As America emerges from the pandemic, with new standards for remote working, less office time, and altered revenue streams, companies are encountering another epidemic: a “potentially catastrophic” shortage of employees.
Employers are struggling to fill rosters and while accommodating evolving employee needs for work/life balance. Those recruiting hourly wage earners aren’t getting the volume of applications they need to fill positions, let alone enough to hire truly qualified candidates. Both types of employees are also facing health concerns and childcare issues.
There are many competing theories that address reasons companies in most industries are struggling to garner the interest of potential employees. With no real consensus on the crux of the problem and no immediate relief in sight, what can your company do to stay viable in our current reality?
We don’t want to oversimplify or suggest there’s a magic bullet that will solve this crisis. However, we do know that the countless signs, ads, and billboards promoting jobs and promising signing bonuses will not alone solve the problem. Instead of joining the mass marketing of open positions and short-term benefits for completing a W-2, try something radically different: tell your story.
Good marketing, the kind that resonates with potential customers, investors, partners, and employees, is almost always centered around story. Stories contain power because they offer shared experiences, connect us to meaning, explain things about the world around us, persuade us to see new perspectives, help us remember important information, engage our emotions on a deep level, provide order in chaos, and inspire our imaginations.
Pre-pandemic, many companies in industries which struggled for decades to implement effective, cost-efficient recruiting strategies, took note and shifted their corporate approach. For example, some construction companies began to understand that urgent openings on crews were hard and expensive to fill on a tight timeline. However, creating a culture that drew people in, highlighting positive stories from long-term employees, discussing growth opportunities and past performance, focusing on internal training and retention, and putting leaders and new hires front and center, could help turn the tide.
Rise above the current flood of messages conveying desperation. It takes courage to go a different path when a company is desperate. Long-term success rarely comes from short-term, panic-led decision making. Focus on who your company is by culture, practice, and people. Work to tell that story, as well as the stories of those who truly give you your competitive edge. Talk about how you have helped your clients and how you can help alleviate pressure and stress from new, prospective customers. Flip your marketing from advertising needs to marketing story.
Story will not be an overnight fix; however, based on the littered landscape of Now Hiring signs and guerilla marketing efforts marked by flashing signs and boldly-designed billboards, it doesn’t seem the other approach will be either.