Lets face it, all mining companies want to attract the best talent out there, be it students and graduates, or those with high skills and experience already working in the mining industry. Some companies / mining operations are better at doing this than others. How? Because they keep an active presence on the web or on a mining specifc job portal like CareerMine during the sluggish periods. Even though these companies might not be on active hiring drives, they keep a presence to passively attract candidates to their career paths, company culture, principles of prosperity and safety & environmental respect. This is also an ideal opportunity to build a talent bank of candidates for future hiring requirements.

Below is an interesting article written by Mark Brown, MD of WRS, which highlights further the importance for companies to invest in becoming employers of choice.

With no immediate solution to the continuing global skills shortages within the oil & gas, energy, offshore and mining sectors, companies looking to attract talent also need to consider that baby boomers retiring in increasing numbers and fewer graduates with the right skills entering the workforce are going to make this a real challenge in the mid to long-term.

So how do you ensure that your roles attract the talent and skills you need? Companies need to invest in becoming an employer of choice in their marketplace so that they can successfully source, recruit and also retain today’s top candidates in a skills scarce market that sees no signs of abating. This is where employer branding comes in. Employer branding is about delivering an authentic and compelling experience to candidates and employees alike.

What is an employer brand?

  • A comprehensive recruitment and retention strategy that positions your company to appeal to a range of target audiences within your marketplace. 
  • A focused and consistent message that speaks to both current and potential employees that conveys the company’s culture and identity in a truthful and compelling manner. 
  • A long-term vision that encompasses the values, systems, policies and behaviours which define what organisation expects of their employees and what employees can expect of the company.

The key steps to a strong and compelling employer brand

There are a number of factors to consider before embarking on the development of a strategy for your employer brand. Here WRS have listed the key steps to consider:

1. Get buy-in at all levels within the company

Do you have the “buy-in” of top management? Your company culture must be a clear set of values that are communicated and believed in from the top-down. It is important to follow through on promises made during the onset of an employee’s working relationship with the company.

2. Do your research

There are two areas of research to cover. Firstly internal – this could include focus groups, interviews with executives, needs analysis as well as complete employee profiles and workforce demographics (Gen Y, baby boomers, etc.) Secondly look at external factors such as who you are looking to attract, what they want and you should definitely know what your competitors are doing.
Be prepared to compare the outcomes of sessions involving senior management (perceived reality), against the findings from the employee sessions (actual reality). Address the internal problems first before attempting to launch any employer branding activity.

3. Know your target audience.

What are their values and expectations? What tools are they using to search for jobs and potential employers? What are they looking for in a future employer? What is important to one group might not be important to another. Make sure the message fits the audience, and be prepared to have different messaging if you wish to appeal to diverse skill groups? This may also mean a complete shift in the way you approach your resourcing.

4. Develop your Employer Value Proposition (EVP)

Based on the outcomes of your research, your EVP is the commitment you make to your current and future employees. Develop a short statement – we would suggest no more than a dozen words, as it needs to be concise and clear. Create synergy with your corporate brand as the most successful employer brands do not stand alone. They are in sync with the overall company brand and will possess key elements of the company’s values as a whole.

5. Consider your candidate experience.

  • Explore the application process through a candidate’s eyes. Is the website engaging? Does their CV go into a “black hole” when they apply? You really need to take every touch point of the candidate experience into consideration. 
  • Why would someone want to work for your company? Explore the reasons why people would love to work for your company through focus groups and workshops. Be objective: the process is about discovering what your culture is about, not what you wish it would be. 
  • Your brand message should be seen, felt and heard by all – even when a candidate is interviewing. The culture of your company should be felt the minute anyone walks through the front door.

6. Clearly communicate with all your audiences

This is also an area where you need to consider both internal and external factors. Internally you should be developing an employee induction program – this is a working document, and depending on the size of your company, may need to have many versions – regional, divisional, even departmental. Alongside a clear induction programme, will be training materials and a well-developed intranet.

Externally you will need to consider revising any recruitment advertising to ensure consistency of brand message, as well as company website/s and also any promotion at industry events and careers fairs.

7. Measure and evaluate your success

Once you’ve implemented your employer brand you can start to review a number of areas to measure the ROI. These should include turnover/retention rates, flow of applications, cost per hire and annual employee satisfaction surveys to understand loyalty and engagement.

Employer branding is a complex subject and to truly make it a success it will need to be developed and delivered with a dedicated focus over a period of time, with buy-in from many stakeholders within your business.

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