The job market is more competitive than ever before and job seekers have the advantage over the employeers when it comes to being selective. The traditional benefits are no longer the deciding factor when job seekers make their final decision. Those in the industry for years have observed this shift in priorities for job seekers. Nicole Davis, Office Manager at thunder::tech says:
Over the years here at thunder::tech the evolution of employee perks and benefits has created a culture that not only attracts new employees but also has improved employee retention.
Curious to learn more about the evolution of HR marketing? Continue reading below!
It's expensive to find, hire and train employees. A competitive job market means top-talent job seekers have the advantage—and the ability to be selective. A recent survey by Harvard Business Review found that while traditional benefits like health, dental and vision insurance are still the most important non-salary considerations, job seekers rank flexible hours, vacation time, remote work options and paid parental leave high on their list of priorities.
Today's job candidates are interviewing companies before they even apply for a job. They read online employee reviews, look at websites, communications and social media accounts to gauge the company's culture and determine whether or not it'd be a good fit. Candidates have high expectations for a bigger purpose beyond just a paycheck, and they look to the company's digital footprint for answers.
"Candidates and employees are focused on finding an environment that fits the millennial generation, and a big motivator for employees is flexibility and work-life balance," said Brittany Brigadol, Director of Recruiting for JEAR Logistics. "To be competitive and to retain employees, it is imperative that we are proactive in these areas."
If you're hiring, throwing money at someone won't go very far. You need to understand what job seekers are looking for in a long-term position, solidify an attractive company culture, develop a robust internal marketing plan, then shout your company's excellence from the (metaphorical) rooftops.
The role of human resources professionals is evolving to include more of a marketing approach to communicating, recruiting and retaining. Far more than just advertising your company as a great place to work, truly successful strategies include sophisticated tactics like marketing automation, social media campaigns and authentic internal and external communications.
Infusing your brand into every piece of communication is essential.
“If we’re doing outreach for a simple interview setup, it can’t be just a dry email because that’s the impression you’re getting of the company,” said Marc Theodore, Director of Operations for thunder::tech. “If you want to give a good impression, you have to portray that through your words and your emails, and there has to be a lasting stamp on it. That first interaction is your lasting impression.”
Your brand should be clearly represented in your online presence, as well.
“With the emphasis on technology, I would recommend all companies be present on social media,” Brigadoi said. “A lot of times, it is the first place a candidate is looking for information about you. Employee reviews, company videos, testimonials, and anything to showcase your culture is what draws in candidates.”
Similar to messaging that your marketing department sends out on social media, HR can benefit from directly talking with the online population, finding them where they already are rather than trying to pull them into a new, job-hunting-specific channel.
Platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram are highly interactive and can paint a more holistic picture of your company and its values than a simple job listing. The modern workforce is deliberate about whom they align with commercially as well as professionally, and showcasing what your company stands for and how it fits into today's social landscape can be a huge proof point for those who are considering applying to a position.
As the recruitment process moves forward, continued engagement will keep your company top-of-mind for candidates after an interview. Having something in place to follow up with each touchpoint will go far in shortlisting your company for the candidate.
“Automation plays a big part in that,” Theodore said. “You may have a candidate come in and do an informational interview, and you know they probably retain 50% of what they learned, but how are we keeping that memory fresh and supplying additional information? Before it was just ‘Here’s a business card, feel free to reach out to me.’ Now we’re giving additional digital information to them automatically.”
Take Care of Your People
HR marketing doesn’t stop with the hire. The daily grind can get to even the best of workers, so constant communication and interaction will help them remember why they came to your company in the first place. Make the conversation a frictionless, real, ongoing part of employment as an element of your internal culture.
"With frequent evaluations, clear goals and constant feedback, it allows employees to know where they stand," Brigadoi said. "JEAR gives back to employees in a lot of ways which our team loves. A few examples are catered breakfasts, catered lunches, happy hours, summer and holiday parties, community involvement and constant celebrations for successes and big wins."
Some companies are highlighting perks, events and communications through a dedicated employee group on Facebook or even an internal, proprietary form of social media. These dedicated channels give employees another way to interact with one another across levels and departments, building a stronger connection and increasing the likelihood of retention.
An internal email campaign is another avenue several companies have taken. Sending a scheduled, regular update keeps employees informed on the company's direction, performance, updates and events so that they feel engaged.
“We practice our own internal marketing, our own newsletters, our own Trends,” Theodore said. “We’re using ourselves as a client, so that’s typically what they see, using our own marketing tools internally as well as externally.”
Let’s be real—HR isn’t widely known for its innovative marketing abilities in most cases. They’ve got a lot on their plates, and sometimes retrofitting a department with new responsibilities can be a daunting prospect.
So how do you start rolling out these new marketing tools and tactics in recruitment and retention efforts?
Step one is to leverage your marketing experts. Open the lines of communication and cross-department collaboration between the C-Suite, marketing and HR to align on goals, set the strategy and move the vision forward.
It also doesn't hurt to get people on board in the HR department who live and breathe these styles of communication and are open to trying new technologies. When hiring HR professionals, consider people who are up to date on modern technology and communication channels, and who are eager to get creative with outreach. It's got to be authentic because imposters will be sniffed out immediately and called out as cheesy.
Sometimes it also helps to get outside perspective. Partnering with an agency that sees your company from the outside can help shape a strategy to get your authentic culture and values out there in a compelling way. And better yet, they usually are experts in digital communication and can help identify tools and tactics that will appeal to top candidates.