“I remember one guy who was working at an investment bank contacted me on LinkedIn and said: ‘One of my friends works at Just Eat, and he says it’s fantastic. These are my skills, I’d love to come work with you’. He ended up being Head of Sales in the UK, and is probably on track to becoming Managing Director. He didn’t cost us a penny to employ,” says David Buttress, former CEO of online food order and delivery service Just Eat.
With a Recruitment Buzz survey into the biggest recruitment pains and challenges from over 2,000 UK companies revealing that the most common in-house recruitment challenge currently faced was struggling to fill “certain roles”, followed by not enough quality applications, the ability to attract talent, rather than having to go out and search for it, sounds like a dream come true.
After all, with huge expectations placed on in-house recruiters, who not only have to meet their own targets, but also diplomatically manage relationships with senior personnel with urgent need, internal recruitment is anything but easy. But how do you ease the burden of building a brand that attracts the best potential new employees?
STATE OF PLAY
Having co-founded the food giant with one other in a basement, before overseeing its growth into a global business with, at the time of his departure, over 2,100 employees, Buttress knows all too well the advantages of having a brand in place that attracts talent.
“It meant that rather than having to go chase for it, we just sucked it in. People had heard from those already within the business, ‘I work at Just Eat, what a great place it is to work, this is why’. And those people would come directly to us.
“One person we brought in, within 12 to 18 months, brought four or five people in with him, because they’d heard from him what a great place it was to work. It became such an efficient way to hire great talent, people who would, in time, stretch themselves within the organisation.
“In my mind, it’s obvious, but I’m amazed how many boardrooms don’t spend more sufficient time on it.”
HOW INTERNAL RECRUITERS CAN TRIGGER CHANGE
A team that feels emotionally committed and connected to the cause, and loyal to the brand, is far more likely to brag about working for the company. One of the most effective ways of doing that, and engaging the entire workforce, is with content.
A recent LaunchPad report revealed that just over a third (36%) of in-house recruiters think their business highly values their recruitment function. It exposed a number of reasons for this, including the ongoing pressure to fill roles with limited resource.
After all, as Buttress says: “What builds companies is the people that work in them. I always despair, when I’m reading an annual report how much emphasis there is on financials, and how little there is on the people side of the organisation. I can’t think of a more important way to become successful then spending time making sure your people feel great about what they do every day.”
Leveraging content to build a more engaged team can elevate you high above your competitors, helping attract the best external talent while ensuring your organisation begins to appreciate the benefits of having its own internal recruitment team.
THE GIFT OF ANTICIPATION
Consider what the next 12 months will look like for your employees. What are the big milestones? What is most likely to engage them, and how can the existing team help support this?
“Think carefully about who your brand is going to talk to in terms of employee experience and attraction,” says Buttress. “What does the brand really stand for? How does that look and feel?” An effective communication strategy can be used to ensure employees are invested in the direction and vision of an organisation, helping to engage them along the way.
Too often, companies communicate with their employees on a reactional basis. Instead of having a considered strategy that can be measured and improved, they have a mechanism for press releases. Engagement comes over time when publishers do the right thing on a regular basis.
An audience will need to start expecting content to be delivered so that it begins to form part of their lives. Companies should build and stick to delivery schedules, whether that is a monthly, quarterly, or bi-annual release. Having a structure, and being disciplined with it, will give readers the gift of anticipation and help them know when to expect their next hit.
Work hard to discover what makes the people within the company tick. This may be best driven via an HR team, along with marketing and key stakeholders, who will have much of this information. What kind of details get people excited? Is it company news, employee benefits or financials, or even lifestyle? Then look at how they want to receive this information.
Human stories, such as case studies on individuals within the organisation, often resonate on a higher level than straight ‘what you need to know’ features. Buttress, for example, was particularly open about sharing his employee feedback, highlighting the benefits it brought to the culture.
“I used to publish the feedback that I got from my line management team to the entire company. I tried to create an open culture of none of us are perfect. ‘These are the things I’ll keep doing, these are the things I’ll do more of, these are the things I’ll do less of.’ That really created a sense of trust, transparency, and humility across the group.”
Above all, think about your audience and drive everything that’s relevant, interesting and valuable to them. Put the reader first, and keep a keen eye on what will make them want to receive content and accept it as part of their working life issue after issue, helping to build a strong brand along the way.