Businesses are well aware of the signs of an impending economic downturn. Typically, in a more stable time, these economic anxieties go hand-in-hand with a cooling labour market, which signals recruitment professionals to breathe a collective sigh of relief. But if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we are living in a time that’s anything but normal.
Generally speaking, organizations exercising caution through conservative growth trajectory plans are still prioritizing staffing and people. In some cases, it’s become harder to fill roles because people are living in a world that makes them less inclined to take risks and apply to or leave their current position for a new role.
It’s just not about filling recruitment gaps; retention, employee engagement, productivity, and wellness have also been on a downward trajectory. Employee net promoter score (eNPS) outcomes have been negatively affected as a result.
Despite the economic tailwinds on everyone’s minds, the U.S. jobs report for July showed that the unemployment rate was at 3.5% — tied for the lowest rate since 1969.
This is all further evidence that the challenging recruitment environment that we have all been experiencing is here to stay (at least for now).
So, what does all this mean for talent attraction professionals?
Organizations need to keep up with their pandemic-era recruitment efforts
The success of recruitment, retention, and employee engagement efforts are greatly tied to the strength of your employer brand and your employee value proposition (EVP). Not only do these need to be powerful, but they need to serve as key differentiators between your organization and the competitors in your space.
For those who aren’t as focused on talent attraction, but on people and culture efforts within an organization, employer brand and your EVP need to be lived on a daily basis at work. Constant reinforcement of employer brand and EVP elements are a great start for retaining your current talent. The organization’s commitment to these principles affirm its ranking as a stable and great place to work among its people.
Many organizations invested heavily in their EVPs and associated recruitment marketing campaigns during the pandemic. With the labour market still in a challenging position, they will need to build on that initial work to get a great deal of mileage out of function-specific EVPs that increase their impact on audiences in high-demand fields.
While organic campaigns were once sufficient, organizations need to continue investing in paid social media campaigns and compelling storytelling to stand out in a crowded and cacophonous marketplace. It’s not just about making frequent posts that highlight the positive aspects of your organization, nor is it about high compensation. Although these things are important, people also value authenticity behind employer brands and cultures, especially when considering a new position.
As leaders thinking about your current talent and how they might view the validity of your employer brand and EVP, here are some questions to consider:
- What is going to inspire your current team members to stay at your company?
- How does your company culture significantly differ from your competitors?
- How is your leadership style as a team different from other organizations?
Once you ask yourself these questions, think about how your current EVP pillars are supporting your responses. Not only should your EVP be used to get new folks in the door, but it should also reflect why your current talent wants to be a part of your organization. This exercise will help you understand how you can improve the overall employee experience and take stock of the great things happening every single day at your company.
Organizations tightening their belts must still tell a compelling talent attraction and retention story
Talent attraction professionals contending with tightening budgets can turn to more affordable tactics, such as reducing video production costs in favour of text and multimedia campaigns.
But what they can’t afford to drop is compelling employee storytelling that aligns with the company’s EVP. This can be achieved through thoughtful content creation featuring employees’ personal stories, as well as by activating internal employer brand ambassadors to tell the company’s EVP story.
At the start of the pandemic, there was a strong feeling of togetherness as people ventured into the unknown. There was (and still is) a great deal of uncertainty around job security, progression, and how companies and their people would adapt to a remote-first working style. After nearly three years of adapting and shifting, people are experiencing high levels of burnout, low levels of engagement and motivation, and some of the highest levels of mental illness diagnoses in history.
From an earnings perspective, potential clients and customers are holding off or cancelling plans for spending which affects new business projections for companies providing a product or service.
With lower budgets, less mental energy, and higher rates of attrition, how do you rally your current team to do more with less?
We mentioned that people are generally more risk-averse and less likely to leave their jobs. But when you take poorer mental health and productivity levels into consideration, it’s no surprise that high levels of turnover are still reflected in some workforce data.
On top of that, companies have been innovating at faster rates, building out new lines of business that expanded their need for new talent, seen growth in new geographies as remote work became more normal, and built new programming around hybrid and return-to-work plans.
When you consider these factors in the para-pandemic world, you may realize that EVPs have been recruitment-focused and therefore may be irrelevant when it comes to employee retention. Before moving into a new calendar and fiscal year, you might want to revisit your EVP and see if its pillars are still a good fit and reflect the current state of your organization.
You may want to consider:
- Recruitment, retention, and employee engagement programs that you have
- Any new, major policies that your organization abides by
- Any core experiences or benefits that you have put in place for your team
If most of your team is newer, the core knowledge around company culture has changed and is still in its infancy. If this is the case, see this as a chance to reflect on what your organization is about, who it’s for in terms of clients and customers, what sort of team you want to build, and what makes you different or special from others in your industry. Once you have that story, you can ensure that it’s reflected in your employer brand and EVP, and keep your current and future team members engaged as a result.
Marketing & Content Manager
Blu Ivy Group
Blu Ivy Group is a global leader in employer branding, organizational culture, and recruitment marketing. We help organizations across the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors build extraordinary employee experiences, magnetic employer brands, and high-performance cultures.
From C-Suite to Employer Brand and Talent Acquisition leadership, we partner with our clients to transform their organizations and design the most compelling workplaces of the future.
For inquiries, please contact email@example.com