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Why You’re Not Attracting Top Employees

The digital revolution has changed business—including how companies attract and retain top talent. If you want to be competitive, you need to market to prospective employees just like you market to your customers. Here’s what we’ve learned from our partnerships with Fortune 100 companies about employee recruitment, branding, and communications.

Connect with younger employees.

With unemployment hovering near 4.75 percent, the labor market is highly competitive. That’s challenging brands to work smarter to recruit and retain talent. According to Pew Research Center, Millennials currently make up 34 percent of the US workforce. By 2020, Millennials will make up a full 50 percent of the global workforce.(1) This generational shift is driving cultural shifts in the job market.

Corporate values and authenticity matter.

Top candidates expect transparency from their employers. According to Glassdoor, 69 percent of candidates are more likely to apply to a job if the employer responds honestly to reviews, updates its profile, and shares updates on its culture and work environment.(2) Employees don’t expect their employers to be perfect, but they want them to be straightforward about their imperfections.

Top candidates seek out employers who share their values and work to make a positive social impact. This is why “mission-driven” companies are seeing retention rates 40 percent higher than their peers.(3)

Update your communication strategy.

It won’t come as a shock that one of the best channels to reach Millennials is social media, but now that most brands have caught on, your communications must rise above the noise. You must connect authentically with your audience in fresh, engaging ways—and not just for a single conversation. Your brand must be able to sustain an ongoing digital dialogue with your top candidates to keep them around and engaged.

Five Tips to Attract and Retain Top Employees

1. Highlight how your employees make a difference in the community and in the broader world. Employees and potential employees want to know that your organization offers them a chance to make an impact and that it’s committed to a purpose beyond profit. This type of content sends a strong signal to prospective employees about your values and reengages current employees by encouraging their efforts and reminding them of the opportunities to get involved in doing good.

2. Update your employees about new programs or policies and explain what those changes will mean—and not in corporate speak. Then, allow your employees to react with comments or questions and approach them with candor. Don’t delete negative comments—commit to being transparent and responsive to their concerns. This will help disseminate information on the state of the organization and make employees feel involved in the organization and its mission.

3. Show off the specific work style and vibe of your organization. Prospective candidates care about cultural “fit,” so be transparent about what your brand offers—and what it doesn’t. A great way to do this is through live video featuring your real employees. It gives candidates what they’re seeking: an authentic peek into what life is like at your company.

4. Invest in an internal microblogging platform. These informal sites, like Yammer or Chatter, help your employees understand the full value of their benefits packages—from 401(k) savings plans to wellness offerings. They are a better alternative to traditional intranet or HR sites, offering a platform to run informal Q&A sessions, video hangouts, and forums to discuss benefits, allowing you to create dynamic, responsive, and personalized communications with employees.

5. Finally, keep the conversation going. Establish a regular schedule of communication across multiple channels to engage employees with your brand and with each other, building a sense of community around the workplace. Engage in social listening so you know what your employees are saying, and learn how you can continue to sustain the conversation.

As the job market changes, your communication strategy must also change. We’ve worked with clients like Microsoft and T-Mobile to align their brand and employee communications with how people connect and engage today—and we can help you, too.


1. Richard Fry, “Millennials Surpass Gen Xers as the Largest Generation in U.S. Labor Force,” Pew Research Center website, May 11, 2015.
2. “Glassdoor U.S. Site Survey,” Glassdoor.com, January 2016.
3. Josh Bersin, “Becoming Irresistible: A New Model for Employee Engagement,” Deloitte Review, Issue 16, January 26, 2015.