STRATEGIC EARLY WARNING NETWORK | EMBRACING DIGITAL TOOLS

Using Digital Marketing and Media Tools to Attract and Hire Skilled Workers

The “skills gap” remains the primary hindrance for sustained growth of manufacturing companies in the southeastern region. While significant resources have been applied to training the existing workforce, the main culprit continues to be the lack of qualified candidates coming through the door. Even more profound, the lack of skilled workers have forced companies to seek other ways of getting the work done. Tom Krol, of IMET Inc., has stated that, “lacking the skilled workers, companies are being forced to look at labor replacing technology, like robotics. This need to be more efficient and competitive means learning how to implement some of the tenants of ‘smart factories’. With each technology upgrade, highly paid, highly skilled workers become the critical component for future success.” The rapidly expanding technology push has moved local businesses to using digital marketing and media tools to attract and hire skilled workers. 

The challenge is getting even worse as every county in the southeastern region continues to be at full employment status. This means that almost everybody seeking a job has a job. Therefore, in almost every case, your next new hire will either come right out of school or from someone else’s workforce. Regardless, almost every new applicant will use a social media device to tap into the internet to begin their job search. Statistically, over 70% of the job seekers begin their search on Google. YouTube is owned by Google and it has become the secret weapon for attracting digital job seekers.

Once you decide what digital tool to use, the next step is to find where these future hires can be found. While the suggestions on “how to” are many, the most recommended procedure is to take a close look at your marketplace, at your competitors and within your community to uncover the people who will become your next skilled workers. Importantly, the first key is understanding your audience. What are they looking at and what gets their attention? The second key is to determine what the trigger for getting them to take action. Experience has shown that going to market with a specific job opening is probably not the best way initiate your digital search. The more successful searches focus first on what your company has to offer a potential new hire.

According to a Gallup research report, high quality candidates are attracted to companies that align with who they are and encourage them to do what they do best. These high quality candidates pay close attention to “great places to work” lists and other external recognition factors that highlight the social and environmental philosophies of an organization. To test this premise, the Manufacturing Alliance of Bucks & Montgomery Counties, has initiated an experiment led by one of our leaders, Karla Trotman of Electro Soft, Inc. She has created a YouTube video highlighting her organization and the kind of work processes that exist at her company. These videos are being created using just a smartphone for both content and editing. The objective is to pursue a low cost, yet effective, digital option for other small companies in our membership to use. If the effort is successful in generating applicants and new hires, our goal is to offer a workshop for member companies interested in this digital recruiting strategy. 

The Manufacturing Alliance also has several service providers who offer digital recruiting support options. At a recent meeting, one of these providers, A.J. Gallagher, presented the key ingredients each recruiting software package should contain. According to Ed Adams and Kyle Curley, the software should provide capability to parse resumes, integrate with job boards, attach documents, create hot lists and track progress. Also, the ability to link with various platforms and stakeholders within the organization is required. 

This article was submit by Gregory Olson, Director, SESEWN Region,215-776-0130, , www.steelvalley.org/sewn.