Even if you were not meteorologically impacted by the polar vortex, data suggests that you were economically impacted by it: whether in cancelled flights, slowed delivery, higher prices for fuel and produce, and limited job growth, everyone felt the chill. It’s spring now and just as warmer weather can positively encourage and facilitate economic growth, so can warmer human relations amongst coworkers and leaders impact innovation.
By facilitating and encouraging each other’s ideas we will see improved innovation results. Why? Because innovation, or introducing something new, is inherently risky and introducing new ideas is a conditioned behavior that can be frozen or thawed like economic growth.
Nurturing the Growth of Innovative Ideas
Imagine an associate you lead has an idea for a new strategy, product, or process.
In an organization with hierarchy, departments, policies and procedures, anything new can be like a seed in the crack of a rock. It requires some nurturing to flourish. To allow it to break through, provide increasing amounts of water, light, and nutrients. I note an “increasing amount” because too much too fast can kill an idea as much as rejecting it outright.
Water in this scenario is your encouragement. Offer a “yes,” “I like it,” “I think you may have something.” Later in the development process, you can offer provoking questions/comments like, “Have you discussed it with the product or client group?” or, “I think it’s time you got folks from Accounting and Legal involved. Let me talk to “Brad” and “Lisa” about who to engage.”
Light is the attention the idea gets from others. People within the department may feel threatened by a coworker’s new idea, and it may be easier for other departments if new ideas do not develop. Managing the involvement of other employees takes thoughtful consideration and planning. Involving others soon can aid in buy-in, but the “something new” must have enough to it, including your support, to withstand the heat of their attention. Years ago, I think we used the term “stage gates” to help evaluate initiatives for the next level of involvement and commitment.
A leader’s commitment is evident in their time and mentoring as well as the dedication of other resources: i.e. people, technology, and pilots. Those are the nutrients for something new and they are critical to the survival of a good and innovative idea.
A leader will be required to nurture and protect the evolution of something new – it requires attention, which is where stage gates come in. You want to make sure that the innovation warrants increased levels of attention and resources before the process gets too far along. Leaders, like others, need to be willing to say “yes” even if it’s only long enough to see one idea develop into an improved or different innovation.
It’s your responsibility to make employees feel like it really is springtime. Make sure that new ideas and associates don’t get frozen out, or conditioned to believe a thaw will never come. By leveraging the growth of springtime ideas, new innovations may develop to carry us through any cold spells.
Super Bowl XXXXVIII was one of the largest, most anticipated, most watched sporting events of the year. This year, it was expected to be one of the hardest fought Super Bowl match-ups in decades… the #1 Offense of the Denver Broncos against the #1 Defense of the Seattle Seahawks. The Denver Broncos take the field led by their quarterback, Peyton Manning. Manning, a 13 time pro bowl winner and 5-time NFL MVP winner is poised to lead his team to victory. The ball is snapped. It goes over Manning’s head into the endzone. Seattle defends… Safety! Two points, Seahawks. In that moment, the tone of the game changes and for the next 2 ½ hours, Denver goes on to play arguably one of the worst games in franchise history… No Lombardi trophy, no Super Bowl ring, no title. All the right players, and what appeared to be all the right plays heading into the match-up, but Seattle prevails. Seahawks 43, Broncos 8.
In many ways, recruiting is like these two teams in the Super Bowl. You can have a great employment brand (equal to the team franchise/popularity), you can seemingly have the right recruitment team in play (equal to the top recruits from college/best players in the league), and you can have all the tools you need to garner success (equal to the playbook, right coaches, winning record). However, if you do not account for what your opponent (i.e. competitive organizations) is offering candidates and ensure that your strategy stays ahead of theirs, then you may find yourself in a similar situation to the Broncos. All the right people, seemingly all the right components, but poor execution.
So, how do you build a successful recruitment strategy?
A successful recruitment strategy starts with how your company is branded and viewed in the marketplace. Is your brand a well-known brand such as Pepsi or Coke? Has your brand been through some challenges… maybe a history of layoffs, restructuring the organization, or economic challenges for growth? Being aware of how your brand is perceived by candidates, no matter how big or small your organization, is critical to how you “sell” your recruitment opportunity to a prospective candidate.
Next, having a process in place that is candidate-friendly and allows the candidate to move through the requisition requirements in a timely manner is crucial to keeping them engaged throughout the experience. Utilizing an applicant tracking system (ATS) to formalize the requisition workflow and drive candidates through the hiring process is key. The more you can automate the documentation pieces of the hiring requirements and the more communication you can provide to the candidate throughout the required process steps, the more engaged you are going to keep them.
In addition to having the right ATS in play, it’s important that you have the right people running the process for you. Think of you ATS as the Quarterback and your Recruiters as the team. The ATS runs the process flow, but the team controls whether the plays are pulled off successfully. You can have the right branding and the right system in play to generate the interest and drive the recruitment strategy. However, if you don’t have the right recruitment team in place to execute the strategy for your organization, then none of the other pieces matter. The recruiters are the ones that have to “sell” the candidate on the position and the company. They are your number one support system to getting the right people in the door. Your recruiters are your biggest drivers of the brand, the seller of the benefits, and the gatekeeper of making sure the right quality comes through the door and the others are screened out. However, if a recruiter doesn’t properly execute the strategy, then the process can fall apart and the quality of hire can suffer as a result. This can later result in higher turnover, negative brand perceptions in the marketplace, and other consequences.
Finally, knowing what your competition is doing to attract and retain talent is key to developing your talent for your own organization. It’s important that you know what a candidate is attracted to, what motivates them, and what drives them to gravitate towards a certain role or a certain company. It’s also important that you stay aligned with, and even ahead of, what your competition is offering to help ensure you “win out” with the candidates you desire for your organization and, once hired, you are able to retain them and motivate them based on continued company offerings.
For talent acquisition professionals, expectations for the success of job descriptions in attracting candidates are high – but good candidate flow doesn’t necessarily mean top quality candidate flow. If 1,000 people applied to a posting, how many were a good fit? If only a handful were strong contenders for the position, it’s time to assess how to increase the percentages of applications that are a good fit for the role.
AIRS®, an ADP® Company is a brand leader in recruitment training and promotes several best practices on how to develop compelling and effective job descriptions. Following the strategies outlined by AIRS can help any organization modify their job descriptions to increase their opportunity to attract top talent.
- Explore Competitor Postings – Does your job description do a better job of positioning the role than your competitors?
- Position the company as a great place to work – Does your job description showcase your company as a place people would like to work?
- Peaking candidates’ interest – Does your job description provide a compelling introduction to the role?
- Use clear, concise required skills lists – Does your job description clearly articulate the required skills for the position relative to a top performer?
- Advertise special company benefits – Provide details on organization-driven employee benefits as a differentiator for candidates.
- Highlight Diversity Inclusion Initiatives – Showcase any diversity commitments that are unique to your organization.
- Be creative and clear – The inclusion of specific details and expectations will sell a position to top candidates and filter out candidates that are not a good fit
- Make sure the job posting matches the target resumes – Aligning the job description to the resume/profile of top candidates will attract better qualified candidates
It’s critical for organizations to leverage social media in job postings – and to go above and beyond simply posting a link to the career site. Interactive, compelling information about the company that directs candidates to job information will garner better engagement and improve your employer brand.
Effective uses of social media could include posting a personalized video from the CEO, a hiring manager, or top performer within your company describing the work environment, a specific position, or a company initiative. Posting live links to employee testimonials, press releases, and community support activities help increase engagement from internal and external candidates. Use the power of social media to tell a compelling story about your company and job openings. Also, be mobile ready for your applicants.
AIRS teaches there are some fundamental points to keep in mind when formulating your job descriptions:
#1: Company Brand Description – Advertise the Company as Well as the Position
The job description should sell the company and create excitement for a potential candidate. Recruitment success starts with advertising the company as well as the position. The job description should:
- Talk about more than just what a company does
- Clearly show why the company is special
- Define a value proposition that sets the company apart from a competitor
#2: Environmental Descriptions – Engage Candidates in the Specific Job
The job description should showcase to the candidate specific opportunities that they can expect to be challenged, developed, and engaged with their position. A good job description should:
- Walk a candidate through a day in the role
- What will they do?
- How will they contribute to the success of their new organization?
- Provide potential applicants a clear picture of the opportunity within the company
#3: Skills and Education – Be Clear and Concise
It is important to list the required skills and education levels for a specific position in a clear and concise manner. Job descriptions that repeat information or use vague terms may drive away top candidates and encourage less qualified candidates to apply. Skills and education requirements should be:
- Concise with each required skill listed only one time
- Presented in an easy to comprehend manner
- Free from the pitfall of repeated information communicated in a different manner
- Presented in a bullet points format to create an easy to read list
#4: Clear Information on How to Apply – Test and Summarize
Candidates should be able to easily and quickly find information on how to apply for the position as part of the job description. Whether the description includes a link or button leading to an external page, or an application form within the job description, it should be obvious and easy to find.
- Test and re-test to ensure the application link is working
- Place the application link in a highly visible location within the posting
- Summarizing the posting is a good way to filter candidates prior to application submitted
AIRS Steps to a Great Candidate Message
- Maximize the Doing: Focus on the description of what the candidate will DO.
- Maximize the Becoming: Illustrate a picture of the career path for this new opportunity.
- Minimize the Having: Too many skills in a long list can turn away great candidates. Be clear and concise.
- Depict the role as Fun and Exciting: Engage potential candidates online via social media leveraging the fun and exciting aspects of the company mission, culture and promise of opportunity.
The idea of customer service isn’t new – everyone talks about it, and we all know the familiar phrases heard in stores, restaurants, and on the phone: “Is there anything else I can do for you?” or “Were you satisfied with your service today?” Some companies ask for a full explanation if a customer isn’t satisfied, to ensure that it can be made right. Despite that, the American Customer Satisfaction Index puts U.S. customer satisfaction at 76.6 percent for 2013 – hardly an impressive figure. If everyone is trying to satisfy the customer, why is it so hard to do?
There are a number of potential causes for the challenges organizations face in providing strong customer satisfaction. One may be that customers know they have more options: if they don’t like service at one store, they can go somewhere else or shop online. The multitude of options is growing at a rapid clip, and the pace is unlikely to decline. Another possible cause is that while many companies talk the customer service talk, few organizations give their associates any customer service training beyond a scripted talk track or set of minimum requirements.
If your company is not top of mind for customer service, it’s time to examine your processes and culture to see if you meet either of the two scenarios listed above. Are you losing out on clients and customers due to poor service? And if so, what is the solution?
Customer Service Culture
Developing a company culture centered on customer service is the only true way to provide strong customer service that is authentic and meaningful for your clients and customers. However, building a customer service culture isn’t done overnight; instead, creating a customer service culture is a process that must be engrained in the day-to-day activities and mindset of each employee. Customer service has to become as much a part of the business plan as the delivery of a final product.
To build a true customer service culture, everyone in the organization has to be focused on creating a positive customer experience. If front line associates need to feel empowered to deliver excellent customer service, they have to be supported by more than just training: their manager must exemplify company expectations around customer service – and their manager’s manager, all the way to the top of the ladder.
A true customer service culture also recognizes that not all customers are external. Interactions between employees should be regarded as opportunities to demonstrate strong customer service skills and encourage a culture of service.
Building a Customer Service Culture
While talking about the importance of customer service is a starting point, it’s not enough to build a customer service culture. In order for culture changes to take root, they must be clearly communicated to all employees and stakeholders, properly supported with resources like training or coaching, and the changes must be measured, motivated, and reinforced.
When developing change management for raising the profile of customer service, it is important to involve stakeholders from each department and regularly communicate with all employees. Creating a sense of accountability and consistent messaging around what is expected in terms of customer service will help ensure success. Additionally, implementing measurable goals for internal- and external-facing employees is crucial. Tracking customer service surveys and other metrics will help company leadership determine whether the implemented changes have been successful. Paying attention to and rewarding strong instances of customer service from individual associates will also create motivation for employees to engage in desired cultural behaviors.
When creating a customer service culture, you must pay attention to each part of the process, engaging in strong customer service practices along the way. By doing so, you will display the traits you want to encourage in your associates, increasing the likelihood of positive responses within the company.
With the advent of 2014, we have the opportunity to close the book, reflect upon a year of hard work, and find inspiration to guide and cultivate our New Year’s objectives. Following the holiday we now face that time of year when we are inspired to debrief, detox, revise, and commit to be better in the New Year than we were in the past.
There are some common categories identified in New Year’s resolutions that we aspire toward as individuals which also have relevance in the Recruitment and Talent Acquisition industry. In exploring resolutions, I realized that the motivation for making them declines sharply as the year progresses. The multi-faceted demands on our time drive our focus away from our initial inspiration, keeping us from reaching our goals as more immediate aspects of daily life seem to take on greater importance.
With that said, the key to determining a successful outcome for your chosen resolutions comes down to two things: Ensure that your resolution is simple and realistic, and commit to sharing it with others. If you can motivate others to support you or join in on your cause and pursue your goal, the synergy and accountability will ensure that your goal is attained.
This year, there is only one resolution that we as Talent Acquisition Professionals need to make and that is: to improve.
Every Talent Acquisition program needs to improve. We work in a time of ever-changing technology and increasingly stringent regulations. We compete for top candidates, who possess increasingly specific qualifications and who have a plethora of options available to them in their career search. The best way to compete for top talent is to find ways to educate them about your organization and to help them envision their place within it.
To do so, you need to educate yourself on where candidates are looking for that information, and how to best present it to them. This may mean taking on some additional trainings or pursuing AIRS certifications to better understand the ever changing recruiting landscape. Creating the best strategy could mean investing time to learn about trends in social media or mobile communications.
Conduct a competitive landscape analysis against your competitors to define where to focus on improving shortcomings or identifying opportunities to proactively surpass them. Sharing your goal with others will help to ensure that you are motivated to deliver based on their expectation that you will, and creating shared goals within the organization enhances buy-in and garners additional support. Your goal of improvement could be an opportunity to lead and to facilitate change in partnership with others.
In Talent Acquisition, the health and perception of our organization rests heavily upon our shoulders. How do we attract the best talent? How do we ensure that we have the right skill set and capabilities in our human collateral to lead and transform the company into future success? Employer Brand means everything. Today’s technology connected candidates have a world of information available at a moment’s notice.
Ensuring that our organizations have the right image and perception within the talent marketplace is pivotal, so as Recruiters, we lead this charge. Resolve to make an impact: Educate your candidates. Develop a Talent Community to engage potential future candidates and share the great things that your organization offers. What is the culture? What inspires you and your co-workers? Why would they want to work for your company? Sharing the great experiences of our workforce helps to improve perception and engage and attractive to top talent.
Do more, spend less. If there were a magic bullet, it would be priceless. Alas, we work in a climate where the “hot” resource in 2013 will inevitably become obsolete as we enter into 2014. Commit to better analytics to avoid focusing on fads and ignoring the fundamentals. Data is the driver to ensuring that we can make informed decisions that will positively impact the bottom line. Big Data is no longer merely a trend, and with good reason. The use of Big Data provides an abundance of information on-demand, so the ability to aggregate and make informed decisions from it mitigates risk and ensures strategic decision-making.
Use your available analytics to examine your current strategies and results. Where are you spending money on job boards? What is the yield – not just in the number of applicants, but how many candidates qualified, and how many applicants result in hires? How qualified are your new hires for their roles? Quality considerations should drive your decisions. Commit to spending your recruiting budget in the right places. Resolve to leveraging information and analytics to drive your decisions. If you don’t have the right data, commit to develop it – it will pay off in the long run, as you will have the tools and knowledge to spend less and do more, or spend more and get more quality, and get it faster. Whichever course you choose, resolve to be informed in your decision making and to develop the tools you need to drive improvement.
I had the pleasure of being in a meeting recently where my client was asked, “Where do you invest your recruitment dollars?” and they quickly responded by saying, “We invest in The RightThing!” It was overwhelming to receive the reaffirmation of their confidence in us as their RPO partner, and it caused me to reflect on the hard work that brought us to this place. If properly executed, a partnership is built on confidence, trust, communication, and shared visions for success. Resolve to improve in these areas with your own internal and external relationships. Ensure that you understand the organization’s goals and objectives and resolve to focus yourself and to lead your function in aligning to them. The right partnership can make you stronger, more effective, and strategically invaluable.
May your New Year bring health and prosperity, and may you reap the rewards of surrounding yourself with people who inspire, challenge, and validate your efforts throughout the year. May you recognize the success of surpassing your past accomplishments and improving upon your shortcomings. I invite you to join me in the Recruiting Resolution: To Improve. Improve ourselves, improve our delivery, and improve our internal and external partnerships. While the journeys will vary and the road may be long, I wish you all the opportunity to reflect with satisfaction at the end of this New Year on the improvements, efficiencies and accomplishments that your organization realizes as a result of your resolution.
AIRS®, An ADP® Company is a market leader in recruitment training services, and as part of that leadership, AIRS creates, distributes, and shares the results of Alumni Recruitment Research Surveys. The 2013 AIRS Recruitment Research Salary Survey was conducted in September, and the results are now available.
The survey provides a sample of the salaries represented by AIRS Alumni who are working in the recruitment industry. The goal of the research is to provide survey results as an optional resource for those seeking benchmarks for recruitment compensation, salaries, education, and expected requisition load across multiple industries.
AIRS Alumni Respondents
The survey was completed by a variety of recruiters. Survey-takers identified themselves by both recruiter type and length of experience. Corporate recruiters made up 75% of respondents; 16.4% were Agency, Third-Party, or Executive Search recruiters, and 6.1% were Contingent or Contract recruiters. The experience levels include:
AIRS Alumni are group of recruiters with a long-term commitment to the art of recruiting – over 50% of alumni who participated in the survey have at least a decade of experience in recruiting, most of them in the corporate realm. Organizations seeking recruiters who already know how to find top talent, and who stay in touch with new and innovative recruitment tools, have a significant opportunity in AIRS Alumni.
The survey-takers came from a diverse range of industries and positions as well. The top three industries reported were Telecommunications/Technology/Internet & Electronics, at 15% of respondents; Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals at 14.6% of respondents, and Finance & Financial Services at 9.5% of respondents. Over 56% of AIRS Alumni described their position as a Full Cycle Recruiter; 18.5% reported that they are a Recruiting Manager, Director, or VP; 12.4% are Recruiters, and 7.6% are Sourcers.
AIRS Alumni Salary Results
The AIRS Alumni reported salary information using a range of salary types, from hourly rates to commission-only. The results heavily favor an annual salary or salary plus bonuses or commission, but multiple types of compensation formats were represented within the survey.
Upon breaking down the results further, hourly rates provided an interesting sample. The reported rates primarily fall between $21 and $35 per hour for hourly recruiting work.
27.6% of hourly-only respondents make $21-$25 per hour
13.8% of hourly-only respondents make $26-$30 per hour
10.3% of hourly-only respondents make $31-$35 per hour
Across all AIRS Alumni respondents, total annual compensation was self-reported as follows:
- .9% make less than $20,000
- .9% make $20,001-$30,000
- 1.3% make $30,001-$40,000
- 6.4% make $40,001- $50,000
- 9.8% make $50,001-$60,000
- 12.4% make $60,001-$70,000
- 16.2% make $70,001-$80,000
- 12.4% make $80,001-$90,000
- 10.7% make $90,001-$100,000
- 14.5% make $100,001-$125,000
- 7.7% make $125,001-$150,000
- 3.0% make $150,001-$200,000
- 3.8% make more than $200,000
The survey-takers also reported their highest levels of completed education with the majority possessing an undergraduate college degree:
- 12.6% completed High School
- 3.5% completed an Associate’s Degree
- 4.2% completed Some College
- 51.7% hold an Undergraduate Degree
- 20.3% hold a Master’s Degree
- .7% hold a PhD
- 7% Other
When asked to identify the number of open requisitions they handle at one time, respondents reported the following:
- 31.6% have 1-10 requisitions on average
- 30.9% have 11-20 requisitions on average
- 20.4% have 21-30 requisitions on average
- 6.2% have 31-40 requisitions on average
- 5.1% have 41-50 requisitions on average
- 5.8% have more than 50 requisitions on average
The results of the AIRS Alumni salary survey reveal a great deal of information about the working lives of AIRS-trained recruiters – click here for a complimentary download of the survey’s complete results.
As the weather gets colder and the holidays draw near, I often think of Jimmy Buffett’s song “Fruitcakes,” and a few lines in particular stand out:
“…Relationships! We all got ‘em
We all want ‘em. What do we do with them?
Here we go, I’ll tell you.”
He goes on, but the core message of those lines puts me in mind of both personal and professional gratitude. I propose that it is those relationships and the gratitude they can create that provide the basis for success. While our daily routine can include a flurry of “to-dos” from appointments, meetings, and problems, it’s the season to step back and reflect. We can get caught up in the flurry of scheduling, brushing up against others doing the same, and living a transactional life, instead of a grateful and full one.
As 2013 draws to a close, consider choosing to pay more attention to the opportunities we have each day to positively impact someone else. Decide to support the people and organizations that give back to you. Be thankful to them in action as well as in spirit. Put as much energy into developing positive relationships with the people around you as you do in checking off items on that ever-present to-do list.
It’s simpler than you think to let others know that you appreciate their efforts, service, excellence or follow-through, and it’s easy to find joy in the good works of others. Too often, we are more likely to notice price, poor service, tardiness, or misaligned expectations – both in the office and at home. Taking time to notice the positives instead reinforces the successful aspects of a relationship.
A few easy ways to demonstrate gratitude and develop a commitment to relationships include:
- Share thanks with co-workers, friends, and service providers who bring remarkable value to you
- Acknowledge the astonishingly quick check-in during your travel stay
- Thank the travel agent or coordinator who goes above and beyond
- Comment the meeting planner who has thought of everything
- Recommend the craftsman who listens, provides a creative solution, and works ahead of schedule
- Thank the leader or co-worker who shares an article or report with you
- Tip the barista who remembers what drink you like and how you like it
- Praise your kids – and their teachers – for their good grades
- Make a habit of regularly calling your loved ones
- Recognize an employee, co-worker, or business partner for their work on important projects
Take some time this holiday season to pay attention to and be grateful for the people who make you smile, the business partners who work with you to create great results, and to appreciate the benefits they offer.
Relationships – we all got ‘em. Now what are you doing with them?
As the economy improves, retention is becoming more critical for organizations. With half or more of Millennial workers planning to leave their current role[i], and nearly 40 percent of the total workforce planning to look for a new job within the next 5 years[ii], it is imperative the employers have a strategic retention plan in place, as the cost of replacing skilled employees can have a serious impact on the bottom line. The average cost of turnover is 30 to 50 percent of an entry-level salary, 140 percent of a mid-level employee’s salary, and up to 400 percent of a senior-level salary. For organizations with historically high turnover, the costs can add up quickly.[iii]
Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) can provide results that last long beyond a new hire’s start date. By creating a holistic talent solution with an organization’s HR business partners, RPO can have a long-term positive impact on talent, strategy, and turnover. Aligning strategic talent and recruitment plans with an RPO solution can help improve initial hiring results and retention.
In many cases, the cost of turnover is not realized in immediate hard costs, but through hidden costs that have longer lasting effects on an organization. In addition to the financial cost of finding a new hire, the lost productivity and knowledge, damage to morale, training time and the increased workload for remaining employees all raise the price of turnover in ways that may not be obvious. Mitigating these impacts is as important to organizational success as reducing the initial cost of turnover.
Developing a recruitment solution that addresses the entire employee lifecycle is a way for employers to increase retention rates. Identifying top quality talent early in the hiring process and ensuring the candidate will be a good fit reduces the risk of bringing on a bad hire. RPO partnerships broaden the ability to develop a hiring solution that meets those goals through a recruitment process customized to the specific needs of an organization. Successful RPO solutions align with a client’s talent needs, as well as candidate needs, providing support throughout the entire recruiting, hiring, and on-boarding process.
A holistic RPO partnership also produces effects lasting long past the on-boarding of a new hire. Aligning RPO solutions with overall talent management can create a candidate and employee experience that incorporates effective interactions throughout an employee’s tenure with an organization. An integrated RPO provider has the ability to positively impact aspects of the employee experience like training, performance management, and retention activities.
Although RPO solutions are typically portrayed as stopping where the hire starts, engaging in a deeper partnership with a provider can help organizations manage their overall employee engagement and lead to better retention. RPO providers that work with organizations across an entire talent cycle can implement learning and performance management solutions that create a consistent experience for employees, increasing satisfaction and engagement.
RPO providers can offer cost-effective and productive technology solutions for training and performance by maintaining a new hire’s information in the same tracking system throughout their employment. This creates easier interaction with employee information and progress throughout their career, enabling managers to more accurately assess the employee and assign necessary training.
A consistent candidate experience from application through on-boarding, along with a continual employee engagement program throughout his/her career, provides a stronger experience and enables an organization to create a better, more satisfying work environment for its employees. If an employee is satisfied with his/her workplace, the level of engagement will be higher and the employee is likely to be far more productive and focused on his/her responsibilities versus looking for the next opportunity.
There once was a time when organizations only thought about branding as a tool to assist with growing their business and selling products. However, with the continuing challenges in finding talent and keeping up with candidate expectations, it’s necessary for organizations to take that same methodology and find ways to use it to attract top talent. For most organizations, the biggest question is not “where to begin,” but rather how to get the budget and resources to keep up with today’s changing social networks and technologies. While implementing and executing a strategy does not happen overnight, you can certainly leverage your current brand strategy as a starting point.
Think about branding your organization’s products for consumers, but shift the focus to branding your organization itself for talent. Just as companies invest countless hours into understanding why a consumer would want to buy their products or services and then work diligently to craft messaging that promotes it, the same is true from a business-to-talent perspective. What is it about your organization that stands out from the competition? What is your Employer Value Proposition?
As with product consumers, what’s important to one employee many not be to the next. Create focus groups with different members of your organization to drill down into each employee’s motivations. You may find that the most important things to some employees are not necessarily the organization’s products and services, but the intangibles such as the ability to grow and develop, working side-by-side others with the same passion, or even volunteer opportunities that create commitment and drive. What compels your employees should be integrated into the key messages that drive your employment branding and communications. Want dynamic people? Show them your organization and employees are dynamic!
Just as your organization spent time and resources creating the perfect website to carry your brand, it is equally important to invest in your career site. Getting talent to the career site landing page is no longer enough. There must be a compelling catch that entices them to learn more, and ultimately apply. Posting pictures and stories on your career site helps to create a more personal and relatable message for candidates, and it provides a great way to showcase your current talent. Create talent networks so that individuals can opt into a forum to learn more about opportunities. While a candidate may not be interested today, they might be more inclined after learning more about the organization. This can be a valuable strategy for future engagement, or even referrals.
It’s also vital to ensure your mobile strategy is up to speed. Research shows mobile internet searches are expected to exceed PC/desktop internet searches by 2014[i]. Today, consumers expect the optimal experience, which is why companies are putting mobile friendly websites in place – the same is now true for candidates searching for jobs. Mobile optimization reduces the time it takes for pages to load, ensuring that candidates remain on the page, and increases engagement. When pages on a career site are not optimized for mobile use, potential talent may abandon that site – and may end up on a competitor’s site. Today’s talent wants to be able to apply anytime, anywhere. Getting top candidates into your talent pool requires enabling mobile access to your career site.
Finally, with over 699 million daily active users on Facebook[ii] and 200 million monthly active users on Twitter[iii] alone, we can be certain that social media is here to stay. While many organizations are already using social media to brand products and services, it’s equally important to leverage that resource for connecting with active and passive jobseekers. A common complaint from organizations is that they don’t want to open up an avenue for public complaints – however, companies and employment are being talked about on social media whether or not they use it. Social media creates the opportunity for better control of the Employer Value Proposition, and builds a two-way street of interaction with potential talent.
Building a strong social media presence is not just a question of resources. It’s also an issue of internal engagement and branding. There are people in your organization today who can become your social media champions. Tapping into that talent increases their engagement and provides opportunity for increased relationships with other talent. Additionally, utilizing internal resources for social media oversight may create opportunities for strategies that you might not otherwise have considered.
Consider these statistics:
- 89% of employees who admit they’ll look for a new job in the next year say their mobile device is an important tool and resource for their job search[iv]
- 64% of candidates report they check the company’s social media channels prior to an interview[v]
- By 2014, 36% of the workforce will be Millennials – by 2020, they will be 46% of the workforce. 65% of Millennials currently working say that the opportunity for personal development was the most influential factor in their current job[vi]
- 3 in 5 job seekers have searched for jobs on their mobile device in the past year[vii]
- CareerBuilder tracking shows that as much as 40 percent of mobile candidates abandon the application process when they are notified they are about to encounter a non-mobile friendly apply process[viii]
As talent and their expectations continue to change, it is becoming increasingly important for competitive organizations to have a strategy in place to market to candidates, not unlike that which is used for consumers. The companies that succeed will be those that develop the ability to successfully address today’s talent market.
[iii] Crunchbase, Twitter, 2013
[viii] CareerBuilder: The Hiring Site, Forty Percent of Mobile Candidates Abandon Non-Mobile Apply Processes, March 2013
Beginning my recruiting career in the military, the experience and skills I gained there have continued to assist me throughout my recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) career. During my six-year military tenure, I worked on the HR side of operations— three of those years in recruiting. Based on my time in the military and civilian recruiting, I can see extraordinary benefits for companies interested in recruiting veterans.
While not a military recruiter in the traditional sense, I was responsible for working overseas and recruiting local residents to work on American bases. These local-nationals were typically government employees brought onto the base to work and to help maintain positive relationships with the surrounding areas. To recruit these individuals, I had to develop a strong sense of who could work well cross-culturally and in a military environment.
Upon transitioning out of military life, I joined Selective Staffing, the RPO company that was the predecessor to The RightThing. As a result of the strong recruiting and HR skills I developed through military work, I was able to assist the organization and its clients in identifying top talent across multiple industries. My experience with following military guidelines and compliance requirements, as well as working with diversity initiatives, contributed to my success in civilian recruiting work.
Why Hire Military Veterans?
There are many reasons that organizations should look at developing a targeted veteran hiring program – my own experience is one example, but there are countless other reasons veteran hiring is a good option for companies. For starters, military veterans come from a background that instills a solid sense of work ethic that will remain part of their character as they transition into civilian life.
Additionally, military work gives people a well-rounded outlook on business life. Military life can be seen as rigid and robotic, but service members are trained to be very self-sufficient, learn strong teamwork skills, and take accountability for a lot of responsibility all at once. It’s crucial for military members to be able to juggle various types of work, maintain training outcomes, and easily assess the big picture under high pressure – all characteristics that are invaluable in civilian working life.
Military service creates workers with a strong sense of pride in their work – veterans are comfortable working hard, long hours, and ensuring that the work that gets done is done well. Military work also enables veterans to leave with a good sense of when it’s imperative to take a leadership role, and when it’s time to follow the directions that were given. In a time when employers are scrambling to find experienced talent, military veterans offer a strong pool of candidates with prior and proven experience.
The saying “Look, Think, Act like a solider” is a motto used to help guide service members even through times when they’re not sure what to do. The phrase assists members of the military in building a high level of professionalism in any situation, a mode of working that helps reduce stress and improve outcomes. This attitude easily transitions into civilian life, where veterans are easily able to adopt a culturally-appropriate professionalism. Military veterans know well that you’re never off-duty in how you represent an employer, which is a beneficial quality in today’s interconnected social world.
Veterans offer pride in and respect for the work they do, bring strong leadership and teamwork to a company, and bring numerous unique skills to the table. Recruiting and hiring veterans is not only a sound diversity hiring option that will improve employer brand, it also provides employers with numerous business benefits.