Whew…the latest monthly jobs report is again totally positive with 200K+ jobs added in February…let’s face it, we’re all beginning to hire more employees. The shift from a company driven to a job seeker driven employment market may be upon us. In many areas this has been the case for quite a while, and for those focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) - its been more like a feeding frenzy!
Regardless of the type of role, don’t we always seem to have a job or two that is a pain to fill? In these tough to fill roles, candidates are once again getting multiple offers where the chore is choosing who to work for. No doubt comp and benefits come into play, but what puts a company on the winning track are the ones that do a better job of demonstrating what they’re really like to work for - in essence personalizing their business.
If you want an example of who does this well, take a look at how professional sports executives lure top flight free agents to work for them. They go to great lengths, particularly in sports like basketball where there are salary caps and everyone is paid similarly based on their level of ability. Dinners with executives, fun events with management and personalized gifts are all commonplace. For the Free Agent, knowing about management, players, attendants, travel and other aspects of work life on the team is critical - along with a clear understanding of how their career will progress if they join.
Pro Sports is a good guide, but maybe a stretch when comparing a Programmer with a pro athlete who makes $10+ million a year. When you boil it all down, the basis of career decision making for either is very similar. Consider a top flight Java Programmer in a major U.S. city looking to make a career move. She applies or is referred to three companies, who all are interested in hiring her. All three have the Hiring Manager describe her potential upward career progression, a staff programmer takes her to lunch and a Product Manager shows off their cool software - and all three companies make her a great offer.
Yet one of the three decides to clearly demonstrate what its like to work at their company day to day. They give her an “insiders view” of what employees think of the lighting, the food, the diversity, the management, hanging out together, the promotion policy, the compensation and benefits plan, etc., etc.. In reviewing this info, she learns that there are skylights shedding 100% natural light on every work space. As it turns out, she has a Vitamin D deficiency, and even though this company’s products weren’t the “sexiest” of the three companies, she accepts their offer.
Classic Employment Marketing scenario? I would agree, except that few companies are going to the lengths in our example to really showing what’s “behind the curtain.” The benefits are many as demonstrating an “insider’s view” is a way of not only attracting interest for potential new hires, but also screening them. For example, If your workforce all loved a cool office temperature set at 65 degrees, hiring someone who loves to sweat at work will not be a great fit and they probably won’t stay long. Letting potential new hires know this could help improve turnover.
The majority of today’s workers are striving to learn more about a prospective new employer than ever before and its the number one priority in determining the choices they make (comp is great, but is it worth a few extra bucks to freeze all day?). Single employee video testimonials, messages from the company CEO or slickly packaged “why you should work here” type of videos are all a good start, but most job seekers want an “unvarnished” understanding of the work life of a potential employer.
New methods of providing a well rounded Employment Value Proposition with advanced branding and marketing tools are coming to the market. Make a point of checking how your company can make use of them… don’t be one of the other two companies and lose out!