CDI Corporation

Leveraging Public Relations to Attract Talent


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Public relations, or PR as it’s often called, is something we’ve all heard of but what does it really mean? Frequently companies think that PR should be leveraged to promote company news; everything from new hire announcements, office openings and website launches, to new products or services, and mergers and acquisitions. While some of these events may be deemed newsworthy, PR is most powerful as a tool to raise a company’s profile, communicate the brand and culture, and continually position internal experts as industry thought leaders. Most importantly, when public relations is leveraged effectively, employers can extend their ability to reach top candidates and attract them into their organizations. All too often, this is an opportunity that is missed when it comes to recruitment and hiring, because many companies only focus on archiving as many “look how great we are” press releases on their websites as they can.

So how does PR work and how can companies use it to entice top performers? Press releases are what most people think of when it comes to PR, but in actuality they are just one of various tactics that can be used to gain media coverage and communicate a compelling message. Additionally, PR is often mistaken for marketing, with the expectation that there will be a dotted line to a sale or new business. “Companies that are most successful with PR understand that at the core, PR is a public service, the purpose of which is to educate and connect with the community at large,” says Nysha King, media relations specialist for CDI subsidiary, MRINetwork. “Working in concert with marketing, the focus of PR should not be on self-promotion, but instead on the insight that the organization can provide, and how this information contributes to an ongoing dialogue, creating consistent, positive messages and stories about the company. These messages work over time to create a positive perception of the organization, ultimately making clients and prospects more receptive to engaging in business transactions, while also peaking the interest of ‘A’ players who could potentially work for the firm.”

King offers the following tips for companies looking to attract talent with PR:

Seek out opportunities to discuss industry trends, challenges and projections for market activity. Contributing an article, submitting recent research findings and speaking at an industry conference are all ways that employers can offer up industry knowledge and different approaches to work that will raise their organization’s profile. These efforts can start with a simple pitch note to the editor, or a proposal to the events committee. Top candidates want to work for companies that are innovative and forward thinking; media coverage provides the opportunity to leverage thought leadership that can be enticing to prospective hires.

Showcase your company culture. Whether it’s through social media or company ambassadors, one of the best ways to communicate what it’s like to work at the organization is through employees. Capture fun events and unique aspects of the office environment that demonstrate why it’s a great place to work. Then post pictures and describe what is being depicted on social media, the company website and other external communication vehicles. Additionally, identify contract and permanent employees who can share their unique stories about their experiences and the benefits to their careers that come from working with the company. This can be accomplished through career spotlights or contributed articles in publications.

Partner with other organizations on initiatives that complement your business focus. Engaging in philanthropy or other projects that align with the company’s mission is a good way to demonstrate goodwill. Collaborating with associations and institutions that may benefit from the organization’s expertise on a volunteer basis provides a softer, human element that lends more depth to the company culture that can be especially appealing to candidates. Today’s talent, whether permanent or contingent, are increasingly focused on working for employers that are ethical and display a commitment to meaningful causes.

Manage your reputation on employer review sites. At some point, you’re bound to receive poor reviews from disgruntled, former employees on sites like Glassdoor. Get in front of these reviews by responding to any negative information and presenting the company in a more positive light, before they can impact your ability to bring on the people you need in your blended workforce. In your online posts, admit to any past challenges and discuss how the organization is working to improve these areas. Many times, just the simple acknowledgement of an issue diffuses the situation and demonstrates a company’s integrity.

Whether a company is big or small, media coverage is something that every company can successfully pursue to attract and recruit top talent. “Employers must first identify what they want to convey about their culture and then determine the available resources to disseminate this information through consistent messaging,” adds King. “Once this is established, employers can create and roll out manageable PR strategies that communicate why the organization is a great place to work.”

Recent CDI Analysis

“Working in concert with marketing, the focus of PR should not be on self-promotion, but instead on the insight that the organization can provide, and how this information contributes to an ongoing dialogue, creating consistent, positive messages and stories about the company.”

Nysha King
Media Relations Specialist
MRINetwork, a subsidiary of CDI Corporation

Employment Situation (U.S.)

According to the latest report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nation gained 211,000 jobs in November. The jobless average remained steady at 5 percent, and the participation rate rested at 62.5 percent.

Professional and technical services created 28,000 positions, mostly in accounting and bookkeeping. Computers systems design and related services expanded its workforce within this sector as well, adding over 5,000 roles.

The mining industry, which has been on the decline all year, lost an additional 11,000 positions in November.

Financial activities, trade, transportation and warehousing, government, wholesale trade and manufacturing saw little or no change.

November’s report was reportedly so strong that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates later in December. Reuters explained that because employment has been positive and consistent over the past few months, and wages have gone up, the Fed will increase interest for the first time in 10 years. "We cleared the last hurdle for a rate increase. The Fed was looking for some positive movement on wages, and we got a little bit of that. There is absolutely nothing in this report that will keep the Fed from raising rates," Chris Gaffney, president at EverBank World Markets in St. Louis, told the news source.

The full Bureau of Labor Statistics report can be downloaded by
clicking here.

Employment Situation (Canada)

According to the latest Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada, the nation lost about 36,000 positions in November. This caused the country’s unemployment average to increase by 0.1 per cent to 7.1 per cent. While most demographics experienced little or no change to their employment situations, workers between the ages of 15 and 24 lost 24,000 jobs, causing the unemployment rate to decline by 0.6 per cent to 12.7 per cent among this demographic- its lowest figure in seven years.

From an industry perspective, public administration lost the most jobs, shedding 33,000 positions over the course of November. Many of the cuts were seen in the temporary work and public administration fields. The wholesale and resale trade industry declined by 16,000 jobs, while information, culture and recreations sustained a loss of 12,000 positions.

Not all sectors experienced losses, however. The professional, scientific and technical services sector added 18,000 positions, and the manufacturing industry gained 17,000 jobs. Construction also expanded its workforce, adding 15,000 new employees.

Jobs disappear post-election

According to The Globe and Mail, the reason Canada’s public administration field declined so steeply is because many of the lost jobs were connected to campaigns. Once elections are over, it’s not uncommon to see a significant decline in this industry’s employment figures. Aside from this explainable drop, economists are still concerned about the November report and its impact on job growth throughout 2015. Approximately 10,000 new roles were added this year, however it’s much lower than what analysts would like to see. “Underlying Canadian job growth is just grinding along at an achingly slow pace. The economy is simply not growing quickly enough to absorb all the new entrants,” Montreal’s chief economist Douglas Porter told the source.

Canadian ES Report:
Labour Force Survey, November 2015

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