In recent years, recruitment and retention has crept to the top of the list of the most pressing issues facing communicators at brands, organizations and firms. It's also a major concern for companies in nearly every sector. Strong economic performance, steady job growth, low unemployment and shifting demographics have created marketplace conditions where the demand for talent has outpaced the supply.
Despite rising concerns, most executives don’t feel adequately prepared to address these challenges. This is especially significant when you consider that the situation likely will worsen; one in four employees in the U.S. plans to leave his or her job in the next year – an 11% increase from 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018) says. And one in three millennials is predicted to leave each year by 2020, according to Deloitte's Millennial Survey (2016).
With turnover cost estimated at one-third of a worker’s salary (Sears, Nelms, & Mahan, 2017), this level of attrition may influence profitability, growth and even performance: talent departures often result in a loss of institutional knowledge and a decline in engagement and productivity. This does not even begin to address the costs associated with recruiting talent.
So how can these obstacles be overcome? Below are three things you can do to improve your talent strategy:
Invest in Your Employer Brand
A strong employer brand is essential to attracting and retaining talent. Companies that are getting it right are not just talking about benefits or products – they are creating memorable brands with compelling narratives that are authentic and recognizable within their respective fields. Research informs the best employer brands. These companies also provide an understanding of company values to employees and what can be expected by working there.
Once you create and communicate your employer brand, then the real work starts: assessing measurable impact. Best-in-class organizations utilize creative tactics to promote their employer brand to key audiences. Microsoft, HP and Adobe, for instance, have formed brand evangelist teams to stir up interest among potential recruits. Digital methods must also be considered – in today’s extremely competitive employment landscape, a bespoke digital recruitment strategy is a must.
Assess Your Corporate Culture
While an employer brand draws workers to an organization, a strong corporate culture influences their decision to stay.
Corporate culture generally refers to the values and behaviors of a company’s employees and management, including how they interact and conduct business inside and outside the workplace. Because the components of culture tend to be abstract – and sometimes subjective – it can be challenging to implement and measure changes, especially across offices and departments.
To bring transparency to this process, companies are using assessment tools to better understand how their culture stacks up.
Prioritize Internal Communications and Engagement
While the battle for top talent has led many organizations to double down on workplace benefits, one critical (and even more cost-effective) retention factor often is overlooked: employee engagement.
Effective internal communications start with a solid knowledge of how employees prefer to receive messages. These insights can lead to the development of a multidimensional internal communications plan that actually gains traction and produces more informed, fulfilled employees.
And while fundamentals like right-message-right format are essential, many organizations lack the internal infrastructure to reach employees. Identifying how information flows through your organization, where roadblocks exist and the internal champions who can cascade your message is critical to providing employees with the information they need to feel engaged.
Kimberly Gardiner is a director in APCO's NY office. Follow her at: @KimberlyKGard