The Great Rematch: Leveraging Workplace Culture to Attract Talent

By Stacey Piper

Relationship Building 101: Don’t forget birthdays, anniversaries, or Valentine’s Day. And apparently we’re not! Americans spent $23.9 billion on Valentine’s Day in the U.S. this year, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s roughly the same amount as the state of Connecticut’s annual budget or the 2021 third-quarter revenue reported by Pfizer for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Meanwhile, on the work front, the data shows that we’re doing a poor job of sustaining relationships with our employees. In January 2022 I blogged about the Great Resignation, which has resulted in lost productivity from employees quitting jobs and from disengagement of up to a third of the workforce in the U.S. and Canada. According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2021 Report, the annual costs per employee are significant, from $9,000 to retain a disengaged worker to $25,000-100,000 to replace one, depending on length of search, role, and salary range.

I cringe at the thought of my past trials and errors in the dating world—fortunately well before swiping left and right—trying to write a catchy yet honest profile and to determine whether someone was a good fit from a brief speed-dating conversation. It’s not much different as we cling to discontented employees and chase new ones. We need to authentically represent our talent brand and ask ourselves the same question: Is he/she/them a good fit for us? And for how long?

Show Your True Colors

Employer branding is often focused on describing what we can do and ensuring the world knows our every accomplishment, from one press release and award to the next. I’m sure we all know self-centered individuals like this as well, and we label them as narcissists because they can’t stop talking about everything they’ve done, everyone they know.

How many of your press releases and social media posts are dedicated to your company’s achievements? Although tooting our own horn is an essential part of marketing ourselves or our employer brand, we need to be careful not to create barriers to forming a relationship. Just as it’s difficult to get beyond a narcissist’s façade to know the real person, we risk masking our company’s true personality behind industry jargon and a litany of wins.

Make New Connections

I remember advising my friends that if you’re not meeting the right kind of mate, you must be looking in the wrong places. In talent marketing, this means seeking out new ways to reach prospective employees.

  1. Create brand awareness in different spaces. Audit your current marketing channels, and look for gaps in your reach. Instagram is already 10 years old, and one-third of the nation’s workforce of 18- to 34-year-olds is heavily engaged there. Instagram’s algorithm rewards you for likes and comments with more displays of your post, which increases engagement.
  2. Tailor content to the specific platform. Don’t just blast the same message to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Posts on Instagram focus heavily on imagery, while LinkedIn posts have a more formal, business-like tone. Cater your message accordingly
  3. Know how to use each platform, particularly hashtags. Perform some searches to see how hashtags are used effectively, at the end of your post or in a first comment.

Allow a Look Inside

As we consider any relationship, we evaluate whether the other person’s values and lifestyle align with ours. But that means opening up, baring a bit of one’s self and hoping the other person is doing the same. The hiring process is a two-way street too. Open the doors to your talent brand and dive deeper into how you portray your company for your recruits.

  1. Speak to those outside of your inner circle. Avoid discussing services and processes in industry terms, which creates a division between those in-the-know and those who are outsiders. Use language that is inclusive and will help recruits learn about your company.
  2. Break down walls to engagement by starting with people, not achievements. Include employees and clients in your posts to illustrate your company culture and team dynamics. Highlight the work of SMEs. Post video testimonials from clients. Show examples of corporate social responsibility and community involvement. Share information on employee benefits and other compensation.
  3. Invite a guest staffer or influencer to post on your behalf for a day or a week. This gives your audience a sense of what it would be like to work with someone in your company or industry.
  4. Provide an inside look at life within your company. Leverage paid Career Pages on LinkedIn and target specific audiences with custom spotlights, employee perspectives, testimonials, company photos, videos, and more.

Just as dating has changed with new technologies, it’s time for a reset on how we attract new hires and nurture our talent brand. Starting with a people-first mindset—humanizing the workplace—fosters true connections with like-minded recruits. This approach also reinforces your company values with your existing workforce, a win-win for everyone.

Contact Piper Strategies

Need help building or strengthening your Talent Brand efforts? Contact me for a consultation with your leadership team.

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Talent Brand and Recruitment Marketing

Talent brand is what helps you attract and retain top talent — those candidates who want to join a company for more than a title or wage. These prospective employees value company culture, community involvement and the opportunity to grow over other benefits. Now more than ever, professional services firms must do more to demonstrate that they are a great workplace.

Traditionally, recruitment marketing has been led by human resources and focused on job ads. This will never go away, but a focused talent brand strategy can be a force multiplier to a company’s recruiting efforts. By joining HR and marketing professionals together, companies can guarantee they look as good as they really are to job seekers.

In today’s candidate-led job market, top talent has the choice of top brands. A focus on employer brand will help you take proactive steps to ensure your company brand and reputation stand out as a place they’d want to work.

USER-GENERATED WEBSITE OWNERSHIP

Employment search engines and job platforms, such as Indeed and Glassdoor, are ripe opportunities for talent brand strategies. All too often, small and mid-market businesses aren’t even aware they can take steps to customize their listings on these popular websites. Piper Strategies helps companies maximize the impact of these channels to position against competitors for hiring candidates.

SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS

LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram are popular social media sites for job seekers. Some are looking for open positions and easy-apply options. Some are doing due diligence in getting a sense of a company’s personality and culture to see if it’s a good fit. Determining which channels are most important for your brand and then developing and disseminating content on these channels is a specialty of ours. We can help you stand out from the rest with dedicated messaging and streams of content related to employee activities, employee successes, community involvement and company culture. We do this both organically and with paid placement, depending on your goals and budget.

EMPLOYEE REFERRAL AND AMBASSADOR PROGRAMS

Word-of-mouth advertising can be very powerful. We can help engage your staff to act as brand ambassadors, amplifying your talent brand strategy. This can make them look good on social media and even earn them some extra cash if your company offers a referral bonus. Plus, they then get to work with friends and colleagues they’ve brought into the company. Focusing on existing employees’ engagement and upskilling helps with both recruiting and retention.

TARGETED CONTINGENT HIRES MARKETING

Positioning for a new bid or a takeaway? Need to hire staff for a contract you don’t even have yet? We have done this successfully to help companies build the winning key staff section of their proposals. Using digital geofencing and decades of experience in the government contracting community, we can partner with your internal resources to advise and even implement campaigns to help position you to win work based on key staff resumes.

CONTRACT FLIP REBADGING AND MASS RECRUITMENT MARKETING

In the public sector, many government programs continue on regardless of which contractor wins the bid. While this is not our forte, we have relationships with recruiters who specialize in these situations, and we are happy to make the introduction.