Use Your Website to Build Your Workforce

By Amy Elise Humphries

In spite of all that 2020 presented the shortline industry, Association companies who participated in a membership survey reported that the chief threat to their profitability was an inability to attract a skilled workforce.

The only other issue that broke apart from the pack of industry worries was the ag economy, and it garnered a feeble response compared to the challenge of staffing your operations.

You have employed a series of creative strategies to find the right people, but in the spirit of bringing you more, we call upon the expertise of Amy Elise Humphries with Driven Digital. She offers you these tips on turning your company’s website into a powerful recruitment tool.

This article also appeared in the digital Ag Innovator magazine sent to members last week. Find it at FarmEquip.org/agi.

Step One: Create a Careers Page

Careers pages are becoming increasingly important as a hiring tool. They account for 94.1 percent more hires than they did four years ago. A stagnant careers page with dated job postings, broken links, old news, and outdated content can result in good candidates leaving your website.

Kristine Sexter, an expert in manufacturing workforce development, suggests manufacturers market job opportunities on their website with the same focus they bring to marketing their products. It is an entry point to the opportunities and the culture.

Consider too that everyone who might look at the careers page, and strive to design it as a resource in which they will see themselves as a fit regardless of their gender, experience level, or ethnicity.

Step Two: Make It Mobile-Friendly

If your careers pages are not mobile-friendly, you are missing qualified candidates. Today, 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone, edging higher than those with a desktop computer. Job seekers use mobile devices, and companies can recruit more competitively when they accommodate that preference. In the manufacturing industry alone, 53.8 percent of job seekers apply on a mobile device.

Step Three: Simplify

Job seekers are committed to finding a job but are limited by time. Sexter advises: “Do not bury, nor make it difficult, for right-fit talent to find a list of your current openings and apply for them.”

A hard-to-use application process will shape how applicants see you as an employer. They will not hesitate to abandon an application process that is difficult, especially if they have an alternative available. Provide a simple way for them to upload their resume.

Research suggests that reducing the time it takes to complete your application by 10 percent can increase your applicant pool by 2.3 percent for mobile job seekers.

Step Four: Showcase Your Culture

Why should someone want to work for your company? Job seekers today want to know more about a company’s culture and reputation. You need more than a list of openings and responsibilities to hold their interest.

Share your company story with compelling content that distinguishes your organization. Post photos of the company picnic, your employee of the month, longtime employees, retirement parties, etc. Highlight your employer brand with information on company growth, benefits, job training, and community stewardship—anything that might resonate with the people you want to attract.

“Employees feel greatly honored when they know that their achievements are placed prominently on the main website for the whole world to see,” Sexter says. And, “research shows that customers, and potential customers, greatly want to do business with companies who value their workforce.”

Amy Elise Humphries is the marketing coordinator at Driven Digital. The company, which has been a member since 2018, specializes in building websites for manufacturers. Learn more at drivendigital.us.