There might be a war for talent, but there is also a battle for the best employer brand. Yes, you might truly be a great place to work and have huge levels of productivity and employee engagement, but wanting to hire great people to do great things without an employer brand is a tough road. Competition for talent is fierce. Get the upper hand with a great employer brand and follow the steps below.
In Ireland, employee turnover is expected to increase in the next two years. In a recent CIPD Ireland survey of 900 HR professionals respondents were questioned on a wide range of HR issues from skills shortages, turnover to employer branding to name but a few. And the results are interesting:
But who owns employer branding?
When it comes to owns employer branding in Ireland, it’s a mixed bag. The Great Place to Work HR Trends Survey 2017 (105 HR professionals were surveyed) gives us an intriguing insight:
Not exactly a clear consensus there for who drives Employer Branding in Ireland today! And good luck to the CEO too - juggling employer branding along with everything else.
But regardless of who drives the employer brand, if you don’t have one and want to scale and expand, you’ll need to get one eventually.
Lidl UK have just brought on board a brand engagement agency to drive their talent acquisition and retention strategy.
You might not be a tech company, but let’s say that you need to hire a business analyst. You look at the exciting, cool, trendy companies and say “I’m not a tech startup, so I won’t be competing with them” but unfortunately, you are competing with them and everyone else. And those tech companies have invested massively in their employer branding over the years and they have a rock solid employee value proposition as a result.
And it's not just tech companies. Even Lidl UK have just brought on board a brand engagement agency to drive their talent acquisition and retention strategy.
But the good news is that it just takes a few simple steps to develop a clearly defined employer brand strategy based on marketing principles. Follow these steps, and you’ll be in a great place to communicate why you’re such a great place to work to the talent that you want.
1. Why are you a great place to work?
First things first, are you really a great place to work? It’s tough but essential question to ask. The following exercise will help you figure this out. After all, you can’t communicate that you’re a great place to work if you don’t know what makes you so great.
Glassdoor recommend a few ways for gathering research and they advise doing an internal and external audit using the following steps:
After you have your research completed, you might be confronted with some pleasant, or harsh realities. But remember, according to Jason Seiden of Brand Amper, “There’s no amount of tools, vocabulary, or tactics that can fix a culture that’s truly broken”.
2. Employer Value Proposition
Make a list of all of the elements of your company and culture that makes you better and different - otherwise known as your Employer Value Proposition. Then check out the competition. Of course they will be overlaps, but what makes you unique?
Be honest now - are you truly unique?
If nothing makes you unique, you’re going to have a hard time coaxing talent to come to your organisation and you already probably have a hard time encouraging current staff to stay in your organisation.
3. Who are your ‘Talent Profiles’?
If you want to write website content or blog content, you have to know your customer personas first. And it’s the same for talent acquisition - define your talent profiles before even writing a job spec.
Essentially, who are the people that you would love to employ?
And then take a good, long look at your job descriptions. If you were a talented person whose skills are in huge demand, would you apply for a job at your company based on your job description?
One of my favourite places for unique job descriptions is the careers page at Penguin Random House UK. Their job descriptions might not be to everyone’s taste i.e. no bullet points but they are in the business of selling books and no doubt their talent profiles show that employees must love words and books. And so their job descriptions almost tell a story in their own way. Check out a marketing role below.
4. Get HR and Marketing together
It always amazes me when I ask HR Managers about the level of support that they receive from their marketing colleagues, and they reply “None”.
It’s tough out there in ‘Employer Brand Land’ without a marketing brain to help you navigate those waters, and a huge well done to HR & Talent Acquisition people who learn as much as they can and embrace content marketing and social media on their own.
But if you’re serious about your Employer Brand, you need some marketing assistance at the very start to get you up and running. If you could beg, borrow or steal some support from your marketing executive and graphic designer it would be invaluable.
5. Get Creative
I know, I know. We’re all busy and a lot of us aren’t creative (or rather we just think that we’re not creative.)
While you don’t have to be the most creative person on the planet (see point 4 above), you do need to know the key hires that you want (see point 3 above) and what will resonate with them.
The goal here is for you and your team to put something together that is:
If you need some inspiration check out the following creative talent acquisition campaigns:
3 Lessons from These Creative Recruitment Campaigns
4 Most Creative Talent Acquisition Strategies (Campaigns)
Once you have all of your groundwork done, the next part is easy. You launch and roll out your campaign.
Social media will be your first stop no doubt. Linkedin of course is a prerequisite these days, normally followed by Facebook and Twitter. But if your business is creative and very visual such as retail or lifestyle, pinterest and instagram are essential.
You can also find out where your potential hires hang out online, and interact with them there. Linkedin Groups is a good place to start. Or places like Reddit are good for tech people.
And let’s not forget about the good old fashioned world of Public Relations. Do up a quick press release and send it off to news websites / online communities that your potential hires frequent. And you could also get something into a newspaper (remember those things!)
Lastly, if you’re passionate about your industry you will certainly know a few bloggers and industry experts who would share your creative post using their own social networks.
The 2016 Edelman TRUST BAROMETER found that employees are among the most trusted of all company spokespeople - even more than the CEO. With this in mind, your employees are the most powerful advocate you have when recruiting. And, it’s no surprise that internal employee referral programs are some of the most successful hiring tactics that talent acquisition teams use.
To widen the scope of your communications around new roles and to drive engagement, simply ask your employees to like and share the visual communications that your team has created. You’ll be amazed at the increase in engagement that will come as a result.
And last but not least, what would a campaign be without data and metrics. As they say, if you can’t measure it, then don’t do it.
You will have endless social media insights and google analyics data, but the key metric is the volume of increase in job applications and CVs submitted. Before you start your campaign, gather all the stats that you have in the one place and then each day spend a few minutes noting the change in stats.
Especially, take note of when job applications peak - including the days of the week and the times of the day and use this information for all of your future campaigns. Once you begin to know the online behaviour of your target talent groups, you will be able to get more engagement by posting and promoting at the right times.
And there you have it. A step by step guide on how to compete in the war for talent. If you are serious about hiring great talent, it takes a combined team of HR and Marketing specialists to define your Employer Brand, to build up accurate talent profiles and to create campaigns that resonate.
And as a character in a highly successful book and movie franchise once said, "May the odds be ever in your favour” [in the war for talent]