Case Study: This industry sees a high rotation of employees, bringing new challenges along with it
This case study shows how effective and important internal marketing can be in keeping staff engaged and motivated. As the traditional motivation attempts failed and bigger wages than the competition showed little to no improvements, we were asked to step in.
Top Market Comimpex is one of the largest distributors of beverages in North-West Romania, being present in Cluj, Maramures and Satu Mare counties. Their portfolio includes some of the most important brands and their clients vary greatly.
The workforce environment is tremendously challenging, often reaching extremes such as employees going on their lunch break never to return to the post. Let’s face it, it’s a quite unpleasant job by default requiring manual labor and focus.
The company’s image suffered increasingly troubling hits, as did every other competitor, but a dedicated HR team decided to try something else, so they called us.
The grand objective of our partnership is tied to our main challenge: finding and keeping adequate staff. Split into components, we had to address each one in a different way. One of the first things we noticed was the overall bad reviews and straight-up heckling from former disgruntled employees. We would never be able to recruit good personnel when every job offer we post is followed by negative comments. It also didn’t help that the negative reviews, out of which many were plain unfair, would be met with frustration by an HR team that was extremely dedicated.
Another challenge was the extreme lack of loyalty to the brand and complete disregard for one’s job. The mentality of plain exchange of workforce vs wages was deeply embroiled within the employees, such as leaving the job became little more than a trivial thing. Since the competitors were in a similar position, they would accept such unreliable workers out of a sheer need for manpower, and vice-versa.
Departmental fracture is yet another important issue, as there was little camaraderie between departments and even between teams, relying on an ultra horizontal organizational structure with the CEO keeping everything in check.
The budget allocated was quite small, confining us to no mass media and instead limited to little more than guerilla marketing. Our initial proposal suffered severe cuts, but we were dedicated to making it work since we got invested in this project and it was in LitAF’s infancy.
We immediately separated the main objective into 2 smaller ones. The first was keeping the current staff and a different objective was finding new prospects. Although our campaigns and actions would benefit both, the communication and materials would serve specific purposes for each objective.
We worked directly with the HR team and we reached an agreement, although (understandably) very hard to swallow. We agreed that every employee, regardless of the reasons for leaving, regardless of what they did, would be left with a farewell meeting where they would be presented with kind words, (fake) heartfelt regrets over their departure, and a small gift as appreciation for their hard work.
When doing our background research we noticed that the client was organizing many events for the employees, yet they were easily overlooked and badly promoted. We also encouraged a change in how events are being planned. Instead of looking like a gathering paid for by the employer and attended to various degrees, we changed the direction altogether. Events have to be thought in such a way as to encourage interaction between colleagues and between departments, we focused on creating shareable moments for employees, so that they post in their social networks and encourage absent colleagues to attend future events. The brand had to become more present, a barbecue in the company’s yard is not enough, we made available branded T-shirts for those willing to wear them, we inserted other branded items into the event itself so that the workers interacted with the brand, not only with the food and drink. We implemented various methods to make the direct communication between the individual and the HR team more accessible and something that wasn’t conceived before, we put a permanent box where employees could anonymously give suggestions, requests, feedback, and any words they wanted.
Since the budget was small, we decided to employ guerilla tactics. Knowing how the recruitment market worked, we used that to our advantage. It was quite convenient that with specialized job sites being quite expensive, low-level jobs were being advertised on Facebook groups, and the job seekers, knowing how it is, were looking for jobs primarily on social media. This meant lower costs for us, and we could easily promote our job offers in these groups at reduced costs. In another case, when we organized an annual charity regional football match between employees, we wrote a press release, linked it to various free press release websites, funneled them to our Facebook and we manually emailed and then called most regional media and asked them to publish it.
We took an unorthodox approach to our charity football match press release and while it would not be scalable to other circumstances, it was fit for our specific situation. Unprofessional? Perhaps. Effective? Very much so. Out of 18 media outlets we contacted, 12 published our press release. The event was the most successful one yet with an important sum of money being raised, colleagues participating in the friendly competition, and record attendance.
Overall, the negative reviews and heckling all but stopped, the HR department was receiving more CVs than ever before and even the standards for employment were raised. Now they could be picky.