Businesses spend enormous time and effort developing their marketing image so that they can differentiate themselves in the marketplace, stand out from competitors and attract potential customers. They spend almost no time or effort perfecting a marketing image directed at attracting their potential employees.
The focus is to work hard trying to describe what is unique about their product or service and then focus on communicating their message to their potential customers. The same marketing materials developed to attract customers are then used to try to attract employees, but the corporate and marketing persona that companies stress in trying to solicit customers are seldom the same as the ones they should stress in attracting employees.
Attracting enough qualified applicants is the first and most important element in recruiting if you are to have a real choice and avoid choosing what I call “The Tallest Pygmy™”. To do that you must write a compelling advertisement…and money is not the answer. You will draw better in your responses if your advert gives a salary range and benefits that you offer, but assuming that everybody else is paying competitive rates money is unlikely to be a major factor in getting people to respond to your advertisement.
What you need to do is to identify the reasons why an employee would choose to work for you rather than any other company. The best place to start is to ask the people who work for you why they accepted the job in the first place, what they like about your company and why they choose to stay. Nothing exists unless it is in writing and you need to develop a written Employee Value Proposition.
You can do this as a one off project or incorporate it into your review process, and it is an interesting response to track from year to year. You will learn a great deal as you go through the process but as a starting point some possible features about your company might be:
- Location / condition of premises
- Growth opportunities – does the company offer growth?
- Atmosphere and culture – safe or challenging?
- Social events – is this a fun environment where people make friends?
- Flexible hours – is flextime/telecommuting an option
- Democratic management style/freedom from controls etc.
In addition, you might think of getting some bigger picture statements such as “where the best (job function) people work”, “where the best minds in the industry congregate” “we have the best reputation in the industry” or “what we do saves lives”. Get some written testimonials from your existing employees while you’re about it – just like you do (or should do) from your customers.
Then create a written Employee Value Proposition that talks specifically about why your company is a great place to work. Once you have it, add the testimonials and create a really compelling statement to put into your online job postings. Then produce a written handout that you can give to potential employees. More importantly, put it up as an “employment opportunities” section on your website (with testimonials) and direct people there in your job advertisements.
Clients that have gone through this exercise have learned some interesting things about their existing culture. If you follow the process you will also get more people to respond to your job postings and attract the kind of people who will succeed in your culture.