Senior Partner, Anna Chenery explores the talent acquisition tactics companies are using to attract new recruits, and how to avoid falling short of their expectations.

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Social media plays a huge part in attracting talent and, as such, seems to be at the forefront of every people plan. I see it daily, people posting blogs, tweeting, sharing office pictures and generally just promoting their businesses awesomeness online.

I am in a very privileged position, in that I meet a diverse mix of people from very different businesses, some of whose online activity is far better and more exciting than their actual HR programme. The reality of the situation is that the social front, the shop window, promises much, and only when you engage with that business do you get to see the reality inside.

Engagement isn’t just about the talent attraction/ acquisition plan; you need a considered, in-depth strategy that links in with everything else. Giving your employees a cool working environment, more time to play table football, beers on a Friday and flexible working hours is great, but it isn’t enough if you don’t offer clarity, direction, a sense of belonging and support.

You must consider what is important to the people you are attracting, how you will develop their careers and assess them to make sure they’re on track, and you need to do all of this without impacting the ‘fun’ culture you’re trying to promote.

It’s a difficult balance to strike, but some businesses are getting right.

I went to a meeting recently and met a recruiter whom I have known for years. I have never seen anyone look and sound so genuinely happy with their business. This is someone with a strong social presence and a strategy that clearly works.

Firstly, the Head of Talent I was meeting came down to reception personally to meet me and my colleague. I know that’s not a big deal but it’s the personal touch that makes a difference.

In the back of my mind I was still thinking we’ve been here before. We’d go on to talk about how cool the offices are and discuss the businesses creative attraction plans but then all the while at the other end of the spectrum we’d be meeting disengaged employees who can’t wait to leave.

That didn’t happen. Yes, we discussed the office and attraction plan but the difference was we discussed how the attraction plan linked to the resourcing plan, how the resourcing plan linked to the L&D plan, how the L&D plan linked to the performance plan and how the performance plan linked to the engagement plan – you get the idea… It was refreshing.

Granted, this is easier to do in a smaller business, as they are, but what they are doing is scalable. They are investing into engagement and development just as much as the shop front, and not just to stop attrition going through the roof but because they want to be the best business to work for.

Social media is an important part of any attraction plan, don’t get me wrong, but you must make sure you can live up to the expectation.

If you can invest in your people and really look after them, the attraction will look after itself. Engage your employees in your social media activity and you’ve got the best of both worlds; after all, they are your best advertisement.

See more of Anna Chenery‘s posts on LinkedIn.

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