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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.