VIP Focus: The Rules of Employee Attraction

Using communications to navigate new employee relationships and find a lasting connection

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

Submitted by Matt Frost, Business Development Director, Communications, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

Nearly half of employers report annual turnover of 10% or greater.1 In this competitive job market, how can organizations attract, engage—and keep—the right talent?

Attracting talent is a bit like attracting a new partner. The search and selection process can take a lot of hard work, and, as with any relationship, communication is key.

Make the First Impression Count

HR professionals put a lot of effort into making their organization stand out from the competition.

But how do they dress their exciting career opportunities and great benefits for success in such a crowded field of suitors? Presentation counts.

It sounds simple, but it’s amazing how many employers get it wrong. Only 16% have a comprehensive communication strategy.1 They invest time and effort in designing a wonderful benefits package, but don’t follow through with the same level of effort when they tell their candidates and new employees about it. Communications deliver the best results when they improve employees’ perceived value of their benefits, inform their benefit decisions and reflect their thoughts and feelings. In fact, 61% report that their employees are well-informed on their benefit choices when an effective communication plan is in place.1

Communications should be eye-catching and appealing. Prospects and new hires receive a lot of information when they interview for a job and join a company, so benefit communications need to draw their attention.

Be Honest and Keep it Simple

Of course, it’s not just about looking good. What recruiters, interviewers and others in the company say to job candidates matters too.

Honesty is the best policy when it comes to employee relationships. Nothing is gained — and someone valuable could be lost — when a candidate is promised more than reality can deliver. When disillusioned employees leave an organization, their negative impressions could also affect the company’s brand reputation and competitive standing.

It’s best not to mix messages, hide facts or use complicated terms and jargon. Tell it how it is. Lay out all information clearly and honestly, and allow candidates and employees to make the right choice for their futures.

Don’t Make it “All About Me”

Show genuine interest in potential employees. Find out who they are and what’s important to them. Employers should talk about why the organization’s benefits and other strengths matter to candidates from a personally relevant point of view. For instance, a recent college graduate would probably be more interested in hearing about student loan repayment benefits than a college savings plan that fully funded the interviewer’s tuition, room and board at a top university.

By directing potential and current employees to information that’s most relevant and valuable for them, employers will experience a much higher level of benefits appreciation. Their greater reward will be a better return on their investment, measured in attracting, engaging and retaining valuable employees.

Don’t Get Complacent

Getting comfortable in a relationship and taking it for granted is a common human pitfall, and not just at home. Employers do the same thing. They put in a lot of effort upfront to attract the best candidates, and then as soon as the relationship is sealed, a dull routine can set in.

It’s important to show employees they’re valued for the life of the relationship. Keep connecting through well-designed, user-friendly communications that give them useful information or access to practical resources.

Effective communication is key to making any relationship work well in the long term. Employers that complete a one-off exercise to check a box each benefits election year are selling their investment in their employees short.

Employer-employee communication should be a constant two-way process of listening, learning and adapting. Overall, top-performing destination employers are much more likely than others to enlist the help of a strategic communication plan.2 So the right guidance is important, too. As with all of the best relationships, employers will get out of their employees as much as they’re willing to put in.

Matt Frost is the Business Development Director, Communications for Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., and can be reached at

1 Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. “2016 Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Survey–U.S. National Report,” August 2016.

2 Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. “Best-in-Class Benchmarking Analysis,” February 2017.

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