A company’s greatest resource is its people. This is why businesses compete to hire the best candidates on the market. While recruiting the most talented people has long been a challenge for many organizations, in today’s labour market, it is only becoming even more difficult.
Unemployment in Canada is at historic lows, with many regions and sectors already experiencing labour shortages.
Labour market conditions such as these make crafting and communicating a positive employer brand more crucial than ever. Having a consistent employer brand message throughout your online presence and recruitment communications can go a long way towards reaching candidates and enticing them to apply for your open positions.
Your employer brand is your company’s positioning as an employer of choice as compared with your competitors. It primarily answers the questions: why it is great to work for you, and why candidates should prefer to work for your company over another similar organization.
Your brand includes your company’s mission statement and values, the information you publish on your website and social profiles, and how you promote your workplace in your job postings and recruitment communications.
Your company will have a brand in the employment market – whether you actively cultivate one or not. Through word-of-mouth, social media platforms, and employer review sites, your current and former employees will be sharing their experiences.
That is why, along with the brand messaging you craft, the genuine word of mouth communications from your existing and former staff make up a part of your reputation as an employer. The more actively you participate in these conversations, the more you can help steer the dialogue in a positive direction.
Strategies for effective employer branding in a tight labour market
Craft your key messaging and be consistent. Your employer brand messaging should remain constant across your communications platforms. This means that your values and mission and your brand voice are the same whether on your corporate website, your LinkedIn profile or in your job postings.
Potential employees want to know who they are interacting with and what you stand for. This messaging should also include information about such things as your company culture, work-life balance, positive working environment, opportunities for education or advancement, leadership team, and location. Whatever the primary attributes are that make your organization an enviable place to work.
Target the audience you want to reach. This is essential and often overlooked.
It is a very basic marketing principle: know your audience. By customizing your employer branding messages to the wants and needs of the talent you’re recruiting, you will achieve much greater success than by using one-size-fits-all corporate messaging.
Not all candidates value the same things. When crafting your recruitment messaging, you have to know who it is that you are trying to engage. For example, people just beginning their careers are more often looking for opportunities for advancement and on the job learning. More mid-career professionals tend to look for flexible work scheduling and work/life balance. Seasoned, leadership candidates want the opportunity to genuinely lead, to have an impact and drive results.
Focus on your employee experience, and join the conversation. In the digital age, organizations do not solely control their own message. Publishing content about your great working environment and flexible hours won’t work if you’re really running a sweatshop. Social media and review sites will quickly reveal the truth. That is why effective employer branding begins with authenticity and two-way communications.
Creating the workplace that genuinely reflects your values and where people are proud to come to work every day forms the cornerstone of your brand. It makes it easier to attract and retain staff in any labour market. Share your stories online and encourage your employees to do the same. They are your brand ambassadors.
Participate in online discussions, and accept criticism as a chance to learn and improve. Candidates are more likely to trust an organization that engages in active dialogue with people online rather than simply publishes one-way marketing information.
Understanding who you are trying to reach and crafting the right communication strategy for engaging them are the keys to success when competing for a limited supply of in-demand workers. Define who your company is and what makes you a great place to work for the candidates you need, and then leverage all of the communication channels available to you to consistently share this message.