We’ve spent most of lockdown wading through the information overload, reading countless “top tips” articles and I’m sure, like me, if you hear the words “these uncertain times” one more time you’ll scream. So, we’ve tried our absolute hardest to avoid all the Corona clichés (Corichés?) to give you our top tips (sorry!) on communicating with students during Covid-19.
RMP Enterprise recently ran a survey to gauge students’ attitude and perception towards work experience during Covid-19. You can see the full results here, one of the key results relevant to RMP Connect clients is when asked to give employers a piece of advice to help them support students, over 50% referenced communicating with students.
One respondent said:
Please communicate even if you aren’t entirely sure what’s happening. It’s extremely unnerving to feel in the dark about your future.
Of the 1,384 students surveyed 92% of them said they would prefer to be contacted via email by employers at this time. For Connect clients this is great news as you’ve got an email platform at your fingertips and a talent pool full of students to communicate with! We’ve put together the below 4 top tips on how best to do this.
Keep on communicating
As seen in the survey, students are really keen to hear from employers - whether you are completely clear on your recruitment approach or have no idea what the next couple of months have in store. In April, although the number of emails sent by Connect clients was slightly down compared to March, the number of email opens was up 26% and the number of email clicks was up 45%. What does that tell us? Students are more engaged with comms they are receiving and are keen to hear any information you have to share.
Facilitating some form of two-way communication gives students the opportunity to ask any burning questions they may have. I’m not suggesting you sign-off emails with your personal information so students can start sliding into your DMs. Instead try including a link to an online form where students can anonymously submit their questions. You can then compile your next email featuring the answers to these questions, so that all students have access to this content.
Segment your stakeholders
Just as Sainsbury’s is emailing me to encourage my increased wine consumption and Sarah to remind her of the half price offer on her favourite fruits, you will have different groups of contacts that require different messages. These could include:
- Talent Pipeline: Your prospects essentially. All those who have signed up to hear more from you but have yet to apply.
- Future hires: The cohorts of grads, interns, apprentices, etc. that have been offered and will be starting with you in the near future.
- Teachers, careers advisors & parents: This group is a direct link to your pipeline and communicating with them will allow the message to be relayed to a wider student audience.
All of these stakeholders will need different messages and content - make sure you’re not blanket emailing all of them with the same message. Engagement will drop!
Human content & authenticity
Even before Covid (imagine that…) students were favouring authentic content rather than stock images and text pulled from generic sources. Now more than ever this is so important. As touched on previously, honesty is the best policy and what’s more honest than content featuring you! Small steps such as signing off with your name and a photo of you/the team can make a big difference.
This could take a variety of different formats. Such as an interview with one of your recruiters about what they think makes an application stand out, your tips on what students could be doing to make the most of their time in lockdown or how you as an employer are supporting early talent.
At RMP we’ve championed peer-to-peer content as one of the most effective ways to communicate with your audience. We’d recommend taking some time to speak to your current employees and create some new case studies - potentially about their work in lockdown and how they have adapted to this.
Lean on your Customer Success Manager and the support team
We are here to support you! Okay so we couldn’t quite make it through the full article without including a cheesy cliché… But don’t worry we’ve haven’t made a full TV advert featuring emotional footage of rainbows and delivering groceries to the elderly.
We can offer advice and assistance in building emails and content creation, and we are more than happy to give any emails a once over. We also love a chat! Please reach out to us to talk through short and long-term communication plans or to fill us in on your most recent culinary/exercise triumph.
If you'd rather not chat to us, that's fine too! We have a ton of help articles available for you here as well. And as a reminder the support email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
So to summarise...
- Keep on communicating: Students are keen to hear more from employers at the moment. Take some time to plan out your communications over the next few weeks and months.
- Segment your stakeholders: All contacts are different and will need different messaging. Make sure you’re tailoring your message to the right audience.
- Human content & authenticity: Focus on content that features a more “human” touch such as case studies, Q&As, advice and insights.
- Lean on us: We’re on hand in to help in any way we can.