It may seem counter-intuitive, but in the midst of a slow recovery with unemployment rates remaining high, employers are having greater struggles with recruiting effectiveness. In fact, 83 percent of employers surveyed found that filling positions with qualified candidates was “somewhat very difficult.” That’s up from 78 percent the prior year.
If it were a matter of unskilled labor, filling open slots would be easy. However, high unemployment makes the most desirable candidates choosier about the companies they work for and less likely to change jobs, even if the fit is not ideal. Recruitment as key performance indicators (KPIs) point to the conclusion that a positive working environment is more important than salary to the top talent. While 59 percent of workers said they were generally happy according to a study, 21 percent said they intend to change jobs in the coming year. Companies need to create strategies to attract the right workers and justify the risks they face in moving to a new employer.
This is why internal employer branding has become more important than ever. Informal channels have become a company’s greatest asset in locating and acquiring top talent. Personal connections and social media are two of the best ways that employers can reach candidates who will never see job postings, career fairs or recruiters.
Internal employer branding begins by discovering what your employees say and believe about your company. You need to know how your company is perceived relative to the competition and what talent they are actually looking for in their ideal careers.
When you can communicate to your employees what unique features make your company a great place to work, then they can become your brand ambassadors. In achieving that goal, the value of internal research is absolutely essential.
Top employer brands spend a great deal of effort trying to reach recent graduates and students who are in search of challenging work. If your company is struggling to find the right interns or the interns you have do not seek full time positions, there is a breakdown in communications with students and your next generation of company leaders.
You need to discover the reality of the working experience from an employee’s perspective to determine why the next generation of top talent is searching elsewhere. This will have a long-term effect on how well your company can scale up to achieve its next step of business goals. Knowing whom you are as an employer brand is the first, important step (NB – it’s not the same as your consumer brand). Discover who you are and want to be known as and then start thinking about who your target talent is. Finally, be authentic and approachable in how you communicate. Top talent today has more choice than ever. They can spot an istock photo or corporate communications a mile away. Be just as real on the outside as you are on the inside. And finally, make decisions based on solid data. There is some that you have to pay for and much that is free; use both to make impact and allow you to measure your activities to improve over time.
Successful employees want to work with others who share their goals and their vision. Attracting similar highly skilled and experienced workers depend on employees who are engaged and on message because making the wrong match can be extremely expensive in terms of training, downtime and morale. In the current HR climate, it is absolutely critical for organizations to develop a competitive advantage in internal employer branding before their best candidates are claimed by the competition.
About the author
David is Univerum’s Global Vice President of Product and Head of Digital for the Americas