Mining for Talent: Connecting your reputation to recruitment

Mining for Talent:

Connecting your reputation to recruitment

With Carolyn Raymany economic indicators pointing to renewed momentum in the mining sector, the increased urgency to recruit and keep talent is being felt across the sector. From recent conver­sations at PDAC in Toronto, almost every­one emphasized talent as essential to operational productivity and the leader­ship pipeline.

Globally it’s estimated that over the next decade, at least one third of the current mining workforce will retire. This is par­ticularly important in Canada, where min­ing represents 4.5 per cent of the GDP—and 23 per cent of Canadian exports.

New challenges require new strategies

Historically, the industry has relied on high wages to attract talent. However, as we look into the future, it’s clear that we need to find new strategies to engage and appeal to a broader set of prospective employees. In addition to the milllennial challenge, diverse groups such as women, immi­grants, and Aboriginal Peoples, remain under-represented in the industry. Women represent only 16 per cent of Canadian mining, falling short of other natural resources sectors such as manufacturing, energy, oil and gas, utilities, and forestry.

From our perspective, there are five ways mining companies can close the tal­ent gap:

  • Build reputation from the inside out: An organization’s reputation is essen­tial to attracting and retaining a new gen­eration of employee talent. Reputation starts with current employees. WithGallup noting that employee engagement is at record lows (13 per cent globally), organizations should consider how their brand can be an accelerator, a filter to guide innovation and creativity, and a vehicle that inspires discretionary effort as a means to higher productivity, safety, and performance.
  • Tell your story proactively—not reactively: Whether mining companies value it or not, reputation matters. With demographic shifts, millennials entering the workforce, and the game-changingimpact of technology, the industry needs to do a much better job telling its story transparently and doing so through non-traditional methods, like social media. While many companies engage public relations firms during a crisis, the real opportunity is for mining companies to go on the offensive. Mining companies have the opportunity to intentionally cre­ate, shape, develop, and manage their brand proactively, rather than let happen by accident.
  • Focus on millennials: In their careers, members of the millennial gen­eration expect rapid progression and exposure to different facets of an organi­zation to remain stimulated and engaged. Attracting and retaining millennials requires a different strategy, as they also place more emphasis on authenticity, pur­pose and meaning in their work than previous generations.
  • Improve CEO visibility: With a new generation of CEOs leading mining com­panies, there is a tremendous opportunity for CEOs to be more visible and vocal, and articulate a clear sense of purpose that drives differentiation. More than ever before, mining companies have incredible potential to leverage brand as a means to align the interests of current and prospec­tive employees with those of the organiza­tion. Since CEOs are the face of the brand to all stakeholders—and now that social media has dissolved the barriers between the inside and outside of an organiza­tion—authenticity is key to building trust in leadership.
  • Engage current employees as your best brand ambassadors: An engaged employee is your best way to recruit new ones. Employee referrals have the highest applicant to hire conversion rate—only 7 per cent apply but this accounts for 40 per cent of all hires. In addition, referral hires have greater job satisfaction and stay lon­ger at companies—46 per cent stay over one year, 45 per cent over two years and 47 per cent over three years. Consider this: the average employee has 150 con­tacts on social media networks—100 employees means around 15,000 contacts (and possible candidates).

Carolyn Ray is Managing Director, Interbrand Canada, a brand consultancy with a network of 33 offices in 27 countries.

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