Strategic HR Initiatives to Focus on This Summer

The weather is heating up but, for some HR professionals, it may feel like hiring is slowing down.

Between your employees’ and candidates’ summer vacations, it can seem next to impossible to schedule interviews, gather feedback, and make hiring decisions.

While you’re waiting around on everyone else, make time to focus on these strategic HR initiatives to make hiring a little easier and reduce the number of positions you have to backfill. Before you know it, your company will be growing faster than those weeds in your backyard!

Employer branding

A good reputation can make hiring much easier, as candidates will be more receptive to your (or your recruiter’s) outreach and will actively seek out positions with your company. Top-tier candidates, in particular, have many choices about where to work and will consider a company’s employer brand in their decision to interview and accept a given position.

While you can drive your employer brand, you can’t steer it – so you will need to audit where you currently stand in the eyes of your employees and candidates before you can decide how you can convey your desired brand. Find out why your employees like working for your company. Ask your candidates what intrigued them about your company. Think about what makes your company stand out as employer.

If you’re happy with where your company stands, develop a strategy to promote it. This should include owned properties, such as your career site and social media channels, as well as earned media, including accolades (those “best places to work” lists) and media interviews.

If, on the other hand, you’re dissatisfied with your current employer brand, develop a strategy to improve it. This should always include responding to negative employee and candidate feedback to correct a bad reputation, but may also include things that improve upon an already good reputation.

For instance, your company may want to be known for its charitable contributions and an employer branding strategy would dictate how it will get there.

Candidate experience

The tables have turned and candidates hold all the cards in the job market. With 32% of employers having difficulty finding jobs due to the talent shortage, companies can’t ignore their candidate experience and risk losing great candidates.

The problem is that your hiring managers and interviewers are not trained recruiters and may be inadvertently providing a poor candidate experience. Without knowledge of how to provide a great candidate experience, or why it even matters, they may be treating candidates the way they’ve always been treated: showing up late to interviews, coming unprepared, or not being actively engaged in the process.

Even with a great employer brand, a bad candidate experience will cause a candidate to lose interest in working at your company. In fact, 83% of candidates said a negative interview experience could change their mind about a role or company they liked. What’s more, the advent of social media and review sites (such as Glassdoor) can spread the word about your company’s negative candidate experience and dissuade others from giving your company a chance.

Rather than continuing to lose great candidates because of your company’s candidate experience, work out a strategic plan to improve it. Even companies with a great candidate experience may find opportunities for improvement if they look for them.

Again, ask your employees and candidates where they think you stand, and use their feedback to provide a better candidate experience. This may include training your hiring managers and interviewers on how to provide a great candidate experience, or it may be something more simple like giving candidates directions to your office. You’ll never know if you don’t ask.

Employee engagement

As the job market loosens up, candidates have more options than they have in recent years – leading to higher employee turnover. When your company is trying to grow, backfilling existing positions instead of hiring for new ones can make you feel like your wheels are spinning. This makes employee engagement a key strategic HR initiative.

Studies have shown that engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their company than disengaged employees. That’s because engaged employees often feel a connection with their company, such as shared values and a sense of purpose. As a result, engaged employees often go the extra mile and can contribute to a more positive experience company-wide.

You can gauge your current level of employee engagement and discover opportunities for improvement through a regular employee survey. Ask your employees how they feel about their job, if they’re proud to work at your company, and if they feel personally fulfilled and appreciated.

Use the feedback you receive to create an employee engagement strategy that will help you create a happier workforce with less turnover.

Which other strategic HR initiatives are you focusing on this year? Let us know with a comment!

2017-08-02T23:37:54+00:00 June 26th, 2015|

About the Author:

Jen Dewar is a marketing consultant in the HR technology space with a focus on developing educational content for recruiters, corporate HR professionals, and staffing agency owners. She has spent the past 10 years working with a wide variety of companies — from corporate marketing for healthcare organizations and recruitment firms, to startup marketing for both Identified and Bright.com, prior to their respective acquisitions. When she's not doing marketing, you can find Jen snowboarding in Tahoe with her husband, traveling abroad, or enjoying a night in with friends and a good bottle of wine. She's a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a degree in Socio-Economic and Political Global Studies.