Finding workers is a marketing challenge—and StudioNorth can help.
In 2020, thousands of Chicago-area restaurants endured temporary closures out of public health concerns. But recently, one acclaimed restaurant shut down for a different reason—they can’t find enough workers.
Finding workers isn’t just a problem for service industry businesses. One unforeseen aftereffect of the pandemic is that employers in many sectors—especially small and mid-sized businesses—have had extreme difficulty finding and keeping employees for critical jobs.
What do you remember about your first day at your current job? Or any job, for that matter? Until 2018, most of us at The Studio couldn’t remember anything special about ours.
That started to change when our VP of Creative Shannon Lee led us through a series of workshops based on The Power of Moments, a best-seller by Chip and Dan Heath that explores why certain brief experiences can jolt, elevate and change us.
One of the moments explored in the book was the first day experience at a new job. That first day is, all too often, a non-event—when it should be a “moment of elevation” people remember for years.
A bunch of us decided to create that kind of first day experience at StudioNorth, and that effort has actually changed the culture for everyone working here—whether they’ve been here 30 days or 30 years.
In March, 2021, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) predicted a “a turnover “tsunami” as employees resumed job searches they’d put off for the past year.
Hiretual reports that 60% of companies are finding it difficult to source talent.
Randstad USA found that nearly one in five Americans changed jobs during the pandemic and another 37 percent are considering doing so.
Many StudioNorth clients are struggling to attract the best talent available for their open positions, and three of them have turned to us for help. In fact, recruitment campaigns are now one of our most in-demand offerings.
Finding talent is a marketing challenge
How do you build a recruitment campaign?
At StudioNorth, we apply the same principles we would for almost any B2B marketing campaign. Attracting new hires is ultimately not that different from attracting new customers. Data-driven strategies and storytelling engage our clients’ candidates and create interest in their employment openings, much as they engage prospects and create interest in their offerings.
In other words, finding talent is just like any other marketing challenge, except your offerings are employment opportunities, not products or services. You still have to:
Identify your audience and flesh them out with quantitative and qualitative personas
Create a message that speaks to their real needs and wants
Target that audience via the media they consume most
Deliver that message with creative that builds an emotional connection between those needs and wants and your offerings
Here’s how we’ve approached this important challenge with our clients.
Candidate personas and targeting
Simply generating a surge of applicants for our clients isn’t the answer—they have to be qualified applicants, ready to take on the responsibilities their roles demand. In fact, 39% of human resources executives in a recent survey cited “filtering a high volume of under-qualified candidates” as their biggest pain point of 2020, and 40% say it will be just as challenging this year.
To drive a high volume of qualified applicants, our recruitment campaigns start with generating accurate, detailed personas and targeting the media where those personas spend their time.
Working with our clients’ HR departments, we’ve created individualized candidate personas for the roles to be filled. For example:
- Client #1 shared lists of characteristics for four different roles, ranging from warehouse level to sales to IT. We fleshed these out in discovery questions which probed even deeper, such as “What certifications will you find most attractive in an IT candidate?”
- Client #2 needed warehouse workers and truck drivers, two of the highest demand positions across the U.S. We interviewed several of their current employees to determine which aspects of working for this employer made the biggest impact on their lives, then crafted personas that would most appreciate those aspects of the job.
- Client #3 needed IT experts and engineers. We built upon the targeting criteria they gave us as a launching point for the development of creative social media cards (see next section).
Once we’ve identified the type of applicants that will successfully fill these roles, the next step is determining where to target them—both geographically and on the web. We developed a targeting methodology to connect with candidates on the social media where they’re most engaged in their job search. Traditional media such as out-of-home billboards figure into the mix as well.
Now the heavy lifting falls to creative, content and execution from StudioNorth’s specialized teams.
Emotional impact at the core of creative
Building emotionally impactful creative that targets detailed personas is at the core of every campaign we launch, and recruitment is no different. Here are some of the assets we’ve been generating to convince with qualified candidates for our clients:
Social Media Cards: We’ve developed persona-based social media assets for placement across the most effective platforms. Depending on the target personas, we’ve created these cards in multiple languages and have included messages seeking people of color, veterans and those with disabilities, while encouraging all qualified applicants to apply.
Videos: Mobile users aged 18–34 spend 105 minutes per week watching online videos, and 27% of online viewers watch more than 10 hours per week. That’s why we’re creating short, persona-based videos that speak directly to our clients’ potential employees. But it doesn’t stop there—we’re also working with their HR departments to create long-form videos that highlight the benefits, culture and value of their companies.
Non-Digital: It’s not all about the web! We’re deploying out-of-home billboards with very specific geographical targeting parameters to connect with candidates where they ‘re most likely to see our messages—on the road, around gas stations and near distribution centers. These billboards are in both print and digital form based on inventory and location.
Meanwhile, our digital and social teams work end-to-end on:
- Placement Strategy
- Executing Editorial Calendars
- Media Budget Management and Optimization
- Execution and Placement
- Analytics and Insights
Deciding where to work is generally a much bigger decision than choosing, say, which dishwasher to buy. Helping people discover and pursue the employment opportunities which are best for them is a tremendous human-to-human marketing challenge, and we’re proud to help our clients tackle it.
Can our strategic and highly tactical approach help your organization connect with the best candidates for each open position?