Recruitment is part Marketing, part HR/People Ops, and entirely about bringing in the best people to build a stronger company. When evaluating marketing strategies, however, it's not always clear what benefits the top talent is looking for or how to best communicate the great things about your company’s culture.
Poor culture is a pain point that comes up again and again. It’s one of the top reasons that people change jobs. Showcasing your culture is one of the best ways to build your empower brand, attract excellent recruits, and keep your top employees engaged. It’s a win-win-win scenario, and the good news is that there are many different ways to promote your company culture.
(Re)Define your company culture beyond the benefits
There’s a gap in defining company culture because the marketing and leadership teams will often try to sell the culture as something it’s not. Your company culture isn’t about table tennis tables, or beer on tap. These are all tiny elements in your culture.
Instead, focus on the actions that lead people to say, "This is how we do things." You can look at the benefits you offer and identify the core values that are the foundation of your company culture.
For example, look at these common benefits and see the correlating values:
- Gym memberships → employee health and wellness
- Classes or cross-training → professional development
- Following procedures or policies → workplace consistency
- Internal promotion → career development
Define the values that you offer, so when that foosball table disappears, or you stop offering Aflac with your healthcare options, it's not taking something away from the culture. Promote these values within your marketing strategies to give jobseekers an honest look into your company culture.
If you’re unsure about the culture, now is always the best time to start and establish a good basis. Try to assess the current levels with employee engagement surveys and continue building from there. The State of Employee Engagement in 2019 report will give you much needed insights as to how your employees rate the current status. At the same time they’ll instantly feel appreciated if you ask them questions about what can be improved.
1. Give meaningful praise publicly
If you dug through all of the best advice from business leaders through the ages, you would come across the saying, "praise in public, criticize in private," probably more than anything else. It's an often forgotten principle that can drastically change the awareness of your company culture. Your culture may be very appreciative of employees and rewarding, but if you're sending private emails or thanking people in person when it's one-on-one, then no one will ever know how much you value your staff.
The truth is that employees are two times more likely to work for a company with an employee recognition program than disengaged employees.
Here are some great ways to take an employee or even client praise into the public space as a marketing tactic:
Write recommendations on LinkedIn and endorse them for skills. Many companies fear promoting LinkedIn with their staff, believing that they’re only making their employees more desirable to other companies. You're not competing with other companies, so put that thought aside. LinkedIn is an excellent platform for praising your staff and showing off your culture of employee appreciation as you can get a massive amount of visibility with jobseekers.
Hand the power of recognition to your staff. Peer recognition is among the most impactful ways to improve your culture. When your staff has the opportunity to reward one another for a job well-done, they can acknowledge everyday accomplishments that management may not even see. Try out a peer-to-peer recognition system or employee engagement platform and, as part of your marketing, show your employees using the system. A short clip of employees receiving recognition on this type of platform would fit right into a recruitment video!
2. Use blogs to showcase your culture
You probably have a company blog to tap into that mega-market of content creation. But, are you using your blog to give helpful advice to potential clients or to help the public get to know a bit about your business? When you use your external blog to promote company values, you build your company culture into your branding.
Electronic Arts (EA), a major gaming company, uses its blog for everything from gaming tips to posts that explain the impact of their Employee Resource Groups. On the other hand, Google has an entirely separate blog just about working at Google, where they cover topics such as their take on teamwork, pay equity, and even dive into personal stories about employee’s work histories or experiences.
These are public blogs and easy to find. Following the example of these companies could sway the recruits who take time to research companies before applying, otherwise known as top talent.
3. Give employee referrals some context
Referrals are still the number one way that people find out about job opportunities, and you shouldn’t shy away from a referral system. But, maybe change the way you market your referral system and make sure that you attract the right talent. Awarding employees hundreds of dollars for a referral won’t do anything if you don’t have a worthwhile recruit.
Make very clearly defined qualifiers for your referral program. For example, “Awards for referring recruits who become top performers include…,” or, “when a referred hire hits target goals over three months, the employee will receive ______."
Part of the valuation of a referral is on the recruiter or human resources person that hires them, but it always starts with marketing. Do your top employees know about your referral system or your onboarding process, and are you advertising it through social media? LinkedIn even has an “ask for a referral” button in their application system where they can prove their connections to current employees.
Employee engagement and attracting new talent through culture begins at the onboarding! If you’re not promoting through social media channels, you should at least introduce the information as soon as they step in. It will give them a boost right at the start.
4. Recruitment events are opportunity to shine a light on your culture
What if your recruitment events were more like a party and less like a boring press conference? What if you gave these job seekers a little in on your company culture and benefits you offer before anything else?
Use this checklist when planning a recruitment event:
- Create goals for the event.
- Divide the event by open position, have an IT desk, an HR desk, Customer service area, etc.
- Let recruiters take the names of the people that left an impression on them.
- Create one easy-to-complete contact sheet for everyone.
- Create event pages on various social media platforms.
- Post information about the event on your social media pages and blogs.
These recruitment events can be scaled up or down. If you're a small company, you could host an open house for a few hours once a month where people could come in and see your business in action. Or, if you're a large company or part of a large industry, you could pool together with other companies to arrange a job fair.
There's no limit to this as you can set up Q&A sessions, and invite industry speakers. This is a way to show job seekers that your company culture focuses on development, opportunity, and engagement. Taking something stressful like a recruitment event and making it an opportunity for everyone that shows up will have a lasting impact.
5. Share employee driven content on social media
An employee-based social media is a great way to expose the employee-employer relationship in an honest but controlled way. We're in the days where anyone can make a YouTube channel, and your company should have one for marketing purposes anyway. Why not include your employees in content creation?
Inform your employees that you’re creating this channel and put someone in charge of planning, approving, and managing content. Then, give your employees a platform to suggest the blog post/video topics they would like to do. Maybe someone can discover a secret talent? It will definitely spice things up and add creativity to the daily routine.
Encourage your staff to talk about interactions they've had with managers or teammates when they've gone through personal struggles, and the company was a part of that stage in their life or other aspects that relate to company culture, their personal goals, expectations etc. Anything that interests your employees gives value to job seekers or covers an experience they've had with the company should be fair game.
For example, an employee who was able to restructure their work schedule for a professional development opportunity can make a short video covering that experience. They can talk about the seminar they attended or the time spent one-on-one with someone they looked up to in their field.
Your current employees talking about the relationship they have with your company or its leadership team will have a more significant impact on top talent than a decent review on Glassdoor. Give your employees a chance to speak honestly to jobseekers about what an awesome thing is to be working at your company.
Overall, aim to show the public, including potential job seekers, the reality of working for your company. You should keep your brand voice consistent with the practices that you show through marketing efforts. Give careful consideration to how you recruit and how you can use your current employees through referrals or employee-created content to bring in top talent.