7 Reasons Why HR Should Encourage A Writing Culture

Hiring companies and recruiters have never had it so good….

Methods of finding candidates are more advanced than ever, assessment techniques are increasingly accurate, and interview questions are honed down to the last word. Even the personal blogs of candidates on LinkedIn can  be dissected for the required personality traits. They have a glut of information with which to make the crucial hiring decision.

Candidates, however, are still stuck in the dark ages….

Their decision to join is often based on a horribly generic job description, an informative but overly factual website and a video of corporate employees saying how great the place is. Oooh, they’ve got a slide….. The interview answers to “What would you like to know about us?” are often merely regurgitated ad-nauseam. Candidates don’t get to see the true human face of the company until their first day.

Is it any wonder that retention rates are so low?

Maybe recruitment isn’t broken after all – maybe companies just need to do a better job of communicating “who they are” to potential candidates? There are two decisions going on when someone gets hired. Each party should be suitably informed.

Employer branding is the shining new hope in these dark ages. I won’t go into details, but essentially it is about the passive and active candidates in the talent pool being aware of what makes a company tick. According to the 2014 Global Trends Study by Employer Branding International, 76% of companies communicate their employer brand through social media. This employer message should be delivered from the coal face. It should resonate with people. It should be real, not overly manufactured.

Here are seven reasons why employee blogging should form the cornerstone of your employer branding strategy:

Make your people your mission statement. Have you ever read a mission statement and really understood what the hell it meant? I can’t say I have…. By all means have a great company culture, treat your people well, and celebrate success, all that good stuff. But don’t dictate to the wider world what you are all about. “At X we do this, this and this.” Let your people be the powerful human voice behind the corporate rhetoric.

Readers will relate to real people. Richard Branson has over 6 million followers on LinkedIn. He is a truly inspiring guy, but can people relate to him? Probably not. Inspirational stories happen every second of every day, and dismal failures happen even more often. Why not let your employees tell their stories to the wider world – just as they would with their friends in the pub. “You did that? Wow, kudos mate. I wish I worked there.”

The little guys are your voice. The LinkedIn “Influencer” program is full of industry leaders sharing their experience. This is useful for people to learn some valuable lessons from some highly successful people, but in many cases it is the “ordinary” writers on the platform who get more genuine engagement with their posts. They are the true influencers. If your CEO is posting, there is little chance that he can engage in a meaningful dialogue with his readers. If your top Sales Manager is posting, then he is far more likely to build up a loyal and engaged following.

Build your passive talent pool. You have to cultivate a network of “fans.” I’m not talking about people “liking” the repetitive facebook memes. I’m talking about finding a way of getting people to relate to you, to live through your struggles and celebrate your success. I have supported my football team Everton for 30 years – wouldn’t it be great for more companies to develop those sorts of relationships with the wider world? Ask a “fan” for help, and they will gladly assist.

Increase employee referrals. The best source of high-quality candidates (by far) is an employee referral. If you make employee blogging part of your culture, you will touch their networks on a regular basis and be front of mind for some of their high-quality contacts. Their best friend might forward their blog to that elusive Legal Director that you have been searching for.

Cement employee retention. Empowering your employees to blog and giving them the freedom of expression is a powerful way of engaging your people. They not only buy into your brand story; they become the brand story. When you think something, it is fleeting. When you write it down, it lives forever. Allow people to explore their experiences – good and bad. They will love you for it.

Make people feel at home. People spend so much time in the office these days that work / life boundaries are becoming blurred. With an authentically written employee blog, you can create that home-from-home atmosphere when people read. Candidates would have a warm feeling if they ever came to your office for an interview and would be that much closer to saying those magic words….. “When can I start?”

The battle for top talent is on. Cultivating a “writing culture” in your organization is key for attracting and retaining the best of the best. Don’t be scared that you are losing control of your “voice” – people do not expect your business to be staffed by clones. Set some ground rules for the publishing and select a few suitable writers. Build those crucial relationships while your competitors are leaving their candidates in the dark.

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(Disclaimer: I did not write this blog, but I loved this blog, so I wanted to share it with you. I purchased the non-exclusive republishing rights at lovedthisblog.com. I hope that you enjoyed reading it as much as I did.)

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