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CEO and Executive Creative Director at Tribe, Inc., working with national and global brands to build employee engagement.
How do you help your company win the fight to attract the best talent? It’s a tough market right now, with engineers and programmers having their pick of jobs, a surprising number of employees declining to return to work after the pandemic, and many boomers retiring even earlier than they’d planned.
Winning in today’s talent war may take more than aggressive recruiting. Now is a good time to step back and consider what else your organization could do to give your talent acquisition department the best possible story to tell.
Here are five thoughts for ways the rest of the company — from the C-suite to HR to internal communications — can support the company’s employer brand and ability to attract and sign that top talent, especially for those hard-to-fill roles and with younger-generation employees.
1. Be flexible on remote options.
One of the most dramatic changes Covid has made to the talent market is the new employee expectation for remote work options. When the sudden experiment with remote work during lockdown forced companies to instantly shift gears, employees demonstrated that they could be just as productive, if not more so, when working at home.
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Management views on the viability of remote work were thus altered significantly. Our agency’s benchmarking with large employers nationally suggests that most organizations now consider offering at least some flexibility in remote work to be a given for both recruiting and retention.
As your company develops policies regarding the return to the office, consider how you can best equip the organization to accommodate remote work for the long term. Not being able to offer some sort of hybrid schedule, like the ability to work remotely at least a day or two a week, may hamstring your talent acquisition team. Mandatory five days in the office will be a tough sell for most job candidates.
2. Evolve your benefits.
How do your benefits stack up against your competitors in the job market? You may want to take a fresh look at how well they accommodate the different life stages and health challenges of a diverse workforce. An obvious place to start is to consider your parental leave policies and whether they apply equitably to men and women, to same-sex couples and to adoptive parents. Other ways you could help support different types of families might be fertility treatments, help with adoption services, eldercare benefits or services for special-needs children.
Some organizations go much further than that. For example, our agency works with a heavy manufacturing company that will pay for gender-affirming surgery. And a smaller organization with many leadership positions filled by women just introduced a menopause policy that offers a four-day workweek option for those employees experiencing significant effects.
One interesting note on these unexpected benefits: The fact that they’re offered by your organization can be meaningful even to job candidates who might not ever need them. Just the fact that you’re providing benefits that demonstrate this level of support for diverse needs can speak volumes.
3. Show diversity and inclusion (D&I) results.
Just talking about making diversity and inclusion a priority doesn’t cut it in today’s market. To be competitive in the talent market, your organization will need to show real results, rather than just posting messages of support on social media and providing Zoom backgrounds to support this month’s diversity theme.
Job candidates will pay attention to whether your executive leadership team includes a diverse group of people, may look to see if you have a position devoted to D&I or might want to know if you have active employee resource groups for a diverse range of employees.
If you have encouraging data that shows an improvement in diversity of recruiting, hiring and leadership positions, be sure to share that. You also might take a look at your internal communications to see if the company typically includes diverse faces and experiences. If your employee magazine shows a bunch of white guys in management and people of color working the line, that’s probably not going to go over well with job candidates.
4. Make heroes of your people.
Do your internal and external communications treat your employees like celebrities? Look for ways to showcase the talent you already have, from speaking engagements at industry conferences and social media posts that share their achievements to showcasing videos of individual employees on your career site.
One of the best strategies you could adopt is to help your employees build their own personal brands and careers. Yes, giving them visibility could encourage another company to poach your superstars. But the goal is to help their careers grow quickly and meaningfully where they are.
5. Start an employee referral program.
Talent attracts talent. Your employees probably have friends and professional contacts in the same industry or job functions. Enlist them to recruit job candidates from their own networks by establishing a robust employee referral program. When an employee wins that referral fee after recommending a job candidate, be sure to publicize that in internal communications — on the intranet, in employee publications, on digital signage or in town halls. Seeing that success (and its reward) can inspire more employees to do the same.
There’s no substitute for meaningful work.
When it comes down to accepting one job offer over another, it’s safe to say that no quirky benefit or statistic on inclusion will make a candidate choose a boring job over one that excites them or a poorly paying one over a position that’s more lucrative. What matters most is that a candidate feels the job will involve meaningful work that will help them grow their own career — by exploring new technology, learning new skills and trying their hand at something they’ve dreamed of doing.
Still, when job candidates put together their list of the pros and cons of an offer from your company, you want to give them as many items for the pro side of the equation as you can.
Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?
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Author: Elizabeth Baskin, Forbes Councils Member