As companies increasingly turn to new recruiting tactics and technologies in a tight labor market, one element of the organization must rise above all others to find and hire top talent: Company culture.
“Company culture is something that matters to talent across all segments,” said Lauren Smith, vice president, Gartner’s HR practice. “A large part of company culture depends on an employee’s day-to-day experience.”
Sharing information about day-to-day work in a job description can increase the likelihood of a candidate finding a job desirable by 23%, according to Gartner.
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Candidates typically want to know the following about a company in a job description or early interview, Smith said:
- The type of work the position will involve
- The company culture
- The management style of manager
- The potential career path(s) for the role
- The characteristics of someone who would be successful in the role
Here are four tips to help your organization sell potential future employees on your company culture.
1. Create a career journey from the start
Organizations should lay out what the employee’s learning journey will be at the company from the start of the recruiting process, said Nate Meneer, a researcher at Forrester Research.
“I think the perfect scenario if you have a prospective recruit is that there can be an honest conversation about what that role is going to do for the employee and what that role is going to do for the employer,” Meneer said. “Make it clear to the employee in terms of resources that are going to be offered for learning and development.”
Sometimes companies steer away from those conversations because they think if they train an employee, they will leave for another firm, Meneer said. “Those conversations can kind of run contrary to the desire to hold and retain employees,” he added. “But it’s a very good way to communicate culture and to say, ‘This is how we’re going to get you to your next step, to where you want to be three years from now,’ and lay that out in detail.”
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2. Highlight culture in candidate-facing channels
Demonstrate your culture across channels that potential hires will see, such as your company and career website, talent communities, and job descriptions, Smith said.
“Between all the online sites, word-of-mouth referrals, networks based on schools and former employees, a company’s reputation very much gets around,” Meneer said. “If you’re a company that is doing really great work with employee experience and has happy employees, naturally the word will get out.”
3. Strengthen your employee value proposition (EVP)
EVP explains how the labor market and employees perceive the value employees gain by working in an organization, Smith said. Companies must make sure their EVP speaks to what matters most to employees and potential candidates across five areas:
- Opportunity: Career and development opportunities and organization growth rate
- People: Manager quality, coworker quality, senior leadership reputation, and camaraderie
- Organization: Market position, product/service quality, and social responsibility
- Work: Job-interest alignment and work-life balance
- Rewards: Compensation, health and retirement benefits, and vacation time
When candidates view a company’s EVP as attractive, the company can reach 50% deeper into the labor market, according to Gartner. Organizations that effectively deliver on their EVP can decrease annual employee turnover by around 70%, and increase new hire commitment by almost 30%, Gartner found.
4. Identify brand ambassadors
Organizations can identify brand ambassadors within the company to more effectively communicate their EVP, Smith said. Brand ambassadors can speak authentically to why the organization is a great place to work, she added.
“By mobilizing your employees to post about your company on social media and in other channels, recruiting functions can then use that content to build authentic employee-led employment branding content,” Smith said.
5. Understand what candidates value
In a tight labor market, hiring managers must shift their recruiting emphasis from simply defining who they are and what they offer, to understanding who candidates are and what they want, Smith said.
“Progressive organizations recognize that to craft employment branding messages that will be differentiated and stand out today to tech hires, they must first understand the candidates they are trying to attract,” Smith said. This sometimes means taking on in-depth labor market research and creating personas of target talent, to best understand how to capture that talent’s attention, how to foster a connection with them, and how to give them the confidence to take the next step in the recruiting process, she added.
“The imperatives behind these questions–capture attention, foster connection and incite action–are the keys to attracting critical talent today,” Smith said.