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Lisa Ryan: Hey, it's Lisa Ryan. Welcome to the Manufacturers' Network Podcast. I'm excited to introduce our guest today, Dawn Sipley. With nearly 20 years in HR, nine of those in business ownership, Dawn understands the pressures of entrepreneurship. She began her professional career after graduating from UCF with her business degree in 2004. Since then, she has supported hundreds of companies in central Florida with their hiring needs, either as a corporate recruiter staffing company or consultant. During those years and staffing, the concept of Sipley the Best was born. Dawn, welcome to the show.
Dawn Sipley: Thank you so much for having me today.
Lisa Ryan: Please tell us about your background and the behind-the-scenes of why you focused your career in recruiting and staffing and doing what you're doing.
Dawn Sipley: God had a funny way of bringing me to this market. I thought HR was all about onboarding and new hire paperwork, benefits, and payroll when I was younger. I had no idea. There was this whole human resources human side. I started off in the retail world slowly got into technology recruitment, which led me to the staffing world. I figured out that many people were terrible at hiring in the staffing world, which I found curious because I had a natural talent for it. That's what led me to get into consulting rather than doing it for people. I teach them how to do it and do it well.
Lisa Ryan: So, what are some tips you like to share with people? As discussed before the show, job boards are dead, so people have to be more creative when recruiting. What are some of the things that you're seeing and you're helping others to do?
Dawn Sipley: One big thing is pivoting their marketing messaging to attract new talent. For 70 years, marketing has been used to acquire new customers. Now it needs to be used to obtain new employees. One of the main reasons people leave a position is because they don't feel appreciated or heard. So they are highlighting employee of the month on your social media, talking about your organization's culture, and highlighting the different activities you do to connect and engage with your employees.
Your younger generation of employees are looking at social media and that's how they're identifying potential employers. Using your marketing vehicle to attract new talent is an amazingly thoughtful and productive way to bring in qualified applications and resumes.
Lisa Ryan: So that sounds like that may work in the corporate workplace because, of course, those people are on social media all the time. But if you're talking about manufacturing and the trades, is that working for them too?
Dawn Sipley: It is. HR teams are more and more moving into a marketing role, and less of a let's just posting on the job board and wait for resumes to come in. The job boards are dead in this market. You can post, and you can boost, and you can do those things, but unfortunately, with the technology that we have, they control those algorithms. They won't put your job ad in front of eyeballs unless you're paying money. You don't have control over that, but you do have control over your Facebook, tick-tock, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram - all of those things. Your HR department needs to have a marketing line to it.
Lisa Ryan: So does this entire bringing in like a full-time social media person, or how would you do that in a way that makes the most of your time and your effort when it comes to social media? We could go down that rabbit hole and watch cat videos for the next six hours if we're so inclined.
Dawn Sipley: No, you don't have to hire a full-time person. It just needs to be a fraction of what your HR department is doing one or two posts a day to engage on multiple platforms. All that's required is a place. I found the best on social media is posting inside of groups. I am in a lot of groups.
I'm in an electricians group. I'm in a plumbers group. I'm in an industrial controls technicians group, and even though I don't work per se in any of those fields, one of those fields I'm able to see what my target audience is talking about, what they're complaining about, and what they're happy about.
It gets me engaged with a targeted audience. Then, when I get a job opening in one of those fields, I can post it there. Since I've had an engagement with that audience already, I'm a trusted resource and not just a headhunter or a recruiter. Unfortunately, those recruiters and headhunters that are cold calling are viewed as sleazy salespeople at this point. People are tired of LinkedIn messages. They're tired of the phone calls. They want to do business with someone they've already had a previous engagement with.
Lisa Ryan: So it sounds like narrowing down the groups that would be most applicable to people listening to this show because you don't want to be in 20 different groups if you're going to participate and get a flair for what's in that group. But to become a part of it, that's when you are opening the window. You're not coming across as sleazy, but you're connecting with friends.
Dawn Sipley: You can also focus on geographically reached groups and not necessarily guilt that region or skill set focus, so some of those groups are national groups. Those are the things that I'm going to pull people to the state of Florida to hire for because I'm based here in Florida, even though I do national recruitment. But I'm also a part of many of my pro-community groups where I post things in there that are helpful, like good tools, interviewing tips, resume rewrite services, and different things like that.
When a job opening comes up, they already know me as a trusted resource that gave them many tips and tricks. In addition, those micro-community groups are an excellent resource because you typically want the higher within 30 miles on a given location.
Lisa Ryan: When it comes to the things that you are posting on social media, because if every day, you were posting, hey we're hiring, we're hiring, then people are going to take you with a grain of salt. What are you seeing successful manufacturers and other types of organizations posting that attract new candidates to them?
Dawn Sipley: Stories always have a high click rate. Horror stories on you won't believe what this candidate just did, or I'm so frustrated by this; or wow, what a fantastic day, the perfect candidate came in, they did this, and this we hired them, or we offered them more money than he was asking for.
Talking about negotiation on more than just salary negotiation – benefits and things like that. Some of the trends that we're seeing are advice on being an elite job seeker, not just an average job seeker. I share when I'm willing to pay more money, what am I looking for that will get that extra dollar $5 out of the corporate pocket. There are tips to where they feel like they are learning something from engagement, engaging with us, and promoting questions and things like to be asked and answered professionally.
Lisa Ryan: Well, that sounds like many tactics that are good for people actively on the job search. What about those that aren't necessary but may be curious about new opportunities? What are companies doing to maybe catch their attention?
Dawn Sipley: Again, it's just that organic engagement you don't have to be looking to be curious, right, and you don't have to be job seeking to want to learn how to be a suitable job seeker. The days of working for a company for 30 years, getting a pension, and retiring are gone 90% of the time, have a separation of employment from your current employer. You will leave whether it's your decision.
The employers' decision or the good Lord above you're exiting at some point. So always keep that in mind and stay in tune with the job market. A happy employee to know when is a good job time to be looking when is a good time, not to be looking right now is an excellent time for job seekers in Florida, unemployment is 4.4%, which is very low.
Other states are slightly higher, but it is a job seeker job market. So if you're not earning what you want to earn, now's a good time to start sniffing around and investigating and seeing who has the filter in their environment and where you could transition over to.
Lisa Ryan: What resources are people not necessarily in that marketing mode or aren't used to doing this marketing? What would be a good way for them to get started?
Dawn Sipley: Podcasts are a great way to start YouTube tutorials marketing 101. Companies and corporations should be looking at social media engagement. Webinars are not only for their HR team or their it team or their marketing team, but all of their employees should be soldiers to increase your sales and increase your hiring ability. They were engaged in the community that way. Otherwise, they're going to do it anyway. They might do it poorly, so investing in building your brand is essential.
Lisa Ryan: So what would be some things when you talk about a personal brand? What is that? What does it look like in the marketplace?
Dawn Sipley: Man, that's a huge question. So, the cliff notes version. Personal branding is knowing what and knowing what you don't know. First off, you know, everybody always tries to be bigger, better, faster than anyone else. That's not necessarily the key to being valued. Knowing a lot and good communication skills, appropriate communication, professional interactions on social media. Those are all things that build your personal brand. You're building your personal brand already, whether you know it or not. So empowering yourself in your team to create a personal brand positively is good. Employers always love someone who is quote-unquote drinking the Kool-aid right. They love their brand ambassadors that are uniquely in passionately open about loving what they do every day.
If they do it for their current employer, they'll probably do it for me when I hire them and make them a happy employee.
Lisa Ryan: Right, so going on the opposite of recruiting because now people who may be listening to this podcast is yeah, but I don't want my employees to keep their eyes open and be working on their personal brand because then they're going to leave me. What are companies doing when you have tried. Please share an example of when you try to define, you had the ideal candidate, but they just loved their employer so much they were unwilling to move, no matter what that employer did. Have you seen that, and what does it take to build that type of loyalty to your company?
Dawn Sipley: Engagement buys loyalty. Money doesn't buy loyalty. I'm not talking about social media engagement; I'm talking about truly knowing and having a real relationship with your employees. Let's start by knowing their name and knowing their kids' names and their wives' names and when hard things happen, cover for them not, not to say that you're not going to have a private conversation on how they could have been proved that situation. Not throwing your team members under the bus just because they're out there and they're engaging, and they're looking, you made the statement.
We don't want them out there, looking fantastic to be doubled up by the competition. But you also don't want them out there, looking terrible not being gobbled up by the competition. What's worse, they stay, and they have their personal brand. Look for legal, looking for your company, and that's why more and more companies have social media guidelines around what they can post and cannot post about the company and about their involvement and things like that, so acknowledging IT training on it. Doing it well will make them go away and get stolen by the competition. It'll increase your brand as long as you have that engagement out there.
Lisa Ryan: What are some do's and don'ts when it comes to having those social media policies? What are companies doing to protect themselves and be open and transparent to the community?
Dawn Sipley: One is to do the training, not just to let the employees know how they engage in what they do. Give them rules to play in a wide net as well. You can post this, or you can't post that having general rules of integrity and respect and professionalism. Usually, guide them because we can't monitor everything and control everything, but we can empower our folks to do the right thing. If you want them to agree with your vision or comply with it, you want them on board with your idea. You want them to share your exact image. You can't beat them into compliance. That's not going to produce the same amount of high-quality content. It will empower them and have them in alignment with your vision. It shouldn't be just a list of do's and don'ts but more "This is our culture, this is our vision, and this is how we share."
Creating great original content for them to share that they would be proud to share. So, for example, if you're an employee of the month and you're highlighted on the employee website, well, then they are likely to share those amazing things with their personal network.
Lisa Ryan: Okay, so that, so what so Besides that, because the employee of the month is a great way to promote and it's not necessarily the employee tooting their own Horn. They're just sharing that somebody else's tooting their Horn. What are some of the other things people like to share or are good to share from social media? Whether it be the company, giving them some guidance, or just the employee sharing on their own?
Dawn Sipley: What first came to mind, for me, was a LinkedIn message that I saw the other day. A gentleman had just returned from paternity leave. He was paid this week. He had time to bond with his newborn child, and he gave a massive shout-out to his organization. He thanked them for the opportunity to be able to go home and have that that once in a lifetime experience with their newborn. Things like that, where they're so in love with the company that they want to share what it is. Doing the right thing, going above and beyond, when you don't have to. At least paternity leave is amazing. For so long, our culture is only given maternity leave. Still, fathers must bond with their children, as it is for mothers, so having healthy social policies promote a healthy society. Our employees aren't just our employees; they're moms and dads, siblings, or caretakers - so having policies that allow them to be all of those things will promote your workplace and being unique and special and engaging in a place where people want to work.
Lisa Ryan: That's such a great idea for sharing the paternity leave. Again, if some other guys are looking at that going wow, I would love to have that opportunity turn into an excellent opportunity to look at that organization if they are in the same neighborhood. Are there ways that you encourage people, or maybe you're finding some people to get the process started to start the people posting so that they know what's Okay? They think about it because, in some cases, people wouldn't even think about posting that, and yet it's such a critical part of letting the world know what a fantastic benefit and what a tremendous job companies are doing.
Dawn Sipley: I have a girlfriend with a selfie wall. It's a green grass wall with a neon sign that says hashtag be inspired. Every day, her employers or employees are going up to the wall taking selfies, taking pictures, doing hashtags. Once it's developed into the culture, the employees are recognized for excellent content.
I'm a part of the Central Florida Christian Chamber of Commerce, and one of the things that they do in their weekly newsletter gives a shout-out to people who have shouted out to them during the week so that they will reshare. Small business owners post where they said amazing things about the Chamber, so that's just one example. If I was an employee saying, man, I love the place I work. The boss man came in today, sat down with me, and just chatted with me for 45 minutes. I got to know him better and where he's coming from and stuff like that, well then, the company would share that. It's such an honor to have Sally on our team. I appreciated spending the time with her to learn more about her family and the challenges that she's having. We're going to change the policies. She shared with me that it had been an obstacle for her to be her best, which just created this whole circle. Enthusiasm becomes contagious. You want the attention and the words of affirmation or a huge love language for many people—one of the top love languages in a free love language.
Lisa Ryan: It just reminds me when employees are getting awards, and of course, there's an employee of the month, but there's also just being recognized for service, maybe for milestones for anything that you can do and to have a fight would seem to me that an easy way. This is what I do too. You have a file of just copy and paste. On Monday, I'm going to talk about Bill on Tuesday; I'm going to talk about Jane on Wednesday; I'm going to talk about Jose, whatever it is. You can start to do a media planning calendar. It's also the consistency of getting it out versus promoting 20 employees and one day and then none for the rest of the month.
Dawn Sipley: You have to have a drip campaign you can't go and do a blast and expect that collapse all year, and the same goes with leadership, these companies, they have these summits and these giveaways, and they talk about leadership and rah-rah you leave all hyped up and on fire, for the company. Then you get in on Monday, and it's back to the same grind. Everything that we're told to you has been lost in the sauce, and they're not demonstrating leadership every week, every day in the ways that they treat their employees and the things they do. So it is a drip campaign of being authentic and being honest. You can't have any of that if you don't have good leadership and a healthy environment. The same goes for glassdoor and places like that. They judge employers on whether they're a good place of employment. As an HR consultant, I always look at the timelines. Because you'll notice, you'll get a few bad reviews, and then suddenly, five employees hop on there and go, oh no, this is a great place. Well, I guarantee five employees posted all on the same day were told by their boss, hey, we've got some bad reviews on glassdoor and need you to go on there.
Well, the morning they're going to go on there, and they need to keep the job they just saw job last week. That all authentic drip campaign and not laugh because laughter for doing anybody can produce content. In a week and a month and have a campaign, but is it a part of the authentic culture of the organization, and can you see it across different platforms, not only on their social media but on their website on their internal communication.
It is the standard held at the same place across the board.
Lisa Ryan: When the other interesting