General Mills is the world’s 6th largest food company, headquartered in Minneapolis, MN, with over 35,000 employees. The maker of Cheerios, General Mills is a fantastic example of a company that has recognised key recruitment challenges and has addressed them through a smart social employer branding strategy.
The General Mills Social Employer Brand Strategy
One key issue that General Mills has addressed through their social media strategy is the fact that Generation Y jobseekers, or millennials, are increasingly expecting companies to have a social presence online. This particular audience wants to engage with potential employers on popular social platforms like Twitter and Facebook, and General Mills has distinguished itself by fulfilling this need.
Another important challenge faced by General Mills (and most other companies) is the need to stand out from competition in the labour market. It is crucial, now more than ever, for organisations to ensure that the right talent is aware of what they have to offer, and for companies to make sure that they are conveying the right messages to prospective employees.
General Mills has established an impressive Employee Value Proposition that sets them apart from other companies, and they have distinguished themselves by sharing their message through a variety of social media channels. General Mills portrays itself as a favourable employer through engaging with and being responsive to their external audience, presenting themselves online with a genuine human voice, and sharing great content. The social recruitment team often shares articles and videos about what it is like to work at General Mills, as well as what prospective employees can expect from living in the Twin Cities, where the company is headquartered.
General Mills understands the importance of company culture as a motivating factor for potential job candidates, and they appreciate the value of being in the online social space where candidates expect them to be. In order to bring their culture to life, General Mills has developed a comprehensive social strategy that includes using channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube to engage the members of their potential talent pool.
With over 15,000 followers, the Facebook Careers Page provides interested job seekers with information about current job openings, relevant videos and an introduction to the company’s recruiting team. There are also links to career events, job search advice and information about the General Mills brand and careers in general. The Facebook page’s cover photo highlights some of the most popular General Mills brands and proudly boasts the tagline ‘Our Brands. Your Legacy.’
If you click on the ‘Job Openings’ tab, you see a listing with all open positions and you can search for the location, job title etc that you are interested in. You can also connect your Facebook or LinkedIn profile to match up your skills to current vacancies.
The main goals of General Mills’ LinkedIn strategy are to build relationships and to source candidates. The Careers Page on LinkedIn serves as a platform to host discussions about the company, its industry, and other topics that might interest the LinkedIn community. The page has over 200,000 followers on LinkedIn (14,000 employees), and includes videos, employee testimonials, information about benefits, a list of awards and recognition, and of course, current job openings. There is even information on the Careers page for job seekers to contact General Mills recruiters.
The General Mills Careers YouTube channel is a space for the company to showcase videos that highlight key aspects of its culture and employer brand. Videos on the channel, which have received over 170,000 views, cover things like a day in the life of a General Mills employee and insights into the interview process.
The General Mills Careers Twitter account is a means by which all of the company’s online recruitment and employer branding content is aggregated and shared with over 5,000 followers. This channel is also used to ‘live tweet’ relevant events, share the latest job openings, provide job search advice and interact with job applicants and new hires.
— GeneralMills Careers (@GenMillsCareers) January 18, 2016
How to Create a Social Media Strategy Like General Mills
- Assemble your team. If your organisation does not currently have the talent required for creating and implementing an effective social media strategy for recruitment and employer branding, consider hiring an external agency to get you started on the right track.
- Set overall objectives. When General Mills began its social media journey, their main objectives included things like establishing a unified brand presence across multiple channels, creating ‘super users’ within their team, and inspiring jobseekers to apply for jobs by engaging the external community.
- Create channel-by-channel strategies and objectives. Each of the main social media tools that General Mills uses has a unique strategy and purpose. Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter have different target audiences and different measures of success, and this should be taken into account when devising your social media strategy.
- Join forces with internal partners. A strong social media strategy is not solely the responsibility of the recruitment team. At General Mills, for example, the Legal and Information Systems departments have been involved throughout the process.
- Establish a set of ground rules. Particularly as more people become involved with social media in your organisation, it is a good idea to have formal guidelines in place for proper usage. General Mills employees follow a set of ‘Social Medium Engagement Principles,’ and the recruitment team makes use of a formal guidebook and training. For social media policy guidelines and examples, see How to Write a Social Media Policy Like Ford, Intel or Coca-Cola.
- Develop and share compelling content. One of the most important tools used by General Mills is a ‘content calendar,’ used to schedule posts across their various social media channels. In fact, it is a good idea to develop a ‘content library’ well before getting started with employer branding and social recruiting efforts. When creating original content, General Mills often leverages the power of their popular brands to engage their audience.
- Measure and fine-tune your strategy as you go. Social recruiting is a dynamic process that should be monitored like any other important aspect of your business. For example, General Mills uses monthly and quarterly measures of things like comments, ‘likes,’ wall posts and impressions on their Facebook careers page. Tracking social media as a source for applicants is key in determining the success of your online efforts. New social tools are constantly being created, so it is important to stay on top of current trends like mobile, gaming and new social networks like Google+.