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Feature Social Capital in Your Job Postings

By Peter Weddle, CEO TAtech

Although it’s improved recently, many employers still struggle to recruit the quantity and quality of talent they need to support their business goals. Now, however, there’s a new consideration that has the power to transform online recruitment advertising. It’s called social capital, and featuring it in job postings can both differentiate an employer and significantly increase the candidate applications it receives.

Oxford Dictionary defines social capital as “the networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively.” In business organizations, it describes the connections that bind the members of an organization to one another and to the organization itself. When social capital is strong, it manifests as camaraderie and even esprit de corps among employees and as workers’ loyalty to an employer and commitment to its mission.

The facts! In a talent market that is more competitive and less understood than at any other time in history, it’s the facts that matter most. And TAtech’s biweekly podcast Start Smart focuses on the facts. Join me and my cohost, Shelia Gray, VP of Global Talent Acquisition at Quadient, as we examine the findings from the latest talent acquisition research and explore their implications for recruiters and job seekers. This week’s show looks at a report by McKinsey & Company on “The Top Trends in Tech.”

Why has social capital become so important at this moment in recruitment advertising?

A recent presentation by a McKinsey Partner at TAtech North America & The World Job Board Forum offered a provocative answer. According to McKinsey’s research, workers today feel disconnected from both their fellow employees and their employers.
• This uncoupling is especially severe among women and frontline workers. A staggering 89 percent of women and 93 percent of frontline workers say their connections have atrophied during the past two years.
• The situation isn’t much better for men and middle managers. A dispiriting 83 percent of men and 86 percent of middle managers report that their connections have failed to grow during the pandemic.

The net result is yet another Great phenomenon. To the Great Resignation and the Great Reshuffling, we now have to add the Great Disconnect. Millions of working men and women have seen their social capital decline even more dramatically than the nose dive in their buying power at the supermarket. It infuses them with a sense of loss that diminishes their satisfaction with work and gives new power to job postings that feature an employer’s programs and policies for addressing it … for invigorating their social capital.

McKinsey suggests that there are “four unlocks” that will engage, support and retain employees. These steps, however, can also act as powerful inducements for potential applicants when addressed in a job posting. The unlocks are listed below amended to describe how they could be featured in recruitment advertising:
Re-invest in the role of the manager in supporting employees day-to-day. Describe specific initiatives that empower managers and supervisors to help workers build relationships among themselves and with the organization.
Help employees find their purpose and link it to the company’s. Describe how the company promotes self-awareness among its employees and works to help them connect their personal goals with those of the organization.
Go beyond diversity to focus on equity and inclusion. Detail the specific steps the company is taking to build and maintain a culture that values and proactively advances equity and inclusion in every unit and at all levels of the organization.
• Prioritize the strengthening of workplace culture and social capital. Convey the commitment of the company’s leaders and specify the actions they are taking to establish an environment where every worker is respected and encouraged to form supportive relationships among their coworkers and with the organization.

For years, compensation and benefits and the opportunity for engaging and fulfilling work have been employers’ most effective draws for prospective new hires. Those inducements, however, are no longer enough to attract top talent in sufficient numbers. Thanks to the pandemic and its forced evacuation of company offices, workers are feeling disconnected from both their peers and their employers, so social capital must now be added to the mix. Employers must launch meaningful programs to reinvigorate internal relationships and then shine a spotlight on those initiatives in their recruitment advertising.

Food for Thought,

Peter Weddle is the author or editor of over two dozen books and a former columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He is also the founder and CEO of TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions. You can download his latest book – The Neonaissance – FOR FREE at And, if you don't have time to read the entire book, just download a short excerpt of his inspirational message.