Now is the time to make sure 2018 budgets include adequate resources for talent recruitment and retention. Here are eight areas to focus on to ensure your company is adequately equipped to meet the challenges ahead.
The other day I had a call from a member who asked whether I knew of someone who could fill an opening for a controller. Bad timing for the member, they are in the middle of budgets and just had a finance team member resign. I couldn’t think of anyone who was between opportunities and would fit their needs, so I said I’d keep my ear to the ground.
Unfortunately, the company is probably looking at a long and time-consuming process to find the right person. Some of that will be driven by the market and some of it may be of their own making. I just read an article in Forbes magazine that contends that most companies “do a terrible job at recruiting, because they are working from an outdated playbook.”
The author sees companies adding steps to what’s already a long process. The result is that only the most desperate — which translates to least marketable — candidates are willing to see it through. Companies can and should rethink their approach to ensure they are attracting the right talent.
In a well-timed article for the September-October issue of MFM’s The Financial Manager magazine, Laurie Kahn tackles budgeting for recruitment with an eye on updating and streamlining the process. Kahn is president of Media Staffing Network, a search and consulting firm that specializes in recruiting media sales and management talent. She has a lot of experience with the subject.
Now, as the MFM member who is trying to both prepare a budget and find a new market controller knows only too well, is the time to make sure 2018 budgets include adequate resources for talent recruitment and retention.
Know Where To Look
One of the challenges organizations face when evaluating their recruitment spending is knowing where to look. It’s not all contained in a single line item or even in one department. As Kahn points out, a line item for human resources is not enough. “Recruiting also involves advertising, marketing, technology, community affairs and training. Appropriate funding needs to be spread around.”
Larger companies may have a department called “Human Capital” or “Talent Acquisition,” which is responsible for itemizing all of these recruiting needs. For those that do not have this resource, Kahn suggests focusing on the following areas to ensure the company is adequately equipped to meet the challenge:
Boost Website Recruitment Potential
A company or station’s website should have an easy-to-find career page for people to learn about its culture. “It should describe why employees like working there; what makes your firm unique from others in the same industry; your mission; your benefits and growth potential.”
Kahn says the site should make it very easy to apply for open positions. That’s also mentioned in the Forbes column I referenced at the beginning of this piece. In addition to including a dedicated careers page, it should reflect the company’s role in the media business through its use of audio and video.
She also recommends using company employees and senior management to do some of the talking. “Have your CEO share a message about his or her vision. Include fun things that your company does to take care of your community and how you give back. That is important to many job seekers.”
Budget to either add or update the career page and to keep it up-to-date. This is something that needs to be monitored regularly.
Use Social Media As A Recruiting Tool
Social media, which may be overlooked as an effective means of reaching prospective hires, also needs to be managed.
It is also a double-edged sword. An outdated or incorrect digital presence can do more harm than good. Kahn recommends investing in both the software and human capital necessary to accurately represent your company on the information superhighway.
Involve The Promotions Team
Promotions departments should also be involved in the company recruitment program. As Kahn notes in her article: “Most company promotions are aimed at luring more advertisers or consumers. They don’t market to potential employees”
She suggests taking a page out of the “Frequent Listener/Viewer” playbook to streamline recruiting efforts. “What about a list of potential ad sellers in the market that you would like to hire one day?”
Take Advantage Of Local And Career Events
It is also important to host and promote events centered on company culture that will help build a local pipeline of potential hires. “You need to keep them engaged until you have an opening that is a fit.”
As part of that outreach, Kahn encourages businesses to make sure they have money in their budget for attending career fairs and conferences. Travel budgets should anticipate the funding needed for employee travel and related materials as well as money to cover visits from out-of-town candidates.
Remember Current Employees
Kahn also sees a strong relationship between how well an organization treats its current employees and its success in attracting top talent. From a budgeting perspective, she recommends offering training programs and investing in a CRM (customer relationship management) system for better time management and new tactics for sales personnel.
Employee recognition is another key component. This can include contests, special incentives, or prizes to reward outstanding accomplishments. Budget for referral programs as well as signing bonuses. “The better you take care of your current team and promote it, the easier it will be to attract new team members.”
Support Continuing Education
At MFM, we can speak first-hand to Kahn’s advice on the importance of educational programs for employees. They not only empower staff with skills that make them more productive in their current posts, they can also provide the knowledge and skills that allow them to compete with outside talent when career advancement opportunities arise.
MFM and BCCA, the media industry’s credit association, are two examples of industry-specific professional organizations that offer formal and informal learning opportunities that can reap tremendous rewards for the company as well as its employees. Too often, budgeting involves looking at the cost of a membership fee or conference registration without weighing the other side of that equation.
Members at all levels of media businesses regularly comment to us about the value they get from our annual conference. They say things such as: “It helps me understand the financial landscape and economics that drive our business and offers a front-row view of trends that are shaping the future of our industry.” Opportunity lost is (measurable) opportunity cost.
Don’t just take my word for it. I encourage you to seek out a member of your team who has been active in an organization like MFM and ask them for specific examples of how their participation has helped your business and their advancement options.
Lease Or Own Recruitment Expertise
As these various steps show, it takes a major commitment of staff, time, and the right skills to attract, hire and retain the talent that can help your business succeed. If your organization doesn’t already have that type of human capital in house, and you anticipate having positions to fill next year, it will be important to also budget for the professional assistance that can help you attract the best candidates for those posts.
Embrace The New Normal
Kahn concludes her piece saying companies must not get caught up in the idea that “if you post a job want ad, you will find your ideal candidates.” Even though broadcasters are required to do a certain amount of candidate outreach, those efforts alone may not reach the best person for the job. “All media companies need to expand the communications efforts to attract the best future employees.”
The issue of TFM containing Kahn’s article is currently available on MFM’s website. I hope sharing her advice helps to point the way toward a successful recruitment program for your business. If there’s one thing we know about the new normal, it’s that change is constant. Ensuring your company has the skills it needs for that type of future requires ongoing talent acquisition and development.
Finally, make sure that MFM membership and programs are part of your 2018 budget. The association’s educational opportunities and other resources continue to prove invaluable to those who take advantage of them. In this time of constant change, you cannot afford to be without them.
Mary M. Collins is president and CEO of the Media Financial Management Association and its BCCA subsidiary, the media industry’s credit association. She can be reached at[email protected] and via the association’s LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook sites.