HR’s Secret Weapon: Marketing Communications

If you were asked what HR’s job is, I’m sure you’d come up with a list of answers. Keeping the company in compliance, managing workplace risk, providing resources and support to employees, payroll, hiring top talent, maintaining a positive company culture… the list goes on and on. But what ties this all together? 

Communication. 

HR has the responsibility to communicate all this and more to company employees, but all too often the tactics fail to actually get enough attention to be noticed. This is where HR can take some pointers from marketing. Because when it comes down to it, marketing is communication. And HR needs high quality communication to do their job well 

Think about it. How difficult is it to get an employee to read (and understand) their benefits package, or the employee handbook, or any other important information HR needs them to have? Difficult enough to be causing HR professionals some frustrating headaches for sure 

So how do you approach this problem? Following are some marketing tips HR can apply to their communication tactics to getand hold, the attention they need. 

Send out a weekly or monthly email/ newsletter  

HighlightsUse this to highlight work events that are coming up, give a shout-out to a team or employee who has gone above and beyond or completed a big project, and talk about things you want the entire company to know about. This could be an upcoming employee survey, a deadline for enrollment for benefits, or a reminder about checking tax withholdings to help employees prepare for tax season.  

PerksOverview the perks you offer to employees such as opportunities for personal development and career coaching, company retreats, and PTO. Keep the resources you make available to employees top of mind 

GoalsReview company goals and how specific teams and departments can help reach them. This is a great opportunity to highlight what different teams are doing to reach the same overarching goal. This can help align departments and keep everyone focused and feeling the team spirit. Plus, if you give a shout-out to a team or an individual, you’re creating a culture of appreciation and recognition! Talk about a good employee retention strategy!  

TeamworkThis also encourages different departments to see how they support each other, further bringing the community together. The more clarity there is about how teams work together and support each other, the higher functioning the company. And the less time HR spends on mitigating interdepartmental disputes.  

Attract the talent your company is looking for  

Marketing works to help guide people from being prospects to customers by meeting them at all the various points of contact they might have with your company. It’s marketing’s job to draw customers in with useful information, content offers, and guidance specifically targeted to where they are in their journey to becoming a customer.  

HR can take the same approach with attracting the type of employees they want working for the company, sometimes even hitting two birds with one stone.  

For instance, you can create a video highlighting your company values, perhaps interviewing aemployee about their experience or covering a recent charitable event your company hosted or participated in. This type of content is not only one of the more successful types of content marketing, but it could also help promote you to prospective employees. People tend to want to buy from (and work for) a company that shares their values and makes them feel good.  

HR can also take a page from marketing’s book by streamlining the process to apply. Just like you want to make it as easy as possible for customers to interact with your company (i.e., providing social icons for sharing and having easy options for answering questions and contacting support) you want to make it as easy as possible for job seekers to apply to work for you. You can: 

  • Keep the process down to five minutes or less  
  • Offer useful information at different points of the application process to help applicants discover more about you and what to expect throughout the application process 
  • Convey your company values and culture through the job description 
  • Highlight the perks and benefits your company offers 
  • Showcase the employee development and training services you offer 

Great communication = trust 

When it comes down to it, HR has a lot on its plate. So make it easier by learning to communicate often, clearly, and with the employee (or prospective employee) in mind. The better you communicate, the more people feel they can trust you, and the easier it is to do your job. It also means you get your message across in a way that sticks. 

As an HR professional, you work so hard to make other people’s jobs easier and to help provide useful information that will support and inform employees. We know how challenging it can be to find successful channels for communicating. So next time you’re looking for an effective way to provide that helpful information, think about how marketing would approach it and try using some of these tactics to help you. It’ll maximize the work you’ve done to provide support, and it’ll help them receive it.  

 

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alesmunt

HR PSA: Sometimes it’s Not Your Problem

You got into HR because you genuinely like helping people. You care about other people’s wellbeing and you see the value in building systems that are mutually beneficial for both individuals and companies. You take pride in being able to listen, empathize, and help people deal with problems. 

But being a people person comes with its own challenges. You want to be able to help everyone, but in HR (and in life) that doesn’t always mean allowing them to bring all their problems to you. You’ve got to balance the needs of the company with the needs of individual workers. That does not mean you’re supposed to be the company therapist.  

Although playing the role of the listener is often a part of being in HR, it isn’t your job to listen to employees complain about each other. There are more productive ways to deal with those issues. 

Constructive Conversations 

When employees approach you to complain about a problem they’re having with someone on their team, or their manager, do a quick evaluation to see if they should be talking with you or if they should be taking the first steps to addressing the issue. 

  • Have they tried to solve the problem themselves? 
  • Do you get the sense they just want to change the other person? 
  • Are they trying to absolve themselves of accountability? 
  • Do they simply want to vent and aren’t interested in coming up with solutions? 

In these cases, they should be exploring other methods of addressing the problem rather than giving it to you. Coaching employees and managers to have constructive conversations on their own is key for teams to run effectively. People need to learn to approach, talk about, and solve problems within their team in a professional manner. 

It might include coaching on key concepts like active listeningmirroring, and how to create value from a conversation. Unless it is a matter of safety, such as harassment, this should be the first step anyone takes when dealing with an interpersonal problem at work.  

If your company culture pushes people into the arms of HR before they’ve tried addressing the problem themselves, some changes may be in order. Take steps toward adjusting the company culture around internal problem solving and empowering people to address some level of challenges on their own. 

Need extra support? 

Empowering people to manage their own concerns and disputes is a great way to develop a team. However, sometimes employees are dealing with something much larger than an interpersonal issue.  

Problems stemming from mental illness, grief, or trauma are common and can go unknown to teammates. It may be manifesting itself in disagreements with other coworkersnegativity, and decreased engagement. HR may be the right answer to help in these situations, and you’ll need to take the time to uncover the real issue.  

But often personal problems like this need extra assistanceSome companies have employee assistance programs (EAPs) that are designed to help with these issues. Having an EAP and pointing employees to these services may be especially useful if there was a recent event involving workplace violence or harassment.  

There are other resources outside of your company you can tap into to help deal with a problem that is beyond the capacity of HR. It’s important to be familiar with them so you can make informed recommendations for whats needed to help maintain workplace health. 

Here are some supporting resources you can tap into: 

  • Hire a coach to come work with your team 
  • Offer inperson or overthephone counseling options to employees 
  • Have a list of hotlines you can reference for employees struggling with personal issues 

Saying no 

Learning to say no to people approaching HR with the wrong problems can be difficult, especially when your first instinct is to help. But sometimes it’s necessary—although it doesn’t mean that the problem goes ignored. 

When you send someone away to deal with a problem themselves, and you give them the tools to do so, you are challenging them to take accountability for their situation and assume a leadership role in addressing the issue. You are empowering them by teaching them how to deal with future workplace challenges and showing them they have the ability to solve it on their own. You’re also taking a lot of unnecessary work off your plate. It’s a winwin.  

 

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Photo by Dmitrii Shironosov 

  

A Simple Guide to Employee Background Checks

Employee background checks can be an important part of the hiring process. Not only do they help you hire the right people, they also play a role in reducing organizational risk and keeping your workplace safe. 

There are many kinds of background checks available and many rules for conducting them correctly. If you’re looking to add an employee verification element into your hiring process, here are a few ways to maximize your return on investment. 

Stick with what’s relevant  

The kinds of background checks an employer can conduct are wide ranging and include everything from credit checks, education, and driving records to social media, drug testing, and criminal history.  

To put each candidate through all possible background checks is both expensive and unnecessary. Do you really need to know if your new accounting hire has a bad driving record or if your receptionist has a low credit score? Probably not.  

Evaluate each position and job description individually to determine what background checks are necessary and why, and then follow through with checks that make the most sense. 

Know the law 

Background checks can be a good thing, but they also have the potential to go bad. If you’re unsure of how to conduct them correctly, you could end up creating more problems than you were hoping to solve.  

Many states, including California, have passed laws regulating how to deal with criminal background checks. These laws are intended to help even the playing field for candidates 

reducing discrimination during the hiring process and increasing workplace diversity.  

Employers used to be able to screen out applicants with any kind of criminal history by placing a simple check box on a job application inquiring about criminal convictions. This may sound like a good idea in theory, but in reality, “Do you have a criminal record?” isn’t always an easy question or a simple answer. It’s also not necessarily a good indication of whether or not someone will be a good employee.  

The Fair Chance Act and other “Ban the Box” laws are in full effect and require employers to follow certain procedures. It’s important to know which laws apply to you and your candidates so you can make the most of your hiring practices while staying in compliance.  

Do it the right way 

  • Inform candidates if a background check is part of the hiring process. This is required by law. 
  • Pay attention to restrictions regarding the timing and nature of various background checks. Doing a criminal background check too early in the hiring process can get you in trouble. Doing a credit check when it’s not necessary can also get you in trouble. It’s important to know the rules here. 
  • Use these tools to your advantage. Yes, you can make hiring decisions based on background check results, but you have to follow the proper Adverse Action process when doing so. Skipping out on this process will open you up to legal risk.   

What NOT to do 

  • Decline to share background check information. Candidates are entitled to see this information upon request. Having this discussion not only gives applicants their results, it also allows for an opportunity to explore mitigating circumstances and clear up any potential mistakes. 
  • Institute a one size fits all policy. While this kind of policy may seem clear and easy to enforce, it could also put you in violation. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recommends tailoring your policy based on each individual position and role so that any basis for rejection is relevant and necessary. 
  • Skimp on your background service provider or processes. Googling a candidate isn’t enough. Make an investment in getting it right. Any money you might save going the inexpensive route will mean nothing if your background checks are incomplete or your business is out of compliance. 
  • Forget the little things. Always check references and employment to make sure your candidate’s resume speaks the truth. Consider skills testing to make sure they have what it takes to do the job.  

 The payoff? A better organization.  

Hiring the right people requires having effective recruitment and hiring processes in place, and background checks can be an important part of that equation. Taking the time to create a system that works for your HR team, your employees, and your candidates while keeping your business in compliance will put your company on the path to success. 

 

Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners
 
Photo by:
Scott Betts

Recruiting Tip: Trust Your Candidates

Hiring the right candidate can be a headache for any HR team. It’s a difficult process that has ramifications on employee retention, engagement, and productivity. Hiring one bad egg can negatively affect an entire team, not to mention the cost of having to train or re-hire for the position. Getting it right the first time is what every hiring manager wishes for. But how?

Here’s a tip that might just blow your mind: Let the candidate choose you.  

Stay with us here, this isn’t as crazy as it may sound! 

By setting up the hiring process so that potential candidates can make an informed choice about whether or not they’d be a good fit, you eliminate a lot of work on your end.  People know what they’re looking for and what they’re good at. Give them a chance to assess what it is you’re offering and decide for themselves if the job will be a good fit. If they opt out of applying, you’re saved from having to spend the time and money on interviewing and vetting the wrong people.  

So how do you do this? Here are four things to keep in mind during your next hiring process.  

1. Transparency

This is a simple one. By including compensation in the job description, you are giving potential candidates the opportunity to find out if the job you’re offering is going to meet their requirements. The financial needs of any candidate will drive their decision on whether or not to apply for a position. If you aren’t offering them what they need, they won’t have to spend time going through the steps of the application process just to find out it’s a bad fit. They can opt out altogether and save you both time and money.  

Wage transparency also says something about your company. It shows that you aren’t hiding any major pay gaps and helps to build trust that you valuyour employees with fairness and honesty.  

2. Job description: Does it actually fit? 

When was the last time you reviewed your job description? Has it just been copied and pasted over and over? If so, it’s time for a refresher. Your job description should match the expectations of the role as closely as possible. This is not only important for attracting the right people with the right skills to apply, but having a description that doesn’t fit the actual position can cause frustration, confusion, and resentment on behalf of the new hire.  

If the description that drew someone in to apply doesn’t match up with the actual position, you lose the trust of your new employee—and you come off as disorganized (at the very least). If your hiring manager can’t write an accurate description, it means they: 

  • Haven’t taken the time to understand the position they are hiring for  
  • Don’t value the time and energy of the applicants  
  • Don’t value the hiring process  

Seeing the job description is often the first time your candidate has interacted with your company. It is your organization’s chance at a good first impression and the importance of this should be reflected in the quality of the description.  

3. Does the culture match?

People are often drawn to companies based on their perception of the companies’ culture and values. Use your description to highlight what it’s like to work for you and what your organization cares about. If you are able to convey your values and culture through the description, application, and interview process, candidates will be able to feel out if your company is the right community for them. 

4. Test it out 

Finally, find out for yourself what it’s like to apply for the position youre posting. If the hiring process is easy, more people will apply, and you’ll have a wider pool of candidates to choose from. Have someone from your team go through the process as if they were applying for the position themselves. Find out from first-hand experience what processes you can optimize and areas that you can improve.   

Trust goes both ways  

By providing job seekers with accurate information about the position you’re looking to fill and the type of community and values your company fosters in its workplace, you are giving people the chance to decide for themselves if it’s a good fit. Trust in your candidates to make the best choices for themselves. Not only will it increase your chances of hiring the right candidate, but it will show your candidates they can trust you. 

 

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Photo by Tatiana Gladskikh

Finding the Remote: Keeping Your Mobile Employees from Getting Lost

If you are looking for ways to expand your new talent pool and make your current and future employees happy, offering remote work options could be just the solution you need. 

Obviously, teleworking isn’t right for everyone. Certain businesses require their staff to be onsite for a variety of reasons, and that’s okay. That said, if your organization doesn’t fall into that category, you might want to start thinking outside the couch cushions. And outside the office.   

Research has shown that employees value flexibility and will take benefits such as remote work options into consideration when making their career choicesStudies have also shown that remote employees are happier, more productive, and more likely to see themselves in their positions for longer.  

If increasing employee engagement, productivity, and/or retention sounds good to you, it may be time to go remote. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.  

Remote work doesn’t come without challenges, and your strategy should be developed with thought and care. Here are three ways to make sure your remote work policy works for both your employees and your company.  


Do your research

If you’re a company committed to offering remote work options, start by creating a policy that makes sense for how your business and employees operate.  

What to keep in mind: 

  • Which positions could successfully work remotely?  
  • Will these employees be 100% remote or will there be in-office requirements also? 
  • How will you structure your teams? Your communications? Your performance management? 
  • How will you hold people accountable for their time, work, and results? 

It may be tempting to jump right in without a thoughtful plan, but don’t do it. Pouring your energy into creating a solid remote work policy will save you lots of frustration when the time comes to implement and manage it.  


Find the right people

Just as some businesses aren’t well suited to remote work, neither are some employees. Not everyone likes working remotely or functions well in that environment. It’s important to keep this in mind during your hiring processes.  

If you want to hire people who will be more likely to thrive as remote employees, here are some ways to find them.  

  • Look for people who have worked remotely in the past. If they’re applying for another remote position, chances are it’s something they like to do.  
  • Talk to applicants with demonstrated success in positions where they took initiative, worked independently, and managed their own time.  
  • Consider candidates who describe themselves as being disciplined, self-motivated, and tech savvy. Excellent communication will be another important skill to look for. Responsiveness is also a plus. 

Ask your applicants why remote work seems appealing. If they say it’s because they can’t bear to be away from their dog/cat/hamster for 8 hours a day, that’s not a compelling reason. If they talk about how having control of their time and environment allows them to think creatively and get more done, you’re on the right track. 

Be flexible

Research has shown that remote workers have higher levels of productivity, loyalty, and satisfaction when they choose to work remotely. But these results were significantly lower when employees were forced to work at home.  

Having both remote and onsite work options is really the best of both worlds.  

  • If you have a great employee who is moving but wants to keep working for you, that’s now an option.  
  • If you have a remote employee who decides they are happier working in an office environment, you can welcome them back into the fold.  
  • If an onsite employee needs to go remote for a specific period of time, they can be accommodated.  

These are the kinds of flexible situations that benefit both employers and employees. 

Ready to run with it? 

Watching your employees walk out the door isn’t always a bad thing… especially when you know they are working harder (and happier!) than ever in their remote locations.  

If you’re thinking about offering your employees the option to do their jobs offsite, do your research and put together a plan that works for everyone. You may be surprised at just how quickly you’ll find that magic remote you’ve been looking for.  

 

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Photo by mihtiander