A person is a person through other persons - Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Between 70 and 80 per cent of the companies I talk to are struggling. They are not struggling financially, cash flow and sales turnover are buoyant. They are not struggling for leads: their markets are strong and their brand reputation is good, they have a healthy lead pipeline. What is putting their business success at risk is the difficulty in recruiting good people. A company’s identity, its reputation and its success, is determined by its people. And whether it is engineering, public relations, mobile technology, or retail, from what I can see we are all struggling to recruit the people that will make the difference to our business. There are many people applying for jobs but few of them have the skills to do the job to the level that is required.
There are good candidates out there but they are astute in choosing their employers; perhaps they know it is a sellers market. And Gen Y (or millennials), people in their 20s and 30s, have a different set of priorities than previous generations. They want to feel valued and they want an organisation that can do that. So, most importantly, it is your reputation that matters. They will use their mobiles and social media to research your reputation as an employer and they will make decisions based on things that you are, likely, not doing. These decisions will make or break your business.
If the employee who is perfect for you sees a negative review on Indeed, or Glassdoor, their zero moment of truth is made. What people are reading about your company online now, will cripple your future success.
People matter to your reputation in more ways than you know
So what can you do about what people say about you? You cannot control everything. If a disgruntled ex-employee wants to say bad things about your company or, more likely, about his or her boss (people leave bosses not companies), there ain’t much you can do about it. Except perhaps strive to be a better boss. But you can influence what there is to read about you. However to do this, you have to understand Google. And there by lies the twist: Google is valuing people more than ever too.
Google’s E-A-T algorithms rely on human beings – yes those messy, opinionated organic things – to rate web content for quality, authority, expertise and trustworthiness. And in order to influence Google to publish what the world can read about you – the news and information that you want them to see – you can no longer get away with playing the system. You have to be able to write and produce high quality content that is informative and that people want to read.
Can you believe it that Google, yes that white-screen robotic-looking thing in front of you now, has real, live humans behind it that are checking if your content is written by someone with expertise; if you have credentials to back it up; if the content is high quality and has depth (yes longer pieces matter more than shorter pieces, so do something about your poor attention span!); and … guess what … if it makes people’s lives better somehow. Blinking heck, these things really matter to Google!
So people really matter to your success: the people behind Google who are rating your content as good or bad, the people who you need to work for you, the people who read about you. But most of all, the people who matter are the people who understand all of this and who write your content. Choose wisely.
Sue runs Changeworks Communications, a company that understands and values strategic storytelling and powerful content creation for unrivaled results.