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Retaining Talent: Why Brand Matters

Posted by Lam, Kimling at Monday, 04/09/2012 9:10 am
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3.5 from 23 votes
Retaining the best talent is pivotal for all businesses. It might be the recruiter’s job to vet through hundreds of applications to find the best people, but it requires you, as PR professionals, to help ensure employee satisfaction once they’ve enter the company workforce. This may be easier said than done (and believe me it is), but with the right branding and communication strategies, your best employees will never want to leave.

What messages to convey

Employees value a great brand just as much, if not more, than consumers. Employees should feel proud and excited to work at their respective companies. In efforts to encourage that excitement and drive employee retention, here are few strategies to consider:

- “If you love something, set it free.” Most people are multifaceted and don’t know exactly what they want to do, so letting employees know that they’re not confined to their hired role is key. Encouraging employees to think beyond their current position can help develop leadership skills and drive innovation, two factors that will keep them excited about work.

- Play up your company culture. Company culture is more than just a poster hanging in the office break room. It’s an energy--a sense of enjoyment that comes from people loving what they’re doing, and a sense of urgency, where everyone is working together intently to achieve a larger goal. By accentuating your company culture, employees will feel a sense of pride and loyalty to the brand. It will inspire them to contribute to the company and align their work with company goals, which will lead to greater efficiency and will ultimately affirm their sense of purpose.

- Encourage an entrepreneurial spirit. American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Just as companies thrive to be trailblazers, so should its employees. Encourage fast-paced, positive competition that will keep your workforce wanting more. Help them understand that your company desires for all employees to have fire and passion for what they do. That passion will inevitably stop any thought of quitting dead in its tracks.

- Encourage growth. Top talent will not begin, let alone stay, at a company that does not encourage growth. Employees should feel that the sky is the limit within the company and that their growth is not hindered by walls or glass ceilings. It is important to set the stage, so to speak, creating deliberate opportunities for learning and career growth. Highlight programs that will show employees just how much you care about their careers, and what lengths you are willing to go to aid them. Employees will feel more inclined to progress within a company that will actually give them the opportunity to progress.

Communication Methods

So, now that you have an idea of what you want to communicate to encourage employee retention, all you have to do is figure out the best way to go about relaying the message. Employee memos stuffed into mailboxes, and blanket emails are a thing of the past. People need interesting, interactive outlets to catch their eye and help them retain important information. Here are a few suggested methods for reaching your employees:

- Invest in a “Facebook for Business” program. People love using Facebook to feel connected within their circles. Why not have similar programs in the office for employees to connect and share with one another? Communicating with employees through engaging channels, like interactive social media sites, could help them retain important information and feel connected with each other and the company. A good connection could help employees plant deep, long-lasting roots in the company.

- Start an employee blog. Start a blog that is only visible to company employees. If you already have an employee blog, make sure employees are reading and engaging with it. Share company news, information, ideas, big wins (make sure you emphasize celebrating those wins), best practices, social events, etc. Encourage employees to use the platform to express ideas and opinions. Highlight intra-company competitions and winners. Use the blog as way to connect your employees with the company and vice versa.

- Find ways to keep it short and sweet. Microblogging programs are great for brevity and quick snippets of information. Send a quick shout out to an employee for a big win, or send reminders of professional development sessions. Small bits of information are easy to digest and can be an effective communication method when brevity is the best fit for the conversation.

- Don’t forget the face time. There are many tools that allow you to effectively communicate with your employees without a physical presence. However, be sure to make an effort to get some face time with employees every once in a while. Also, make sure employees are connecting with one another outside of social channels. Host a monthly internal meeting or plan a company-sponsored cocktail hour. Whatever form the gathering may take, make sure that it occurs at least on a monthly basis. Utilizing the social tools gives your company an employee relations edge, but remember, whereas face time isn’t always the most practical communication method, it is the one that has stood the test of time.

- YouTube - good for more than a few laughs. Don’t get me wrong, we all need a good laugh from a YouTube video every once in a while, but video sharing sites can be beneficial for employee communications as well. A good practice would be to slot one executive a week for a short video discussing company plans, offering advice and sharing insight. Post the video and share with employees via email and additional social outlets. This will allow for employees to connect with company leaders on a mentorship level, rather than just on a leadership level. Also, highlight featured employees on a regular basis, from entry level employees, all the way up the management chain.
To sum it up…

A company can only go as far as the workforce that drives it, so it is vital to retain the best people. In order to preserve leaders, you need to sustain a core vibrant culture and give them ample opportunity to grow. A good rule of thumb is to leverage the best aspects of your company and do your best to see to it that the message is being communicated effectively across appropriate channels.

– Kimling Lam, Director, Marketing & Communications, Meltwater Group

As Director of Marketing & Communications at Meltwater Group, Kimling oversees marketing, social media, public relations, branding, special events and speaking engagements. Kimling holds a Bachelor of Arts from Wellesley College and a Master of Science from Boston University. Prior to joining Meltwater Group, Kimling was a TV News Reporter at an NBC affiliate and worked on the production side of a multiple-Emmy Award winning program in Boston.

Twitter: @Kimling

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