For some companies in some industries – even those not considered top employers — recruiting and retaining talent isn’t an issue. Either they pay much more than competitors, are in highly desirable or overcrowded sectors, and/or are the only employers around.
But for many companies it’s just the opposite, with increasing competition for qualified employees, high attrition rates, and a growing number of unfilled positions.
While there are many strategies for addressing this, one that’s key, but often overlooked, is building and maintaining a good brand. Not only is this essential for attracting and retaining customers, it’s also a factor in attracting and keeping good talent, especially in industries where the shortages are most acute.
As most companies know, the best talent can pick and choose. And today, according to reports like this one from SHRM, what’s most likely to make someone pick your company over another, and stay for awhile, is your brand. While compensation is also important, the brand is even more so, especially among Millennials.
This isn’t a brand in the traditional sense (e.g., logos, packaging, and slogans) but a broader definition that’s evolved over the years to include things like workplace culture, employee experience, and overall reputation.
What this comes down to is that those who win the talent war, or at least the occasional battle, are those who offer what employees say they want the most: respect, flexibility, good benefits, etc. These companies also win points when they demonstrate integrity, transparency, and a high level of corporate social responsibility (CSR).
CSR can include things like social and environmental initiatives, which another SHRM study links to an improved ability to attract applicants. The reason, says GreenBiz, is twofold: pride in being affiliated with such companies and the perception that socially conscious employers care more about their workers.
Maintaining a brand involves more than the above, though, but also taking steps to counter negative publicity, like unfavorable online comments and reviews from dissatisfied employees. As this can easily tarnish a brand, it’s important to determine the cause – especially if it happens often – and address it sooner rather than later. Or else.
Beyond this, another brand essential is authenticity. In fact, it’s often considered the most important. Companies can spin all they want, but bogus messaging eventually backfires. Authenticity, on the other hand, is what ultimately builds trust and gets results. Not only with current and future customers, but also current and future talent.
How has your company handled branding challenges in the war for talent? Let us know about it by tweeting @MSIGTS.