(By Laurie Kahn) Labor-force projections over many years showed that we would face a shortage of qualified talent, and now that time is here. If talent acquisition isn’t a major focus for your company, you will struggle to attract, hire, and retain the talent you need. We are seeing the lowest unemployment in decades, with lots of competition to hire the talented professionals and entry-level candidates radio needs. Talent acquisition must become a major focus for all businesses across all industries. Here is a step-by-step solution to help you win this war. It is strategic, tested, and proven.
1. Assign a budget for talent acquisition. Include marketing, fees for career fairs, travel, relocation, referral programs, outside assistance, and signing bonuses. Yes, signing bonuses. They have been done for years in many industries, and you may find them helpful in closing a deal with a potential superstar.
2. Have a strong social media presence for the company, the stations, and the leadership team. We are dealing with more educated job seekers today, who will do a major amount of homework before they ever reach out to talk. Be prepared to share the reasons you are a company that should be considered for a great career. Update social media profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Glassdoor. Have an updated, informative website with a career page full of details. An outdated or cookie-cutter website will do more harm than good. Readers want to know about you, and having an old, outdated, or non-personalized site will show that you aren’t very progressive, which is a big turnoff.
3. Offer a great culture. Review what you do for your staff. Do you offer training and support? Do you host team-building or staff events? Have you promoted people to higher positions? Do you ever treat them to lunch or special events? How about summer hours? Creative perks we are seeing from companies that have success in talent acquisition range from unlimited vacation (only when goals are met), bringing pets to work, group lunches, tuition reimbursement, open-door policies to the C-suite, open communication with transparency, flexibility, strong family leave policies, summer hours, and more. Making people feel worthwhile and appreciated is right up there on the list.
4. Brag about what you do for the community, your clients, and your staff. The next generations care about giving back. Tell how you help local businesses grow. Share how you have helped the community in an emergency and how you have helped local nonprofits. Encourage your team to be involved. Offer special time off to volunteer, or take the entire staff out on a community project — and be sure to cover it all on your air, your social media, and your website.
5. Compensate fairly, and forget about 90-day guarantees — they won’t fly. Make an investment in the right person and offer them financial security while they grow.
6. Learn how to be more proactive. The right candidates will not always come to you. Make an effort to learn, and train all of those in the hiring process on how to work with “passive prospects,” who need a totally different approach and process than job seekers.
7. Build and work a targeted pipeline. Identify people in your market that you want to hire at some point. Start building relationships with them so that when they are ready for a career change, you are at the top of their list. Work those identified as you would a target account list — don’t give up too easily.
8. Be prepared to sell the industry, your company, and yourself as a leader. Use facts to show why radio is a good career choice. Put together a presentation just like you would to pitch a client, and use it on passive prospects.
Most importantly, tie your recruitment into an accountability program. It should be on every manager’s job profile. Tie compensation into it, and make sure they know you are serious about hiring. Use your happy employees as advocates to get the word out about your great opportunity.
Laurie Kahn is the creator and founder of Media Staffing Network. She has worked with media companies since 1993 helping them hire top managers and sellers.