2017 will be blanketed by a myriad of digital marketing strategies for HR firms. From recruitment and onboarding to employee engagement – human resources personnel must be ready to embrace new trends, staying ahead of the curve and meeting the needs of discerning employees across the board.
Wait, back up the bus… did that just say – MARKETING? For human resources?
The job market is becoming increasingly competitive, with unemployment numbers continuing to fall. That means employers have to set themselves apart from other companies. It means communicating your company’s values, beliefs and the ways in which you’re working to be an employer of choice. In short, marketing.
So yes, today, marketing means digital marketing – and digital marketing is powerful stuff for human resources. Sending letters to employees homes is so 2015… now, you need to be online, transparent, and ready to embrace the demands of an entirely new kind of job-seeker.
Employee-centric websites can serve as information hubs for recruiters and talent. In fact, your company’s website is usually the first platforms for job seekers scanning available opportunities and listings. With this in mind, your website must be up-to-date and reflect all the current and burgeoning employment trends. From industry developments to top hiring prospects, your sites should also include a wealth of resources for clients and talent. We’re talking about employment listings, growth reports and informative articles that correlate with several industries and niches. It is also vital to implement social media links and SEO strategies to secure brand visibility and awareness. In fact, meta tagging and keywords still play a pivotal role in connecting users to the services and information they need.
Beyond recruitment, HR will need to embrace digital marketing in the onboarding process. Begin with emails to your teams that keep everyone informed of any start dates for new hires. This makes sure your new employee has all the software, hardware, training, and resources they need to hit the ground running. Consider automated fulfillment of a gift of premium items, so that new employee will feel welcome and part of the team immediately. Add to that some relationship-building marketing emails for your new employee, helping them get acclimated without overwhelming them on their first day.
And look for places to implement a digital marketing strategy in every corner of your online presence by creating an interactive onboarding program that will allow new hires access to the information they need as they get started in their new position.
Of course, regular email newsletters will continue to play integral roles in all HR marketing campaigns. However, these materials can also serve as mobile blogs for all your new and existing subscribers. This means the content should effectively attract and engage job seekers and clients – while addressing all their questions and concerns.
This is where knowledge of online content creation becomes important – what kind of voice do you want for your company in this arena? What topics are vital to cover, and how will you convey who your company truly is? This kind of digital marketing is what draws people to companies today – and repels them just as quickly. It’s important to truly reflect who you are and the kind of team you’re continually building to help your company reach its goals.
Your email content should always be easy to scan and digest as well. Creating memorable content helps generate a lasting buzz about your company
As always, mastering the right social media platforms will be imperative in reaching the right people and drawing them to your company. Recent statistics show that 79 percent of job seekers use social media for daily searches. This includes Facebook and Twitter, along with other platforms and networks. With this in mind, your HR department should continue cultivate relationships on social media platforms relevant to the kind of people you hope to attract. This will help you reach your prospective team members on a large scale – while effectively marketing the things that differentiate you from your competitors to specific individuals.
Believe it or not, depending on who your company is, Instagram and Pinterest can both be especially helpful in establishing a visible presence for your company. Savvy HR professionals utilize these platforms for posting industry growth charts, pictures, videos, and anything that connects their company to what their kind of job seekers are looking for.
So, digital marketing strategies for HR doesn’t sound so far-fetched in 2017. Embracing these concepts can help you build a stronger company with an unbeatable team of engaged employees.
Creating a culture that produces happy, engaged and satisfied workers is essential for successful companies. In addition to the fact that workers in these categories are more productive and efficient than their counterparts, they’re also less likely to organize into unions, which can save employers time, money and stress. With this in mind, here are the top five ways to keep your employees happy and decrease the incentive to turn to a union.
It’s better to be pro-worker than it is to be anti-union. By approaching staying union-free from a defensive position, you communicate that you’re “afraid” of the idea of unionization. A better approach sends a message that employees are part of the solution and that their opinions and feelings matter. With this in mind, the first and most effective step to staying union-free is to act in a way that builds up your employees and their role in creating a union-proof culture, in all facets of your business. This simple method will go a long way toward keeping your workplace union-free!
Believe it or not, many employees don’t fully understand what they’ll give up by unionizing. In your employee handbook and new hire orientation, make sure you educate employees on your union-free operating philosophy and the reasons to stay union-free. Better yet, hold regular training sessions for both employees and managers on the topic. Be open to questions, even the tough ones! Generally, non-unionized workplaces have fewer legal issues, a more cohesive feel, and greater flexibility than unionized ones. They’re also free of the substantial added cost unionization creates.
Communication is a critical protection against unionization. When communication is effective, it flows unrestricted from employees to managers and back. When it’s not, though, issues arise and employees consider unionization. Take a look at your company and consider how you can improve and modernize your communication.
Can you add more relevant forms of communication via online platforms or video? Should you be holding more regular meetings to listen to and resolve employee issues? By streamlining communication, you mitigate many issues that may eventually lead to unionization.
Every company will occasionally need to make a decision that’s unpopular with employees. The ones that don’t explain these decisions, however, are at risk of unionization. Remember that employees all want to feel like they’re part of the solution, and leaving them out of critical decision making or thought processes doesn’t achieve this end.
Instead, take the time to explain unpopular decisions to your employees. Consider holding “listening sessions” where they can air their grievances. If the grievances are actionable, the company’s CEO or HR department can work to resolve them. This simple step helps ensure employee happiness and discourages the formation of unions.
A company’s supervisory and managerial staff are some of its most critical. In addition to collaborating closely with workers, these staff members also field complaints and negative feedback. To prevent unionization and ensure cohesion throughout the company, it’s critical that these complaints be dealt with effectively and completely from within the company. This helps prevent employees feeling the need to form a union to ensure their own protection.
While unionization is a complex process for companies and their workers, these five simple tips can help prevent it from becoming a reality. At the end of the day, employee satisfaction is based on the feeling that they are an integral part of the company’s success, and that their opinions and concerns are valued by upper management. By taking steps to foster this mindset in your workplace, you create a cooperative environment that resists unions naturally, rather than a strict and fragile one that is forcing employees to stay union-free.
When a union has you — and your employees — in its sight, you need to be ready to respond. Union leadership had months to prepare, to start engaging your employees, and to lay the groundwork for a unionization drive. Your business can’t afford to cobble together a strategy once a representation vote is imminent; you need to have a well-thought-out communications game plan. Here are a few tips to help craft your message:
Your labor team needs to communicate with employees during an organizing drive. But before they do, it’s vital to understand that the laws are explicit about what kind of communication is permissible. The team of people working to help keep your company union-free will be in charge of overseeing the message, understanding what is said, to whom and when. Beyond that, the labor team (even if it’s a group of leaders who normally have other primary responsibilities) must know what resources are available to them to help them communicate well. This includes attorneys, persuaders & consultants and those that provide video, web, and eLearning tools dedicated to keeping your company union-free.
So, do your research and know what’s legal as well as what’s recommended for your unique company and workforce ahead of time. Then, when you do have to manage a campaign to keep your company union-free, you’ll be well-prepared.
Next, remember that your supervisors are out every day interacting with employees… making them your best source of information about what’s going on with your workforce. Empower those in supervisory positions and promote positive employee relations by providing confidence-boosting training that helps them understand not only what cannot be said to employees – but what CAN and SHOULD be said during an organizing drive. Supervisors can state that the company is opposed to unionization, highlight the disadvantages of union membership, and point to misleading statements in union propaganda. Supervisors cannot prohibit employees from wearing union buttons or demand to know if they’ve signed a union authorization card. Provide them with the skills they need to conduct meetings with employees, recognize distribution of authorization cards, and implement other targeted communications.
Any team member that is expected to lead and to communicate with employees needs powerful leadership training to avoid mistakes – and Unfair Labor Practice charges – that could lead to fines and penalties for your company, and stress for your management team. This gives you time to prepare your response and make your case to your employees.
Why are your employees even considering joining a union in the first place? If you can answer that question, maybe you can prevent this problem altogether. In a union-free environment, one option is to empower your supervisors to engage employees directly and solicit feedback. If there are consistent grievances, you may have your answer. A more involved option is to organize a “town hall” with executives to speak to employees and even the families of employees directly. This is a slightly more risky idea, but if your leadership is prepared and willing, this can put a more human face on your company.
Finally, your internal processes can include regularly conducted employee engagement or union vulnerability assessments and surveys. When conducted by an outside company, these processes can help upper management gain insight, understanding, and the ability to take action on the right things.
The time to plan your communications strategy is before an organizing drive – not during. Whoever makes up your labor team – be it staff dedicated to this area or communications teams and senior management – needs to sit down and create templates for several key publications: a response to an organizing drive so employees immediately understand that the company is aware and listening, educational information about the effects of unionization and why the company wants to remain union-free, and what to say once an organizing drive has ended (and what it means for the business going forward).
This pre-prepped communications plan applies to company emails and press releases, but if your labor team wants to directly engage and refute union messaging, the best medium can be a website, dedicated to the organizing drive – and addressing only that topic. This kind of site can be created and kept in a “dark” state until it’s needed.
This is where your labor & communications teams earns their keep. Your internal and public communications need to be clear, consistent and positive. Your leadership needs to have the authority to control all management interactions with the media and ensure that no company leaders “wing it” and go off-message. That message needs to state the facts and avoid painting the dispute as bitter or unpleasant. Remember, all you need to communicate is where the company stands and that events are ongoing. Anything else is just noise.
Your message needs to be thoughtful, consistent and constructive. Every communication you release will be picked over by your employees, the union and, depending on the level of coverage, the media. What you say, and how you say it, will reveal a lot about how your organization is weathering the storm and how soon you can get back to business.
We’ve all been there. Business is good, the work is flowing, the team is collaborating and then you hear it: an employee complaint. Maybe they feel the workload isn’t fair. Maybe they’re frustrated with the communication, or feel a lack thereof. Whatever it is, your first instinct may be to put on the boxing gloves and come back on the defensive. However, what if you can turn that complaint into what it likely is: an employee’s desire to make the company truly great? By doing this, you just may begin to see those complaints as opportunities instead.
Let’s clear this up right off the bat: complaints are good, because they mean that employee engagement is good. A complaint is a sign that your employees are so actively engaged in their jobs that they want their company to equal their passions and their contribution. They want to make a suggestion for improvement and see that they have a voice in how they spend those 40 hours every week. If your business doesn’t have a clear and effective avenue for these suggestions, they may just turn into complaints.
To prevent suggestions from turning into complaints, your company needs to have a way for employees to communicate their desires. The first and easiest way is to advertise an open-door policy. Include language in your employee handbook that you welcome feedback as a tool to constantly improve your program for all those involved. Schedule open office hours for employees to express any concerns or share new ideas. Foster positive employee relations by demonstrating that not only are you open to the contributions of your team, but that you will actively try to make changes within your power when they fit with your mission and your company’s needs.
Of course, no amount of open doors and feedback-based policies will prevent the occasional complaint from squeezing between the cracks. When this happens, don’t be disheartened. Nobody is perfect, and every company can find room for improvement. To handle complaints constructively, start the conversation by giving your employee the power to find a solution. For example, if your employee is complaining about a lack of opportunity for professional growth, ask them what areas they would like to develop and what suggestions they have for fostering these skills. If they complain about a long commute, have them propose a plan that outlines how they can get the job done from home occasionally — and be willing to give it a trial. If an employee has a suggestion to make, don’t feel it is all on your shoulders to make those changes. Rely on the strength of your team and the skills of your employees — you hired them for a reason, of course — to come up with constructive solutions as well.
Whether your employees have been with the company for decades or — perhaps even more importantly — are millennials just out of college, having an open and transparent organizational culture will ensure that all workers don’t just feel heard, but are heard. In order to minimize employee unrest and complaints, you need to make a clear and obvious effort to communicate openly in an effective way about employee concerns — not just what they are, but how your company is going to address them. Show that you are willing to put yourself out there and make a mistake in order to improve employee engagement and satisfaction. In this way, your employees can work with more passion and more trust in the company they support.
Most important of all is for the company to communicate that employees are being heard. Whether that takes the form of live meetings, regular video messages, or even an online resource, regular communication fosters understanding. This is particularly true when feedback from employees involves something systemic that may take some time to address. Creating custom training resources to address employee concerns can go a long way toward addressing the opportunities employees present to you. By fostering an environment of feedback, action and communication, you can create a culture that rewards growth and provides job security for every team member.
There is an old adage that declares, “Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Gamification is a new way of proving that old wisdom to be true in more corporate environments than ever before. Incorporating “game” components to what employees do every day has proven successful for motivating sales, improving communications and engaging consumers with brands. These enterprise strategies work equally well for small businesses. Every day, in fact, more small businesses are engaging customers and employees using gamification.
Gamification is defined as bringing game elements into any non-game environment. In the business world, gamification refers to the game-related strategies used to motivate and encourage employees and engage customers. Gamification strategies are always evolving, but traditionally include a focus on elements of gaming that include rewards, achievement markers, contests and even rules for winning.
Rewards for collaboration are often more effective than rewards for competition. As small businesses rely more heavily on portable communication and electronics for information sharing, opportunities to include gamification increase with each virtual platform. Virtual meetings that are actually fun and cost effective are now very possible for small businesses. Replacing the next team building meeting with an afternoon of slow pitch in the park or an hour at the pool hall takes gamification beyond the office and out of the virtual world
How do we make work fun today? That’s where honest corporate communication is essential. While the old-school Pavlovian-inspired bells and whistles are still there, modern applications of gamification include giving employees more artistic and unique rewards, and using fully interactive and personalized computer interfaces when communicating with customers.
Shared corporate goals are the number one factor in hiring and retaining the best employees in your field, and gamification can play an essential role in communicating and reinforcing that shared corporate vision. It can also transform the performance of your employees. For instance, it is important to do more than take an ‘Employee of the Month’ photo. Instead, that strategy can become more modern when that photo is shared with various offices through multiple social media channels. Similarly, including motivators and virtual rewards for collaborative team interaction will help strengthen small business teams, while the gamification strategies already inherent in the social media channels will motivate employees and consumers to communicate with one another in more creative ways.
Gamification integrated with staff training can help motivate employees to learn. Modernized approaches to gamification are proving to increase consumer engagement, create strong dynamic work teams, and facilitate cheerful and appropriate professional communications.