Many companies focus their marketing and communication messages on their service or product because ultimately, they are (naturally) focused on sales improvement. This focus is crucial, of course, however, what often gets overlooked is the company’s attitude towards its staff.
For example, you have a successful company experiencing great profitability. The shareholders are happy, the bank is happy but you want to grow. You need more staff! But often when you reach this level of success you have more competition for the best staff. It can often come down to a salary war between two companies looking to hire the same person.
However, if you can adopt a strategy that develops your reputation in the market place as an ‘employer of choice’ then you will have the skilled people you need contacting you, wanting to work for you and putting the choice in your hands. This can put you in a powerful, and enviable, position!
Consider your own impressions of a few well-known companies. If you are a creative person looking for intellectual creativity in your working environment, you may think of joining Google. How about a company with a young, active workforce and culture – maybe Red Bull? No doubt there are companies that appeal and those that don’t. But why is it that people want to work for these companies? They must get thousands of resumes each week and have the ability to pick the best of the best.
So, what do you need to do to become an employer that is attractive to the workforce without breaking the bank? Most SME’s don’t have a huge budget to market their reputation as an employer. But there are a few things you can do quite readily, and today, to improve your image to potential employees:
- What does your company website say about you? What is the message you convey? Does your company care about it’s staff? Is there support for professional development? Do you encourage flexi-time? Parental leave, etc.? In the absence of these sorts of clear messages the assumption will be that you don’t offer, or care about, these types of issues.
- Do your clients know how important your staff are to your business? They can be potential referrers for you if you are viewed positively.
- If your business is the type to attend sales, conferences, university open days are you making the most of these events to market yourself as an employer of choice? Reach out to local universities and training organisations, attend career seminars and showcase your business.
Ultimately, it will come down to communication. Having a good strategy in place that gives you a definite advantage over the competition. What is your ‘selling’ point? What can you offer that your competitor struggles to match? This is usually conveyed by the CEO or the MD of a business as they ultimately drive the culture of the business.
Finally, the essence of becoming an employer of choice is the quality of the employment relationship. What is your (business) relationship with your employees because ultimately, they are the face of your business and will either endorse it or not.
Have a long hard look at your business culture as it is today. Do you struggle to attract the right people? Do you retain your staff? What is your message to the world? Are you delivering on that message?