Guest blog by Kathryn Cubbin, Talent Bond
The Environmental Sector faces numerous challenges in the recruitment of skilled workers. Environmental employers’ branding efforts take place against a background of tight labour market conditions and fierce competition for senior level talent in a context of low unemployment rates and skills shortages within the sector. Having worked in the environmental sector I've seen this first hand.
Within Canada, at any one time there are hundreds of senior environmental positions posted: Hydrogeologists, Hydrologists, Water Resources Engineers, Geologists, Regulatory Approvals Managers, Ecologists, Remediation Engineers, Air Quality...the list goes on.
As an Environmental employer, how do you compete in the ‘war for talent’ and not just fill the positions you have open right now, but have a pipeline of talent ready to support your future growth and delivery needs?
Clearly you need a well thought out and effective Recruitment Strategy, the first objective of which should be to have a workforce plan in place. To do this you need to identify current, midterm and long- term recruitment needs, based on projected service delivery, growth and potential attrition. This will focus your recruitment efforts and provide a sound starting point on which to develop a targeted, innovative, best practice recruitment strategy to find and attract the talent you need going forward, maximizing your recruitment dollars.
Absolutely essential to your recruitment strategy is your employer brand. To have any chance of competing for talent, you have to be viewed an ‘Employer of Choice’ – your employer brand will only be successful it is provides a distinctive employer identity which appeals to, and creates, an affinity with those people who will best perform and thrive in its culture.
Candidates in this sector have choices, they are regularly contacted by Head Hunters and in-house Recruiters with opportunities. How you are perceived in the market place will influence these candidates’ decisions as to whether they explore the opportunity or not.
An employer brand suggests a particular kind of employment experience, and portrays the specific qualities, attributes and values that an organization lives. A successful employer brand can be used to help organizations compete effectively in the labour market and drive employee loyalty through effective recruitment, engagement and retention practices.
An employer brand is not an ad-campaign or a tag-line. It is also not a fairy tale. The brand has to be authentic and credible and truly reflective of the individual organization.
For some employers, the process of creating an employer brand may be a painful one, and along the way they may conclude that before they work on the brand, they need to work on the reality of their employment experience.
To be effective, the brand should not only be evident to candidates at the recruitment stage, but should inform the approach to people management within the organization. The brand should touch every aspect of the candidate journey, and can inform and impact not just recruitment and onboarding, but also employee communications, performance management, and engagement & retention programs.
There are some clear benefits and ‘wins’ from having a great employer brand, including:
reduction of recruitment costs;
enhanced candidate experience which initiates the ‘psychological contract’;
employees become brand advocates;
increased number of applicants,
improved ratio of offers vs. acceptances; and
reduction of turnover in new employees.
Many employers, especially small to medium sized, are experiencing challenges in developing an employer brand that accurately reflects their value proposition, and this is significantly impacting their ability to recruit, engage and retain their employees. Many don’t realize that they already have an employer brand, regardless of whether they have consciously sought to develop one.
Their brand will be based on the way they are perceived as a ‘place to work’, by candidates, current employees, and those leaving the organization. Good or bad, it may not be the brand they want or deserve, but it’s there nevertheless. It is important for employers to recognize where they are at in this respect, and take control over the development and communication of a positive brand that draws in the talent they need.
Having said that, many environmental organizations are struggling to build and portray their employer brand. They recognize the need for an employer brand, but don’t really understand what is involved or where to start. Talent Bond’s scalable range of services can meet this need.
About Talent Bond, Strategic Human Resources Consulting
Talent Bond builds innovative human resource capabilities in your business that provide you with a competitive advantage in the recruitment, engagement and retention of your business enablers – your people.
Seize the opportunity for your business to be ‘People Ready’. Understand your business landscape as an employer. Be proactive in understanding your future people needs, and have the right strategies in place to attract, develop, engage and retain top talent – before your competitors do.
Talent Bond translates your organization’s business strategies into innovative people strategies. We work in partnership with you to understand your business context, your organizational environment and your culture. From there we provide HR insights, strategies and solutions which align with your business and impact positively on your profitability, innovation and sustainability.