Blog Article

Would you recommend your place of work to friends? Social media and its growing importance in the war for talent

Posted by David Smith

David Smith

Some recent data from Gartner suggests that companies spend around 10 per cent of their annual revenue on marketing activities. Clearly it’s important for companies of all shapes and sizes to invest in design, advertising, content and more.  But do we give even a fraction of this focus to our brand as an employer?  We’d hate it if our products looked unattractive and unappealing to the consumer market but what about the way organizations are seen in the talent market?

Unfortunately it’s not as easy as just throwing together a fancy recruitment website either. The web-savvy social media generation will want to dig deeper. Have you searched for your own workplace online in a company review website yet? There are many out there to choose from, essentially a Trip Advisor or Amazon for employers. They usually contain reviews of the working environment by people who work there or have recently left and can even include current rates of pay. Think about LinkedIn – it’s easy to tell how long certain people have stayed with a company, where they’ve come from, where they’ve gone to. There will be online groups discussing that company’s products, services and even what it’s like to work there.

Like Trip Advisor, Amazon, eBay and others, you sometimes have to take reviews with a pinch of salt.  However, there’s a lot of data out there to suggest that people are influenced by the feedback they read from others, even those they have never met.  For instance, a survey of over 1,000 people in the US suggested 90 per cent were influenced by a positive review and 86 per cent were influenced by a negative one. I’d suggest those figures are even higher when it’s someone you know providing the insight. For instance, a LinkedIn contact who may have worked where you’re thinking of going, a friend, or a Twitter follower that you respect.

A new report in the Journal of Marketing Management underlines the power of social media as a driving force behind employer brand. The study highlights that investments in employee wellbeing contribute to a more effective company reputation. Joonsd Rokka, a Professor of Marketing is quoted as saying, “when companies trust and treat employees fairly, and adopt good day-to-day management practices, employees will do good for the company in return. For instance, by sharing their experiences of the company and its products in social media.”

Some fascinating data from the recruitment site Monster also underlines the new ways in which candidates will be forming opinions about your company. The survey of 5,300 job seekers suggests that 64 per cent would be put off a company’s products and services if they were subjected to a poor recruitment process and 24 per cent would form a negative opinion about a company if they didn’t have a social media presence. Furthermore our survey of graduates with the Guardian last year also pointed to an increasing interest in being able to make a difference. This was a key factor for 51 per cent last year compared to just 4 per cent in 2011. The way you act on the inside has a direct impact on how you’re seen on the outside.

So, the evidence base is growing: employer branding is becoming central to the war for talent.  However, there needs to be depth. A positive working environment is a real thing, not just something people talk about in corporate videos on recruitment pages. Positive climate is created by great leaders not advertising agencies. Ask your employees if they would recommend the organization to family or friends as a place to work. If they say yes, harness that insight in a useful way, if they say no, find out why and fix it.


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  1. Julie De-Rozario

    Julie De-Rozario

    October 25, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Interesting read….

  2. David Smith

    David Smith

    October 31, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Thanks Julie!

  3. Helena Moore

    Helena Moore

    November 6, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Enjoyed the post and agree David .. especially “Positive climate is created by great leaders” I guess with social media that net widens to all colleagues past and present. I love that we have a range of colleagues here that blog about all sorts of things but including on what its like to work here. We’ve got some way to go to capture all of this and organise it into great content for the recruitment site (it’s a work in progress) …

    So who you really are is out there for potential colleagues to mooch at …..any corporate spin stylee veneer skinned over the reality is quickly and easily scratched off these days with a not even a great deal of tenacity and a google search. So yes first impressions count but they happen much sooner than you think now!

  4. Andy Johnson

    November 13, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    This is a really good read, David. I’d like to back-up Helena’s comments too if I may.

    Since Bromford knocked down the social barriers there’s been a steady increase in colleague activity across the likes of twitter, yammer, facebook and a number of blogging sites, and it’s been great to see how colleagues have shared their stories – and without any pressure to do so. This has been great to capture personal journeys, experiences and understand what colleagues have got to say – let’s face it, it’s unlikely you’ll come across every colleague during your ‘working day’ when there’s 1200+ of you!

    So those stories are out there, for all to see, and it’s a great way to highlight to anyone who may be considering a career with us.

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