I see it multiple times a day on LinkedIn. Someone in my network shares a link to an open position with a headline along the lines of, “Come join my awesome team.” The personal approach certainly helps. When I click through, though, I’m usually taken to a sterile job description and there is little to no information or value story about why anyone would ever want to join this company. In a world with historically low unemployment, HR professionals need to act a lot more like marketers. Let’s look at the issue and explore how you can use digital marketing best practices to aid your recruiting strategy, and to improve your employer branding and retention efforts.
When it comes to jobs, it’s currently an employee’s market
If you work in HR today, you have a historically tough job. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics maintains the “Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.” Throughout the history of this report, the number of hires has exceeded the number of job openings. Since January 2015, this relationship has reversed with job openings outnumbering hires in all months. And now, with the exception of the shutdown that happened during the first few months of the pandemic, labor shortages continue to skyrocket thanks to pandemic fallout and cultural changes. (US Bureau of Labor Statistics).
It’s going to get worse before it gets better
Adding to our challenge, we also have a demographic time bomb that’s exploding in slow motion. An estimated 10,000 baby boomers are retiring every day and will continue to do so until the youngest of this generational tranche reaches age 65 in 2029. Generation X, awesome as it may be, is not large enough to fill the void that baby boomers will leave as they exit the workforce. And in the future, the world could have 40 million too few college-educated workers for the jobs available (McKinsey Quarterly).
The pandemic changed everything for hiring managers
Additionally, when we first published this blog in the summer of 2019, we had no idea what was coming in the next year. Throughout the pandemic, the hiring market has gone through a dramatic rollercoaster of changes. Mass lay-offs affected millions, but as the economy bounced back, the entire landscape had changed and the Great Resignation began. CNBC describes this trend by explaining that “favorable conditions lead workers to quit their jobs at near-record levels in search of better (and ample) opportunities elsewhere.” They go on to quote the U.S. Department of Labor’s statistic that 4.4 million people quit their jobs in February 2022 alone.
Your employer branding is the key to fueling your organization’s hiring efforts during this time of extreme employee shortages. There are people out there looking for a new job, but they now have more opportunity than ever to be selective. In this post, “5 Ways that Digital Marketing Helps with Employee Shortages,” we go in-depth on how marketing and HR can work together to attract and retain new employees in this competitive landscape.
In an employee’s market, the companies with the best digital recruiting strategies win
If your competitor has better a better recruitment plan and employer branding than you do, you’re at an immediate disadvantage for attracting talent. All things being equal, telling a better employer value story will help you attract more and better candidates. A positive online reputation and employee value proposition are now table stakes. According to TalentNow, when a prospective employee is making decision on where to apply for a job, 84% of job seekers say the reputation of a company as an employer is important.
96% of companies believe employer brand and reputation can positively or negatively impact revenue, yet less than half (44%) monitor that impact (CareerArc).
The cost of poor employer branding
The cost of poor employer branding and unfilled seats is very real and affects marketers and HR professionals with their recruiting efforts. Each vacant seat costs the average company $500 a day. A company with 100 open positions has a cost of $50,000 per day. When positions remain unfilled, this creates a lost revenue opportunity. Team productivity also decreases as employees are overloaded or work to accomplish tasks they’re not ideally suited for, and company morale plummets. As a result, open positions could have a negative effect on turnover and employee retention. Turnover costs companies $15,000 per employee (assuming a $45K salary according to HR Dive).
I write about employer branding nearly every day. A company’s employer brand has never been more important and more fragile than it is today. In this tight job market, it has turned the competition for top talent into the “HR Hunger Games.” – Wendy Webb, Senior Writer, Brandpoint
Digital marketing is the solution to solving recruitment challenges
Companies need to treat their employees (current and prospective) with the same care and consideration that they treat their customers. Like your prospective customers, prospective employees have their own customer journey and content needs along each step of that journey that lead them to applying for a role at your company.
As a result, creating a positive employer brand looks a lot like a digital marketing engagement that we at Brandpoint would perform with a client’s marketing team—with a few twists that are endemic to employer branding. Marketers and leaders need to work hand in hand with HR teams to form a full-funnel recruitment strategy. Let’s break down where to start and some tactics to explore.
86% of HR professionals say recruitment is becoming more like marketing (iCIMS).
Assessment and strategy
With any client engagement, we begin with the end in mind. What are the company’s goals and what strategies are we going to apply to get there? Some clients are focused on filling open positions, some want to improve a negative reputation, and others just want to bring an employer brand up to the level of their competitive set.
An assessment is going to help us understand where we currently stand in relation to these objectives. In a typical engagement, we’re going to look at the company’s website, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Google reviews and Indeed. We’re also going to look at all those things for your competitors to get a picture of your current employer brand and how it stacks up in the marketplace.
Employer brand strategy
In the context of building an employer branding strategy for a client, we have a variety of areas that we address. The key areas are:
- Prospective employee persona development
- Customer journey mapping
- Website content
We believe that the decision-making process for each persona is a journey that requires different types of content at different stages. This is true when we are buying professional services, and it’s true if we are a prospective employee. We like to map the stages of this journey for specific roles that our client is recruiting for to develop a content strategy that addresses their prospective employee’s needs.
Developing recruitment-related content
There are a wide variety of content assets that we develop for clients in fulfillment of our strategic work. Sometimes it’s a blog that spotlights employees and career development stories. Other times, it’s an infographic that details how the company gives back and makes a positive impact in its community. There are too many types of content to discuss here, but one content type I do want to touch on is the role of video.
According to Inc, video content is only going to become more important in employer branding. They recently shared research that shows Generation Z‘s job search approach is different from their predecessors. Where millennials prefer to use employer websites such as Indeed in addition to the company’s employer website when searching for a job, for Gen Z, YouTube is the platform of choice to engage with an employer’s brand. While there are several basic video types that we recommend developing, there are two types that every company should create:
- A “Why” video: This video should share your employer value proposition in broad terms. It’s a chance to showcase your environment, your culture, your products and services. It’s a video that shares what is unique about your company and what your employees see as valuable in their own words.
- A “Day in the Life of…” video: This video type is ideal if your company recruits a lot of the same position. It’s a chance to showcase both the reality and what is awesome about specific roles. It’s most impactful if it’s told in the voice of people who are in the role. It can also be helpful in weeding out candidates who can self-select out of the role if the reality is not for them.
Is it time to use digital marketing to improve your recruiting efforts?
Employer branding has simply become another form of digital marketing, and another way that marketing should support aspects of an organization, including recruitment. Companies that are the most successful in attracting, recruiting and retaining the best talent are the same ones that are best at telling a positive employer branding value story. If your company is not telling your employer value story as effectively it could be or if you have open positions that you’re struggling to fill, those are great signals that it may be time to invest in content marketing.
Remember the 84% of job seekers that care deeply about the reputation of a potential employer. They are your future employees.
Learn more about our digital marketing practice to start building your plan to stay ahead of your competition and the changing demographics in the workforce.
This post was originally published in August 2019 and has been updated to reflect current trends.