To quote Dolly Parton, “Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life”.
Long before Covid-19, the employee marketplace was changing and posed significant challenges for those trying to recruit.
In 2019, a study from the British Chambers of Commerce suggested that close to three quarters (72%) of businesses were struggling to find the right talent.
This was exacerbated by the pandemic, with figures published in September showing that the number of job vacancies had reached a record high of one million – with this figure expected to increase following the conclusion of the Government’s furlough scheme.
This struggle is prevalent across a huge range of industries, including food, construction, hospitality, and social care.
So why are businesses across the board struggling to attract talent?
Covid-19 forced businesses to review their ways of working and gave employees around the globe room to breathe and time to reflect on what was important to them.
Employees – both existing and prospective – are now wanting (and expecting) more from an employer.
More flexibility, more understanding, and more authenticity; along with open communication on the organisation’s purpose, mission, and environmental and social impact.
The primary drivers for a job move are still there – seeking a new challenge or opportunity for professional growth – but employees are also looking for a connection with a business on a personal level. Employees are looking for alignment with their own values, passions, and interests.
Employees have never been able to pick and choose as much as they can now.
How can an employer stand out on the online job boards or LinkedIn?
Here’s an answer you didn’t expect – internal communications.
I believe that internal communications can help organisations to stand out for the right reasons – and attract the right talent, and perhaps most importantly, retain that talent once it is through the door.
Lean into what makes you different
Avoid using generic terminology or jargon in your job adverts and posts, otherwise, you will sound like everyone else.
Write the materials in your own brand voice. If you have brand positioning – a clear purpose, mission, vision for the future, and values – feature these strongly and provide proof points or examples of how these are lived and breathed within your organisation.
That being said…
Practice what you preach
There’s a reputation storm coming, as many businesses have a widening gap between how they portray themselves in a public forum and reality.
Exclusive research conducted by our Strategy & Insights (S&I) team found that culture was the topic most posted about by businesses on social media.
This comes ahead of other popular topics including CSR, diversity and inclusion, and learning and development.
However, through applying social intelligence to analyse social media posts from 25 FTSE 100 companies and conducting an in-depth analysis of Glassdoor reviews for the same companies, our S&I team found that employee experience rarely matches what companies want to be known for when it comes to internal communications and culture.
My advice here is simple: make sure that what you’re putting out there for all to see is honest and an accurate description of both the role and the company culture.
Use your biggest asset
Your biggest asset is your people, and no one has a better understanding of the employee experience and the skills required to do a given role than them.
Get your employees or a group of ‘brand ambassadors’ to either review your existing recruitment materials or to help produce or contribute to new drafts. Alternatively, take inspiration from positive points and strengths in your annual employee (or regular pulse) surveys.
This exercise can also give you some compelling employee stories which (provided they are comfortable with you doing so) could also be captured – either in written form or in video – and shared on your own social media channels.
There are a number of brands who are already doing this, using their people and stories about their experiences to entice new talent. Diageo is a particularly good example of this.
If you are struggling to fill your vacancies, take comfort that you are not alone in this. The world of work and, more generally, the employee marketplace are both undergoing a dramatic transformation, so take time to revisit and rewire how you sell your organisation, and the opportunities and experience you provide, to ensure you are connecting with and ultimately attracting the right talent.
This article was first published on Poppulo.