It’s no secret that growing a business at light-speed comes with a lot of built in risks. If you fail to grow your market and get a robust sales cycle underway, the whole business could start to fall apart. If, on the other hand, you find yourself in a position where you can’t meet demand, you risk permanent harm to your corporate reputation. If you can’t find the right team, the odds of either of the preceding risks occurring begins to skyrocket. Sure, some risk is inevitable, but this really seems like a lot. How can a growing startup manage these risks and position themselves for sustainable growth and long term success?
We might be a little biased, but from our perspective it seems like effective recruitment and talent management are the safest foundation on which to base the future hopes of your business. If you can assemble an all-star team without breaking the bank, then you’ll stand poised to gain a competitive edge in the market and put out the best possible product.
Of course, this is easier said than done. Most startups are working with limited cashflow, limited time, and a limited amount of built-in hiring expertise. How are you supposed to overcome these challenges in such a competitive hiring market? Easy: automation.
Time is Money
To be more specific, we’re talking about recruitment marketing automation, or RMA. RMA refers to the process of creating automated workflows for the activities associated with recruitment marketing, i.e. posting job ads on social media, disseminating employer branded content, and building a talent pipeline. In each of these cases, performing the requisite tasks by hand could easily become problematically time consuming. Sure, you can easily post content on one or two social media sites a day in order to build out your employer brand, but once you’re trying to spread content across more than a dozen, all with slightly different targeting parameters, budgeting requirements, etc., all of a sudden you’re staring down a mountain of work that seems impossible to scale.
Spreading employer brand content in large quantities is one of the most effective ways to generate employer brand gravity and gain the attention of qualified job applicants. But if it can’t be done in a time-efficient way then it functionally can’t be done at all. As Andrew Field of PrintingforLess.com put it: “When you have a month of 20 percent year-over-year growth, you are scrambling. It’s challenging to get away from the day-to-day tasks and activities and concentrate on the big picture and strategy for future growth.” (Source) Effective recruitment marketing takes time, which is precisely what fast-growing startups don’t have.
With marketing automation, it’s possible to regain time that would either have been spent on rote, repetitive tasks or not spent on recruiting at all. Instead of spending hours spreading your employer brand, you can spend minutes. How? By automating the processes by which you get your employer brand message in front of your target employees. In just a few minutes each day, you’re able to promote your employer brand, inform people of your EVP (employee value proposition), and get qualified applicants interested in your company.
Actually, Money is Money
Recruitment marketing operates on the idea that, given the high level of competition in the global talent market, businesses need to target not just the 20% of potential candidates who are actively job seeking, but also the 80% who aren’t. These passive job seekers aren’t frequenting job boards, and they don’t have relationships with recruitment agencies—but they could be convinced to switch jobs if the right offer came around. The trick is to position your offer as the right one, which means meeting them where they are: social media.
Besides time, what’s the resource that tends to be scarcest in fast-growing startups? Cash. Not only do you want to choose whatever recruitment solution helps you minimize costs, you also want the costs you do incur to be consistent. In this way, RMA presents itself as a potential antidote to classic startup woes. Not only can a strong employer brand (which is the natural result of effective recruitment marketing efforts) improve your cost per hire, it can also save you the cost of working with a recruiting agency by bolstering your talent pipeline. Further, once you’ve got these processes automated, it’s easy to stabilize your spending and track it across different media. Where, in a manual workflow, it might be difficult to track your ad spend across so many different channels, here you have budget control, visibility, and consistency (since you’re not beholden to variable times to fill for specific job openings).
As if cashflow and time management weren’t difficult enough hurdles to overcome, fast-growing startups also tend to find themselves trying to staff up considerably before they’ve hired an actual HR department. This means that the organization has little built-in expertise when it comes to attracting, engaging, screening, and hiring potential job candidates. It’s hard to get your brand messaging in front of smart, talented people, just as it’s sometimes hard to identify those people when they respond to your open positions.
Of course, no software can take the place of a talented recruiter. But an RMA solution can help set the stage for effective recruitment even before you’ve entirely formalized your hiring process and gained a high degree of organizational HR knowledge. How? By offering an array of metrics and reporting options to help you better understand the impact of your recruitment marketing activities. When you finally do hire a savvy HR lead who can steer your efforts in the right direction, she’ll be able to hit the ground running and roll out campaigns with little to no lead time—just as she’ll be able to leverage data about the candidates that have already entered your talent pipeline. Because you have the information necessary to make data-driven hiring and recruiting decisions, you’ll have set a solid foundation for future efforts. With any luck, this will lead to even more time and money saved as you continue to grow your operations.