Years ago, when visiting client Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care’s Cincinnati site, I was fortunate enough to also visit fellow Worldcom partner Wordsworth Communications in downtown Cincinnati. As our guest blogger this week, Wordsworth Managing Partner, Bridget Castellini, explains how company culture attracts talent in today’s competitive hiring market.
This article originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of Strategies & Tactics. Reposted with permission from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).
Today’s public relations professionals need to tap into a diverse set of skills in an always-on, unpredictable and fast-paced industry. They need to be strong storytellers, content generators and masterful communicators; possess an impeccable attention to detail; be nimble to quickly and easily shift gears; have the ability to shake it off easily and get back on the horse… the list goes on and on.
Just as we’re evaluating candidates’ skills, they’re carefully evaluating us. They want the agency they select, and the clients they’ll be serving, to be challenging, yet fair and rewarding. They want the opportunity to continue to push themselves to learn and grow in an industry that changes daily.
More importantly, they also want to feel supported and valued in a team-focused environment. They crave work-life balance and flexibility. They want open and honest communication. They want to add value and feel rewarded. They also need a clear picture of what it’s like to work at your shop before they accept the offer.
That’s why our culture is front and center during the interview process. Agency leaders have a big opportunity (to practice what they preach and use public relations) to sell prospective employees on why they should work for you, starting with your culture.
Here are eight ways to use your agency’s culture to attract top talent.
Lead with Culture
Showcase your agency’s mission and vision during the interview process, starting with the job description. When you sit down with candidates, highlight the top five things you do for employees. Share concrete examples of what makes your culture different or special since most companies will tout the “we’re a great place to work” message. Leading with culture shows you place a high value on it.
Give Them a Tour
This may seem like a no-brainer: give candidates a tour. Forego the phone interviews or meeting at a coffee shop. Show them where they would sit. Allow them to picture themselves inside your walls
Use a Team Approach to Interviews
No one wants to meet only with agency leadership during the interview process. They want to meet with the colleagues they’ll be rolling up their sleeves next to. Your team can be your best ambassadors – have candidates talk to team members in different roles. Set up several in-person sessions so they can ask questions in casual, yet structured meetings, hosting them in different meeting rooms so they can get a flavor for what meetings will be like if they take a position at your firm. They’ll get a good idea of what it’s truly like to work within your walls.
Host a Gathering
There’s no better way for talent to get to know you than a low-key, fun setting like a happy hour or informal gathering. We’ve hosted summer happy hours at the agency structured around a theme. One year it was “Camp Wordsworth” and stations were set-up, staffed by our team to meet and greet with attendees and take them through a fun activity.
Showcase Your Team (and Culture) on Social Media
The first places talent will go to check out your agency are your social feeds. Make sure it includes a good balance of life inside the agency. You’ve worked hard to cultivate and nurture your culture, why not show it off on social media?
Find Out Candidates' Strengths
Consider having candidates take the CliftonStrengths assessment to determine their talents in the form of their top five strengths. You can use it as another piece of data to determine if they’d be a good fit for the culture of the company.
Form a Culture Committee
Chances are you offer more perks and flexibility than a ping pong table, an Xbox and free Cokes. Basically, you need to walk the walk and not just talk the talk and have a team dedicated to it. At our agency, we have a culture committee that plans fun activities and outings for holidays, birthdays and everything in between.
Ask Them What They Want
Don’t forget to survey candidates and prospective employees on what they want in a work environment. What are their top requirements?
How are selling your company’s culture to your hires? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org