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How to discover unconventional ways to maximize budget and connect with candidates

Employer Branding, End-to-End Engagement, Trends| Views: 1828

For all that has happened, we know one simple truth: when a retailer is open, the hourly employees are essential. They provide the smile upon entry, the helpful voice when we can’t decide, and make checkout a breeze. For life’s essentials, they are the finally praised folks at the front line. How do we find the right people for these roles in this new normal of keeping our distance, spending more time online, and with fewer in-person connections without retooling our entire budget?

Where to Focus and How

It is no longer optional to “think differently” or “test and learn.” We need to embrace digital, and think with a new approach. Do not think of this as a digital transformation; it is not.  We’re forced to live and work as never before. We’ve heard, so far, how more people are turning toward self-care – what positive effect will that have on our working lives? As we embrace digital, the byproduct of more digital is more data. More data means the opportunity to better assess already scrutinized ROI. But before we can assess if it is working, we need a revised framework to measure and optimize against.

The Talent Bowtie Loop

We all know the typical TA funnel: Attract. Inform. Convert. But what about after the conversion? What about the effect of our efforts socially? We should measure outcomes differently knowing our post-conversion efforts influence more than lower funnel inputs. Where else can we improve our ROI? Spoiler alert: for those familiar with this, it is not new. Consumer marketing has used a version of this for years.

Let’s look beyond the point of conversion.  To do this, we invert the funnel into a megaphone and add a feedback loop to create: the “talent bowtie loop.” This better captures how people behave from candidate to employee and their influence on talent marketing decisions.

Put the Bowtie in Action

The bowtie is the framework that allows us to look beyond our typical point of reference and identify new opportunities within the same body of work. Here are three things you can start doing now with minimal (or no) budget and with proven ROI:

Get Closer to Your Data.  

Look across the bowtie and make sure your data strategy is measuring each of the pivotal points and behaviors where they intersect. Start to blend real-time, historical, and benchmark performance to know what works to hire at scale and at an efficient budget – no one source or frequency is the source of truth.

Do you have the right dashboards to access this information? Most of us have some form of reporting and a defined cadence. Again, getting closer to what you have now and assessing how you’re using it will make a difference. Try overlaying current unprecedented movements in candidate behavior against your own historical performance this time last year. Here’s a snapshot of our retail clients and the roller coaster ride immediately before and after the shelter-in-place orders began.

Lean into your (Corporate) Brand.

Go where the money is. Just kidding. Go where the audiences overlap. Now is the time to become the politician you were always meant to be. Seriously though, start to make those connections or make them stronger. We partner with a long list of Fortune 500 brands and we continue to see a close connection between the audiences marketing is trying to reach and engage and the audiences we are also trying to reach and engage.

Start to make those marketing dollars work harder by integrating your targeted audiences where the messaging and campaign goals are aligned.

Exercise Your Martech Stack.

Take a second look to see if you are using all the features. Most don’t because it is hard to use, takes too much time, it’s not part of an existing workflow, and ultimately does not get prioritized as a tool of choice. Alternatively, your platforms should be working for you to help achieve your goals.

Time to dial up the usage of your Martech stack: CRM, email, SMS, data visualization and EGC platforms are a few areas to start with. Pick one and dig in. If it is email, get smarter with your drip campaigns, add in layered targeting for more precise messaging, then chart out a series of if/thens that maintain their interest. Email and messaging apps are two obviously important communication tools right now, and even more so with the mobile preferences of retail candidates – 66% of their traffic is on a mobile device.

Look at the feature list of your platforms; are they smart enough to work for you?

A closer look at data:

In one sample client, we are seeing a 54% increase in applications from organic sources – meaning they have strong brand awareness and don’t need to invest in paid traffic right now. How do they maximize this traffic without it creating an unintended bottleneck of applicants? Play the connector to other roles in need and that match their profile. Keep the leads warm. Continue to set expectations on timing and the steps beyond application.

Borrow from consumer sites and ask for the opt-in at multiple points: homepage, footer, lightbox before leaving, and after completing an application. The opt-in connects to an intelligent CRM that compiles a candidate profile where other underperforming, close proximity hourly roles can be marketed to the candidate. Also, don’t forget to remind a candidate to finish an application they started and abandoned.

Bonus: People are still people.

A person’s a person no matter how we connect. We can’t forget we are still trying to connect with individual people, not an average of a digital footprint. If we all went around chasing footprints, we’d believe there’s an audience with giant feet living among us in the Pacific Northwest. If we put ourselves in a single candidate’s shoes, what would you expect, how do you want to be treated?

We have an opportunity to embrace the discomfort of change; start today.

About John Zygmunt

John is a highly respected thought leader who collaborates with leading organizations to reimagine their talent strategy by intersecting it with their business goals and broader market movements. When he's not thinking of the future, he is spending time outdoors with his family and two dogs.

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