The competition for top talent is heating up. Contact centers in tight labor markets already are experiencing a shortage of skilled job candidates. For many employers, it’s either settle for less qualified candidates and brace for the subsequent impact (i.e., high turnover, declining service quality, unhappy customers), or revise your approach for attracting and engaging the talent that you need.
The traditional methods of advertising job openings—in local classified ads, job boards and temp agencies—are not effective with millennials and the younger Gen Zers who are just entering the workforce. Instead, employers that hope to draw the best candidates will need to apply some of the same engagement techniques that they use to win customers.
As consumers, millennials want to do business with companies whose values resonate with their own, such as a desire to create change, promote social responsibility, support charities in their local communities, as well as taking a stand on global issues like the environment, human rights and diversity. They have similar expectations of potential employers and will spend time researching and engaging with a company via social media before deciding whether or not to apply for a job. Companies with a compelling employer brand and social recruitment strategy will have the edge over their competitors when attempting to attract these digital natives.
“Millennials and Gen Z have a real passion for the digital environment,” says Marilyn Tyfting, Senior Vice President and Chief Corporate Officer of TELUS International. “The digital world is where they go for information to help them make decisions. And social media is significantly more prevalent and influential in those decisions, not just in the employment arena, but across their lives. As an employer, you can’t ignore that.”
Why Your Reputation as an Employer Matters
The days of strategic decision-making taking place behind closed doors with critical information dribbled out on a “need-to-know” basis are gone. Social media has been the catalyst behind increased transparency by putting companies’ workplace practices and culture on full display.
Employees are sharing their workplace experiences—good and bad—within their social networks, on job review sites and in online forums. Their views are helping to shape companies’ reputations—and not just for potential job seekers. Research conducted by FleishmanHillard Global Intelligence (Authenticity in an Uncertain World) found that, when sorting fact from fiction about a brand, consumers are three times more likely to trust employees and people who work in the company than the leaders of the company.
Because of their credibility, feedback from current and former employees can have a considerable impact on an employer’s recruitment efforts. Glassdoor reports that 95% of job seekers surveyed say that an employer’s reputation impacts their decision about whether to apply for a job, and that 69% will not take a job with a company that has a bad reputation even if they are unemployed.
Besides impacting the quantity of potential job candidates, an employers’ brand reputation will also affect the quality of applicants. Gallup’s research into what top talent looks for in a company revealed that high-quality job candidates put more effort into searching for the best companies before considering which ones they will apply to. While both high-quality and lower-quality candidates are attracted to a company’s status in its industry, the high-quality candidates are more likely to be selective and research the company’s reputation as a great place to work as one of their top criteria for applying, along with having a well-defined mission and purpose. Lower-quality candidates, however, are more likely to be drawn to a company because of its location or benefits.
On the flip side, a company can have an outstanding reputation with its employees, but if the employer brand is not actively promoted where job seekers spend their time, its ability to attract strong candidates will be limited.
“The vast majority of company research by job seekers takes place on the internet and on social platforms,” Tyfting says. “The portion of the candidate pool that you are eliminating by not having a brand presence that people are attracted to is quite devastating.” As an example, TELUS International uses Facebook as a recruitment tool. At its site in the Philippines, almost 80% of the referrals and recruitment leads between 2016 and 2018 came from individuals who engaged with the brand on Facebook, she notes.
Leverage Social Media to Connect with Job Candidates
Top employers like TELUS International put a great deal of time and energy into defining their employer brand and creating content that is visually appealing and inspiring, and which accurately represents the company’s mission, values, culture and work environment.
It is, of course, an effort that requires organizationwide input and collaboration with marketing to align the employer and customer branding messages—but it’s one that will pay off by bringing in more top-quality candidates and lowering the costs to acquire and retain agents.
What can you do to create a powerful social connection that will attract potential job-seekers? The following are a few ideas to consider as you develop your employer brand social strategy.
Make It Clear What You Stand for
Clearly communicate across social platforms what makes your company unique, what the workplace culture is like and how employees contribute to the business. Make sure that social recruitment messages are aligned with the organization’s mission, vision and values. As Tyfting explains, “At TELUS International, we have a very clear voice. Whether you’re looking at our customer campaigns, our value proposition in the marketplace, or how we recruit people in all of our geographies around the world, the message is very focused on ourselves as an employer—our commitment to customers, to team members and to creating a culture that allows our team members to learn and grow. It’s a simple message that resonates throughout everything that we do on social media.”
Make It Visual
The recruitment process is about people, so showcase your employees, the work environment, company events, celebrations that take place in the center and your culture. Photos and videos provide job-seekers with an inside glimpse of what it’s like to work at your company—they can see the workplace where they’ll be spending their time, some of the activities that take place there, and their potential teammates.
Engage Employees as Brand Ambassadors
Employees are the best advocates for your employer brand, so make it effortless for them to share your message. “It is easy for us, as an employer, to talk about our team members who are proud and happy to be part of our organization, but that message holds more weight when our team members share their stories through their own social networks,” Tyfting says.
One approach that TELUS International uses is its “Tell Us Your Story” campaign in which employees can create videos that tell their stories on social media, which the organization amplifies through its social media channels. Employees and their colleagues also share the content through their own social networks. “When the content is personal and meaningful, such as employees’ stories that people feel are authentic and can engage in, then it is distributed by a broader audience and has a significant impact,” she adds.
Social Media Should Be… Social
Don’t view your recruitment social media channels as a form of static advertising. Job seekers turn to social channels for a chance to interact with your company. Most importantly, they want to interact with the human side of the brand, so make sure that you’re joining the conversations, that questions and comments are responded to promptly and that their feedback is acknowledged.
Treat All Candidates Like Customers
Provide an outstanding experience for all job candidates, even those who are not hired. “The number of candidates that we connect with on social media is 10 to 15 times greater than the number of people we hire,” Tyfting points out. “The engagement and recruitment experience needs to be spectacular—it needs to be personalized, interesting and easy for candidates, whether they are successful or not. We want those candidates who don’t end up being our team members to share within their own social networks that it was a good experience.”
Connect on a Local Level
While social media has a global audience, it can be difficult for job seekers to connect with globally focused content. Tyfting’s advice: Engage locally. “We’ve had much greater success by targeting our social media channels to the regions that we operate in,” she says. “If you’re in the Philippines, you want to see content that’s relevant to you—for instance, pictures of events that happened close to where you are, or pictures and videos that show people who you know or could know because they’re in your environment. You want to engage with a company that is proud to be part of your country or the community in which you live.”
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) scores high points with millennials and Gen Z. What scores even higher is seeing examples of a company giving back as shared by the employees who took part in the activities.
“Almost all of our CSR content is posted by our team members who participate,” Tyfting says. “It has significantly greater value and really brings to life the story of CSR that we feel is so impactful and that reflects the culture of who we are as an employer.”
Above all, she adds, “Your employer brand must be authentic. It has to really be true to who you are because if you recruit and portray a reality that does not exist, once people get hired, they could post about it and that would be damaging.”