As a major connector between your company and candidates, you know the employee stories candidates need to hear. You’re ready to scale your messaging by investing in culture content that shows the real employee experience. Now it’s time to convince leadership.
In this post, we’ll walk through some of the ways the Stories Incorporated team has helped recruiters get buy-in for a culture content project.
What does your problem cost?
Sure, leadership needs to relate to you and the work you’re doing. They need to understand the obstacles you’re trying to overcome.
But more than that, they need to see and feel your problems as their problems. They need to realize ineffective or nonexistent employer branding and recruitment marketing efforts impact their bottom line, their ability to get work done, and even their reputation among buying and current customers. It damages the whole company.
Here are a few employer branding and recruitment marketing problems you may be having:
- We have a great culture… but no one knows about it. All of our talent efforts are outbound. Top talent would come to us if we had better brand recognition and recruitment marketing programs in place.
Employee Experience and Employer Brand Misalignment / Retention
- We’re not doing a good job setting expectations of what it’s really like to work here. The reality doesn’t match the message. Our turnover is fast and high as a result.
Employee Advocacy & Storytelling
- We have a highly engaged workforce, but we aren’t leveraging their experiences to attract others they’re connected to. Even though they are willing and enthusiastic, we aren’t asking them to tap into their networks.
Scaling the Story
- Our recruiters are fantastic storytellers, but can only sell our culture on a one-to-one basis when we get someone on the phone. We need to scale our storytelling to reach and influence the right candidates faster.
Diversity, Inclusion & Equity
- We can’t advance our diversity goals, because we have a terrible reputation among those that would be diverse to our company or our teams. We’ve done/are doing the internal work but we have proof of progress now. We need to share the stories of how we support our employees so candidates can see all the work we’ve done to fix culture.
- We have a talent community that only hears from us once a year. As a result, we have an unengaged database and a lot of wasted opportunities.
So, why should your leadership care? Ultimately all these things are tied to the ability to attract the right talent, hire them quickly and/or retain them for the medium and long term.
Data you can use
Quantifying the cost of your problem is important to get leadership attention, and for them to realize your problems are their problems: they can’t do their job as effectively when turnover runs rampant, for example. You want them to care enough so that they want the problem solved, too. Then they’ll be a champion of the solutions you propose.
So, how do you quantify the impact your work has on your company’s ability to attract the right talent, time to hire, and retention?
There’s math you can do, using your company numbers that will make the financial impact of your work real for those you need to influence.
Broad HR Data
Setting the right cultural expectations for candidates is key to recruit employees who will thrive in your environment. Through effective and truthful recruitment marketing, employer branding and culture content, your work impacts quality of hire and other meaningful HR metrics.
Look at the cost of turnover, how much a vacant seat for a specific role costs the company every day it goes unfilled (ties to your time to hire metric), and what disengagement costs.
Your HR department should be able to help, but if you don’t have these numbers available to you, here are some industry stats you can use:
- The cost of replacing an individual employee can range from one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary (and that’s a conservative estimate). (Gallup)
- On average 17.2 percent of an organization’s workforce is actively disengaged. (Gallup)
- Disengaged employees have 37% higher absenteeism, 18% lower productivity and 15% lower profitability. When that translates into dollars, you’re looking at the cost of 34% of a disengaged employee’s annual salary, or $3,400 for every $10,000 they make. An actively disengaged employee who makes $60,000 a year costs their company $20,400 a year! (Gallup, LinkedIn)
Employer Branding and Recruitment Marketing as a Solution
Now that you’ve quantified how much your people problems are costing your company, apply how investing in recruitment marketing and employer branding can help. According to LinkedIn’s Ultimate List of Employer Brand stats, a great employer brand results in:
- 28% reduction in turnover
- 50% cost-per-hire reduction
- 50% more qualified applicants
- 1-2x faster time to hire
Great employer branding and recruitment marketing increases awareness, engagement, candidate conversions, and ultimately, quality of hire. Investing in good content to fill your channels and further engage your audience moves the needle on all your talent attraction and conversion methods.
Why Employee Stories as Recruitment Marketing Content
So, what is your big ask?
What investment increases employer brand awareness, helps define your culture and unique value proposition, targets specific talent, and gets your leadership excited and ready to fund?
An employee story content project accomplishes all of that and more.
The best recruitment marketing content is grounded in employee stories. It’s what is definitely true: you can’t argue with someone’s experience. And what your company has done to improve the personal and professional lives of your employees is powerful, memorable and engaging marketing content.
More than just testimonials, employee stories give candidates real insight into jobs they may have and the culture they’ll experience if they join your company.
And that’s what candidates are searching for when they visit your channels.
- Candidates trust the company’s employees 3x more than other company statements in providing credible information on what it’s like to work there (Edelman)
- 52% of candidates seek out the company’s sites and social media to learn more about an employer (LinkedIn)
It’s also the simplest employer branding concept to “explain” to leadership.
In its most basic form, you’re asking to create content (videos, blogs, etc.) that will communicate your culture. Most people have seen a “culture video.” And you can show examples of the types of companies whose culture most matches yours. That’s an easy way to get your leadership envisioning the final output.
But, for recruitment marketing efforts, it’s not just one video you need. It’s a suite of content, a library, a video series, campaign assets. It’s a storytelling project.
Your leadership understands that stories can educate, influence, emotionally impact, and entertain an audience. While its power is acknowledged, using it as a way to accomplish business objectives is less clear. Storytelling has become a corporate buzzword and lost its meaning, because of how accessible and ubiquitous the concept of a story is.
Sometimes leaders can get behind the concept of employee storytelling without much explanation. But for those who need to understand how “storytelling” turns into tangible results for your company, you have an advantage. In recruitment marketing ultimately a story is turned into consumable content for candidates, like videos, blogs, social graphics, and more.
You can ground the storytelling concept into how it will work for you. You can show your leadership a really great employee story video, instead of explaining its value or relying on generalities.
Here are a few examples to make good employee storytelling real for your leadership, with recruitment marketing and employer branding concepts attached.
This video recently won a Rally award for Best Use of Video in Recruitment Marketing. It features stories from twelve Dell women from all over the world.
These women tell real stories about their experiences at work. These stories support Dell’s bold pledge that by 2030, 50% of their workforce and 40% of global people leaders will be women.
Team storytelling, like these stories from AstraZeneca’s biopharmaceutical division, shows the impact of culture on a division of the company.
The stories introduce the team to candidates in key hiring areas before the interview and show how those team members connect their roles to their purpose.
Go for it: schedule the meeting
Your company leadership wants you to be successful. So, you need to show them how they can best support you.
When you approach financial stakeholders and project champions thoughtfully, using internal and external data to highlight the problem, and coming prepared with a solution and a specific ask for help, you have nothing to lose.
What’s the worst that can happen? Your project doesn’t get funded. They say no. You will have learned a ton about how to better approach your stakeholders the next time. And who knows, the timing could be better next quarter or next year.
But I don’t have to tell you this. As a recruiter, you already know that timing is sometimes everything. You’re used to handling objections, to “Nos” and “Not right now.”
You’re resilient, you’re bold, and you’ve got this.
Lauryn Sargent is a cofounder at Stories Inc., a recruitment marketing content agency that’s been fortunate enough to work with some of the world’s most admired employer brands. Stories Inc. is celebrated for uncovering compelling employee stories that communicate culture and creating content libraries optimized for every candidate-facing channel. Prior to starting Stories, Lauryn was an agency recruiter and corporate talent acquisition manager.
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