a consistent marketing strategy and there are many considerations to cast a flattering light, two tactics stand out as the most essential ingredients for recruitment. They’re simple, straightforward, and there’s a secret to achieving both (we’ll get to that).
If you want to really stand out from the pack, there are two giant steps your company can take to optimize recruitment:
First Giant Step:
Become an irresistible company
When you’ve built an exciting brand, you’ll find that top talent seeks you out or becomes very interested in talking when you approach them. Your company doesn’t need to be a big household name to become irresistible; in fact, sometimes a smaller size allows for greater flexibility to adopt innovative approaches to recruitment.
One of the strongest ways to build an irresistible company is by integrating purpose into the workplace. And leaders of companies with strong CSR programs are noticing the bottom-line results predicted by Project ROI, a study led by Verizon and Campbell’s Soup; namely, employee productivity up by as much as 13 percent, reductions in turnover by as much as 50 percent, and workers willing to take up to a five percent pay cut to work for a company doing CSR well.
Indeed, study after study shows that Millennial employees in particular won’t settle for less than a purpose-filled workplace. A 2011 Deloitte Volunteer Impact study found that 61% of Millennials would consider a company’s commitment to the community when making a job decision, and that those who frequently participate in workplace volunteer activities are more likely to be proud, loyal and satisfied employees. A separate study by Achieve showed that the third top consideration for Millennials applying for a job is the company’s involvement with causes, and more than 50% of Millennials accept a job based upon a company’s involvement with causes. And a recent survey by Fidelity found that 25-to 35-year-olds who are looking for a new job prioritize a better quality of life at work over a bigger salary. In fact, young people would rather give up an average of $7,000 in compensation than forfeit engagement goodies like healthier work/life balance and more career development.
Millennials are different than older employees, who seem to have a greater tolerance for soul-crushing jobs. So without drawing a sharp line around your mission and values, your odds of attracting top Millennial talent are about as good as your odds of reversing gravity. And if you don’t attract Millennials - which comprise the largest percentage of today’s workforce compared to Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers - then your company will find itself becoming obsolete.
Younger employees demand a more meaningful work experience, and with nearly half looking for a new job while working at their current job - or at least remaining open to new opportunities - company leaders have one more reason to build cultures of high and viral engagement.
Through the lens of job searching, giving back also exposes your brand to a wider audience. How? If you’re fostering the right culture for your employees to be your secret recruiting weapon, you’re doing an excellent job of telling your impact story. And right up front on your website and social media channels, job candidates should be able to understand the connection between your business mission and social values, and how this is being translated into action.
Next, you should be wrapping social purpose engagement into all of your company’s job descriptions. Sure, volunteering is voluntary, but candidates should understand that the position comes with a wealth of options to get more purposeful with their work and help everyone from the C-suite to entry levels get involved with your company’s social consciousness. You might even try incorporating some of this social value emphasis into job titles, making it clear that your company embraces a culture of community impact and every job is a part of the impact story. This will become a key part of the decision-making process for candidates, so put it all up front in clear language.
Developing a superb employer brand through an innovative, thoughtful and well-executed strategy around social impact is one way that your company becomes irresistible to the cream of the employee crop.
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