Treating Your Job Openings As Products

By Kristine Sexter, President, WorkWise Productions How can your company compete with so many different industries -- and companies -- all looking to hire the same person?

Recruiting the entry-level and/or hourly employees your company requires has become a high stakes endeavor.  What determines your company’s ability to successfully recruit and retain these employees will be how well your company positions itself in the ultra-tight, entry-level labor market.

Positioning -- or branding -- was typically a term utilized by your marketing or sales team to describe a competitive strategy to reach and keep valuable customers. Positioning is no longer a battle tactic used exclusively to determine who will win the customer; it is now being utilized to resolve who will garner the employee!

Consider this: the typical entry level and/or hourly employee has an incredible plethora of employment opportunities all vying for them. Home health, senior care, retail, hospitality, fast food and manufacturing are all willing to hire someone with little or no technical experience.

Most hiring professionals in these industries are simply seeking someone (anyone!) who will: have perfect, or near-perfect, attendance, be consistently pleasant, and is capable of basic, yet effective, communication skills. Generally, all these industries offer a starting salary of $12 an hour of less.

So how can your company compete with so many different industries -- and companies -- all desiring to hire the same person?  Here are some innovative and effective approaches to branding your job openings as if they were products:

Take a marketing approach to recruiting

Target a specific group of potential applicants. Just as you position your products for a target customer, begin targeting your job openings to a specific potential employee. Consider the top performing employees at your company. What do they have in common? Are many of them graduates from the same school? Did most of them work in fast food or retail prior to coming to work for you? Were many of them members of a specific professional association or social group?

Survey your employees with the primary aim of finding similarities. Begin a targeted recruiting campaign toward people within that same group.

For example: if you discover that many of your production workers were once boy/girl scouts, market toward adults who were also once active in scouting. “87% of our top employees were once scouts. A coincidence? Probably not- just as scouts promise to ‘do their best’, we do the same by delivering on our promise to provide the best career development opportunities at our company!”

Don’t just advertise the traditional benefits you offer

Sell how working for your company will directly benefit potential employees. Why we choose to buy products and services from a certain company goes far beyond the face-value need we have at that moment. You are also buying a company’s experience, reputation, and ability to deliver on time.

When marketing or recruiting for new employees, focus primarily on how they will benefit by becoming an employee of your company. “Our employees report that our unwavering commitment to their safety, the challenges we offer, the opportunity to grow and advance, to learn new skills and the many non-monetary forms of recognition we provide, are among the top reasons why they stay here!”

Apply the same principles of customer service and customer loyalty to your employees

You have loyal customers. You keep in touch with them. You take care of them in ways that are memorable and meaningful. You make great efforts to quickly resolve any customer concern or complaint. They are the first to know when you have new products or services to offer. You wouldn’t dream of taking your best customers for granted. You never just assume they ‘will always be there.’ The same principles apply to your employees.

From a profitability standpoint, employee turnover results in customer turnover. The lesson here is to develop a meaningful relationship with your employees. Take care of them in ways that are specific and meaningful. Respond to their concerns as hastily as you do with your customers.

With regard to loyalty to your company, the Hudson Highland Group, Inc., one of the world’s leading professional staffing, retained executive search and talent management providers, reports that 39 percent of your employees are looking for a new job right now.

So, how would you respond if 39 percent of your company’s bottom line was at risk?

Kristine Sexter is a consultant, professional speaker, and author of “Rolling Out the Recognition: Employee Retention Strategies for Manufacturers.”  For more information visit www.KristineSexter.com.

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