Lots of external advertising has a spill-over effect on employees, and sometimes this is deliberate. For one thing, it shows management believes what they are telling you in the internal communications. If you put the same stuff in TV commercials that you put in the procedures manual, you must really mean it.
The next step is to really try to build an employment brand.
Quite apart from being a good place to work, you also have to communicate this to prospective employees. And you have to attract the kind of people you really want. Leveraging the tools of marketing is a very good place to start.
Richard Floersch of McDonald's, said in a recent BusinessWeek article that building an employment brand is absolutely critical. Staples VP of HR, Dave Almeda noted in the same article that "It's impossible to tell where HR ends and marketing begins."
How to get started:
- Figure out why happy employees are happy. Find out why the people you like, like your organization. You've got it, I'm talking research. And you'd be surprised how much of this is going on at the world's leading organizations. If you're not doing any of this, no wonder you can't compete for the best employees.
- Extract the core DNA of what your best employees love about you, and start building a creative brief. Yes, you will need help from the marketing department to do this. This is a good chance to demonstrate how cross-functional co-operation can really work.
- Use professional messaging to get your story out. After you've gone this far, you can't just revert to stuffing ads in the careers section and doing PowerPoints on campus. You'll need to think much more carefully about recruitment materials, channels of information, and the communication package.
- Avoid being seduced by expensive trinkets to recruit rock stars. Yes, this will get attention. We all love to get free stuff. But it's unlikely to close the deal for you with talent that has options. For that you'll need to demonstrate that you can deliver the employee experience.
- Reinforce internally. After all this work, you can't have the dinosaurs stomping around and wrecking stuff. Follow up internally to reinforce that your culture at its best is helping you win the talent wars. Match your external communications with the internal experience. This probably means that things are different than when the current old boys and girls started. And thank goodness for that.
Resources: "It's Not a McJob, It's a McCalling", BusinessWeek, June 4, 2007 -- you'll need to scroll down a bit to see the article.