Three Marketing Strategies to Improve Recruitment and Retention

In the wake of ongoing recruitment and retention challenges, many HR leaders are teaming up with their marketing colleagues to bring more scale to their recruitment efforts. If a recruitment marketing campaign is something you’re considering, here are three successful strategies based on Mower’s years of experience with employer branding and recruitment marketing. Our client experience spans a wide range of industries including technology, healthcare, hospitality, professional services and manufacturing.

  1. Spotlight your people.

The adage about a company’s people being its most important asset is especially relevant when it comes to recruitment marketing. Showcasing real employees will resonate more than defaulting to stock imagery—whether it’s that ubiquitous shot of Instagram-worthy hipsters gathered casually at a conference table or the friendly female caregiver leaning over a silver-haired patient. Stock is tempting because it’s relatively affordable and you don’t have to worry about changing up the campaign if a featured employee leaves your organization. That said, don’t do it—unless your goal is to convey the message that your employer brand is no different than any other brand out there.

In our digital marketing recruitment campaign for a large healthcare provider, Loretto, to attract entry-level caregivers, we created a series of short video ads featuring real team members. Each video tells a story, and the featured employees describe what they love about their careers at Loretto in their own words. The social media campaign has helped to fill Loretto’s pipeline with qualified candidates and has led to many new hires.

  1. Lead with emotion.

Taking a job is like making a highly considered purchase, and research shows people make these moves like other buying behaviors: they decide primarily on emotion, and then use facts and logic to validate their decisions.

Our award-winning, New York state-wide recruitment marketing campaign for the Caring Gene® brand began with research that revealed what really attracted people to these specific job opportunities. Rather than the “speeds and feeds” of the job—the pay, benefits, flexible schedules, training and career potential—we discovered that people who thrive in these roles simply have an intrinsic desire to help other people. It’s an emotional need that the job fulfills, and on good days, their work brings them real joy. This campaign leads with emotion and asks, Do you have the Caring Gene?, inviting candidates to self-select based on what they know about themselves and what makes them tick. After accumulating enough data about existing staff and prospective employees, Mower could recognize the attributes of the target audience. They were into pop culture, especially hip-hop. They were playing games online. So, in the third iteration of the campaign, we pivoted to a very different approach. The third iteration became the “Dance Campaign.”

The agency created a series of eight different videos featuring groups of caregivers in different dance scenarios. Some were like flash mob dances with a spontaneous feeling. Others took more of a storytelling approach: someone dancing their way from a dull boring kind of retail job or fast-food job into a more fulfilling caregiver role.

The latest phase of this multi-year digital marketing recruitment campaign incorporates an AI-driven algorithm to identify people with the Caring Gene, leading to almost 2.1 million total website visits, 143,000 job search tool interactions and almost 2,300 job applications.

  1. Show purpose and passion.

There’s been a heavy emphasis on purpose branding in product marketing in recent years, as more consumers expect brands and corporations to tangibly show they care about more than just making a sale. The same applies to employer branding. Candidates—especially the younger cohorts—want to make a difference in the world. And one way to do this is to join an organization that does well by doing good.

Years ago, this might have been answered by corporate sponsorship of a worthy cause. But today’s candidates want to know that what your organization does every day—its core mission—will help make the world a better place. Purpose is a tall order in some industries and may take some soul-searching as a company to identify. Ultimately, candidates want to know their prospective employer has strong values and lives by them. With FirstEnergy, a utility with a multi-state service area, Mower created a series of moving video stories showcasing how the utility supports its own employees’ personal passions and purpose projects, humanizing a large corporation and demonstrating the values in action.

There are no easy solutions to the challenges created by today’s workforce realities. But there are key strategies employers can activate to position themselves for greater success. How are you doing with your employer branding and recruitment efforts?

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