The coronavirus crisis is necessitating that we take a step back and rethink our approach to creating and sharing Recruitment Marketing content. Given what people are facing personally and professionally, it’s important to pause our content calendars and create a new plan for how we’ll attract and engage talent.
In addition to rethinking the content itself, the current crisis is also necessitating a change to rethink how we produce content. In many industries, there has been a movement to remote work, which means we can’t interview employees in person or go on site to capture video footage. In other industries, like healthcare, now is not the time to be asking for help with recruiting.
To consider these do’s and don’ts, we’ve pulled in two Recruitment Marketing content experts to weigh in and share their pro tips on content creation in the current moment. We hope you find their input helpful as you adjust your organization’s own content strategy and in the coming weeks and months.
Meet the experts
Abby Cheesman is the Co-Founder of Skill Scout, a film company on a mission to make workplace communication more human through video. Workplace storyteller and IO Psychologist, Abby spends her days leading the team to bring companies to life on video. Every workplace has a story to tell, and Abby helps tell those stories.
Jill Shabelman is the Director of Client Services at Stories Inc., a Recruitment Marketing content agency focused on uncovering your organization’s unique employee experience stories. Prior to working with the Stories Inc. team, Jill was an Employer Brand & Marketing Manager at Deloitte. You can read Jill’s article, “Micro Talent Networks: Go Small to Go Big on Talent Engagement,” here.
Abby Cheesman: How to approach Recruitment Marketing content during this challenging time
Incredible workplace stories are happening now, but we need to be sensitive about when and how we tell these stories.
Our team at Skill Scout has clients who are rapidly expanding to increase production on coronavirus testing kits, and others in the restaurant space who are reinventing how they serve guests. In short, there is a unique opportunity to seek out and share stories to bring us all together during a difficult time.
However, the stories that we share need to be carefully selected. We must consider the larger message that these stories will send to employees and the public, given the difficult situations that people are dealing with at the moment.
Stay tuned in now so that you’ll be ready to share these stories when the timing is right.
Reconsider if employee-generated content is a mindful thing to ask of your employees at this time.
Employee-generated stories are powerful. Your best source of stories comes from people experiencing your company on a day-to-day basis. But during moments of uncertainty, people need to hear from leadership.
In other words, I would caution you to err on the side of empathy before asking employees to send videos of themselves during what is, for many, an incredibly difficult moment in their life. Front line staff at hospitals, nursing homes, grocery stores and delivery services didn’t sign up to be heroes. And while we may be interested in hearing their stories, asking them to appear on camera right now may not be an empathetic, human-centered approach.
Consider implementing an employee recognition program to uncover your internal stories.
If you feel compelled to highlight employee stories from your workplace, a better approach might be to ask employees to highlight each other, team efforts and what they’re most proud of. Assess this approach day-by-day as your workplace environment changes.
Taking the time to thank and recognize a colleague is often an easier thing to do than sharing our own stories during difficult times. A #LookForTheHelpers campaign is a simple way to spread recognition and uncover stories that you can feature using a simple narrated video.
Create internal content featuring your leadership team to boost morale.
A content approach that you may want to consider right now is to create a series of videos of your leaders that provide a steadfast, comforting voice during a difficult time.
Video works well here because with written communications the emotion and vulnerability often doesn’t always come across. Now more than ever, employees are looking for real connections. They are looking for leaders who care and empathize with what’s happening. Tone, demeanor and eye contact matter. If you can’t be together in person to speak with them, video is the next best thing.
One example of this type of leader video content done right is exemplified by Arne Sorenson, Marriott International President and CEO. This video is powerful because it’s vulnerable. Arne shares the sacrifices everyone, including the board and Arne himself, are making to get through this time. It’s also personal. He goes as far as explaining his team’s hesitation around showing him on video, due to his recent health battles.
Taking our own advice, the leadership team at Skill Scout shared our own video message with our team, clients and partners last week.
Jill Shabelman: How to approach Recruitment Marketing content during this challenging time
Look to curate and amplify stories with substance.
Content that feels too light and fluffy might not be the ideal tone at this time. Instead, this might be a better moment to seek out and share stories that have real substance.
For example, there are a lot of frontline workers who are probably feeling a real sense of meaning and purpose in their jobs right now. If you can find ways (that don’t interfere with their work) to share this elevated sense of purpose and working for the greater good, these stories will give your people an opportunity to be celebrated for all they’re doing and that will likely resonate with people. Other ideas that might work here include showcasing what your company is doing to support employees, customers and your community during this challenging time.
Let your company’s values shine through.
The Stories Inc. team has been watching how company values are being brought to the forefront through the current crisis. It’s interesting to see which values actually work in action and stand up in a real-life scenario, and which company’s values are revealed to be no more than words on a wall.
If your company is doing right by its people and putting your own values in action, you can produce captivating stories that show candidates how your unique culture shines in times of adversity.
Take extra time to think through your content schedule and look for what will add value.
Take a pause and hold off on publishing new content until you and your team have had a chance to wrap your heads around the situation and decide what kind of content you want to share with your employees and candidates at this time. When you’re ready to publish, the content you share will need to be thoughtful and that may take a little time to think through.
A lot of employer brand social media accounts are pretty quiet right now — and I think that that’s okay. Everyone is in the same boat, trying to figure out what to do next and how to respond to this unprecedented situation, so don’t feel like you have to proceed with business as usual if it doesn’t feel right given the climate.
Let your employees share their experiences.
While a lot of @lifeatcompanyname accounts are quiet right now, I have seen a lot of employees directly sharing their experiences on social. My LinkedIn feed has been filled with employees celebrating how their companies are responding to the crisis and snaps from people’s new remote work life, like new office set-ups and virtual meetings and events.
Over the next few weeks, employer brand and Recruitment Marketing professionals should look to sensitively package up and re-share some of these organic stories. This will help people understand your company culture, but even more importantly, it will help foster a sense of connection at a time when people are feeling pretty isolated.
Think about ways you can capture content remotely.
Lastly, another factor for consideration is how to even approach content creation given that a lot of teams are now working remotely. A few ideas to consider when you are looking to start creating employee story content again:
Phone interviews and content for remote teams can go a long way — you can then take the interview answers and create blog posts or even put audio clips on top of a video montage or animation.
One employee interview can result in multiple content pieces that can be used now and in the future. Use the time you have with employees to really connect with them and hear their whole story, not just what’s pressing right now.
Think about new ways you can get creative with content without being in the office; Instagram stories and visual social posts provide a nice approach since you can get crafty with text and graphics if employees submit a few photos.
Also, remember that while a lot of great stories will emerge from this challenging period, there is no big rush to tell them all immediately. These stories will be just as incredible and important for candidates to hear a few weeks or months or even years from now too. That being said, keep your ear to the ground now for stories that might be a good fit to follow up on later. We all know we can never have too many impactful employee stories.
We hope these expert perspectives on the types of content that employees, candidates and customers will appreciate right now was helpful for you to read. Content that communicates your company’s employee value proposition and culture is one of the best tools that we have in our collective talent attraction and engagement toolkit. Your skills as a storyteller are important now more than ever.
Looking for More Resources?
Learn how to get the best employee stories about your company’s values, culture, and purpose. Watch the Rally Recruitment Marketing demo with Lauryn Sargent of Stories Inc. on what to ask, what not to ask, and how to use employee stories to attract top talent.