Tags: HR, hr, blog

By Sean Watts

When I started out in HR some years ago, life was pretty straightforward. If you wanted to attract a candidate to your organisation, you would put an ad in the local press. If you needed to retain them, you offered a couple of pay increments and waxed lyrical about career hierarchies.

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However, life is changing fast in the world of work, and if you think the last five years have seen some big changes imagine what the next five years will bring. You probably need an effective employer brand to attract and retain the best talent, and therefore remain competitive.

Following my talks at Search Consultancy’s series of Talent Attraction & Retention seminars across Manchester and Liverpool, I share my top tips to help you take action in your organisation. By following these steps, you will ultimately be more effective in attracting, retaining and growing the people you need for the success of your business.

1. Define the what, how and why of your business

Most organisations can tell candidates what they do and how they do it, but few can articulate why. Take the time to think about why you exist, what your purpose is, and what value do you add to your customers. Once you established the above, talk to candidates and employees about your vision and purpose, so they can make a connection with your organisation.

2. Be clear about what you want from people

You cannot be everything to everyone, so be clear about what you need from your people so they can recognise whether or not they might be a good fit. Talk to your existing and prospective employees, establishing clear guidelines on what you need and what is expected of them. Make sure these guidelines are clearly communicated in your recruitment documentation and process. In addition, create realistic job profiles that present the real challenges of the job. In doing so, you will attract the right candidates and deter unsuitable people.

3. Be clear about what your employees can expect from you

Establish what you have to offer, why it is attractive and how it might be different from other organisations that you compete with for talent. Talk to current employees to establish what they want in the work they do and the organisations they work for. From the feedback received, you should then be able to establish where your strengths lie in terms of delivery. From there, you can compile and develop evidence in the form of stories about your organisation, which you can then feature in candidate-focused communications. 

4. Develop candidate personas 

When hiring, people often fail to determine who their ideal candidates are and miss the opportunity to tailor communications to attract and engage the right people. To avoid this mistake, you should aim to follow the action points below:

  • Develop some candidate personas for key roles - this will help you focus on your ideal candidates.

  • Use your personas to inform each aspect of the recruitment process.

  • Bring your personas to life by sharing them with employees and managers across your organisation. 

5. Improve your job adverts

Job adverts are often boring and uninspiring, thus failing to convey your employee value proposition. Think of your job advert as a sales tool and take out the boring stuff! Ensure it includes key aspects of your employee value proposition and purpose as a business. But don’t stop there. Be creative, and pull out your smartphone to create some employee videos which bring your organisation to life.

6. Identify and develop talent ambassadors 

A wise person once said, ‘Make happy those who are near, and others will follow’. This principle can certainly be applied to your talent attraction and retention strategy. If you’re confident that everyone is on the same page in terms of vision, purpose and values, then you’ll no doubt be able to find employees who are advocates and can promote your organisation as a great place to work. Seek them out and ask for volunteers to build your employee value proposition and collect stories to support it. Train ambassadors to promote your employee value proposition, and respond to posts on social media. Reward employees for referrals that result in great hires.

7. Create great stories that bring your organisation to life

Effective employer branding is becoming more and more about telling great stories. Encourage your talent ambassadors to capture stories that promote your organisation as a great place to work. Develop a content plan to promote these stories on your careers site and social media channels. Create a #weare *insert name of your organisation* hashtag to link your content and encourage employee engagement with your employer brand.

8. Improve your careers site

Too many careers sites contain glib content like ‘people are our greatest asset’, yet fail to educate and inspire candidates to connect and engage with the organisation in a meaningful way. Audit your careers site to test its effectiveness in promoting your employee value proposition. Remember to put yourself in the candidate's shoes, asking what information they want and whether or not you offering it. Be sure to include content that tells a story about your business and its people. 

9. Engage with LinkedIn and Glassdoor

LinkedIn is a key recruitment channel and has free options available to help promote your employer brand. Set up a LinkedIn company page and use it to promote your employee value proposition, posting content and encouraging senior managers to elevate their profiles to attract potential candidates. It’s also worth mentioning how Glassdoor continues to emerge as a key source of employer data for candidates. For this reason, you need to own your Glassdoor company page, monitoring and responding to reviews (whether they be positive or negative) in the right way. Encourage your talent ambassadors and former employees who leave on good terms to post reviews which build up your presence.

10. Talk to your candidates

Candidates are an excellent source of intelligence and feedback on the effectiveness of your employer brand. For this reason, you should continuously ask candidates what they think about your recruitment process, your employee value proposition and how both can be improved. Monitor and respond to candidate feedback on Glassdoor, then talk to hiring managers and work with them on suggestions to improve your candidate's experience.

11. Build meaningful relationships with the recruitment agencies you work with

Recruitment agencies can be a great touchpoint in your efforts to improve your employer brand. For this reason, you should treat the recruitment agencies you work with as trusted partners rather than commodities. Invite them in, and share your employee value proposition with them. Educate and train the recruitment contacts you work with in the key aspects of your employee value proposition. But don’t stop there, measure your candidate experience when they engage with your recruitment partner, and work together with the agency to improve the relationship.

For more tips and content to develop your employer brand strategy, visit: www.talentalchemy.co.uk

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