HR Leaders: Adopt A Marketing Mindset To Combat The Great Resignation

From healthcare to hospitality to technology, every industry is being greatly affected by the Great Resignation. With an average of more than 3.98 million workers quitting their job each month in 2021, and the trend already proving to continue in 2022, there has been a significant power shift in the job market from employers to employees.

According to industry data and our direct conversations with clients, HR leaders are looking to shake things up when it comes to traditional HR tactics—specifically, an increasing need for employer branding. This includes establishing and communicating an organization’s culture, values and personality to both internal and external audiences, as well as its value proposition as an employer and its differentiation from other brands seeking to attract the same talent. Enter: the need for HR teams to be thinking like marketers.

While branding tends to live within the marketing function, employer branding offers a great deal of opportunity for collaboration. After all, the goal of both teams (HR and marketing) is essentially to communicate your organization’s value proposition. With corporate branding, you’re demonstrating the value your organization offers an end user, whereas, with employer branding, you’re demonstrating the value your organization offers an employee.

Your brand as an employer provides a great deal of weight when it comes to a job seeker’s decision-making process. In fact, according to Glassdoor research, “75% of active job seekers are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand.”

If you’re an HR leader looking to expand your hiring and retention tactics in the wake of the Great Resignation, here are a few ways to adopt a marketing mindset.

Evaluate and identify your value proposition as an employer.

In today’s candidate-driven market, talent is 100% in control. The occasional free lunch is no longer going to impress them or keep them around. Even salary isn’t going as far as it once did. Today’s job seeker wants flexibility, aligned values and a sense of purpose.

• Flexibility: Workers are 2.6 times more likely to report being happy and 2.1 times more likely to recommend working at a company when they can choose their location and work schedule.

• Aligned Values: 80% of American and Canadian employees who were surveyed stated it was important that company values were consistent with their own.

• Purposeful Work: The pandemic has caused two-thirds of U.S.-based employees to reflect on their purpose in life, including their work. Additionally, 70% of employees said their sense of purpose is defined by their work, and 73% said they feel engaged if working for a purpose-driven company.

Consider these to be nonnegotiable and evaluate how your value proposition as an employer stacks up. Talk to your current employees about what they like or dislike about working at your organization. Identify in which areas you’re succeeding and the areas you could improve as an employer in today’s climate.

Craft your messages.

Once you have a well-informed benchmark for where your employer brand stands, take some time to craft some key messages. These will provide a foundation for how you identify as an employer, and then will need to be communicated both internally and externally. The messages should also inform any type of decision about current or prospective employees moving forward.

In traditional marketing, key corporate branding messages tend to answer the who, what, why and how of your organization. When establishing key messages for your employer brand, follow this same outline, but consider the slight variations needed to speak directly to employees or job seekers.

• Who and What: Who are you as an employer? What do you offer?

• Why: Why do you do what you do? Why will my work matter?

• How: How can you improve my experience as an employee?

As you craft these messages, however, be sure you can back them up. Don’t tout your company’s flexibility when in reality there’s a stigma for leaving work before 5 p.m. for a doctor’s appointment. Even one over-promise or exaggeration can significantly impact your brand’s reputation and trust as an employer.

Get your message out there.

Once you’ve got your key messages, the marketing mindset and tactics really need to kick in. It’s time to get your employer brand out there through your current employees and by using tools like social media, media relations and performance marketing.

• Current Employees: LinkedIn found that the top way people discover a new job is through a referral. Market your brand back to your current employees. They are the first stop when considering a role with a company.

• Social Media: Instead of using your company’s platforms to simply post open jobs or the latest team outing, highlight case studies that demonstrate what you consider success, share company news that shows stability and growth, and feature employee stories celebrating your staff.

• Media Relations: 40% of job seekers are more likely to put in an application if they are familiar with the company brand. Pitch stories that demonstrate a unique benefit you offer or an interesting or heartwarming employee story.

• Performance Marketing: While this typically falls into the realm of driving sales, it can also be a fantastic way to drive potential candidates to your website and job postings. Additionally, you can use performance marketing to collect data and continuously improve your branding efforts.

Glassdoor found that nearly 90% of surveyed HR professionals say recruitment is becoming more like marketing. While these suggestions only scratch the surface of ways HR leaders can leverage a marketing mindset to better compete in today’s demanding job market, following these steps can create a great foundation for getting your employer branding off the ground.

By: Marc Paulenich

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