— May 28, 2019
The past few posts have been a gentle kick in the ass for my marketing colleagues. For too long we’ve been ignoring our friends in HR, and it’s time we accepted the proven connection between talent and revenue and got on with the job of improving both.
We’ve looked at how some support for internal communications and candidate experience can benefit everyone. We have explored the deplorable state of most careers pages, and why we need to map employee journeys and generally take the whole employer branding thing a lot more seriously.
A few of you have pointed out that marketing is not without its considerable constraints. There is never enough budget, never enough staff, and never enough time to take on HR’s stuff as well as your own. I hear you. So let me offer these seven tiny(ish) things you can probably tackle without hurting yourself.
Tiny Thing #1: Fix the Job Descriptions
This is a copywriting task, nothing more. Most job or position descriptions are horrendous and do little to build the brand or sell the idea of your organization as a nice place to work or do business (remember, applicants are also customers).
If you don’t have a writer on the team, you for sure have a few good freelancers kicking around. Why not hire them to rewrite the boiler plate and tidy up the job description top and bottom copy? This is maybe a couple of hours of work, so we’re looking at the cost equivalent of a few dozen golf balls or the parking charges for your last team offsite. I’ll bet the HR folks will fund this one for you, if you can find them a writer. Be honest, if your sales collateral were as terrible as your candidate collateral, would make your numbers? Right.
Tiny Thing #2: Promote the Employer Brand on Social
Marketers are always stuck for evergreen stuff to push out on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. So why is LinkedIn the only place most organizations even bother to talk about themselves as a place to work?
You know that writer you just got to tidy up the job descriptions? How about asking them to throw together 50 little posts about what an awesome employer you are? That’s one a week; add a nice photo and you’ve got great, shareable content for the year. How hard was that?
Tiny Thing #3: Measure the Employer Brand
If you don’t currently measure your market brand, you can skip this. But if you, like most marketers, periodically test your awareness, sentiment, preference and so on in the market, then you already have a great instrument in place to measure employer brand metrics along the same lines.
Sure, there’ll be a bit more cost to design the questions and ask them; there might even be a different sample required, but you’ll get a much better set of data about your overall brand health, and your friends in HR will get insights they desperately need to compete for talent. Oh, by the way, I’m pretty sure HR can cover the tiny added cost. Will it kill you to call the research company and get an estimate? No, it won’t. Go do that.
Tiny Thing #4: Fix the Careers Page
Whether you like it or not, your terrible careers page is probably one of the most trafficked on your site. You can ignore the fact that it’s off brand, looks terrible, has a lousy user experience and photos from the 1990s. Or you can get the folks who keep the rest of the site nice and shiny to spend a day or two tarting up that careers page.
It’s just not that hard to fix the copy, update the images and make it easy to use. We’re not talking a full-blown renovation here; just a bit of paint and rearranging the furniture to cover the carpet stains. If that all feels like a lot of hassle, let’s remember that sooner or later you will have to hire great marketers – is that dumpster fire of a page going to do the trick? I didn’t think so.
Tiny(ish) Thing #5: Create Candidate Communications:
This is a bit more involved, but still in marketing’s wheelhouse. You’re probably pretty good by now at shoving content at your prospects as they move along your sales funnel. A little infographic here, a lovely video there – it’s all about building that preference and credibility.
The same is true for nurturing candidates, and I’ll bet you can even repurpose a bit of that marketing content. Your friends in HR need just a bit of your time to make all their candidate touchpoints as branded and positive as can be. A bit of copy, a bit of strategy and some warmed-over marketing content and you’ve got a not-very-terrible experience for candidates. Hey, it’s progress.
Tiny (ish) Thing #6: Share your Programmatic Genius
What are you using? Hubspot? Marketo? Some fancy, sophisticated martech stack that seamlessly shovels that gorgeous touchpoint messaging at your sales funnel? Well guess what? You can show HR how to use that same platform to manage their applicant funnel. A couple of hours of instruction and the recruiting team will be programmatically communicating like a boss. Oh, did I mention, HR can probably pick up the tab for some of that software you’re licensing? Just saying.
Tiny (ish) Thing #7: Step Up to Support Organizational Change
Everybody wants awesome employee communications, and nobody wants to actually do it. I get that. For most of the year you can probably let your sucky, underfunded, half-baked internal communications struggle along.
But when the Change Fairy comes a-calling things get real. Usually they get real about a month after they really should have been underway, but that’s for another day. The thing here is that HR is often on-point to communicate change – mergers, downsizings, reorganizations, etc. If you hadn’t noticed, they don’t generally have that skillset just lying about. Truthfully, most marketing departments don’t have it either, but we’re better at improvising.
Next time the winds of change start blowing, go see your HR team and ask if you can help. They may just need a bit of copywriting for some announcements, or they may need you to connect them to some of the agencies and consultants in your roster for more advanced work. It doesn’t cost you to be nice, and you will be doing your job as the protector of your brand. Doesn’t that feel good?