You may have heard me say before that companies need to tell their story in order to attract ideal applicants. In fact, if you’ve followed me for awhile, or you’ve watched a lot of my videos, you may be sick of hearing me say it.
I constantly go back to this as it truly is crucial to the success of your recruitment efforts. However, I realized that I’ve never made a stand-alone post that directly addresses how to create your story.
So, today I want to share the three key elements to creating a story for your company:
#1 Rethinking What You Do
Which sounds more appealing to you: “We make stamped metal parts,” or “We make metal parts that make vehicles safer.”
This is so simple, but so easy to overlook.
Prospective employees want to be proud of where they work. It is difficult to be proud of, and get excited about, simply making stamped parts. However, if you’re connected to a greater purpose, then suddenly pride comes to the forefront.
Who would you rather have applying to your company: someone who wants a job making stamped parts, or someone who is excited about making innovative parts that make cars safer?
If you don’t rethink what you do, and frame it as a greater purpose, then you’re never going to appeal to the higher quality prospects.
If I asked 100 business owners to define company culture, I’d get at least 100 different definitions. I’ve been working lately to create my own definition. While I’m not finished, here is what I currently have:
“Workplace Culture is comprised of the common beliefs, actions, and goals that bind together your employees.”
Culture is not having a cool break room or free lunches. If all ownership and management left your company for a week, your culture is what would determine what happened next.
I recommend pulling aside a few of your key employees, and ask them their thoughts on your culture, using my definition. What binds them together with their co-workers?
It could be a group focus on meeting production quotas, or setting a new record for number of days without a worker-safety incident. It could be a shared passion for company philanthropic efforts. It is likely a combination of several items, so don’t stop at one.
If you struggle to identify it, then spend time with management to begin thinking about what your culture should be. If you don’t set the tone, then your team may develop their own culture that is not in alignment with your company’s goals.
Whatever your culture is, embrace it and share it with your prospects. People that will like it and mesh well with it will be attracted to it—and these are the people you want applying.
#3 Employee Growth & Improvement
What opportunities are afforded to your employees?
It could be a potential for advancement, or ongoing training, or even tuition assistance at a local community college.
Whatever your employee opportunities are, proactively share them—but not in your words! Again, I encourage you to speak with some of your ideal employees. Ask them to share what they love about the opportunities afforded to them, and why they love them. This will give you much greater insight into how your prospective applicants view them.
Pulling it all Together
Once you have these three components, you’re ready to piece them together.
Resist the temptation to look at another company and use their culture statement as a guide. Your company is unique, so your story needs to be told in your voice. There are many “right” ways to do it; what works for another company may not be your best option.
Ultimately, remember that you’re creating a narrative that can be repurposed each time you speak of or promote opportunities at your company. Here’s a quick example for how you might preface a job listing:
At XYZ Co., we’re looking for hard working persons (culture quality) that are eager to grow and improve themselves (growth & improvement). Our team takes great pride in setting a new standard in workplace safety (culture quality) while helping automotive manufacturers build the safest cars on the road (what we do). If you like a challenge (culture and improvement), then apply now to learn more.
Notice how we’re not actually telling a story in the sense of reading a chapter from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but rather sharing elements of your company’s story that are appropriate for the task at hand. Sometimes you’ll be brief, like this example, but other times you may be more in-depth, such as within a detailed job description or “about us” video.
These are the three key elements to creating your story, but they certainly don’t have to be the only three. I recommend starting with these and then building upon them.
This is going to allow you to be crystal clear in who you are, who you’re wanting to apply, and what your expectations for them are.