We all learned the four P’s of marketing in college (Product, Price, Placement and Promotion). But to succeed in today’s post-pandemic world astute marketers have added a fifth, and perhaps the most important P: People.

It’s not difficult to see why. Without the right people, businesses are unable to operate efficiently and effectively. Talent is the holy grail of any successful business. That’s why we need to treat recruitment, retention, and employee engagement with the same care and rigour that we apply to the other four Ps.

We’ve been doing more work with our clients in the human resources space, and thought we would share some of our learnings.

1. Understand employees values and motivations.

We wouldn’t launch a new product without knowing what our target market wants and ensuring that our product’s benefits and features are aligned accordingly. So, it goes with talent. Do the research and do it right–ideally, via a third party, professional firm. This helps to ensure that the methodology implemented leads to honest, actionable feedback. We’re currently working with a great company out of Toronto for one of our national clients to better understand why its employees joined the company instead of a competitor, why they remain with the company, and what they value most at the company–among other considerations. The findings will help to ensure we develop relevant, credible, and differentiating recruitment and retention strategies and communications.

2. Purpose and values matter.

Now more than ever, what you stand for matters more than what you sell. Employees (and customers) want to deal with companies that have purpose and contribute to the greater good. It’s critical that you link your “why” to your employees’ “why.” For instance, how does your purpose support their purpose? This video we produced as part of a campaign for the Victoria Police Department is a great example of this principle at work.

3. Be your best digital you.

Every touchpoint with a current and potential employee either attracts them toward you or pushes them away. It is the sum of positive impressions that attracts and retains people. Gen X spends an average of 6.2 hours a day watching videos on screens and Gen Z spends an hour more than that. So, your brand needs to live there too. Your content strategy and channel choices need to consider not only where your consumers are, but also where your current and future talent spend their time. And you need to make sure that you use the “supporting not selling” approach. People want to work at an organization that makes them proud.

4. Fish where the fish bite.

We’ve come a long way from the classified ads. In fact, we can find just about anyone online. Google and Facebook have huge reach, but they are crowded spaces and have very strict limitations around job targeting. Using programmatic advertising often offers the best results. Ironically, the more specialized the skill set you are looking for, the easier it is to reach those prospects with digital marketing. We’ve found the best results come with an integrated “always on” approach using social, programmatic, and select traditional media.

People are and should always be our highest priority, whether there is a labour shortage or not. As we emerge and rebuild our businesses and economy, we have the opportunity to do it better than before. Sometimes obstacles lead to opportunities. We should all start looking at not just how we hire, but who we hire. Are we being as inclusive as possible? Are we able to reimagine how we do things and create opportunities for people of differing abilities?

While we are disheartened to see the struggles faced by so many businesses with respect to hiring, we believe that as marketers we can help by gathering and leveraging insights across marketing channels to attract and retain the right People.

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