Communications Strategies for Reaching Skilled Trade Talent

February 1, 2022

The nature of work is rapidly evolving—and so is the world of talent acquisition. As the lasting impacts of the pandemic start seeping their way into the blue-collar workforce, improved job prospects, new skills needs, and changing employee expectations are all changing the way recruiters communicate with candidates.

To fight the war for talent and reach your ideal candidates, you need a targeted approach to recruitment. Whether you’re hiring construction workers, assembly workers, or machine operators, you not only need to connect with candidates who have the right skills and capabilities, but you also need to find candidates who fit in with your company culture. So, what steps can you take to fill those open positions and boost retention?

It’s simple: You need to change your communications strategy. To survive and thrive in the post-pandemic economy, you need to step up your communications strategy to connect with the right people. That means adopting flexible strategies to quickly fill gaps as working conditions change. It also means experimenting with different communications strategies to figure out what works best for your organization.

Ready to start connecting with top-quality candidates?

 


 

Here are the communications strategies you need to capture their attention.

 

1. Bring Your HR and PR Teams Together

Your organization puts a lot of effort into building an online presence. Your website and social media marketing efforts target customers and job seekers. While PR, communications, and marketing create copy around your company’s mission, visions, and values, HR is the face of the organization when it comes to talent acquisition. So, why aren’t they working together?

At their core, they’re both about selling to and engaging with your audience. And even though they have a lot in common, some companies are oblivious that their job postings and interactions with candidates don’t align with their other messaging. With so many companies competing for the same candidates, something as simple as your brand messaging can make or break your entire talent strategy.

Why? Because inconsistent messaging forms a bad impression of your organization.

You already know that building a brand is more than just launching a website and posting on social media. Your brand is built on experiences, or “touches.” When a touchpoint occurs, a potential candidate forms an opinion of your company. 

First impressions are important, but they need to be reinforced. To build credibility among the potential candidates who are researching your company before applying, your messaging needs to be consistent across the board. In other words, to protect your brand and online reputation, any person that connects with your organization—from job seekers and customers to stakeholders—should have a similar experience.

So, how do you start? Take a step back and look at your messaging. When PR publishes a Facebook post on the latest company news, it communicates a message. When HR posts a job on your website’s careers page, it sends a message, too. Are you sending the same message across the board? If the answer is “no,” it’s time to link your teams and start collaborating.

 

2. Step Up Your Online Presence

According to a 2020 Gallup report, 77 percent of job seekers turn to an organization’s website to find out more. Meanwhile, 58 percent check out online job sites, 57 percent read industry-specific publications, and 47 percent use networking sites. 

When your candidates visit these websites, they’re not just looking at your job posts. They’re searching for detailed information about your company culture. They’re checking out reviews, reading about your company history, and figuring out exactly what your company stands for.

So, to captivate your ideal candidates, you need to pay special attention to your online presence, especially your website. Instead of just listing open positions on your careers page, shed some light on your company values. Complement your careers page with video testimonials from current employees to show candidates how your team lives these values each day. 

Don’t just focus on your website and social media pages. Make sure your Glassdoor, Indeed, and LinkedIn profiles are primed for job seekers. Partner with HR to craft thoughtful responses to negative comments about your organization. When done right, responding to feedback can improve a candidate’s perception of your company, giving them the push they need to apply.

 

3. Don’t Forget About Your Current Employees

Winning the war for talent isn’t just about finding new employees—it’s about keeping the ones you already have. Filling open positions with qualified candidates can be tough in today’s labor market, even with competitive pay. And yet, all of your recruitment efforts won’t count for much if new hires don’t stick around. 

At the end of the day, your people are your number one asset. You need to show them how much you respect and appreciate them if you want to keep them around. That means making an intentional effort to engage workers and reduce employee turnover.

But what does that look like?

To retain your current employees, you need to listen to their input, understand (and empathize with) their challenges, and create a worker-friendly culture. An employee-oriented culture not only encourages your employees to refer other candidates to your business but also ensures a positive candidate experience. 

Start by keeping your workers engaged and informed about what’s going on in your company—and don’t be afraid to experiment with some creative tactics to promote engagement. For example, you might encourage employees to share their stories on the company’s Facebook page to show potential candidates what it’s like to work for your company. In addition, departments can host weekly meetings where teams share recent accomplishments. Your main goal is to boost morale, have honest discussions, and reinforce your worker-friendly culture.

 


 

Next Steps: Nurturing and Investing in Candidates

Congratulations! You’re getting noticed by your ideal candidates. Your company culture and job openings are sparking their curiosity, but you’re up against some major competition. How do you keep your candidates interested so they fill out an application and schedule an interview?

You need to nurture them.

A successful nurturing strategy leverages email, ads, text messaging, and career pages to engage passive talent from the first point of contact until the onboarding process. To step out in front of the competition, you need an omnichannel strategy, just like the one you use to nurture new leads for sales prospects.

Of course, your communications strategy shouldn’t stop once you make a hiring decision. The onboarding process is a key component of your overall talent strategy. Communication can make or break your onboarding program—and it can determine whether your new hire’s employment starts off on the right foot. 

Why is communication so important during the onboarding process? Because it can help maximize employee retention and loyalty. Effective communication promotes a sense of belonging and inclusion—all while boosting employee productivity. Onboarding sets the tone for the rest of their employment, ensuring your new hire that they made the right decision.

Ultimately, investing in your new hires and setting them up for success can further help your company retain and recruit top talent. Here’s how to get started.

  • Prioritize pre-boarding communication. Before your new hire’s first day, make sure their manager reaches out, lets them know what to expect, and answers any immediate questions. By communicating consistently before their first day, you’ll ensure a smoother onboarding process. Pre-boarding communication also helps validate your new hire’s decision to join your company, and it can positively impact their perception of your company moving forward.
  • Reinforce your company’s values. New hires should be familiar with your company’s vision, values, and culture starting from day one. More than 70 percent of employees say they’d take a pay cut to work for a company with a mission they believe in. So, it only makes sense to communicate what your company is working toward and why.
  • Act on feedback. Ask for feedback throughout the onboarding process and take action. Most companies fail to follow up on feedback, which makes new hires question whether their ideas will be valued by the company. Regular feedback also helps improve your onboarding program to provide a great new hire experience.

 


 

Start Communicating More Effectively

Inconsistent messaging, a weak online presence, and poor work culture can send your ideal candidates straight to the competition. 

Stop waiting around for top trade talent to find you. This year, take a proactive approach to recruitment with effective communication. Set up a discovery call with our team today to craft a powerful talent strategy.

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