While there is continued anticipation of changing economic conditions, the US unemployment rate continues to hover at or near historic lows. Most businesses we work with still need to hire to meet business needs; locating and hiring your next talent can be challenging. We’re here to help.
Here are five tips we recommend for virtually any employer.
1. Make your employer brand shine
What does your brand mean today? A great place to start is a reality check on your brand as it is — not as you want it to be. How do you measure your employer brand?
- Employee survey. Get your employees’ perspective on the brand. Survey Monkey has some simple and effective survey templates you can use to seek anonymous feedback.
- Candidate survey. Hearing directly from potential employees can be another valuable source of information and feedback.
- Glassdoor. If you’re not already checking your company’s feedback here, now is the time to start, on a quarterly basis, or more frequently. You may or may not like the feedback, and there may be comments from particularly disgruntled people, but it will be easy to sort the helpful feedback from online flaming. The more you know, the better you can counter any bad impressions.
Once you’ve gathered a baseline of what team members associate with your brand, you can set your sights on the brand’s future. There is almost always some gap between reality and your aspirations. Bring your senior leadership into the conversation about what characteristics you want to emphasize.
Here are a few positive employer brand attributes you might want to include:
Develop your action plan. Work with leadership and your marketing team to create a brand campaign specifically geared to what makes your firm a great place to work.
You’ll want to make sure you review and update assets, including your company careers pages, benefits documents, and vision/values pages. Is the tone of the writing friendly and accessible? Are you thinking of all the relevant generations at work, each of which may have slightly different priorities?
Wherever possible, use photos of actual team members and work sites, rather than stock imagery, to set the best — realistic — expectations with future employees.
2. Go beyond diversity and inclusion to belonging
In 2015, consulting firm McKinsey published a landmark study illustrating that diverse companies outperform the norm for their industry by 35%.
Diversity makes good business sense.
Many firms have a diversity and inclusion (D&I) plan to articulate policies and objectives for a diverse workforce. You may also have put some effort into developing a diverse talent pipeline.
That’s a great start! To stay competitive, however, today’s employers are moving past D&I to belonging.
- Diversity is about having a seat at the table.
- Inclusion is about having a voice
- Belonging is having that voice heard
Creating a culture where different types of people feel they belong, and bring their most effective selves to work, will ultimately give you a competitive advantage. Here are some things to be aware of:
- Actions speak louder than words. Your HR team and company leadership’s actions will communicate better than anything you put in a memo or on a poster.
- When you ask for input, encourage the lowest ranking person to speak first. Pay attention to introductions: you set the stage when you introduce someone with a few words of recognition and maybe a connection, like “you need to meet the amazing Sami — not only will you work together on this new project, but you share an interest in vegan cooking.”
- Storytelling can be a great way to demonstrate how employees come from diverse backgrounds; not only ethnic or country-of-origin, but also life experiences, like growing up with a single parent or living overseas. Storytelling in a group setting can seem uncomfortable until the first brave souls lead the way. Can you tell your story and help make others feel like they belong?
3. Create a candidate-centric hiring process
The traditional way of viewing recruiting is as a method to fill open positions. We’re not trying to discount this goal. It is essential, of course. But a broader view of recruiting turns the tables to put the focus on candidate experience.
Creating a great experience is more about forming relationships with current and future candidates, so that even if they’re not hired for today’s requirements, they have formed a positive impression and may be a great fit for a future opportunity.
- Communicate well. Don’t let resumes fall into a “black hole”. Keep candidates informed of where they are in the process.
- Be upfront about the process and how long it typically takes. The more information you provide the candidate, the better your chances for a successful outcome. Can you share something like this:
- “We have a three-step interview process. First you will interview with the recruiter by phone. After that, you will interview in person with the manager for this role. The last step will be an in-person interview with the Vice President, and based on that, we will make a decision. The whole process typically takes two weeks.”
- Be transparent about your company and what you expect of the person you hire. People who know what to expect are less likely to turn over after they’re on board.
4. Boost your outreach to passive candidates
Outreach to both passive and active candidates will help you locate the right talent.
Passive candidates — those who are employed, and not looking for their next job — are often more difficult to recruit as they may be satisfied, or too busy, to consider your open position.
Yet this group represents up to 75% of the available market, according to LinkedIn.
Some ideas you should put into action to increase your visibility to potential candidates:
- Clever, shareable job ads. Some of the best job ads we’ve seen recently have been two- or three-minute videos that are easy to share on social media and create a memorable impression of the job. Some employers are also using infographics to advertise their open positions. Even text ads can be improved with some attention to what’s in it for the candidate. Be sure your ads are at least 150 words in length, and ideally 300 to 800 words, to ensure the best visibility on Google, where 73% of job searches start.
- Employee ambassadors. Your current employees are often the best informal recruiters. Offer a referral fee for any employee lead that produces a hire who stays three or more months.
- Social recruiting. Use social media, like Facebook, to get your employer brand in front of passive candidates. Work with a digital recruiting expert to have your ad appear to “like audiences,” who have similar characteristics to your target candidate, on Facebook.
5. Create a great onboarding experience
Traditionally, new team member onboarding consists of completing a large stack of paperwork, such as the I9, W4 and payroll/benefits sign-up forms. For some companies, completing mandatory compliance training is also a part of inducting a new employee.
While these are all required steps, they don’t create a friendly and engaging experience.
To stand out from the crowd, some firms are redefining onboarding as a full experience from the time the candidate accepts the offer, through when they’re fully productive, perhaps three months after hire.
Your new team member’s onboarding experience is a key part of them becoming a fully-engaged top performer.
Onboarding starts with “yes”. If you haven’t already done so, consider setting up an online portal specifically for new hires. Before their first day on the job, your new talent can already start on mandatory training, handle routine paperwork, view the holiday schedule, start to learn the organization, and even receive welcome messages from their new team mates.
Once the new hire comes on board, consider assigning them a “buddy” to help learn the ropes. This takes some of the knowledge-sharing burden off the manager, and helps ground the new person with a connection to one or more colleagues. Buddy duties can be simple, like a company-sponsored lunch, or more complex, like a mentoring relationship.
Something else to consider as part of onboarding is involving senior leadership through casual breakfast meetings or “lunch and learns” where new team members can broaden their knowledge about other parts of the company, hear an executive perspective on the market, and get to know leaders in a less-structured setting.
Talent Acquisition for 2020 and Beyond
As an HR professional or company leader, you know how important talent acquisition is to company performance and growth. These five tips give you the foundation of a 2020 acquisition strategy that will pay benefits now, and into the future.