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Because your employees are people too

As industries go, recruitment is one of those disciplines of commerce that has felt the biggest brunt of economic impacts resulting from the global COVID-19 pandemic.

It rewired how many people think about work.  The pandemic led to a work-from-home lifestyle that was a far cry from their previous work experience. Some liked the new change and didn’t want to return.

Hiring went remote. Having sent their people home, employers came to realize that they would need to operate virtually, leading many firms to rapidly adopt remote hiring strategies.

Talent pools seemed to dry up A shortfall of candidates led many talent leaders to expand their search horizon, taking advantage of the fact that people weren’t going to the office anymore anyway.

Digital became overlord Through all of this, digital mediums—such as social channels—increased in their influence. Platforms like LinkedIn became the primary source of talent sourcing, making firms doubt whether they needed staffing agencies to find their talent when they could source their hires directly through digital job boards, empowered by LinkedIn and third-party platforms.

friendly coworkers chatting about the company

Why it matters what staff think

Through all of this, one change not so well-recognized is the growing importance of what your workforce thinks about your business:

…as a paymaster

…as a responsible and authentic supplier

…and in its ability to create a great place to work.

Particularly when it comes to finding top talent, references and credentials proffered by your existing people; well—they really matter.

In the increasingly virtual world of recruitment, the only references prospective hires have to go on when considering a new role, are the online reviews and whatever clues fall out of your LinkedIn company profile. Slender pickings indeed.

What other people think matters. More than half of job seekers abandon their pursuit of a job after reading negative reviews about a company on employer review sites

It’s important your business has a purpose. A BetterUp Labs study found that 9 out of 10 professionals said they would sacrifice up to 23% of their future earnings for work that is always meaningful.

A happy workforce becomes a powerful growth opportunity engine. According to a Nielsen’s Global Trust study, 92% of consumers believe suggestions from friends and family more than they do advertising. Suggestions from independent employees (i.e., not salespeople or executives) come a close second as a trusted source. Presumably, buyers believe that employees are quite skeptical creatures, and are likely to give an honest account of their experiences when asked.

Workers look to work for companies with positive social and cultural values—and if you’re not sincere, you will be found out

Marketing in 2021 is all about authenticity—Your business can’t purport to be what it’s not. Try that, and it will be surely found out.

Workers are seeking out companies with solid values around sustainability, diversity, community, the circular economy, and businesses that offer the kind of modern cafe campus-style of living that gets advertised on TV.

Setting out a position on social values is not without its challenges. Where do you draw the line?

Businesses aren’t accustomed to having to join the debate. Some execs are running scared of it. Others are embracing the impact of the pandemic as a change agent to engage their workforce on a more intimate level.

CEO of Shopify, Tobias Lütke, reminded workers that they’re a business, not a family, stating—“You are born into a family. You never choose it, and they can’t un-family you. The dangers of ‘family thinking’ are that it becomes incredibly hard to let poor performers go. Shopify is a team, not a family.”

Basecamp placed a ban on societal discussions at work

Having recognized that remote “solo work” consulting assignments had become commonplace in its working practices prior to the pandemic, Fujitsu has set out new policies in an attempt to bring its workers home having appreciated the welfare impacts of this policy.

curious businesswoman listening to coworkers gossiping about the company

How to take your first baby steps to becoming an employer with a social conscience

Here’s our recommendation on what you could be doing to take a fresh look at how to supersize your employer authenticity.

#1. Re-visit those dour corporate values

It’s time to dust off your bland corporate value statement and ask your workforce to participate in the requalification of what your brand really stands for.

#2. Recognize workforce welfare as the priority issue

The ‘business of welfare’ has never been more important. The health and happiness of workers have been challenged by the pandemic, with stress levels and digital burnout off the scale. Finding smarter and better ways to create a safety blanket around your workforce—and honoring those commitments—is paramount. Today, welfare is a front-of-mind issue in the minds of many workers.

#3. Brand your internal voice

Consider implementing a brand agenda for your internal persona. This is a good way to engage your team and come up with an internal brand story. Consider having an internal brand message that you can reinforce within your messaging, perhaps even including your team in the formation of that agenda.

#4. Over-listen, and over-communicate

When people are working remotely, or in a hybrid mode, that feeling of isolation is inevitable. It’s never been more important for businesses to listen harder to plan internal communications plans around over communication. We are seeing companies being highly creative in this area, by creating virtual meetups, roundtables, virtual town halls, pop-up events, and more. Above all else, your workers appreciate transparency, they like to know what’s going on… and they want a say in what happens in the business and the direction of the business.

#5. Just do it

If you want your brand to have integrity, the worst possible thing you can do is not deliver on what you say you’re going to do. You need to be trustworthy and that means not overpromising. It’s easy to overpromise, simply by setting ambition beyond the reality of the time and resources you can put into your project—so, aim ‘middle’ and grow to ’high’ once you’ve got some quick wins under your belt.