Talent Recovery: How KinderCare is Getting Employees Back to Work [Video]

Devin Foster

As organizations across the nation prepare to reopen in some way or another, the pressure is on to get talent back to work—quickly and safely.
 

The million dollar question: how?
 

On last week’s episode of Talent Experience Live, Derek Murphy-Johnson, Sr. Manager, Talent Attraction at KinderCare revealed how he’s using his CRM, email, SMS, and video to successfully campaign to talent pipelines—past and present—to fill positions quickly and at scale.
 



Read on for featured highlights from the show!
 

How do you keep furloughed employees engaged?
 


When KinderCare started to reopen, one of the biggest challenges was keeping up with frequently changing regulations. “Overnight, our organization changed how we operated,” Murphy-Johnson shared. “It was important for us to not just get employees back to work, but ensure they were informed of the changes that were made for their safety and the safety of the children and their families,” Murphy-Johnson said.
 

To deliver, Murphy Johnson partnered with KinderCare's corporate communications and operations teams to help craft accurate and appropriate messaging to be sent on behalf of their numerous group presidents. The communication strategy was simple: First, make sure furloughed workers and their families were safe and secure. Second, share all of the measures KinderCare was taking to protect them now and in the future.
 

What's the best way to communicate to job seekers during the pandemic?
 


As quarantine went into effect across the country, Murphy-Johnson and his team decided that transparency was critical for candidates who were already in the application process. “We sent out a very basic message that said to stay safe…We don’t know when we’re going to be in communication with you next, but we will be in communication,” he shared.
 

After updating candidates, the KinderCare team removed requisitions for locations that closed down. They then published a notification banner on their career site with a link to a page that contained updated health and safety practices.
 

How does SMS recruiting support talent recovery efforts?
 


According to Murphy-Johnson, SMS recruiting has been one of KinderCare's most effective talent acquisition strategies—especially in rural areas with smaller talent pools. 
 

After sending a text blast to people who had applied to open positions pre-COVID, over 500 job seekers updated their applications and applied to new requisitions. “Right now, we’re at 40 offers or people that have been hired from one text blast,” he added.
 

What are some SMS recruiting best practices?
 


When crafting text messages to candidates, the KinderCare TA team keeps them short and concise.
 

“Part of the text campaigns is letting people know that we are opening up and taking care of our employees,” Murphy-Johnson said. They also include a link to updated health and safety protocols.
 

Brevity is also important if the goal is to get candidates to take action. When notifying candidates about open job opportunities, Murphy-Johnson sends short messages that include links to learn more information. “The intent is just to intrigue them and get them interested to reply back to us.”
 

How can HR boost campaigns to recover talent?
 

Notifying furloughed employees and candidates about health and safety updates was the first step to bringing back talent. The second? Showing how they were putting new procedures into practice.
 

As employees and children returned to the classroom, Murphy-Johnson and the team launched campaigns with photos that showcased their new culture. “In one of the most recent campaigns, I put in one [picture] of our teachers and kids doing a little elbow greeting. It’s like a new cool way to say 'hi'.”
 

This also helps KinderCare gain a competitive advantage. As states continue to open up and businesses start hiring again, it’s important to show how your organization is putting employee safety first.
 

How are you measuring the success of your recruiting campaigns?
 


While the TA team at KinderCare reviews all campaign metrics, they’re focused on driving email open rates. They’re also conducting A/B email tests to identify the types of content that resonates most with job seekers.
 

But success is not always measured by an increase in performance. “If you haven’t applied for a position in a year, and I sent you an email and you log into your profile and search for a job, that’s a win for me," Johnson-Murphy stated. "You may not have been thinking about KinderCare education, but based on that activity, you’re going to be thinking about us.”
 

What are the top three things people should focus on when they start to campaign?
 


1. Be brave. Murphy-Johnson encourages other recruiters to not worry about what others are doing. While it’s important to be aware of their talent acquisition strategies, what works for one organization might not work well for others. “Don’t be afraid to test something new,” he added.
 

2. Get feedback. Don’t just create and send content in a silo. Sharing campaign results with other TA managers and leadership not only provided greater transparency into KinderCare’s candidate experience, it also allowed everyone to get aligned on what needs to be shared and how. It also led to improvements in other projects and workflows.
 

3. Celebrate small victories. “With recruitment marketing, it isn’t all about the hire,” Murphy-Johnson said. “It’s about people going back into the ATS and updating their profiles. It’s about getting them to apply to new open positions.” After reviewing email and SMS open rates and click-throughs, celebrate the small wins. “Those people might not have been aware your organization was open and hiring again.” And those small actions can lead to big results in the long-term.
 


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