The pandemic has been a catalyst for employees to reflect on what they really want — both out of life and in their jobs and careers. As a result, security integrators are forced to think differently about how to remain attractive as employee needs/preferences evolve. When it comes to recruitment strategies, integrators relying on pre-pandemic strategies to succeed in an (almost) post-pandemic market are likely to fall behind. While most of us are still writing our new playbook, here are a few strategies that I plan to include in mine.
1. AVOID COMPARISON SYNDROME: FOCUS ON WHAT MAKES YOU UNIQUE.
If you have ever felt “less than” because of what competitors are promoting on LinkedIn that seems better than what your company has to offer, you’re not alone. The narrative goes something like this: We don’t have (unlimited PTO, annual team building events, tuition reimbursement, fill in the blank) like XYZ company has…. What can we do differently to be more like them, but better? This thinking keeps your focus on what you don’t have instead of what makes your company great. When you find yourself falling victim to this comparison syndrome, redirect your focus to that which makes your company different than your competitors. What do you offer that others don’t? Are you a smaller integrator? Perhaps you offer accelerated career advancement and less red tape? Are you a larger integrator with a culture of recognition? Highlight the benefits of working within a company that has well-established structure for rewarding employees. If you hold up a mirror to your company, looking for the good (rather than where you think you may be lacking compared to others), you will find it. Then shine a spotlight on those unique qualities in your recruiting efforts.
2. BE AUTHENTIC, NOT ASPIRATIONAL.
Authenticity is key to building and keeping trust. In fact, studies show that authentic leadership increases work engagement among employees and their job performances. So, it’s not surprising that the most authentic organizations have the edge in other areas as well, including getting the right people in the door and keeping them. Attracting talent is one thing, but keeping great talent is directly connected to whether we are who we say we are. Employees don’t stay long when they realize that what they were sold during the recruitment process doesn’t align with their experience. In other words, our employer brand must be true to our culture and values, and accurately reflect the reality of working at our company.
3. TELL A COMPELLING STORY.
Storytelling is a powerful means of connecting with others and it is especially powerful as it relates to recruitment within the access control industry. According to research conducted by Paul Zak, founding director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University, compelling narratives cause oxytocin release and have the capacity to affect our attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Your authentic company narrative will appeal to the right candidates who are inspired by who you are, what you stand for, and why you do what you do. When potential applicants understand and connect with why your company exists, they are more likely to see themselves in your story and will want to be a part of it.
4. CONSIDER TALENT FROM OUTSIDE INDUSTRIES.
Don’t have tunnel vision when looking for talent. By focusing solely on people with access control/security industry experience, you may be missing out on individuals who have the hard and soft skills to be strong performers. People with transferable skills — for example, individuals who can prove competency through the interview process in areas like problem solving, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, leadership, and teamwork — have the potential to thrive in any number of industries, including ours.
5. ENLIST EMPLOYEE INFLUENCERS.
As consumers, we often turn to online recommendations and endorsements when shopping for a product or service. Job seekers are no different. According to Social Media Today, content shared by employees receives eight times more engagement than content shared by brand channels. Giving your people a platform for sharing stories, videos, and images of what it’s like to work for your company is a great way to highlight your brand and get visibility for your organization. Ideally, your influencers should be a cross-section of your workforce, representing people in the office, as well as in the field.
6. KEEP PACE WITH TODAY’S WORKFORCE.
Ultimately your efforts to recruit the talent you want will be won or lost based on your organization’s ability to recognize and respond to what people in today’s market value in a potential employer. By keeping your recruiting strategy focused on what makes you different and authentic, staying true to your employer brand, keeping your strategy broad enough to reach beyond the industry talent pool, and using your current employees to share your compelling story, you’ll be well positioned to bring the best people on board and keep them.