Why and how communications should drive talent attraction

Updated: Dec 10, 2019

If you work in the public sector, look around your office. Now imagine half of your coworkers being gone by 2025. Half.

That’s alarming, yet a reality for some cities.

As Baby Boomers retire—a phenomenon dubbed the ‘silver tsunami’—local government is losing its workforce at an unprecedented rate. And the industry is failing to attract its next generation, creating the perfect HR storm.

Here are our top tips on how strategic communications can help attract that top talent that public agencies so desperately need:

Lose the jargon. Focus on clear, compelling messaging that accurately positions the job opportunity at hand. This is especially true if you want to connect with professionals who are considering a move from the private sector—a valuable talent pool that is difficult to attract.

For example, the City of Palmdale is hiring an assistant city manager and tapped us to help. By taking a conversational, magazine-like tone, we were able to create a job posting that’s anything but traditional.

Show up in their feed. Top candidates are usually not hunting for work. But they are passively watching what opportunities are out there—and willing to jump if the right one grabs their attention.

Posting on a government job board won’t cut it. Use targeted social media to flow into their feed, putting your opportunity quite literally in the palm of their hand.

Put your team’s best foot forward. Once you’ve caught a candidate’s attention, they’ll naturally want to see who they’d be working with—which means they’ll be researching your agency’s leadership team on LinkedIn and your agency website.

Help your leadership team shine by rewriting their professional bios and making sure each one hits on the selling points you want candidates to know most.

Get a witness. Of course, candidates also want to know what other employees think about working for your agency. That’s why peer review sites like Glassdoor are so popular.

Round up a few star employees and ask them if they’d be willing to share their positive feedback online. If you’re lucky enough to have a few charismatic ones, consider capturing their testimonies on camera. Those make great additions to your agency’s LinkedIn page, Glassdoor page, social media and website.

Hit them with the sexy. Let’s be honest. Sleek collateral is hard for most to resist. So, make sure your recruitment materials are on point. Instead of a stogy brochure go for standout design that gets folks excited about working with you.

We recently helped the City of San Marcos pull that off when it was recruiting a finance director. The work ultimately earned a Best in Show from the California Association of Public Information Officials (CAPIO). According to city staff, this recruitment caught the attention of an overall higher caliber of candidate, including some Ivy League graduates, and more of them too. This recruitment received 35% more applications than previous recruitments.

“This taught me communicators aren’t just the press release people. They deserve a seat at the table when discussing key recruitment strategies,” said Deputy City Manager Michelle Bender.

Of course, we couldn’t agree more. If you’d like some help forming communications-driven strategies to attract top talent, let’s talk.

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