This is part 2 of our New Talent Challenges Series. In it, we examine the new issues companies have to face when hiring talent, especially in the context of pandemic-related consequences that are still disrupting every industry.
If I were to ask you what marketing is all about, chances are you’d start talking about getting prospects, leading branding efforts, and advertising products and services across different channels. While you’d be right by pointing out all those things, the truth is that marketing also serves a very important role in talent recruitment and retention.
You might argue that recruitment is the responsibility of the HR department and retention depends on a number of aspects, including economic, cultural, and personal factors. But things are more complex than that. That’s because, if you look closely, you’ll see that all those aspects as well as the HR responsibilities are deeply intertwined with a company’s marketing.
Let’s dive deeper into that.
Why Marketing Is Important in Talent Recruitment and Retention
The reason why so many of you might have thought of sales and advertising with the hypothetical question in the introduction is that marketing has been closely aligned behind those goals since its very inception. Besides, many businesses measure their marketing effectiveness in how many products they sell or how many clients they engage.
However, believing that the branding initiatives created by the marketing department are solely focused on those metrics would be wrong. When you create a brand, you put forward a set of values and beliefs that follow an overall mission and vision. In a sense, your brand sells a way of seeing the world and of engaging with it. You then use those values and that vision to engage with potential customers and turn them into actual clients.
Yet, that perspective doesn’t just have to impress the clients—it also needs to attract the talent that makes your company work. Just as you sell your products and services to your customers, you need to sell your company to potential employees. If you succeed, people will want to work for you and will want to stay for you, because they perceive your brand as a good environment.
That’s when marketing comes into play. The marketing team needs to use your brand’s values, mission, and vision to pursue 2 different objectives. On one hand, they need to craft, curate, and groom the brand’s messaging in such a way that potential employees empathize with your company. On the other hand, they have to play their part when building your own culture on a daily basis.
Both of those things contribute to how people perceive your business, which, in turn, affects their decision about working (or continuing working) for you. Think about it. If someone is considering applying to one of your job openings, they won’t want to come across complaints about your work environment or your disregard for the environment. In fact, those things might drive them away. Not just that—people already working for you might also leave because of those things.
How Marketing Can Help
So, the marketing’s job is to help from its place: revamping employee-centric communications, highlighting values, fostering best practices for in-house messaging, and convincing all departments about the importance of branding for employees. Getting all of those right can be a tall order, but with a strategic plan in place, you can certainly achieve them.
Here are some suggestions:
- Adjust your communications to give some space to your employee-centric initiatives. Maybe you have a diversity program, have an in-house talent contest, or provide a unique perk. Whatever it is, make sure it’s visible, because all of it will humanize your brand while also showing that the company cares about its employees.
- Create marketing campaigns around your employees. We’re living in the age of stories, so you definitely have to leverage that. Using your happiest employees, you can showcase what working at your company looks like. They can share their stories, answer questions in a live streaming event, refer candidates, or do any other initiative you can think of.
- Get all departments to help with marketing. While the marketing department is in charge of everything marketing-related, all departments are responsible for building the brand’s image. That’s why the marketing department should cooperate with all areas, sharing data about initiatives, aligning the messaging all across the board, and even encouraging other departments to help with recruiting.
- Go beyond branding. While all the above is essential for any marketing department looking to improve a company’s recruitment and retention, it might not be enough. Changes in corporate culture and the working environment need input from others, especially the C-level executives. In that context, the marketing department can lead the way, showing what competitors are offering, what top talent is looking for, and what the company’s employees are saying about potential improvements.
As you can see, marketing is more than just selling products and bringing in new customers. It can certainly help in building the brand that both potential and actual employees will perceive. That’s nothing to scoff at, because how people perceive you can make or break your recruitment and retention initiatives.
And while you might be tempted to leave both of those things in the hands of the HR department, the reality is that making the effort is truly worth it. In fact, it can reward you with lower employee turnover rates and growing interest of the top talent in working with you. What’s more, you’ll be contributing to the redefinition of what marketing is all about and helping usher in the considerations all businesses need to take regarding their workforce.