When we talk to clients about audiences that are important to them, it’s not at all uncommon for the most important audience to be completely forgotten. I don’t care what you do, who you serve, or what your product/service’s price point is — the most important audience for every business is its own employees.
They are the face of your company. They either live out or diminish your brand. They make it possible for you to deliver on your marketing promises. And yet, they’re often an afterthought.
Couple that truth with the employee shortage that most industries are facing today, and we have a serious problem. There are fewer qualified candidates, and odds are that your business is growing and you need even more of them. All of that adds up to this truth: You need to have a marketing plan aimed squarely at your internal team, or you’re going to live in a cycle continually replacing the employees who leave for greener pastures and have a harder time adding to your head count as you grow.
Should you communicate more often? Absolutely. Should you set goals and help them track the goals with you, rewarding them when the goals are met or surpassed? Of course. But one of the less obvious ways you should be marketing to both your current and prospective employees is through your benefits program.
Today’s workforce is evolving. Millennials now comprise the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, and their dominance is going to increase as more boomers retire. Assuming your organization’s salary ranges are in line with your industry, that’s a wash. (If that’s not the case, given how easy it is to find salary comparisons online, you’re doomed to fail.) If it’s not going to be about pay, it’s going to be about the benefits and perks that create the culture and work-life balance for your team.
Like it or not, the benefit package that felt generous to the boomers is not going to cut it with today’s workforce. They have different priorities and we’re in a different time. If you haven’t taken a look at what you’re offering, I’d highly recommend you consider some of these less traditional benefits that are not only becoming commonplace but they are brag-worthy.
Why does that matter? Numerous studies have demonstrated that the No. 1 influence in whether or not a millennial applies for or accepts a job is what the current employees say about the work environment. How you treat your employees is more of a marketing/recruitment tactic than ever before. With social media and review sites, it’s almost impossible to recruit if the buzz about your company is not favorable.
There are a few benefits emerging as the new “must haves” to attract and keep employees.
Parenting support: Sixty-four million of those millennials will be having children in the next decade. Accommodations like having a dedicated pumping room for breastfeeding moms, expanding parental leave (Netflix offers a full year of paid leave to both moms and dads) and coaching programs for new parents are among the benefits that are sticky with today’s employees.
Student loan repayment: Forbes called this the trailblazing benefit of 2017. Many companies, large and small, are beginning to build a benefit program that pays down their employees’ student loans. In the 2015 American Student Assistance survey, 76 percent of respondents said that if a prospective employer offered a student loan repayment benefit, it would be a deciding or contributing factor in accepting the job. As of December 2016, only 4 percent of companies are offering this benefit.
Gone are the days when flextime, working from home and three weeks’ vacation seemed generous. You’re going to have to dig a little deeper if you want a stable, growing workforce today.