During our time working with clients in the manufacturing industry, we’ve identified a trend – the key difference between manufacturers who struggle to attract the best talent and those who seem to have all the best talent is their ability to convey workplace culture. Manufacturing jobs can be difficult, so a well-developed company culture can be an important differentiator for attracting (and retaining) quality candidates who look for a sense of camaraderie from their workplace.
Oftentimes the reason for people leaving their jobs stems from the workplace culture or their manager. It’s no secret that culture is an important determinant of employee turnover, but the difficult part is changing your workplace and mindset to accommodate it. This takes time, but chances are your culture doesn’t need a complete overhaul. Instead, the solution lies in how you’re demonstrating your culture. First impressions are important, and this is especially the case when candidates are considering your company. The biggest short-term improvement that manufacturing companies can make is to provide clarity on what it’s like to work there. So, the question we’re asking is: How can we give clarity to candidates by conveying our culture digitally?
Adding Dimension to Your Digital Presence
When searching for a new job, people tend to look around a lot. Potential candidates might check LinkedIn job postings first, and then reach out to their network to see if anyone has any connections. In the meantime, they might visit popular employment websites and job boards like Indeed or ZipRecruiter to find jobs that seem interesting. If a company seems like a good fit, they’ll visit its website, read reviews on the service and work environment, and check out its social media activity. Potential candidates are more likely to explore your company the more times they see it, so casting a wide net will help put your jobs in front of the best talent multiple times. You’ll want a multi-dimensional view of your workplace culture online. In other words, if your perfect future employees are scanning the internet for jobs, you want to show up on their screen in as many different places as possible.
After finding you on employment websites, your “Careers” page, or any other avenue where they may find your job postings, candidates might research your company online before applying. One way that candidates gain insights on the inner workings of your company is through Glassdoor, a job review website that gives employees the ability to anonymously review their current or past employers. If your company doesn’t have a profile, consider creating one. Having control over your company’s Glassdoor profile will help you spotlight positive reviews, address negative reviews, and provide valuable information about your workplace. Although not directly tied to company culture and recruitment, Google My Business is another great tool to add dimension to your company’s digital profile. Here, candidates can find company reviews, photos, posts, and more. Make sure you’re always responding to reviews, regardless of the platform. Negative reviews left unnoticed will leave a lasting impression on those that find them. On the other hand, showing your appreciation for positive reviews further reinforces positivity towards your company culture in the eyes of candidates.
What Does Your Website Look Like?
If a potential candidate is interested in one of your job postings, they’ll research your company online before applying. During this process, they’ll inevitably find and explore the centerpiece of your digital presence—your website. Candidates will visit your site because they’re interested in your job postings. By effectively demonstrating your culture, you can take advantage of this interest. Although it may seem like investing resources into your website to attract candidates isn’t as efficient as using job boards and recruitment websites, the talent your website attracts will be much more reliable. Adam Robinson at Hireology found that applicants originating from your website careers page cost 70% less to hire and are 50% more likely to still be around one year later than those coming from job boards.
See if you can answer the following questions about your company’s website to determine how effectively you’re capturing culture:
- Do you have real pictures of your employees on your website?
- Do you have real pictures of your workplace on your website?
- Are you clearly describing your mission and vision?
- Do you rely on stock imagery or no images at all?
- Are you showcasing any company-wide events or activities?
If you can answer “yes” to all the above questions, then congratulations, you’re ahead of the curve! If you can’t confidently answer “yes” to all of the above questions, candidates might get the impression that you’re faking culture. This feels like tough love for a reason – if there’s a disconnect between your actual workplace and what’s represented on your website, not only will it be harder to get the best talent through your doors, but new hires may feel misled and quit because of it.
Your website is a direct reflection of the health and quality of your business, and users will make assumptions about your culture based on their experience on your website. A fast and secure website will prevent users from becoming frustrated or losing interest while they’re visiting. In addition to optimizing your website for desktop, an important emphasis should be placed on mobile optimization. Appcast reported that 60.7% of job applications submitted in 2020 were completed on mobile. A website that’s poorly formatted or dysfunctional on mobile will push away a large (and growing) proportion of candidates that could be perfect for your organization. Thankfully, adding a human element to your website while accurately demonstrating your company culture is easier than it sounds.
Your website should have a home for candid and professional photos of your employees at work or during events, as well as a “meet the team” page. Putting faces to names adds a human aspect to your company and makes it easier for candidates to relate to you while envisioning themselves as a part of the team. “Meet the Team” pages establish credibility, build trust, and showcase the talent and friendliness of your employees. Take our “Meet the Team” page, as an example, which highlights our core values of passion and community. We have regular photos that show a “fun” variant once hovered over with the cursor. The objective is to show our visitors that there are real people behind Evolve Systems—people that are friendly, relatable, and fun. The best part about a “Meet the Team” page is that it provides these benefits to potential customers as well as employees, so it can act as a revenue generator that also supplements your recruitment efforts.
Adding photos to your website doesn’t require a professional photographer or a large budget. Many of today’s smartphones have cameras that are perfect for capturing moments in the workplace and of your employees. There are plenty of guides detailing the best ways to take professional photos with your smartphone.
The “About Us” page of your website serves a similar purpose to the “Meet the Team” page but will contain more information and fewer images. This is your opportunity to explain the history of your company, its mission, vision, and how you got to where you are today. If your “Meet the Team” page shows your culture, then your “About Us” page acts as a long-form caption that explains it. These two pages work closely together, so be sure to make it easy for the user to navigate between them.
Think of your careers page as a candidate converter, much like how your contact us page converts potential customers. It should be just as robust as any other page of your website and should act as a good destination for candidates arriving from your recruitment ads or job postings on third-party websites. A careers page should contain relevant and complementary content like team photos and job openings. Candidates will only apply for roles that they can see themselves holding, so try to build a snapshot of what working at your company is like, both in general and specifically for the role. An effective way to do this is by explaining to candidates what they’ll receive from the company that’s above and beyond their paycheck. Where can they expect to be in one year after they’re hired? Is there potential for growth, both personally and professionally? These factors are growing increasingly important for candidates and can be powerful differentiators.
Recruiting With Digital Marketing
Much like how you’d promote a brand promise, company culture, or key differentiators to potential clients, you can apply the same promotion strategy to your hypothetical “Attracting Candidates Marketing Campaign.” You’re marketing to potential candidates through multiple platforms to get the best reach possible while staying on budget. For social media, boosting a Facebook or LinkedIn post about new job openings or company events can build awareness, increase conversions (job applicants), or drive traffic to your careers page. Instead of boosting posts, you can also run traditional text or display ads on social media platforms—a different approach that can prove just as effective. In addition to social media marketing, companies can advertise on job recruitment sites and other third-party pages with job listings that are relevant to yours.
While advertising online, whether through Facebook, LinkedIn, a career website, or somewhere else, we’re able to accurately target potential candidates based on their location, interests, past job titles, age, and more. This gives us the freedom to pinpoint our ideal candidate and concentrate our resources on acquiring candidates that fit this framework. If you’ve advertised digitally before, you might recognize that this is very similar to targeting customers. The process is identical; the difference is the identity of the individual at the receiving end of our marketing campaign.
Manufacturing companies that want to upgrade their recruiting process have a multitude of options at their disposal. Whether it’s adding more dimensions to your digital presence, promoting your job openings through advertising, or optimizing your website, your ability to capture your culture online while effectively demonstrating it can be the difference-maker for top talent as they compare you to the competition. The manufacturing industry is very competitive when it comes to recruitment. Standing out from the crowd is a necessity, and promoting your culture online is an underutilized strategy that can pay dividends.
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