In today’s business environment, it’s not enough to simply focus on maximizing sales to the end consumer. Companies are now devoting substantial resources not only to what they sell, but to the people they hire to sell it. That’s because workers have become tired of the status quo, and are beginning to demand more from their employers than just a paycheck. They want a connection, and they want to feel inspired. And companies want to attract a workforce that shares their vision.
To do this, organizations carve out talent management strategies, offering tailored incentives to lure that ideal employee. This strategy—perhaps most notably employed by the likes of Google and Apple—is meant to attract, develop and motivate engaged employees, and retain them over the long-term to create a high-performance workplace that meets company goals. It’s everything from the Google nap pod to Starbucks’ tuition reimbursement, designed to shape a unique workplace culture that lures the consummate employee to execute the company vision. But HR departments are often ill-equipped to fully promote their culture for maximum effect, and an aggressive PR campaign can sometimes serve as the fresh injection they need.
While many organizations have embraced talent management, they don’t always have the resources to leverage it. PR firms can partner with HR departments and recruiters under pressure to reinvent workplaces and attain new levels of productivity. An effective PR campaign can boost talent management efforts by seizing opportunities to tie that culture back to the end consumer through a targeted message, and win brand recognition on a national stage. Companies benefit from refreshing their image with new brand campaigns and rethinking the workplace culture should be a part of that transformation.
Employers have begun to rethink hiring and retention practices, especially as social media platforms have given employees immediate access and knowledge of the job marketplace. There is a growing pool of resources available to HR departments and recruitment teams to help build employment brands, and to attract the right candidates. And most organizations—though some more intensely than others—have implemented a variety of talent management strategies to accelerate progress toward talent acquisition goals, and by definition, overall business goals.
So, how does the PR push work? Companies have embraced many strategies in response to employees seeking more fulfillment, happiness and security on the job, including additional training, continuing education and leadership opportunities. They can craft compelling narratives around key players who have excelled as a result of those opportunities. Here are some other tactics:
- Identify a dynamic spokesperson who can effectively communicate a company’s bench strength, and how it’s distinguished from the competition.
- Showcase a unique approach to management. An executive who has branded his or her own style can have media appeal as the mastermind of an emerging leadership trend.
- Publicize workforce growth. A company that has had a hiring spree after an increase in sales can position itself as a growth engine and a magnet for its industry’s best and brightest.
- Highlight workplace benefits that resonate strongly with social policies debated in the news, such as extended paid maternity leave. Sometimes simply eccentric perks or incentives can draw welcomed, light-hearted attention. San Diego-based Scripps Health, for instance, offers their employees pet insurance.
- Raise the workplace profile by featuring community partnerships or philanthropic causes associated with current social issues.
- Submit for awards that recognize exemplary workplaces.
Certain elements have potential to gain exposure with the press, while others are best leveraged through social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, where a firm has free editorial rein to showcase a policy or benefit. A PR campaign could also include:
- An analysis of Glassdoor discussions to determine where an image of a company’s workplace may differ from its reality, and where messages need to be recrafted
- An evaluation of job opening advertisements, not simply for their recruitment appeal but for their ability to communicate the company’s workplace philosophy as part of a public forum
- Broadening a company’s schedule of conferences to include events designed to gain exposure for talent management skills
The talent management movement is not unfolding simply as a result of new data mining resources. It is driven by that growing need of employees to feel moved by their company. Millennials in particular have redefined expectations with demands for greater flexibility and more leadership roles. Some would even say the equilibrium has shifted more in employees’ favor, all of which points to a need to reimagine office culture. And companies who are ready to take on that challenge don’t have to do it alone.