In 2012, Twinkie fans taught us an important lesson about marketing: When it comes to company valuation, customer loyalty is king.
How can I attract more of the right employees?
Business leaders tend to run into one of two problems when attempting to accelerate company growth: 1) They need more leads or 2) They need better people. Many are quick to turn to marketing to solve the former, but few realize that marketing actually plays a key role in both – filling the sales funnel and recruiting right-fit employees.
The fact is, without great people running your company, its growth will stagnate. Conversely, hiring A players with the right skills can have an immediately positive impact on a company’s growth and revenue. Engaged, motivated employees drastically boost profitability, improve team performance, deliver top-notch customer service, and uphold your company’s brand.
What does this have to do with marketing?
While brand has traditionally been marketing’s role and hiring relegated to HR, we’re here to tell you that it’s time to marry the two functions.
Why? Because believe it or not, there is a war for top talent taking place. Expectations about culture are quickly evolving, and the companies ending up on top are those that are attractive to potential employees… especially among Millennials.
The fight for Millennials
With Boomers retiring and a smaller total number of Generation Xers, this cohort will comprise at least 50% of the workforce by 2020. Hiring Millennials is becoming increasingly important for success in most companies – and the organizations that best understand how to attract, hire, mentor, and retain this group will soon have the competitive advantage.
While there is a lot of bad press written about the Millennial cohort, don’t buy into it. There are amazingly talented early-career employees in their 20s and 30s. They are smart, technologically savvy, motivated, innovative, and hard working.
However, they do require a different recruiting approach than their older counterparts.
Unlike generations that came before it, this up-and-coming group is less wowed by traditional HR benefits, and more interested in what a company can provide them in terms of a great culture, mentorship, fulfilling career opportunities, and a work-life balance. Corporate focus has seen an undeniable shift towards building a strong employer brand and creating materials to attract the best employees (particularly the Millennials). And as such, it’s no surprise that recruitment and retention have started to become both a marketing and an HR function.
Let’s take a look at one example of a company that has completely transformed its approach.
How a commercial HVAC service provider changed the game of recruitment
When Kinesis first started working with Reitmeier, the commercial HVAC company was all too familiar with the generational challenges facing the business world today:
- Leadership had grown frustrated, because finding capable technicians to join the Reitmeier team was becoming an increasingly difficult task and required aggressive recruiting efforts.
- Reitmeier was not getting any unsolicited resumes.
- They were facing an increasing skills gap trend in the skilled trades – one that is only expected to grow.
- High school technical programs were being cut, vocational schools were closing their doors, and a high percentage of the skilled trades workforce was getting ready to retire.
“It was clear that our historic methods for bringing in new people were no longer working,” Reitmeier President Jeff Nusz recalls, “And it wasn’t going to sustain our vision for the future. We hire people who match our values and bring the best service to our customers. Since we couldn’t find them, we decided to do something radically different. Now we grow them ourselves!”
Enter Reitmeier University. Rather than fighting to hire technicians when they graduate a trade school (and when the job market is most competitive), Reitmeier started bringing them in for training right out of high school. They developed a continuing education program for new hires that teaches them everything they need to know on the job – growing right-fit employees from the ground up, and effectively targeting this increasingly tricky demographic. They partner each new hire with an experienced Senior Level Technician who mentors them along the way, showing them the best ways to tackle real-world HVAC issues.
Working closely with leadership and HR, Kinesis helped Reitmeier develop the marketing strategy and necessary collateral for this effort. And we’re proud to report that it’s been an amazing success – Reitmeier has both targeted and learned to mentor Millennials, and the company is now attracting a veritable influx of right-fit Millennial employees. They now receive at least 3-4 unsolicited resumes each month, even when there aren’t any open positions. This provides them with a deep pool of applicants when they are ready to hire.
Interestingly, because of their showcased commitment to a fantastic culture and a growing reputation as a great place to work, Reitmeier is also attracting mid-level and senior-level techs who have decided to come over from other companies. They were recently recognized nationally as one of the four “Best Contractors to Work For” in the nation by Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration (ACHR) News – North America’s leading information resource for the HVAC industry.
Now it’s your turn
Reitmeier’s success was not an accident, and you can replicate these results in your own organization. Here are just a few ways that marketing and HR can work together to attract Millennial top talent:
- Have a website that appeals to Millennials. Your website must look and feel up to date and personal. An older (we’re talking more than 3 years) website will fail to impress your potential new hires. They expect sleek design, and responsiveness to their mobile devices. It also goes without saying that your website needs to be better than your competitors (both other same-size companies, as well as the “Big Boys” in your marketplace who have deep pockets for the latest and greatest online toys).
- Create a career center online: This doesn’t have to be overly complex. But having a page that allows people to download job descriptions and upload resumes can be a huge boon to attracting twentysomething tech-savvy employees. On your Career Center page, you can briefly describe your values and show photography of your workspace. Or you can go full bore like Meetup and show all of the amazing activities your team does together. Another example of a Millennial-focused hiring center is on the SoundCloud website.
- Create a recruiting video: Millennials grew up digital – they’re used to watching movies and streaming shows and music videos online. Use this fact to your advantage. Film your employees telling the story of what it’s like to work at your company, or hire a videographer to document your next team outing. Done well, this can dramatically improve a prospect’s interest in your company. You can also showcase your workplace environment and cultural camaraderie. Here is one example from Delap Accounting and another from Gorilla Group, an ecommerce provider.
- Leverage social media to attract talent. It’s no secret that LinkedIn is an important place to fly open positions and connect with potential talent. But when it comes to showing off your culture, consider adding Facebook to your recruiting toolkit. Facebook is a fantastic place to recruit Millennials and Gen Xers. You can post new job positions, fun videos, blog posts, updates about fun things your employees do together, and photos that showcase your team and workplace. You can even run Facebook ads to drive people to your company page. Here is a great example of an employee-centric page from Ruby Receptionists.
While Marketing and HR have traditionally worked in silos, a more tech-savvy marketplace with greater employer expectations calls for the collaboration, sharing of ideas, and alignment of strategic objectives between the two areas. Better bridges between the two departments lead to an amazing employer brand that attracts the best Millennial talent – along with novel ideas (like the ones at Reitmeier) that fill gaps in recruiting and hiring.
Amazing things can happen when HR and Marketing put their heads together.