Are you attracting the right talent for your business?
June 29, 2022
For the last few years, we’ve talked about a talent war that shows no signs of letting up. The challenges that plague us—a changing workforce demographic, shifting attitudes towards work, shrinking talent pools, and more—existed for years before the pandemic. And they’ll persist long after it’s over. Unless they adapt to these new workplace realities, organizations will fall behind the competition and lose out on the talent they need to grow their business and mitigate risk.
To thrive in this new era of work, employers will need to think more strategically about human capital and tailor their talent attraction strategies to fit the demands of today’s market—and we’re not just talking about signing bonuses or an employee referral program. Regardless of what’s happening in the market, here are some strategies to help you get started.
Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided herein is presented from a liability-based perspective to help you avoid insurance claims. It is not exhaustive and does not constitute legal, employment, or insurance advice, nor will it apply to all workplaces, employers, employees, situations, or circumstances. For tailored advice, please consult a recruitment, talent acquisition, or human resources specialist.
1. Define a clear employee value proposition (EVP).
An employee value proposition (EVP) is the promise you make to your employees as an employer. It outlines your ambitions, your intentions, and how you’ll get there. It should be unique, personal, and most importantly, something you can deliver on. EVPs tell prospective employees what you value as an organization and can help you stand out as an employer of choice amongst a sea of industry giants.
When developing an EVP, consider the following questions: why should candidates apply? What will they get from working with you? What is your purpose beyond profitability? How do you help people learn and grow? For more guidance on writing an EVP, click here.
Be sure to spend as much time on your value proposition as you would on marketing your products or services. You shouldn’t have the same EVP that you did five years ago—as your company evolves, your value will evolve too. Make sure you continually revisit your goals and make improvements to meet changing needs.
2. Treat candidates like clients.
To stand out amongst the competition, you’ll need to make it clear that your company is a great place to work—and not just on your careers page. Think about your website. Your social media presence. Your employer brand directly impacts the kind of people that are applying to your jobs.
Cleaning up your image will help you engage your target market and get prospective employees excited about you. Be sure to:
- Showcase your company culture. Include people-focused content, like leadership profiles, career growth stories, or testimonials from employees across all levels saying why they love to work at your company. Highlight any internationally trained professionals to drive knowledge diversity.
- Put your corporate social responsibility initiatives front and centre. But don’t just put out an empty mission statement; candidates will do their research and they’ll know if something is performative. Be sure to demonstrate the authentic, tangible work you’re doing towards various issues (i.e. diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), sustainability, charity initiatives).
- Show people what you can do. In addition to company news, awards, and partnerships, share your current projects or the new technologies your teams are working with. This will demonstrate your innovation and promote you as an industry leader.
- Stay ahead. A poor review on Glassdoor or a slew of tweets can quickly throw your reputation in the gutter and deter great people from applying. Be sure to monitor what people say about you online and tailor your branding as needed to address any issues.
- Revisit your job postings. Remember, you’re not just selling the role, you’re selling your company. Use engaging language and talk up your organizational values and any unique benefits you offer, so that candidates can really picture themselves with your company.
3. Revisit your hiring process.
Unclear job descriptions, an overly complicated application process, and long response times from seemingly uninterested hiring managers can give you a bad reputation and drive qualified candidates away. Reports show that 72% of professionals lose interest in a job if they don’t hear back within 10 business days after an interview. Talk of a poor experience on social media or review sites will hurt your brand further.
To improve the candidate experience:
- Automate where possible. Simplify technologies to expedite the hiring process, increase efficiency, and cut down on repetitive and time-consuming tasks for both candidates and hiring managers. Remove any unnecessary steps throughout the application process and give key instructions throughout all stages.
- Streamline the process, but don’t make it impersonal. Make sure there’s sufficient opportunity for strategic interactions with candidates and for them to ask questions about the job and offer feedback. Additionally, make sure any online screening tools don’t exclude qualified candidates just because they don’t tick a few boxes.
- Stay in touch. Candidates appreciate when employees provide timely follow-up and status updates. This will keep candidates engaged throughout the recruitment process and ensure that your connections don’t fizzle out before you reach a decision.
- Outsource. If you don’t have the resources to streamline hiring, consider partnering with an employment agency or staffing firm to save time on your end.
- Be open to feedback. Candidates’ feedback, whether good or bad, can provide you with valuable data and insights to improve your hiring process, employer branding, and overall employee experience.
A positive candidate experience is crucial to set candidates off on the right foot with your company. Even if they don’t accept your offer, the doors will be open for future employment.
4. Work with HR.
In companies with dedicated recruitment teams, business leaders might take a more hands off approach and leave the hiring up to HR. This disconnect could lead to lack of clarity about job responsibilities or a mismatch in hiring urgency that exerts undue pressure on HR professionals. Recruiters may feel rushed to fill positions or may not necessarily know how to identify a “bad hire” for a particular role.
To avoid any miscommunication, make sure department leaders are coordinating with hiring managers to sketch out job responsibilities for vacant positions. Recruiters should be clear on what’s needed skills- and talent- wise and how someone can fill those gaps. Use skills assessments where appropriate to verify technical competencies and training.
5. Reconsider what makes a candidate “qualified.”
To succeed, you won’t just need talent—you’ll need the right talent. But keep in mind: a bad hire isn’t just someone who doesn’t have the right skills for the job. It’s also someone who doesn’t have the right attitude towards their work, like a supervisor who micromanages or an employee who slacks off. And while certain skills are non-negotiable, especially in knowledge-based industries, being too focused on diplomas or experience can cause you to overlook other important qualities, like reliability and willingness to learn, or worse, miss potential red flags.
When hiring, try to determine whether a candidate is a good cultural fit. Consider:
- Work Styles: How do they like to work and be managed? When are they most productive? If needed, leverage aptitude assessment tools to determine their preferred working style.
- Motivations: What kind of work inspires them? Do they feel their role has meaning? How important is recognition? How do they want to advance in their career?
- Team Dynamic: What type of team do they thrive in? Do your company values resonate with them? Be sure to explain how your team works, the good and the bad, to get a sense of how someone might fit in.
- Personal Values: Try to understand what a candidate’s personal motivations and drivers are and who they are outside of work. Do they have hobbies? What do they like to do on weekends? What’s important to them?
Hiring for cultural fit will ensure you find people who integrate well into your team, are happier in their new role, and stay longer with the business. It might also allow you to expand your talent pool to people outside of your industry or anyone with transferable or soft skills.
6. Nurture your prospects.
Whether or not you’re hiring for a role, it’s critical to engage passive candidates who may not actively be looking for a job right now. Build strong relationships with local colleges and universities through on-campus recruitment, job fairs, co-ops, and internships. That way you can prepare any soon-to-be professionals that are studying in your industry for the workforce and maybe bring them on permanently once they’ve graduated through an alumni rehire program.
Make sure you enlist your senior leaders in this process; every single manager should be allocating time towards identifying and growing relationships with potential candidates, be it through employee referrals, a LinkedIn search, or even getting in touch with former colleagues. Follow their careers and check in with them occasionally. Invite them to your company’s online networks so they can see exciting developments or projects. Passive candidates might not be ready to leave their current employers now, but once they are, they’ll know exactly where to go next.
Prospecting like this will allow you to build a continuous pipeline of qualified candidates who are interested in working at your company. You’ll also be able to fill job vacancies with less time and money since you already have a pool of talent to choose from.
7. Be flexible.
If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s the importance of workplace flexibility. Remote work is the way of the future. The next step? Flex work. If it’s possible for your organization, industry, and the role in particular, try to incentivize potential candidates by allowing them to set their own hours based on the demands of their workload.
Why? Flex work doesn’t just give people more autonomy and control over their day or time to recharge when they need to without feeling guilty about it; it shows your staff how much you trust and value them, as well as work-life balance.
But make sure any prospective employees are on the same page as you from the get-go. Hone down your policies and be transparent. Set clear expectations about working styles and times during the interview process so candidates know what options are available to them.
8. Hire from anywhere.
If it makes sense for your company, see if you can expand your work from home policy to a work from anywhere policy—and that includes hiring from anywhere. After all, the pandemic has proven that professionals don’t need to be in the office or even live near work to get the job done. And by removing geographic restrictions, you can widen your talent pool to engage people all over the country, including anyone that’s moved cities or even provinces throughout the pandemic. Plus, this way you can be sure you have access to the cream of the crop, regardless of physical location.
9. Improve your wellness supports.
The pandemic has made health and wellness a huge priority for workers. But even though most Canadians still rank benefits as one of the most important factors when comparing career options, only 40% of workers are satisfied with the level of health and wellness support currently provided by their employers.
In order to stay competitive, organizations need to align their benefits and long-term incentives with labour market trends to meet the shift in employee expectations. But don’t just take a one-size-fits all approach. Survey your employees and potential candidates to figure out their needs and tailor your offerings accordingly. Consider enhanced benefits that go beyond traditional plans, like child- and elder-care, mental health and counselling services, complementary health and fitness programs, and group benefits plans with comprehensive Health & Dental Insurance.
A well-designed benefits package won’t just help you attract top talent—it’ll help you hold onto it. The investment you pour into your benefits plan is a window into your company culture: how much you care about your staff, what you expect of them, and what they can expect of you. And employees will be likelier to sign on if they feel like you’ll be there for them when they really need it.
10. Work with a broker.
Finding the right wellness program can be challenging for SMBs who lack the expertise and scale of their larger competitors. How do you know what’s best? How do you find supports that meet the diverse needs of your workforce? And how will you sustain your plan in the long run? Benefits are costly and managing them is difficult and time-consuming, especially for small business owners who already have a lot on their plate.
But there are affordable options out there—and dedicated employee benefits advisors who can help find them. A licensed broker like PROLINK can help you identify challenges and explore all available options to help you make an informed decision. Plus, our Protect & Perfect risk management approach to group benefits can align your organization with a comprehensive, customizable program that reflects your staff’s needs, business challenges, and financial goals. To learn more, connect with PROLINK today.
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