Opening doors to future careers

 

The second in a series of articles on retaining your employees to grow their careers within your organisation.

Demand is outstripping supply in today’s recruitment market. The post-lockdown economy has opened up and it’s doing better than predicted. People in sectors like retail and hospitality are stepping back into their old jobs. Others are changing careers completely and re-evaluating their life choices. They’re making well-being and work-life balance the priority. The result: low unemployment and increasing vacancies.

The Institute of Employment Studies’ October 2021 Labour Market Statistics Report gives the clearest sign yet that supply isn’t keeping up with demand. Unemployment has fallen to 4.5 percent and there are now 1.45 unemployed people per vacancy. It’s the lowest figure in at least half a century, making this the tightest labour market that we’ve seen in modern times.

With more roles available and less candidates – as well as more recruiters approaching your employees – there’s lots of temptation for people to switch jobs. Perhaps they’re looking for a change of scenery, a new challenge, a promotion or more money (a salary hike isn’t always the reason for seeking a new role but it’s often the icing on the cake). 

Being able to offer more benefits, more flexibility and higher salaries can be complex changes for employers to make. But being more open about how people can develop their careers in your organisation can be relatively simple in comparison. 

It’s a distinction worth making, because career switching or development is a primary motivation for moving roles. The 2021 Microsoft Work Trend Index report revealed that 41 percent of global employees are considering leaving their current organisation. And the Prudential Pulse report found that 80 percent of people planning to leave their jobs were concerned about career development. 

Re-engaging and re-recruiting your own employees

Whilst we pour so much budget into attracting talent to our business, we’re letting existing employees exit. What if they knew about the other career paths and opportunities that are available within the business? 

We can just as easily show existing colleagues the possibilities that are open to them – and get them excited about moving up or across into different areas, or working towards future roles. We need to be reminding people of the reasons they joined and the reasons to stay.

Attracting your internal talent

It may not seem unusual that once we hire someone, we stop treating them like a candidate. They liked what they saw and they joined our business. But why should we cease marketing recruitment opportunities to them once they’re employees? 

Internal communications come at them, every day, with everything from the lunch menu to employee well-being and the latest results announcements. But how many organisations prioritise promoting career development and recruitment initiatives? The internal job board often languishes in a corner of the intranet, often the only door to career growth within the company.

According to the 2019 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey, more than 50 percent of respondents said it was easier to find a job outside their organisation than inside. And one of the biggest roadblocks is the lack of information on available roles, with 45 percent of respondents citing this as an issue. 

Relying on the internal job board isn’t enough to draw people’s attention to the progression opportunities that were promised in the original attraction campaign that drew them to you. If all you have to promote internal moves is your internal job board, some or all of the following may also be true:

  • You’re relying on people to search out opportunities, being in the right place at the right time to find their ideal career move. 
  • In most cases, you’re using an internal version of your ATS, a basic search engine of jobs – no bells or whistles.
  • You probably don’t have an internal careers site to draw people in and sell your teams, departments and roles.
  • Many roles are only advertised internally for a short period of time compared to external adverts.
  • Often, hiring managers or recruiters will post only the job description on the internal job board, thinking this will suffice for existing employees.

If this sounds like your organisation, there are a number of things you can do to effectively market your roles internally. Here are some suggestions to help you engage and attract candidates from within your existing talent pool… 

Your internal careers hub  

Like external candidates, employees need to know what opportunities are available throughout the company. Many businesses have career development as one of their employer brand pillars, but how many give their employees all the tools and resources they need to identify and move into their next role?

Employees shouldn’t have to go to the external careers site to find out about vacancies in their place of work. You can create an internal careers hub to showcase what different teams do, what career paths would look like in those departments, and what skills are needed to be successful. 

You could have teams introduce themselves and their career journey. Managers can explain what the department does and what qualities they’re looking for in people. And it’s a good idea to use everyday language to demystify what they do. You can’t assume that everyone will understand the jargon or know what each team does. 

Webinars and video explainers work well as a formal introduction to departments, as do team video diaries and informal Q&A sessions. Another nice touch is getting teams to share what they’re passionate about and their favourite aspects of the job. 

Selling your opportunities

You can’t assume your employees know everything about the business, so it makes sense to sell your roles to them in the way you would to external candidates – promoting the benefits of the work and the department. 

With this in mind, it’s always a good idea to write job adverts, saving job descriptions for later on in the process. Unless the role is a linear progression in the same team, it’s unlikely the job description will be helpful for an internal candidate without the wider context of the team ecosystem. 

Consider appointing team ambassadors who people can contact to ask questions and talk about roles and team culture. If you have Workplace, Slack or another internal chat system, a careers group also works well for people to chat informally with ambassadors from different teams. 

It may not seem obvious, but you need to prove why a new job in your organisation is better than a new job in a different company. It pays to remind people of the opportunities you promised them when they joined, as well as all the good things they can look forward to in a new role. Think of it as garden maintenance – you’re watering the grass to make sure it’s definitely greener on this side of the fence.

Working with internal comms

 

Whether you want to run a one-off virtual careers event or launch your new internal careers hub, marketing will be hugely important. For many organisations, where communications teams sit independently, it’ll be necessary to work with the internal comms team to get the campaign out to your colleagues. 

This may come with its own set of challenges. Throughout the pandemic, internal communications teams have had plenty to deal with. They’re the ones making sure colleagues are connected whilst working in a virtual world. And they’re under pressure from HR to push out the latest Covid guidance, well-being and employee support resources. So finding space in their schedule might be tricky. 

If you want them to help you put together the campaign, you’ll need to make their job as easy as possible. You can do this by giving them a clear brief that sets out why your campaign is important, who the audience is and what you want them to do.  Or better still, you can give them a complete set of creative assets for the campaign that they can simply push out to the relevant channels. But always give them the brief first to agree the channels and the timing. 

Remember, space on the internal comms schedule will be tight, so the likelihood of the team promoting individual roles and opportunities may be low. Instead, consider running campaigns, for the launch of your careers hub, for example, or quarterly careers updates. 

From drawing up a strategy to producing creative concepts and assets – that’s where Electric Circus can help. We offer expert recruitment marketing consultancy and creative services for internal recruitment communications campaigns. 

 

Next week: Solutions for identifying your skills gaps to help you and your employees.