Win the Talent War by Opting for Transparency

Instead of being afraid to share information about your firm, embrace it as a new way to hire (and retain) social media-savvy job seekers.

learn more about Allyson Willoughby

By Allyson Willoughby

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Did you know that 3 in 5 (or 61 percent) of employees say realities on the job differ from the expectations set during the interview?

This data point, culled from a survey by my company Glassdoor, should concern everyone in human resources. It signifies that candidates are ending up at jobs that are not quite what they bargained for and that human resources leaders have room to improve when it comes to sharing information about the recruiting employer. This includes providing information about the company's strengths and weaknesses and how it plans to do better.

If human resources professionals deliver on this, they will offer job candidates a clearer picture of what it's really like to work at the firm. In so doing, they'll be providing what candidates want: workplace transparency.

On the heels of Glassdoor's debut yesterday of its OpenCompany program (recognizing employers who support and promote workplace transparency), it's important to discuss how companies can take part in this conversation. Employers can begin to embrace transparency, in turn, helping their company's recruiting and retention efforts. Here are three points for any HR pro to consider:

Related: Radical Transparency Can Re-Energize a Company's Culture and Deliver Results

1. Don't be afraid of social media. Today's job seekers are already connected 24/7, seeking out information via social media (from sites like Facebook and Twitter to company blogs and job sites) to gain the insights they need to make the most informed career decision possible.

For employers, this marks a turning point. Take a deep breath and understand that information about what it's like to work at your company will become known and won't be hidden. In fact, the genie is already out of the bottle. Instead of being afraid of transparency, see it as an opportunity -- as a new way to hire and retain today's social media-savvy talent. Dozens of companies, including Glassdoor clients Cisco and Enterprise Rent-a-Car, have already found recruiting success as a result.

Related: 3 Steps for Fixing Big Business Blunders

2. Take the good with the bad. Just as no product reviewed on Amazon, restaurant critiqued on Yelp or hotel described on TripAdvisor is perfect, the same is true for companies: There's no perfect place to work and employees already understand this. Companies need to come to grips with this as well.

When considering your business brand, think about what's most important to your organization: What should stand out as the best reasons to work at your company and what the things aren't so perfect that you could live without their being widely known?

Just like how consumers read reviews to learn the characteristics of various gadgets before buying one (but probably understand that none are perfect), job seekers want to know about the company they're potentially joining. If a company seems too perfect -- almost too good to be true -- suspicions may be raised among today's job seekers and they may move on to another potential employer.

Related: 3 Ways Owning Your Mistakes Will Make You Powerful

3. Fix the problem. In moving toward workplace transparency, companies can participate in the conversation and address specific issues more efficiently. Many employees surveyed by my company say they want the employer perspective when they're researching a potential company to work for.

This means employers have the opportunity to engage in conversations already taking place. By responding to reviews and joining discussions online, companies can be more candid with job seekers about how they're improving things in their organization. The next step is being proactive and actually fixing such issues.

By being more open with prospective employees, a company might see a difference in the quality of job candidate who's attracted, hired and retained.

Related: 6 Ways to Land the Perfect Employee Who Isn't Job Hunting

Allyson Willoughby

VP of People, Glassdoor

Allyson Willoughby is senior vice president of people and general counsel at Glassdoor. She leads the company's human resources and legal departments.

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