Top talent has lots of choice. Regardless of whether you believe in the talent shortage or not, we’re living in an informed world where with a few clicks you can get all the information you need to make a decision. Whether it is searching for a new mobile phone, a house or a job, most people today investigate before they buy, commit or say yes. The marketing industry embraced this change and is now the darling of the business because they’ve lowered costs and increased efficiencies. HR has missed out on this opportunity entirely. A job is just like a product and most HR departments are still operating like the ol’General Store.
The problem with being the General Store is two-fold today. Not only do you have a one-dimensional offer to top talent, but also your offer is expensive to produce. As job markets are just beginning to rebound from the economic downturn, it can be tempting to assume that HR retains an advantageous position in hiring. However, in the competition for top talent, job seekers often find themselves with the upper hand–forcing HR costs to skyrocket when attempting to attract the most sought-after talent. They can find your offer, but won’t progress further down the funnel because your communication is a monologue, not a conversation.
When competing with other organizations for the very best talent in the industry, HR costs can rise dramatically, increasing exponentially for hard-to-fill, expert positions. After all, the return on investment for these positions can be tremendous if the right person is hired. However, a huge recruitment budget isn’t the only way to compete for talent – in fact, with the right employer branding you can actually lower HR costs and still effectively fill those top positions.
Employer branding is the art and science of crafting your value proposition as an employer. It includes your role in the greater community, the internal and external company culture and the interactions your company has with others – and it ultimately determines the way your organization is perceived by employees and prospective employees. If done well, it can mean the difference between increased, yet ineffective, HR spending and attracting top candidates with little effort on your part. For many businesses employer branding is the start of a conversation with talent, long before the interview room.
Because employer branding takes care of the top-of-funnel work for you, it helps attract and engage high-quality, prospective recruits before the application process. This means less time and money is spent by HR to find top talent, and more effort is allocated to developing applicants and scrutinizing performance potential. With more time and resources allocated to later-stage HR efforts, your organization can also improve retention rates by applying a more thorough analysis of future potential before hiring.
Think of employer branding as a type of inbound marketing. The more you develop your company brand, the more likely it is that engaged and appropriate candidates will deliver themselves to you. Set up your early-stage engagements with job seekers to tell a story, provide compelling information and create a public employer persona that represents your core values and culture. If that sounds like a lot of work – it is. Creating an employer persona is an ongoing process as well. However, when done correctly, the return on investment from setting up and maintaining your employer brand will be a major benefit to your organization. Stop the long-winded monologues and invest in a conversation with your targeted top talent.