Guest writer Joanne Costin writes her blog post this week about the importance of testimonials. In your business, testimonials from your employees are key to attracting and retaining staff.

Harness the power of employee testimonials.

I’ve been writing a lot about tight labor markets and various strategies to attract and retain workers. It has me thinking about employee testimonials. While you may be familiar with using testimonials to sell customers on the value of your dealership, you may be overlooking an opportunity to use them in your recruitment efforts.

When I recently spoke with Dick Finnegan, an expert in reducing employee turnover, he talked about “the stay interview.” The interview is a way to improve trust between employees and supervisors because the No.1 reason employees leave or stay is the relationship with their boss. Five questions are at the heart of his method to improve retention 20-50% among a wide range of clients. I love these questions, but not just for the value they bring to the employee/supervisor relationship. Answers to the first three questions could be the foundation for a strong employee testimonial. 

The questions to ask:

  1. When you travel to work each day, what things do you look forward to?
  2. What are you learning here?
  3. Why do you stay here?

Even if an employee has a positive view of their job and their company, if you ask them for a testimonial without providing any direction, chances are the final product be lacking. However, if you ask questions that nurture a conversation and require employees to think, the results will be more powerful. 

The case for employee testimonials or employee stories

Employee testimonials are underutilized in recruitment campaigns. Candidates today want an honest look at the daily responsibilities of the job and insight into the company culture. Who would be better to offer that than your employees? The power of a testimonial comes from its authenticity. When the language is real, the faces are real, and the messages are real, testimonials provide that insider viewpoint that is often missing from other sources. 

The first focuses on the day-to-day responsibilities of the employee and the elements of the job that bring satisfaction. In a 2022 Jobseeker Report from Employ, 41% said they left a job within 90 days because their day-to-day role wasn’t what they expected. Presenting an accurate picture of the role is a key step in improving retention. If applicants understand the role and can see themselves in the role, they are more likely to stay and be successful. This video from Wagner Equipment Co. highlights the role of the technician. 

The second question focuses on learning. With 20% of jobseekers leaving for growth opportunities, having your employees discuss what they have learned on the job can help you showcase your commitment to personal development. Candidates also want to hear about potential career paths. If your employee’s story includes a promotion from technician to technical support or management, it’s one that prospective job candidates will notice. 

The third question, “Why do you stay here?” speaks to company culture, to trust and a feeling of belonging. Unlike health insurance, higher wages, or other benefits, trust is something employees can’t be sure they will get at a new company. Whether it’s exemplified in the way the company treats workers dealing with an illness or the way managers respond to employee suggestions, the reasons why employees stay reveals the culture of your organization. RDO’s conveys this effectively through its Why Work Here video. In an effective testimonial it’s the details that matter and make each story personal. 

Does it look like I belong here?

Dealerships and construction companies alike continue to struggle with attracting women and minorities to roles. One of the reasons is that applicants just don’t see themselves fitting in. Testimonials and other imagery on your website can go along way to showcase an inclusive environment. John Deere makes a powerful statement about inclusiveness to women through a collection of stories about women in construction on its website. 

Focusing on the needs of military has helped Southern Company earn recognition as a best place to work for veterans. Testimonials on their website convey the aspects of working at Southern Company that appeal to veterans as well as military spouses

Where to reach prospective employees

You may think placing your testimonials on LinkedIn is the only way to go, but Zippia reports that while 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn, 55% use Facebook, 47% are using twitter and 14% use Instagram to reach prospective employees. Because 37% of all job seekers are passive, the company reports that social media can be a useful source of hidden talent. 

Zippia reports that 79% of job seekers use social media when searching for jobs. Job seekers use social media to vet potential companies in the same way employers use it to vet candidates. Instead of a “We’re hiring” message, a post that speaks to what the role is about or why people stay in their job will differentiate your dealership. 

Similarly, your career page should be more than a list of job openings. Employee testimonials clearly belong here, along with other essentials such as benefits.

In a tight labor market. employee testimonials are a powerful tool to help dealers recruit prospective employees. Asking the right questions will help solicit the responses that will accurately convey the day-to-day rewards of the work, the learning opportunities, and your company culture. 

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