Photo courtesy of Davey Tree

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You know it, and I know it. The recruiting landscape has drastically changed over the last several years. The unemployment rate in the U.S. is at 4.3 percent as of May 2017. That’s down from 8 percent just four years earlier in January 2013.

Because of this significant change, job seekers often have their pick of jobs. That means many more employees are leaving their current position in pursuit of better opportunities. In fact, 2016 Gallup research found that 63 percent of Americans said it was very or somewhat likely they could find a job as good as the one they currently have. As a result, more than half of all employees are actively looking for a new job or watching for job openings.

How does this shift change how you attract and recruit employees? Now more than ever before, you must sell job seekers on why your company is the best one for them. To do this right, you need to know exactly what makes your business unique and what sets you apart from the rest.

There are many aspects to hiring and retention and they are all important. Not some of them, some of the time.

Once you identify and communicate what makes your company extraordinary, you’ll discover and appeal to the individuals you’re looking for. Research backs this up. The most important piece of information job seekers want to hear is what makes your company an attractive place to work. This information was more important to applicants than salary and benefit information, according to a 2014 Glassdoor survey. Let that sink in.

In the current job market, one of the most powerful recruiting strategies your company can adopt is to pinpoint and share what makes your business different.

Let’s look at Davey as a case study. When we talk about recruiting new employees, we have three talking points that provide the foundation for all we do. At Davey, it’s all about employee ownership, strong internal education programs and safety. In our communications, we focus on how employee owners can continually learn new skills through programs like the Davey Institute of Tree Sciences, which allows them to move up in the company and continue to work safely each day. Use these five steps to learn what differentiates your business.

How to determine what makes your company exceptional in 5 steps
  1. Gather members of your executive, recruiting and marketing team along with a few top-notch employees. Together, brainstorm and identify distinct aspects of your company. Aim to discover at least three concepts, then describe why these topics resonate. For each feature, explain why it’s unique and how it impacts your company culture and employees.

    For example, at Davey we promote that Davey is unique because we’re the largest green industry company that is 100 percent employee-owned and allows workers to buy stock and reap the financial benefits of Davey’s success.

  2. Once you’ve agreed on your company’s most distinctive features, begin to collect employee stories, programs and initiatives that illustrate these in concrete terms.
  3. Distribute the illustrated concepts internally. You may even want a larger group to vote or submit their own ideas here. The goal is to unite your employees, have them gain a stake in the process and help shape the company culture.
  4. Use these talking points and core messages to guide your recruiting materials and campaigns, and even your employee communications.
  5. By talking about how your company is unique in real, tangible terms, you’ll attract the workers you’ve been searching for.

Kathy Doody is Davey Tree’s director of recruiting and employee development.