Talent Acquisition In The New Normal Requires A Social Media Strategy
In the past year, I've been involved in consulting engagements to help small to midsize companies improve their team building efforts. These folks are finding it difficult to attract talent, especially as the market has tightened. They need help, but they're reluctant to engage professional help.
In this connection, I had an interesting discussion with a senior executive for a major financial services company located in the northern suburbs of Atlanta. He is having difficulty attracting new agents and keeping existing employees engaged. I listened to his frustrations for ninety minutes. What I found most interesting was not what he said, but what he didn't say. He did not speak of a recruiting strategy using social media. As we were closing our discussion, I suggested that his company would be well served by treating employees and recruits as customers. His feedback to that comment was entirely nonverbal, a blank stare indicating total confusion. If I was to draw a cartoon image of the encounter the caption over his head would've read "tilt." He failed to make the connection.
Major companies have the resources to support their recruiting program and to understand the needs of their labor force. They actively manage their culture and invest in tools to achieve their recruiting and selection goals. They monitor the attitudes of their employees and respond to their needs. They treat their employees like customers.
I am reminded of a former employer before I started my recruiting business. It was a major consumer products company that placed a high value on manpower planning. In many respects, they set the standard for creating a highly productive, engaged workforce. One year they did a climate survey of the corporate office staff which generated some interesting results. The employees complained that they worked so many hours that they had little time for mundane personal tasks like banking or Dry Cleaning. This company, being highly responsive to the needs of their internal customers remodeled the corporate office adding a branch bank and laundry service. Clearly, their heart was in the right place, even if they missed the point of the feedback. The employees wanted their company to dial back the workload so they could choose how to improve their quality of life. Now I must admit that this is third-hand information so it could be erroneous, however, based on my time working for this company, this story rings true. I am confident that their response today is more on target.
Smaller companies have a more difficult time with recruiting, selection, onboarding, and retention. They're focused on client acquisition, but don't quite understand how to maintain a highly productive workforce while minimizing turnover. Most have had little training in the fundamentals of interviewing or making effective hiring decisions.
Much of the labor pool is composed of Millennials who Baby-Boomers find difficult to understand. They have a distinct set of values and expectations from employment. They must be recruited and managed differently. Social media can be a very powerful tool in this regard.
Many mid-caps are out of phase with the labor market in the new normal. They may be making a heroic effort toward consumer outreach, but they are old-school in the way they recruit new employees. In fact, many don't understand the new employment dynamic. They are using outdated strategies that just don't work.
Most companies are doing well with their digital marketing efforts to attract new customers. To be competitive at talent acquisition they must employ the same strategies. They should be developing communities of prospective employees and keep them interested in the opportunity for employment. The goal is to generate a continuous flow of job seekers, minimizing the need for outside recruiters. To support this strategy, training is recommended to become better interviewers and to improve candidate selection decisions. To minimize turnover and to keep employees engaged, customer loyalty programs should be developed for employees.
Treat job seekers as customers for successful talent acquisition in The New Normal.
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Jim Weber, President
New Century Dynamics Executive Search
Author of: Fighting Alligators: Job Search Strategy For The New Normal
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