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Emphasizing Recruiting in a Downturn

By on Oct 6, 2010 in Loud Dog News, Loud Dog Projects

In a down economy, most companies aren’t focusing on recruiting. On the contrary, high unemployment means that few companies suffer from a lack of résumés. But Folsom-based EM-Assist takes a very different view. In fact, they view demonstrating a commitment to employees as a key strategy to long-term growth and success.

That’s why, when redesigning their corporate website, EM-Assist took the unusual step of putting their careers section on nearly an equal strategic plane as their home page. According to CEO Jeremy Burr, the reason is simple: attracting and keeping the right people is essential to their core business.

“Our employees and the work they do is why we are here,” says Burr. “Our employees are our company, they are our brand. We can’t talk about EM-Assist as a brand without talking about our people.”

It’s this philosophy that drove management at EM-Assist, including Director of Human Resources Wendi Shelton, to make recruiting an important priority in the new site.

“The first interaction many prospective employees have with EM-Assist is through the website,” remarks Shelton. “We wanted them to truly understand how we view our employees.”

Of course, EM-Assist didn’t want to ignore their core business of providing environmental consulting and training solutions to the Federal Government. Instead, they used that business as a tool to help attract prospective employees by highlighting their work in a “Featured Project” section on their Careers site.

“We don’t need more résumés, we need the right résumés,” adds Burr. “We’re looking for people who are as passionate about what we’re doing as we are.”

Another key factor is demonstrating a commitment to the employees they have through a “Featured Employee” section. This highlights individual team members, the work they do and even outside interests and volunteer work. To Burr, this is not only good for current employees, but also candidates. “By putting current employees front and center, we let prospective employees know from their first interaction with EM-Assist that they are going to be valued and will make a difference by working here.”

The sections are updated regularly to highlight different specialties and opportunities available at EM-Assist. One example is the Environmental Compliance Specialist who talks about his volunteer work repainting and restoring a World War II-era C-47 plane used for fire suppression and ferrying smokejumpers. There is also the Instructional Designer who created a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) training course where he wrote the instructional material and managed multimedia development.

The redesign was led by San Francisco-based brand agency Loud Dog who also helped them revamp their identity and marketing materials. “When we started working with EM-Assist, they knew they wanted to highlight their employees and had already included (HR Director) Wendi Shelton in the project,” says Josh Orum, Principal at Loud Dog.

“The knowledge of their core strengths and the awareness of the value of their current employees to prospective employees put EM-Assist way ahead of most companies,” said Orum. “Our job was to help them balance these two and present a unified picture of EM-Assist that was valuable to both business and employment prospects.”

Many companies would view such a strong emphasis on recruiting employee candidates in a down economy to be misguided. But the folks at EM-Assist actually see it as essential.

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