It’s no secret that recruiting challenges are top of mind for most employers. In fact, in 2018, approximately three quarters (72.8%) of companies struggled to find the right candidates for open positions. What’s more, retaining the employees you do find is also growing more difficult. Turnover is at an all-time high, increasing 22.9% over the last five years. Companies have tried just about everything to attract – and keep – the right people; from beer taps to bike share programs to out-of-this-world benefits. And while your employees undoubtedly appreciate those efforts, it’s not sustainable. Even if it were, it still wouldn’t be enough.
The bad news? You can’t keep throwing perks at the problem and hope it goes away.
The good news: You can take a giant leap forward using tools you probably already have.
So, what is this mythical solution?
It’s content and social media.
“Content and social media?” you might ask. It probably sounds entirely too simple to solve problems as big as recruiting and retention. Done right, content and social media marketing can be the key to both engaging your employees and attracting the best talent.
Content marketing is the process of creating, curating, and sharing content that maps to your goals.
Here’s the key: Employees, both current and prospective, will find beer taps and bike share programs exciting at first. But exciting and engaging are very different things. Exciting gets them in the door. Engagement is what gets them to stick around. Employees are engaged when they’re actively participating in and contributing to the story of your brand – and content is a great way to tell the stories of your people, your mission, and your method.
So, where do you start?
First, let’s talk about how you’ll get this content to your workforce and prospective employees. You may already have channels, whether currently being used or not, that lay the groundwork for a content program. Does your company use social media? We’re talking Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Do you have an email list you use to periodically send content? It could be internal, external, or both. How about a blog or news section of your site? You may use it once a year to share a press release but that doesn’t mean you can’t revamp it to include a monthly blog or full-blown content program.
What the what?
Here comes the big question: What kind of content should you create and how will you find the right information to start it? It’s not as daunting as you think. The first step is to think about your audience. Are you mostly focused on prospective employees? Current employees? A mix?
Then, think about what they want to see (over what information you want to give them). There will be a lot of overlap. Prospective employees want to know what it’s like to work at your company and current employees want to share their experiences and feel a part of your culture. Featuring current employees once a month in a Q&A-style feature meets both of those requirements.
An added bonus: Employee features often double up as a business development initiative because potential customers want to know who they will be working with if they hire your company. In fact, one of ADG’s content marketing clients told us that every time we published an employee feature on their site and via their email newsletter, he received five or six calls from potential clients saying, “We want to work with someone like him/her.”
By featuring your employees and who they are, you’re leveraging the people of your organization. Take that one step further with thought leadership content – how do your people think? Consider all of the experts you have in your organization. They represent a gold mine of knowledge and brain power that you could harness for your content program.
Who’s on first.
You might be thinking, “That all sounds good – but how the heck am I supposed to write all this content on top of all of my regular duties?” The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to not overthink it. Write what you know. Create templates to capture it quickly. Generally speaking, people like to talk about themselves so if you send an employee a Q&A to fill out about their background, role, or what they think about a topic, they’re likely to respond. Pick the brains of the experts around you. No, you probably won’t get your CEO to sit down and write a blog – but she may have 15 minutes to do a brain dump for you to write it for her and then another 5 minutes to read through and approve it before it’s posted.
Calendar it up.
Now that you’ve figured out what kind of content you’d like to create – we call those your “content buckets” – and who will contribute to it, put together a publishing calendar for the entire year. This ensures that you hit on those buckets consistently throughout the year and allows you to plan around big events or upcoming company news.
A calendar might seem scary because many people feel they’re locked into it the moment it’s created. But that’s not how this works. Your publishing calendar is a living document; a guide for you to look ahead at what’s coming up and pivot your time and resources if you need to adjust. Say a big, unexpected partnership pops up in the middle of the year – your calendar is not meant to prohibit you from addressing it, it’s there so you have a birds-eye view and can move things around in order to accommodate it.
A snackable graphic is a visual “appetizer” of info meant to entice your audience to want to learn more.
Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose.
You might be thinking that this sounds like a lot of work for one blog, one social, or one email. But you’d be surprised how far one piece of content can go. Let’s say you film a quick video interviewing a new hire. You post that on your company’s YouTube page and share it on your social channels. But it doesn’t stop there. You can then use the quotes and sentiments from the video to write a blog about the new hire or maybe interview a few more people and turn it into a broader piece of content about your overall company culture. Maybe that becomes a white paper that you give out at events or post on your website. The quotes could then be pulled out and turned into “snackable” graphics to share on social media and then put together into a slideshow that’s displayed at your career fair booth. All that from one interview taken with your smartphone.
“Dream big. Start small. But most of all…start.” – Simon Sinek
I hope this blog has pumped you up to get your content and social media marketing program started. The most important thing you can do is “do.” Sit down and type up some potential headlines and consider who would be the expert on those topics. Go out and make that publishing calendar. Then, just start writing. A goal without a plan may just be a wish – but a plan without implementation also gets you nowhere.
So, go forth and write! Start implementing…and then watch the recruiting and retention universe respond.