In a fiercely competitive marketplace, what is it that draws a candidate to choose ‘employer A’ over ‘employer B’?
Often, that choice has to do with the capacity of an employer to create a memorable and recognizable brand campaign that not just communicates the benefits and culture of working in a company but also addresses the specific opportunity that is available for a targeted talent pool. The HR function has a critical role to play in not just crafting the employee value proposition but also articulating and communicating the employee brand.This requires HR to work much like a marketing department – right from connecting with your customer to engaging with them on a regular basis. Here are a few useful tips:
Know your audience: In the same way businesses market products to directly address a customer need or want, businesses must use the information they have on their target audience to connect with the audience in question. In the context of HR, this entails knowing what the ideal recruit wants. Do they want a flexible work shift? Holiday allowance?Or, everyday benefits like (laundry services and child care)? HR teams must make the effort to identify what these needs are, either through focus group discussions with their current employees or through surveys.
Benchmark your brand: There are many ways through which companies can gain recognition. One method through which companies seek to highlight their progressive practices and benchmark themselves against the industry is through awards. A crucial factor in the process is to be wary of is the credibility of the awards.
Focus on recommendations: The most effective way to reach out to prospective candidates is through word-of-mouth recommendations. This means making a great first impression at every opportunity and doing everything to re-enforce that first impression on an on-going basis. Employers would do well to ask employees, business partners and suppliers if they would recommend them to a friend. If people wouldn’t recommend a friend to apply for a job, find out why and if it’s a credible issue, address it. There are no short cuts where word-of-mouth is concerned - you have to be a company people want to talk about.
Engage and communicate: Like marketers, HR should have a clear role in enabling social media reach, especially among younger employees. To ensure that the company’s culture is being communicated not just to the internal employees but also to those outside, they need to create campaigns with the right kind of content in order to make the right impression.
Just as marketers obsess over “net promoter score”, HR should focus on the credibility of their initiatives by assessing whether people who talk about the company (both inside and outside) actually end up recommending the company. But unlike product marketers who may apply a little creative license to their claims, HR should ensure that anything that is communicated has complete credibility -because no one likes to be mis-sold a job.