Leah Daniels
Leah Daniels

Using Company Culture to Attract Entry-Level and Hourly Employees

July 20, 2016 at 03:53 PM — Post

Most of us espouse corporate ideas and future plans that make great sense to everyone who is just like you and me… assuming that you are a corporate, white collar worker, that is highly educated, in a salaried position, with focused career growth.

But when we talk about building a company culture that drives recruiting efforts, how much of that bias slips unknowingly into our assumptions?  And at what point are we limited to talent pools of only the percent of people who are just like us due to our subconscious assumptions?

We are seeing this scenario playing out in the world today, with increases in hate crimes in the United States and most recently, with the Brexit in the UK.  People unknowingly make assumptions everyday about the lives of people around us, and inherently those assumptions reflect our own particular biases. Those in London, for example, see diversity as a part of life. Individuals in rural England voted a very different way with Brexit, arguably due to their lack of exposure to the advantages of a diverse society. The result – while yet to be conclusive – is massive economic, cultural and personal shifts in the way an entire country operates. Attracting Hourly Employees Starts with a Great Company Culture

Had the people voting in the UK, been able to assume the viewpoint of Londoners, they might have reconsidered how they would vote. Like the UK example, in recruiting, it’s important for us to start to put on a different hat, and relate ourselves to that of an entry level or hourly employee… someone whose worldview may not exactly align the same way as yours does today. As an owner of a franchise, manager of a manufacturing plant or even a manager building a team of entry-level or hourly employees, how do you make company culture a central point to resonate with the type of candidate that you are actually looking for?

If you build a culture around your own exclusive worldview, you may find there are no people who want to work at your company. There are other companies successfully hiring those same candidates at equal pay. The job is not the problem. Depending on the role, internal career advancement might be non-existent or extremely limited. Internal working conditions might involve standing over a cooktop, boxing up widgets, or making 100 phone calls a day.

Before we can craft the message around our culture, we must first accept that most of our employees are temporary. Rare is the employee who sticks with the company for 30 or 40 years. 2 years is an accomplishment for many entry-level, hourly roles.

In this environment of constant turnover, how do you convince candidates that your opportunity is worth their time? How do you make it known that they will make a difference, and you in turn, will help them progress in their own personal journey? Your company culture must seal the deal.

Many companies take the perks route: flexible schedule, a giving vacation policy, beer at the office, ping pong tables, free lunch, casual dress, and the list goes on.  But these are band-aids; they neither tell the candidate what it’s actually like to work at your company nor does it address their day-to-day routine or future path. It underestimates the complex nature of people and their motivators, but insteads aims to solve all needs with one solution: fun.

In my humble opinion, it is your best bet to rely, not on booze benders and competitive ping pong, but on the stories of your former employees. Let them tell the story of what it’s really like to work for you.  Some will be employees promoted to more responsibility, money, opportunity.  Some will be former employees who have left to go and do better things at other companies. You’re former employees are your voice – they post on Glassdoor and they call you for references.  Ask those former employees for the same – would they be a reference for you as a company and for you as a hiring manager?

How do you use the stories of people who no longer work for you?  There are 3 approaches to be considered:

  1. Ask former and departing employees to write on Glassdoor (not just what’s it’s like to work at your company, but what it has done for their career or their personal journey).
  2. Use those stories as part of the narrative in your job descriptions (such as ‘people who have joined us in this role have gone on to do X, Y or Z’).
  3. For those current employees who have been promoted and taken on more responsibility, bring their experience to life by creating video or written case studies (with photos!) and post them on your career site.

As an HR and recruiting leader, it is your responsibility to become a launch pad. Be a company that creates future opportunities for your employees. Do not scorn them for leaving, but celebrate their future successes. See each departing employee as only a quiver if you value working at a company that creates and propels careers forward. Stay in touch with them after they leave. Keep track of your future high performers and weave their stories into your own. Make your employees’ long term successes a tenet of your current hiring story.