A lot has changed in the past few months. In what seems like the blink of an eye, we were suddenly facing a global crisis the likes of which we had never experienced before — and our talent acquisition team knew that we had to adjust the Recruitment Marketing content we were creating as a result.
Before the global pandemic, we created Recruitment Marketing content around our company’s core principles and themes — like sustainability, taking energy forward, power through empowerment, and our fun office culture, to name a few — to attract new talent to want to work with us at First Solar. We developed great content here and partnered with Stories Incorporated to create captivating employer brand video content for different talent segments too. Telling our employer brand story will always be important, and we’re still using this content, but as candidates’ priorities changed due to COVID-19 we understood that people were interested in new topics, so we took a fresh look at our content approach to shift things around to adjust to the “new normal.”
Some of the changes that candidates were expecting were obvious, such as those relating to on-site perks and facilities (turns out cafes and wellness centers — as awesome as they are — aren’t so appealing when you can’t go into the office to use them). But others were less obvious, such as those relating to maintaining company culture virtually, accommodating remote workflows, and making sure people felt safe when they did have to go on-site.
Like everyone else, we’ve done our best to be agile and adapt to the current situation. One of the important steps we’ve taken is to collaborate with our Marketing team to try to understand what new areas of content we should be focusing on right now. Our conversation has centered around one major question: What are people looking for from their employers and favorite brands during this pandemic?
As a result of this collaboration, we’ve introduced five new content series into First Solar’s Recruitment Marketing content plan:
- Keeping our people safe
- Life at home
- Virtual company culture and connections
- Community support
- Virtual internships
Here’s an explanation about each one along with some of our examples:
1. Keeping our people safe
It’s important to us that candidates know that First Solar is an employer that cares about our people’s health. With social distancing in place and staying healthy at the top of our priorities, we want to show that we’re doing our best to protect our workforce’s health.
So we now curate and publish pictures, videos, compilations and slideshows that show how we’ve transitioned to remote work and what safety protocols we have in place for those members of our workforce who still need to be in the office (mostly our manufacturing team roles).
Here’s an example of this type of content:
To ensure that everything we publish is accurate and abides by all protocols, we collaborate with our environmental health and safety teams across our manufacturing locations, as well as our on-site HR team, when putting out this type of content.
2. Life at home
More important than our perspective as a company is our employees’ perspectives — especially to new talent. Candidates want to hear about the employee experience and corporate culture directly. This is why we launched our “Life at home” series to show how our employees have been adjusting to working from home.
On an ongoing basis, we ask employees for tips or thoughts about their general experience so far working remotely. We then request permission to share some of these comments as testimonials across social media. Lastly, we ask these employees to send in pictures of themselves working from their favorite space in their home and create social posts like the one below:
Not only does this content humanize our organization by showing our team members, it also provides more insight into our virtual company culture . This content also works well because it provides tips that people can use in their current workplace too, even if they’re not ready to consider a career change to First Solar right now.
3. Virtual company culture and connections
While COVID-19 didn’t change the fundamental elements of our company culture, it certainly changed the way we execute on our employee engagement activities and culture-building events. Like everyone else, we had to shift from fostering our company culture in-person to maintaining it virtually.
So, for example, where pre-COVID we met up in-person for office happy hours, we now have virtual happy hours. Similarly, when necessary (and possible), smaller teams still get together for casual virtual or social distance meetups to foster connections and build team rapport.
We didn’t want to neglect making the time for these sorts of events just because we were no longer in office, because we knew that would hurt our company culture. For the sake of new and existing hires, it’s still crucial for us to block off time for and maintain that cultural aspect of our business (and to nab photographic evidence for the ‘gram whenever possible to showcase our virtual culture to prospective candidates).
To identify this content, we consistently reach out to our team leaders in different locations to see what their teams are doing to stay connected.
Here’s an example:
4. Community support
More than ever, I think that candidates now want to work with companies that are doing good in this world. And lucky for us, this is also something that’s central to the First Solar mission. We’re always looking for ways to share our good deeds in the community with our prospective candidates so they understand the type of positive impacts that our team makes (and that they can make too if they choose to join us).
An example of this is that in our Frankfurt office, we used to purchase a basket of fruit once or twice a week from a company that plants a tree in Africa with every purchase. We still buy those baskets to support the cause, but now that we have no people in the office we donate these baskets to essential workers to thank them for the sacrifices they’ve been making.
Throughout the course of COVID-19, we’ve also donated masks to those in need and expanded our paid leave for military associates so that if they’re called to duty, they have more freedom to help.
5. Virtual internships
Despite everything that’s happening, we’re still committed to growing and developing early career talent. So we want to show that First Solar’s internship program continues in full force, albeit virtually for some.
To accomplish this, we started reaching out to our interns asking them about their experiences joining, onboarding and working with us virtually over the past few months. We accompany these short quotes about their experiences to date with any photos or videos they’re willing to provide of them working remotely.
Here’s an example of the type of content we’ve shared:
Combined, their quotes and photos shared across social media work great as social proof for potential future intern hires. It also helps that many of our interns are willing to share these posts across their own social channels as well, which really amplifies the message.
Early results of our new Recruitment Marketing content plan
With our new content strategy in place, we’ve noticed that on some of our social media platforms there has been an increase in engagements on our posts. More people are commenting and sharing!
While all forms of engagement are likely to help your post get on more social feeds — and therefore in front of more people — shares and comments have more impact than just likes alone.
Shares and comments also convey more social proof than likes, because they offer additional perspectives and show that what you’re sharing is authentic. For example, consider the comment section on our intern post below:
By reading the comments, you get a sense of the welcoming environment we aim to provide for all of our employees. If this post only had its likes alone and no comments, it wouldn’t convey this welcoming environment as effectively to potential hires looking at the post.
This small change could mark the difference between a potential hire stopping to consider your post and scrolling right past you on their feed.
I hope that sharing our new Recruitment Marketing content series and some of the early results we’ve seen are helpful for you. With so much in flux, we’re all at the point where we need to reconsider, adjust and optimize our approaches to continue to stay relevant to talent in the current climate.
This isn’t an easy time, but I know that we can overcome this by staying informed and flexible as the situation changes over time. Wishing you and your team the best of luck and that you stay healthy and safe!