How to Be the Employer of Choice in a Tight Labor Market

Macy’s Employer Branding

Creating connections that make Macy’s the employer of choice across a wide range of hiring needs.

Macy’s talent is a driving force behind its success, and key to the company’s future, according to Chairman and CEO Terry Lundgren. With more than 150,000 associates across its nationwide organization ranging from corporate offices to merchandising to technology to seasonal hourly associates, the company has a wide range of target audiences – and each has its own specific needs.

Macy’s also has a massive seasonal hiring effort, hiring more than 80,000 associates for stores, distribution centers and warehouses, and call centers. Moreover, it competes with every other retailer for those seasonal workers.

A large percentage of its audience was utilizing mobile devices to search for jobs, so Macy’s needed to create a competitive advantage in this space as well, ensuring candidates could seamlessly search and apply for jobs regardless of platform. Macy’s uses the Taleo applicant tracking system (ATS), and while immensely powerful and flexible, it lacked a mobile solution.

On the corporate side, Macy’s competes with other top employers, including Google, Ernst & Young, Facebook, Apple, and Disney. The company needed a way to differentiate itself and connect with all these varied audiences in a meaningful way, attracting and retaining the top talent that has a measurable impact on business results.

Macy’s needed an employer brand strategy that attracts and retains that talent across the full spectrum of roles – a candidate-centric candidate experience  that makes candidates feel respected, appreciated, and engaged – and creates a strong affinity for the company as the employer of choice.

To effectively communicate and engage with these disparate audiences, Sanger & Eby and Macy’s partnered to develop an employer brand that clearly differentiates the Macy’s organization as a whole while communicating targeted messaging and aspects of the company’s culture that resonated with each segment of its widely varied audience.

Primary and secondary research, including focus groups and stakeholder interviews, a competitive survey, and detailed habits and practices research provided a 360-degree view of Macy's targeted talent pool. Synthesizing our research findings, we developed detailed insights into each audience segment, identifying their needs, priorities, questions, and what they most sought in an employer – insights that led to the company’s talent acquisition marketing strategy and served as the foundation of its employer brand.

In an earlier iteration of the brand, we created microsites for priority target segments, including technology, beauty, college, military, new stores, and holiday, with each microsite driving back to the overall website. In 2016, we revised the strategy to consolidate most hiring needs under a single website that still communicated targeted, audience-specific content and culture based on the candidate’s needs and interests.  (College recruiting and technology recruiting retain their own microsites based on audience needs revealed in research findings.)

Strategically developed content designed to resonate with each segment, including the aspects of culture, perks, work environment, and career development most relevant to each. Knowing that “showing” is often more powerful than “telling,” we extensively utilized video and custom photography to give candidates a sense of the company and answer the key questions every candidate has, regardless of level or focus: What’s the culture like? Who will I be working with? What’s the job really like? What will I be doing every day?

A large percentage of Macy’s hiring is focused on hourly associates, for stores, distribution centers and warehouses, and call centers. Hourly associates typically focus on jobs in their immediate area, so quickly getting them to jobs located near them was key. Sanger & Eby created a site that pinpoints the user’s location and automatically delivers jobs nearest them on the site’s home page, without even requiring a search. Users can of course also still search based on their own criteria and filter job results to find the role that’s optimal for them.

Sanger & Eby pioneered the mobile job search and apply experience for Taleo, enabling candidates to not only search for jobs on a mobile device, but also apply – streamlining the process and opening up a whole new channel for attracting and recruiting top talent.

Social recruiting is another key element of the Macy’s employer brand strategy, and Sanger & Eby developed an overarching social media strategy outlining the “big picture” for the company’s employer brand in the social mediasphere, with targeted sub-strategies for college and technology recruiting. Each uses its own mix of strategic platforms, messaging, and voice. Execution included design and development of one of the first LinkedIn career pages – one LinkedIn often used as an example of great career page execution on its platform.

Successful recruiting goes beyond talent acquisition to include retention, as replacing talent in any organization is a tremendous drain on resources, and making a bad hire is costly. Macy’s needed to convey a strong reason to believe that encouraged people to stay with the company as they develop their careers. We created a talent development positioning strategy including key communication points, central brand messaging, and key brand behaviors to drive building Macy’s internal talent brand.

More than 9.4 million candidates visit the Macy’s family of recruiting websites each year, resulting in Macy’s meeting its aggressive hiring targets successfully. Macy’s was ranked by BusinessWeek as one of the “50 Best Places to Launch a Career” based upon responses from college career advisors and students, and its success continues to grow. 

The sites feature a fully responsive job search and application, making Macy’s one of only 3% of companies that offer a mobile application, and 50% of applications now come through mobile – meaning Macy’s is connecting with a tech-savvy, talent-rich candidate market – the talent that will make a difference for the company for decades to come.

Macy’s has been recognized as  a front runner in mobile employment applications amongst Fortune 500 companies by the Wall Street Journal and won the Technical Innovation Award from the National Association of Colleges and Employers in 2015 (the second time the company has won this award during its partnership with Sanger & Eby.)

Macy’s social recruiting program shines as well – with more than 266,000 followers on LinkedIn and 5,000+ members in its LinkedIn talent community, the company is seeing measurable results from the social sphere.

Beyond the inspiring success of their recruiting program, we partner with Macy’s on the development of their employment branding and creation of their print and electronic employment advertising nationwide. By any measure, our work has been a key driver in their ability to attract, develop and retain one of the most talented teams in retailing today. 

Find out what Sanger & Eby can do to help your company attract and retain top talent through a strategic, well-articulated employer brand.

Let’s get started.

We’re ready to bring your brand to life.

Sanger & Eby
501 Chestnut St. 
Cincinnati, OH 45203

Katie Krafka
Director, Client Engagement
p. 513.784.9046

Let's talk

Sanger & Eby

501 Chestnut Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45203

Get Directions

Click here to view our location Open Street Maps Copyright