Employee engagement is one of those perpetual trending topics in HR and recruiting, probably because for years now, pundits and practitioners alike still haven’t figured out how to confront what seems to be a fairly endemic case of malaise and apathy perpetually plaguing our workforce.
I’m not sure why it is that talent leaders and recruiting pros can’t to have a near obsessive fixation on what’s inherently an amorphous and highly ambiguous concept, but I think the primary driver of our engagement fetish is that it seems to be a convenient, categorical catch-all that’s more or less seen as the whipping boy for all of the manifold problems plaguing the HR and recruiting profession today.
I grew up back in the day where the same maxims for career success still applied, and even contrarians (and smart asses) like myself knew that there were a few lines at work you never crossed. It’s the same sort of stuff that’s instilled in us from our earliest days, reinforced by our parents, teachers and peers.
Be on time. Dress appropriately. Don’t talk back. Recognize and respect authority. Check your personal feelings at the door, repress your emotion, collect your paycheck and wait out the years before you finally get that gold watch.
No one expected to actually enjoy work – after all, it’s called work for a reason. But sometime between the late 60s and the late 80s, something changed; when it came to company culture, business as usual became anything but.
Here’s the thing; as sexy as we make social out to be, and as much emphasis as we put on concepts like talent communities and targeted content, the fact of the matter is that what’s new and what’s next isn’t always the most effective when it comes to generating results.
In fact, according to the 2014 Career XRoads Source of Hire report, referrals still accounted for the top external source of hire at 19.2%, second only to the 41.9% o positions that are filled internally.
Compare that to “direct sourced” candidates – those ever elusive passives who form the focus of an increasingly inordinate amount of time and money at many recruiting organizations today.
Those represented only 12% of all hires, with another 3.1% coming from “pipeline” (or talent network) activities, which is less than those much maligned traditional job boards, which still accounted for a full 15% of all successful searches last year.
The direct connection between disengaged workers and a disengaged recruiting process, where applicants continue to get sucked into the “black hole” of communication and even candidates in process are often left wondering where they stand in the search, should be obvious.
So too should the fact that improving the candidate experience is inextricably intertwined with building an engaging employer brand. Clear communication is clearly the key currency of engagement – and delivering the employee value proposition that lies at the heart of every employment brand.
Candidate experience is another one of those terms recruiters just can’t seem to shut up about. But unlike the blizzard of buzzwords mostly designed to sell consulting services and content marketing, it’s one that, if anything, we should all be talking about more. The reason is, unlike, say, employer branding, candidate experience is actually a concept that has real impact on real people and real recruiters every day.
When your vendor talks about SEO for Recruiting, what they really mean is that SEO for Recruiting is one of those terms that sounds really cool, even though they have no idea what the hell SEO for Recruiting actually means.
Which is ironic, because they’re using excellent keyword density. They always do. At least according to this research that’s conveniently protected by a firewall.
Here’s how to decode some of the highest ranking, highest volume, but mostly meaningless messaging used by HR Technology vendors. Because you don’t want to be collateral damage when it comes to product marketing.
What if I told you that a sketch comedian and a capitalist came together to basically invent an entire category of HR theory? That’s not a joke – that actually happened. Before the term Gen Y was first coined in Ad Age (1993), or Douglas Coupland first strung together the words “Generation X” (1991), William Strauss and Neil Howe got together and captured what probably was not a zeitgeist as much as a good old fashioned tent revival-style bid to part that fool and his money.
Strauss, you see, was at the time a member of the Capitol Steps, which is like the dinner theatre version of that “I’m Just a Bill” Schoolhouse rock video. And Howe? He was an economist for the Blackstone Group, which is to say, the ultimate Wall Street guy, a banker’s banker, credible, sure, profit hungry, well – that’s the entire point of private equity, and its sole agenda.
It’s a crowded space out there: after all, if there’s a fundamental reason for social media’s appeal as a business and marketing tool, it’s the truism that everyone’s on it.
And with upwards of a billion users speaking dozens of languages updating millions of closed, interdependent communities (which is, pretty much, the definition of that ‘network’ part of ‘social networks’), it can be hard to make your voice heard.
Numerous studies show that an employee’s relationship with their immediate supervisor or manager is key, a correlation that’s even more pronounced in the burgeoning ranks of the Gen Y workforce.
When creating a social media recruitment strategy, there are 3 critical considerations every employer or talent organization must address directly and comprehensively. The good news is, you already know the answers to these crucial questions, and while unique to every company, recruiter and job opportunity, those answers provide a strategic, measurable framework for social recruiting success.
The Big 3 Questions of Talent Acquisition
Hiring managers, HR business partners, recruiters and executive leadership (not to mention current employees) are all crucial stakeholders in the talent acquisition and retention process. That’s why it’s important to remember that no matter what your role or the size of your company, recruiting relies on performance based feedback.
Like whether or not top talent accepts your offer.
1. What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to finding and retaining top talent?
There’s always that one req or passive candidate profile that’s the most pressing, the most critical, and, by general rule, the most difficult for which to source. The one with an empty pipeline where “just-in-time” was yesterday.And, of course, market demand’s creating a revolving door for the A players you’ve already managed to bring on board.
No matter what the title or department, if it’s the role which is the most imperative to your company’s business objectives, it’s the one you need to concentrate your social recruiting efforts on.Because it’s likely the one that’s taking up most of your time, anyway.
Bottom Line: Social Media saves time and should enhance, not replace, your current talent acquisition strategies.
2. What are you doing to overcome this challenge for recruitment and retention?
To build an effective social recruiting strategy, you have to know your objectives. And if you’re in the business of people, there’s only one objective: to find the best talent the most efficiently as possible.
According to Career XRoads 10th annual Source of Hire Study, for all the sourcing and spend dedicated to identifying external talent, the top source of hire (by far), was internal promotions and transfers. Internal movement accounted for 50.3% of all hires. #2 on the list, and the top source for external referrals (27.5%) was internal referrals.
Following closely on both lists? Job boards, which accounted for 24.9% of all external hires in 2010.
Bottom Line: Engage your employees and hiring managers; they’re your most likely candidates, or the most likely to have that next hire in their network. The easiest way to connect the dots? Social media. The content engine driving online engagement: job postings.
To put it in Boolean terms, you can’t operate with OR anymore. It’s AND. That’s logic.
3. Why should top talent want to work for you?
The war for talent is heating up. If you find and engage a qualified, interested and available candidate, chances are so has the competition.
That’s why when creating an employment value proposition and communicating it through employer branding, you’ve got to appeal to the head and the heart.
Bottom Line: Job descriptions, title, compensation and recruitment advertising looks a lot alike, but at the end of the day, top talent makes its decision based on one single competitive differentiation: your company’s culture and the people who create it.
That’s why the most valuable recruiter you’ve got is your current employees. Lucky there’s social media to put a face to the name (or Twitter name, or Facebook photo).