In 2013, I found myself out of a job and having to career search for the first time in nearly 25 years. Fortunately, I was able to work with a local area out-placement agency and oh boy, did I ever drink from the fire hose about how to career search. Any internet search about how jobs are filled reveals up to 80% of jobs are filled through networking. With the help of the outplacement firm, I learned to create and use my professional network. I created my brand, my story, my goals, what I bring to the table for a prospective employer and endeavor to constantly and actively network regardless of my employment status (sorry, boss!).
This works both ways for employee as well as employer. MAMTC recently surveyed manufacturing companies in Kansas regarding their greatest need. Overwhelmingly, their top priority is attracting and retaining qualified employees. So let's put the shoe on the other foot and ask employers if they are utilizing similar networking practices. Current job search methods data and the advice I was given regarding my career search is the same data and advice prospective employers should be using. Most companies only post for jobs when they have an opening. This doesn't work for the employee, why would it work for the employer? The best companies are constantly networking and meeting with potential employees, promoting their corporate brand, their story, and what they bring to the table for a prospective employee. In other words, constantly networking. Sound familiar?
I have seen terrific employer marketing tools on Youtube, LinkedIn and other social media outlets showing "A Day in the Life of a Typical Employee", detailed benefits, testimonials from current employees as well as from other companies and organizations doing business with them. Conversely, in the absence of purposeful networking and marketing, I have also seen in the same outlets testimonials and reviews, not always positive, about employers. With websites like Indeed, Glassdoor and others, it is easy for bad news to travel fast. No news travels as fast and in the absence of any news, bad news is the assumption.
I am not saying all attraction and retention issues are solved by networking. This is just a piece of the continuum of being a great employer. I am saying by not doing these things, a company will continue to be challenged to attract and retain the best and brightest employees. The latest statistic for Kansas shows the unemployment rate to be 3.8%. When employees have choices, they are going to do their research and find the best opportunity. What are you, Kansas Employer, doing to make sure your company shows up on the top of their list?