PR to help with recruitment

We’re often asked by clients if we can support them with PR to help with recruitment. Attracting the right staff is one of, if not the, most important factors for a successful business, especially at start-up phase. Get this right, and you build a team of smart, engaged passionate people that really drive the business forward, get it wrong and you have in-fighting, squabbles and nothing important gets done.

The challenge is that the best talent, particularly across certain skill sets (developers – I’m talking about you here) are very much in demand across the board and, therefore, it’s an employee market. In order to stand out against your competitors, you need to build your brand to potential employees.

1. Never under-estimate the power of word of mouth

Would you visit a restaurant if your best friend told you they’d got food poisoning whilst visiting? Unlikely. The same is true when it comes to attracting staff. Your team should be your biggest brand ambassadors – spend time making sure they’re happy and engaged and encourage them to share this view. Underestimate this at your peril – even at a relatively small business of 20 staff, if each person has an average of 500 connections, that’s potentially 5 million people that have a mutual contact with one of your employees!

Gone are the days where a competitive salary alone will attract the right talent, even a pool table and drinks fridge won’t cut it – getting your brand positioning right is essential. To this end, considering PR to help with recruitment can make a real difference. To help with this, here are our top tips for any business looking to raise their profile with potential staff.

2. Have a set of cultural values and then actually implement these

This very much relates to my first point. If you want to be seen as a great place to work, start by making sure you are a great place to work. Spend time understanding your core cultural values – what does it mean to be an employee of your business and write these down. Then set about making this a reality.

3. Be known before someone sees the job description

If potential talent already knows who you are, they are more likely to be interested in working for you. This is particularly important if you are looking to compete against larger, more established, businesses in the area. As a small business, the goal should be to be small enough to be a great place to work, whilst also spending time and effort investing in brand so that people actually know who you are. The next couple of points explore some great ways to help ensure that potential talent knows about you before they come across your job description.

4. Curate your digital presence

Take a good look at your company LinkedIn page, and the pages of some of your existing team. Are these aligned and up to date? Is there some interesting content on your corporate page? If not, start by focussing your efforts on this. From here, you can look to identify key individuals within the organisation and put a plan in place to have them producing and sharing content regularly across your key social channels. Content produced for an internal blog can be condensed into bite size chunks and shared over social as breadcrumbs to attract people to your site. This all assumes your site is up-to-scratch and up-to-date which, if not the case, needs immediate focus.

Once this is in place, it’s time to look at relevant content sites to target. Consider local / regional titles and explore what they write about. Content partnerships will really help to get your brand out there. What’s more, building relationships with these titles will help get your company’s comments and latest news placed. If you’re not sure how to start here, consider looking at a PR agency for support.

5. Events now, not event-ually

Get into the habit of checking events listings – simply heading to Eventbrite and filtering by your area is a great place to start. It’s highly likely that there will be a number of relevant events and meetups happening near you. When it comes to looking at PR to help with recruitment, local events are a must.

I’d recommend heading to a number of these to get a feel, as some will be better than others. Once you know which of these are well-attended, particularly by potential employees, focus your efforts to make sure you’re always representing. If you truly are a great place to work, then there will definitely be something you are doing internally that others will want to hear about – so get in touch with event organisers and start exploring speaking slots.

If you really want to get your business out there, consider hosting your own events. This doesn’t have to be a major event – just a small meet up in your office with beers and pizza and some interesting talkers can be great at getting your brand out there.

This article is, of course, a very brief overview of what can be done. That being said, hopefully there is something here that any business, of any size, can implement.

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YOURS . SINCERELY works with a number of businesses to help raise their profile to potential employees. If you’re considering how you can make your business more attractive and looking at PR to help with recruitment then get in touch.

Why are charities struggling to innovate?

With more and more charities looking externally to innovate, and with social impact organisations now playing such an active role in fundraising – what can charities do to bring a bit of the magic back in-house?

The blockers

There are numerous blockers at play here: from simply not knowing where to start, to fear of board and trustee reactions, and crippling accountability.

Last year independent research looking at eight large charities tried to pinpoint some of the issues stifling progress. Interviewees cited fear, lack of diversity, lack of investment and broader cultural issues as key problems. The culture piece should not be underestimated – the values and behaviours of an organisation being set up to innovate are essential. Teams must be supported to take risks, do things differently and challenge the status quo.  

It’s not uncommon to hear “this is how we’ve always done it” as a justification of the current strategy and a reason for not innovating. Unfortunately, this just doesn’t cut it. If you’re constantly banging your head against the proverbial brick-wall internally, why not first look outside your organisation for some inspiration? What tools and techniques are building success elsewhere?

The power of agility

‘Agile’ is a word that terrifies many within charities – it’s seen as a dark art and something that startups do, not us. In reality, being ‘agile’ is simply a way of working that tries to get things done by going fast and failing quickly. The idea is to test in principal whether something works before fully committing time and resource to a wider project.

A huge proportion of technology businesses now use an agile philosophy across their development teams, working in weekly/fortnightly sprints. Many organisations are going further than development and taking an ‘agile’ approach with teams across the business.

If your charity isn’t quite ready to use the framework in its entirety, why not just take a few guiding principles? For example:

  • Identify a problem or area for improvement within the organisation and then run a serious of small tests to try a variety of potential solutions. Inviting in stakeholders from across the business to gain different perspectives can be particularly useful.
  • Make time to get together regularly to discuss progress, share learnings and problem solve as a group (make everyone feel part of the process).
  • Most important of all, remember that it’s ok to fail – the beauty of doing this over a short window of time is that  you’ve not wasted masses of resources. If it’s not worked just stop, re-group and start again. Every failure is beneficial in that you’ve learnt something.

It’s ok to ask for help

If you’re struggling to find like-minded stakeholders for change in your organisation, why not approach some third parties who you can use to spark ideas? Use your charity status for benefit – many individuals will volunteer time to a charity if asked in the right way, so why not put out a few cheeky requests? There are a huge number of digital agencies, design/UX agencies, software businesses, developers and insight businesses that could add massive value.  

Take inspiration from fast-growth social impact startups

With Generation Z already showing a huge passion for social causes, it’s no wonder that there’s been a rise in social enterprises with young founders. But what impact are these social entrepreneurs having on the charity sector?

Founded by Polly Gilbert and Katie Whitlock, (colleagues at infamous Ad agency JWT) TAP London hit headlines last year. The two friends recognised that their generation were ‘cashless’; afraid of the implications this might have on rising homelessness in London, they set about creating a solution. TAP technology makes it effortless for consumers to tap their bank card at specific touchpoints to donate money directly to a selection of homeless charities.  

Another example is Percent, founded by Henry Ludlam, which continues to challenge the preconception that profit and purpose are binary. His social enterprise allows conscious consumers to raise money for the causes they believe in, simply by spending with designated ‘percent retailers’. With partners as high profile (and widely used) as deliveroo, Bill’s and Carluccio’s the concept is bound to get some real traction.

The common-denominator between these two social impact startups is quite simple – the concepts are built to solve a problem (based on insight) and the execution is effortless for the consumer.

The takeaways?

Charities can take forward many learnings from these young startups:

  • Think first about the problems you need to solve, gain insight, talk to people and map a true journey to the solution.
  • Have no fear, Gen Z doesn’t so why should you? Be brave, don’t be afraid to try – remember failure is a good thing it equals learnings!
  • Find your eco-system of like minded people in your organisation to collaborate with.

Lastly, if you want someone to bounce ideas off, gather additional insight from or just have a coffee with, remember our door is always open