Want to Attract Better Talent? Showcase Flexibility

Talent is arguably the single most important factor in your company’s success.

And in a candidate’s market, an employer brand that showcases flexibility can greatly enhance your ability to attract that talent. Case in point? According to the 2015 Workplace Flexibility Study by WorkplaceTrends.com, 75 percent of employees and 74 percent of unemployed ranked workplace flexibility as the most important benefit they desire.

Knowing that workplace flexibility should be a central element of your employer brand is one thing; knowing how to properly promote it to candidates is another.

Today’s post will help you connect these two very important dots. It contains several practical ideas for showcasing flexibility the right way in your employer brand — and recruiting the right caliber of talent.

1. Prepare. Before you start using workplace flexibility as a recruiting tool, get your proverbial ducks in a row.

Make sure you’re “walking the walk.” Before you begin actively promoting workplace flexibility as part of your employment brand, be sure you actually offer the things high-performing professionals want — and that employees’ perceptions of your offerings align with your own.

Do your homework. How can you be sure you’re offering the right flexibility options to recruit (and retain) top talent? It’s simple — ask! Here are a few ideas to determine top flexibility issues:

  • Meet. Open the lines of communication with your team to explore existing and potential flex strategies. Start with a brainstorming session, and then move onto a viability analysis to determine which ideas really have the most merit (i.e., strategies that enhance work-life satisfaction while still getting great results from your team).
  • Survey. Conduct an anonymous employee survey to determine the value of current and proposed flex work options.
  • Research. To ensure your flexibility offerings will appeal to those hard-to-recruit candidates you need to attract, do a little digging. Countless resources are available online to help you understand the mindsets and unique needs of knowledge workers, marketing professionals and business consultants — or just about any other type of candidate you’re trying to recruit.
  • Go straight to the source. Post a question about flex work options in a relevant industry forum. You may get candid, first-hand insights to help you target your offerings.

Craft the right message. When using flexibility as a recruiting tool, be sure to use the right language.

  • Workplace flexibility is a strategy. It’s all about delivering great results for your business and its customers, while delivering a healthy work-life mix for employees. As such, using terms like “benefit,” “policy” or “program” may place unnecessary limits on the way candidates perceive your offerings.
  • The term “work-life balance” has gone by the wayside. The lines between work and home life have all but disappeared. Terms like “work/life satisfaction,” “work-life blend” and “work-life mix” resonate more with the modern professional.
  • Create a flexibility core story. Get your organization’s best writers involved to tell your organization’s story:

    • Detail the process you used to develop your flex strategy, highlighting the role your employees played.
    • Explain how your strategy aligns with your mission and vision.
    • Clarify how flexibility offerings benefit both employees and your business. Making both sides of the case legitimizes your strategy.
    • Use this core story to consistently describe your flex strategy as part of your total employer brand.

2. Showcase. With a sound strategy and message in place, you’re ready to start using flexibility as a real talent magnet.

Feature flexibility in action on your website. Candidates want more than a laundry list of programs; they want to see flexibility in action within your organization.

  • Interview key employees so they can share their experiences. Use their input to craft short case studies or testimonials that explain the benefits employees realize.
  • Upload short video clips that showcase real employees job sharing, telecommuting, working flex hours or other examples of your strategy in practice.
  • Show both the formal and informal ways employees achieve the flexibility they need.
  • Pepper your message throughout your site. Potential candidates may enter your site at any number of locations:

    • If you create a page dedicated to your workplace flexibility strategy, include it in your navigation and add links to the page throughout your site.
    • Even if you don’t add a dedicated page, include appropriate messaging on candidates’ most-visited pages.

Integrate flexibility offerings into your recruiting efforts. Successful employer branding is about convincing potential candidates that your offerings are better than the next employer’s. So, think and act like a marketer! Once you’ve built your strategy, actively market it everywhere you connect with talent — not just on your website. Consider opportunities for reinforcing your message on:

  • Job postings. Create a pared-down version of your flexibility core story to include in every posting.
  • Social media accounts. Adapt your message to the platform. Add more formal messaging to your organization’s LinkedIn presence; create shorter, visual messages for your Facebook page.
  • Your organization’s blog. Create a new category for workplace flexibility and publish posts that leverage your core story, videos, case studies or visuals you create.
  • Recruiting events. Feature your flexibility strategy as part of your total employer brand to make a big impact when interacting face-to-face with potential candidates.

Whichever options you choose, make it clear that your organization welcomes and supports high performers seeking greater flexibility and work-life satisfaction.