If your communications and talent acquisition strategies don’t connect, then you may be missing opportunities to attract (and keep) the best people for your organization.
In 1965, the average tenure of companies on the S&P 500 was 33 years. But over the next 10 years, about 50% of the S&P 500 will be replaced. A company can’t ensure success today without reinventing itself – and its people. That means talent acquisition strategies and cultures are in a constant state of evolution. The need for new employees who can also evolve is more critical than ever. After all, who executes against those strategies? Who is at the heart of your company culture? Your talent.
But finding and keeping new talent isn’t easy. In less than ten years, the unemployment rate fell from 10 percent to just 3.9 percent. And, as much as 80 percent of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions.
With the war for talent greater than ever, and the need for that talent more important than ever, it’s time to make sure company culture, purpose and vision are front and center – and that they set you apart to attract the right talent. In recent years, progressive companies have put a lot of work into defining and aligning around a purpose. They’ve invested time and money and realized the importance of strong communications to help employees understand and engage in culture, purpose and vision. Now it’s time for the stories and messages that communications drives in other facets of your business strategy to play a central role in your recruiting efforts.
It’s time communications and talent acquisition got married.
Talent acquisition is often the candidate’s first impression of company culture and purpose. Shouldn’t that impression align to the reputation and culture you’ve worked so hard to nurture with employees and customers? Together, talent acquisition and communications must drive a strategy that reaches potential employees with the messages that matter most.
Embracing a marriage that’s key to your financial future
According to research, companies with highly effective talent management strategies achieve 26 percent higher revenue per employee and 41 percent lower turnover among high-performing employees. Talent acquisition is your opportunity to set off on the right foot.
Take BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management firm. When other companies took a hit in the aftermath of the 2008 recession, BlackRock continued on its path of reinvention, consistency and ultimately, success. According to an article in a 2014 Harvard Business Review, one of the main reasons for BlackRock’s success: “a superior talent strategy.” What set the company’s talent strategy apart is its “focus on supporting, and in some cases driving, the companies’ business strategies.”
And what about when things aren’t as aligned? As an example, Wells Fargo’s Chairman and CEO recently resigned and the bank agreed to pay $185 million in fines after branch employees opened as many as 2 million fake bank and credit card accounts. How did this happen? Employees say they were under intense pressure to hit sales targets. The lack in judgement, however, speaks to a misaligned strategy and purpose. A Wells Fargo spokesman recently told SHRM Online that the company is focused on strengthening its culture. He said, “Nothing is more important to us than rebuilding our customers’ and clients’ trust and the faith of our team members.”
Are you placing enough importance on the partnership between talent and communications?
Creating great first impressions
First impressions really do make a difference. And you only get one first impression, so getting it right from the start is critical. The biggest waste of organizational resources – both time and money – is hiring the wrong employees, according to a survey conducted by Harvard Business Review (HBR).
It’s no longer an environment where employees are clamoring to work for a company or are satisfied with traditional paths. They want to know what’s in it for them, what you stand for, and why they should choose to work for you over someone else. It’s the same things your current employees want to know – the messages any good communications team architects to share your strategy and purpose internally and engage employees. To help make the right first impression, you need to translate those messages for potential candidates and make sure recruiters and hiring managers can talk the talk.
What does your first touchpoint look like? Are the people responsible for recruiting and talking about your business aware of and aligned to its most important messages?
Avoiding the speed-dating trap
It’s tempting to let what’s worked in the past take the lead. Traditional recruiting methods are typically fast at getting people in the door and filling open positions, and they’re cost efficient. But, as this article in Inc. says, “too many companies let their short-term needs determine their long-term talent acquisition strategy.”
To build the culture you want, and to keep it aligned to your purpose, you need to get the right people in the door who represent what you stand for today and where you’re headed tomorrow. According to a report by Employment Crossing, passion outweighs experience in terms of creating a long-term relationship with employees.
Are your recruiters and hiring managers looking to identify characteristics of a candidate who has passion for your purpose, or are they focused solely on finding the right skills and experience?
Solidifying a lasting marriage
Like any good marriage, it takes ongoing work and open communication to keep things in good order. Talent acquisition – or even better, talent strategy – and communications need to constantly collaborate, think differently, and course correct to be effective.
There are some important questions to consider to help make this relationship tick throughout this article. Here are three things you can do today to make sure your talent-communications relationship is working for you:
1. Are you placing enough importance on the partnership between talent and communications?
Strive for a strategic partnership with continuous learning and refinement. Talent and communications each make up valuable pieces of your overall strategy. Together, they can create a winning first impression to amplify your recruiting efforts and get the right people in the door. But, your strategy and messaging are always evolving – it’s part of continued learning and development. Your talent and communications team must evolve, too. They should be on point to ask questions of your candidates to determine if you’re sending the right messages. Approach people who’ve turned down an offer to ask why – or talk about what would’ve made a difference. Have talent and communications re-group to refine and tweak messages and strategies accordingly.
2. What does your first touchpoint look like? Are the people responsible for recruiting and talking about your business aware of and aligned to its most important messages?
Make sure talent and communications are speaking the same language. Messages are only effective if they’re clear and consistent. Your messages to potential candidates should be consistent with what you tell your own employees and customers. Everyone needs to speak the same language. Candidates who get the right first impression and understand your purpose, vision and values turn into new employees who understand where you’re going and want to help get you there. This alignment not only makes the interviewing process more effective, it reinforces your overall brand if everyone’s on the same page.
3. Are your recruiters and hiring managers looking to identify characteristics of a candidate who has passion for your purpose, or are they focused solely on finding the right skills and experience?
Be clear about what makes your culture tick. If you have a unique company culture, chances are there are certain attributes your employees share that make it that way. Take the time to examine what those are – what makes someone successful and able to contribute to your company’s success? Leverage the messaging expertise of your communications team to help you define those attributes, and together with your talent team, develop interview questions designed to identify and pull out the characteristics in candidates. Imagine how many great people never make it past the first step of the interview process if a recruiter’s solely looking at skills or experience.
Looking for more advice on how to marry your comms and talent acquisition strategy? Let’s talk.