Competing For Your Own Employees — Online

An increasing number of job seekers are managing their careers online. The popularity of the major job posting sites and hopefully your own corporate careers site has demonstrated that the Web is the way that job seekers and employers will be connecting for some time. But what about your current employees? The recruitment and retraining costs for replacing a worker range from 1.5 to 3 times the employee’s salary (source: Linkage, Inc.); the loss of a highly skilled technology worker can cost a company millions of dollars in lost research and productivity. But with a click of a mouse, these employees can be viewing branded information about your competitors, what they offer their employees, and what jobs they have available – from the comfort of their own office space – at your company! Old-school recruiters and employee communications teams: face the music! We’re in a virtual world where over 88% of the Global 500 use their corporate websites for recruiting (source: iLogos Research) and 45% of the currently employed population is actively or passively looking for other work (source: Wetfeet Recruitment Marketing Strategies). And convincing candidates that you have a great employment experience to offer shouldn’t end when you get them in the door. Changing your “Online Recruiting Strategy” to a cohesive “Online Recruiting and Retention Strategy” will not only help you compete for new talent but also for the talent you already have. Here are some thought-provoking questions about your current Online Retention or Employee Communications Strategy to help you identify how you’re doing. Are you:

  • a) Making your employees wait in line with everyone else to submit their resume for your openings? or… b) Posting your jobs separately to a persuasive internal jobs website complete with more detailed job descriptions and priority resume submissions?
  • Article Continues Below
  • a) Creating a culture of fear by giving your laid-off employees a paycheck and a shove as they’re leaving the building? or… b) Providing online resources to help laid off employees find new employment and then reconnect with your company once the economy gets better?
  • a) Assuming that your employees are happy, healthy, and content? or… b) Performing online employee satisfaction surveys to identify gaps in the employment experience you are delivering?
  • a) Cutting all ties with past employees who left during the dot-come economy or were laid off? or… b) Actively communicating with potential “boomerang” (hired back again) employees and welcoming them back with open arms?
  • a) Letting your employees work in a vacuum with vague promises that they may one day be promoted if they work hard? or… b) Providing online access to detailed information on career paths and mentoring program enrollment?
  • a) Alienating your internal audience by spending your entire HR Marketing budget on marketing to external employees? or… b) Reinforcing elements of your external brand internally in order to build loyalty, encourage buy-in to the company’s values, share successes and help change the employee mindset from “just another job” to “a meaningful, long-term career?”
  • a) Still forcing your employees through a mountain of red tape to help their friends find work at your company? or… b) Putting the details of your Employee Referral Program, an application form, information on prizes and past winners on an easy to find place on your company intranet?
  • a) Allowing good work to go unrecognized and unappreciated? or… b) Providing an easy-to-use online Recognition Program that allows employees to easily recognize their co-workers online?
  • a) Assuming that your employees automatically share your new set of company values since they went through employee orientation a long time ago and can find them on the intranet if they want to? or… b) Actively pushing information to them through periodic online newsletters?

A great example of a company using the Internet for a combination of recruiting and retention purposes is Dell, which knew that their recent layoffs had the ability to affect company morale, employee loyalty and retention rates. To counter this, they’ve launched Direct 2 Dell Talent, a site that allows recruiters to view resumes of the talent that Dell was forced to lay off. They not only launched the site, but have also promoted it heavily to the recruiting community through tools like newsletter sponsorships. The messages they’re sending their employees are loud and clear – we’re forced to lay some of you off due to the economy, but we’re going to do all we can to help you find employment again and hope that you come back to us when things get better again. And current employees see that their company is not a cold-hearted, cost-cutting machine that doesn’t care about their employees, making them more likely to stay there once the economy recovers. The Web represents the fastest, easiest and least expensive way to facilitate wide-scale communications with job seekers and your current employees. Using it as a tool to keep your employees as well as recruit them will mean that more of your time can be spent on recruiting for growth instead of attrition.

Dave Lefkow is currently the CEO of talentspark (, a consulting firm that helps companies use technology to gain a competitive advantage for talent, and a regular contributor to ERE on human capital, technology, and branding related subjects. He is also an international speaker on human capital trends and best practices, having spoken in countries as close as Canada and as far away as Malaysia and Australia. His consulting work has spanned a wide variety of industries and recruiting challenges with companies like Starbucks, Boeing, HP, Microsoft, Expedia, Washington Mutual, Nike and Swedish Medical Center.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *