The Coronavirus has made engagement more important than ever. People who have been laid off get upset when they read or hear words like “people are our most important asset.” They know that most executives really believe that labor is a cost, just like steel or semiconductors, and want to get it as cheaply as they can. Their cynicism has basis in fact: layoffs and dismissals and lack of empathy from the executives of many organizations during this pandemic have underlined the commodity nature of most jobs. .
Prospective employees instinctively seek out organizations that appear to care for their employees, treat them with respect, provide development and career opportunity, and keep people based on contribution. But even organizations that do provide these often overlook how important they are when times are bad. Recently laid off candidates or even those seeking better opportunities hope for an employer that cares about them and a recruiting process that is responsive, candid, and fair.
Internal employees are also fearful of potential layoffs and many want to improve their skills so that they have more options. They, too, are looking to HR and the recruiting function to help and guide them to new opportunities.
Recruiters need to be especially sensitive to this and make sure that the career sites and all communication is honest, informative and real. It needs to address organizational policies on virtual work, safety, business prospects, and other sensitive issues.
Unfortunately, many recruiters who are adept at engaging candidates when they are face-to-face, are at a loss on how to do this with candidates who are remote and virtual. Most career sites remain uninspiring. Interview processes remain too long, tedious and sterile- made even worse by the need to interview virtually. And recruiters often lack guidelines on how to answer difficult questions about the organizations and its future prospects.
Several years ago Forrester outlined four aspects of customer engagement.
I have listed them below interpreted the four Forrester findings with candidate engagement in mind.
#1. Involvement—essentially the component that measures if a person is present.
#2. Interaction—doing something meaningful. Buying something. Taking a survey.
#3. Intimacy—the sentiment or affinity that a person exhibits in the things they say or the actions they take
#4. Influence— addresses the likelihood that a person will recommend your product or service to someone else.
This is step one. This is your entire approach to recruitment and communication with candidates. Do you use a chatbot, for example, to capture questions and provide immediate feedback? Do you have a survey that engages people right away?
There is a lot of room in this step for improvement. Most career sites are not useful because they are filled with PR jargon nor do they try to involve candidates in discovering more about the organization. A chatbot could help by documenting what candidates care about and what concerns them. Chatbots create involvement and improve the number who apply.
Do your candidates take surveys? Do they watch videos or download podcasts? Are they participating in your site? Interaction is a significant component of any application and is the main method for getting people really excited and willing to explore deeper. All career sites should have different ways to involve candidates. And once again success can be measured by how many candidates use these tools and for how long?
This is a complex part of engagement and often its depth depends on the brand your organization has and what employees say about it. Do you offer candid information, do you avoid bullshit and boilerplate? Does you messaging show sensitivity to the job losses and economics impact of the pandemic? Do you show that you care about your employees? Do you provide internal mobility? Do you offer training?
Success in this step can be measured by how often candidates mention your company as an example to other recruiters or to friends. It can be measured by surveys about candidates’ perceptions of what it is like to work in your firm.
This is the Holy Grail or the ultimate goal of your engagement process. At this level, candidates are recommending your site to their friends and a viral referral program is in effect. This is easily measured by the number of referrals from other candidates and by membership in any networks you establish.
While this is a high level view of a complex topic, the idea of getting candidates engaged is not new. What is new is how to do it effectively using the Internet, chatbots, video, and other tools that have emerged over the past few years.
I will add one more. It is critical to be real in what you communicate. recent research shows that polished, corporate videos,