The latest numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that there are 10.4 million job openings across the U.S. No wonder the topic of employee attraction has been a key topic this year for employers with businesses of all sizes, industries, and geographic locations. The labor market and the multi-generations currently in the workforce – including Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Z’s – has certainly made the ability to attract quality employees more difficult than ever. We’ve addressed many of the best practices that employers need to be focused in on establishing their recruiting strategies, including:
• Understanding the difference in the needs of each generation in the workforce.
• Elevating HR within the organization to be strategic versus task-oriented.
• Recognizing that outside influences (workforce dynamics) disrupt business continuity and play a vital role in the ability to attract and retain quality employees.
• Employees are the greatest asset a company has and that should be the focus of strategic initiatives used to attract and retain a viable workforce.
Another practice that may not even be on the employer’s radar, but is certainly worth adopting in their recruiting and retention strategy: marketing their community. This strategic branding opportunity helps highlight the multitude of benefits of a specific region or city while demonstrating to employees the opportunities that exist to live out the lifestyle that embodies the work life balance they seek.
During the COVID-19 shutdowns, many employees choose to isolate in place. With an opportunity to try out a new location, others found alternative places to isolate, whether it was with family members or other attractive places across the country. In fact, United States Postal Service change-of-address data from February to July 2020 shows a 27% increase in temporary movers compared to 2020. The top five areas that lost the most people were major metropolitan areas: New York City; Brooklyn, NY; Chicago, IL; San Francisco, CA; and Los Angeles, CA.
This geographic shift in the ability to pull employees from outside the local area brings new opportunities for a business to continue to market itself. In addition to marketing the perks and benefits of working for a particular company, such as the mission, culture, and benefits, employers should also be marketing their community and the culture of that community.
What does it take to market your community? It is about knowing your audience and understanding what population(s) you are looking to hire and what would attract them. Is your city vibrant with younger communities and activities or is it a more family-oriented suburban area or small town?
What is the tie between your company and the community? Does your company have a longstanding history in the community? Is it a family grown organization with roots? Is it an entrepreneurial company that settled there because of economic advantages or does it provide a solution to challenges within the community? Use whatever story exists to connect the community to the history of the workplace.
A good place to gather information to use in promoting the community to prospective candidates is the local chamber of commerce. From schools to home pricing to social services, local chambers have a plethora of information that would provide vital information to use as marketing tools and is informational for applicants considering a specific area.
If the company is civic-minded, how do employees engage with local charities and team-building activities in the community? It can be surprising today to find that many companies may only sponsor an event around the winter season holidays and forget that employee engagement can occur all year round. These year-round events provide great opportunities to engage employees, their families, and the community as a whole, in turn providing a sense of social well-being for the betterment of all.
Companies in rural areas may find it hard to attract candidates when the nearest town is miles away. However, the sense of community may be stronger in these smaller communities. Look to find out what events are held for singles, families, etc. Consider sponsoring events and joining with other businesses as a way to meet prospective candidates.
No matter where a company is located, employee engagement and culture committees can assist in providing opportunities. Internal committees should be filled with representation from all departments – from line to leadership – to bring a variety of ideas to the table.
Use a company website or intranet to promote these local benefits and use links to tie into the chambers or other reference sites.
Once the story is created, the next step is to generate the interest of applicants. How does this information get shared?
Use it on the company website or job board advertising. The goal is to be creative. Companies can create videos walking around the community, having civic leaders share the story – create the visual story.
Remember the relocation package. When considering relocation packages, employers have so many options, ranging from a “hands-off” approach by providing direct services to employees to offering thousands of dollars to have employees move from one location to another. The less burdensome and the more resources a company can provide to make the move easier for all involved, the better the outcome is for everyone. Let the offering become part of the storyline
Do not let the story die there. Talk about it with candidates, sell the job, the company, the community. Be enthusiastic about the opportunity offered. No longer is it about a company having what a candidate needs. In today’s labor market, the applicants have what employers need. Jobs are plentiful and people are choosy. They have decisions and opportunities available today more than ever and companies have to sell themselves to establish the company as The Best Place to Work.
Bobbi Kloss is the Director of Human Capital Management Services for the Benefit Advisors Network, an exclusive, national network of independent employee benefits brokerage and consulting companies. For more information, please visit: www.benefitadvisorsnetwork.com or email the author at email@example.com.