Public Relations in the Mining Industry is a blog post that was researched and written by Robin Smith, SCC’s newest intern.
The Canadian mining and exploration industry is facing one of the biggest labour shortages in its history. Canada needs to bring in over 100 000 new skilled workers to maintain levels of modest growth, according to the Mining Industry Human Resources Council.
An aging work force and competition from other industries are mining’s two biggest obstacles to tackle in the coming decade, not to mention adjusting for the expansion of industry over time. Qualified mining students leaving post-secondary schools are worth their weight in gold, and even more if they are willing to travel overseas.
For companies looking to scoop the best and brightest of the new generation, good public relations can be the secret weapon to keep projects staffed. As companies jockey for position in the market for new hires, offering similar entry-level salaries and positions, a robust communications structure and healthy corporate culture can make the difference to prospective new hires.
Here are some ways that public relations can help the mining industry show off its career value and better perform its function.
- Use public relations to capture the distinct founding story that makes your company different. In an interview to the Globe & Mail, John Smith, CEO of Vancouver’s Silver Standard Resources, said, “You have to pay people a fair day’s wages, but what I think keeps people is a sense of excitement.” Recall the thrill of a mining boom by telling your unique story to potential hires, and offer them exhilaration as well as a promising career.
- One struggle in sourcing new staff for mining and exploration is the difficulty in receiving government recognition for out-of-province or international mining credentials. A well-run government relations plan conducted by PR practitioners can streamline the implementation of legislation to bring in talented workers from outside the province or country.
- Community outreach to colleges and universities can bring your company to the forefront of every graduate’s mind. Hiring a public relations firm gives you access to experts in roadshows and persuasive presentations. Work with your PR counsel to develop a compelling presentation that has students knocking on your door, rather than the other way around.
- Social media can be a huge part in a good public relations effort, and with experienced practitioners you can get more bang for your buck. A well thought out strategy that uses digital media and social communities creates a strong online experience for potential hires to interact with. The young students you’re looking to hire will Google you before picking up a phone; make sure something is there to greet them.
- Last, but not least, is old-fashioned self-promotion. Get your company’s name in the news! A good practitioner can get your chief executives national newsreel time and public interest. Talk about the training you offer to new hires that other companies don’t. Get your company involved in the conversation on Canada’s mineral resource industry and show off your experience as experts and leaders in your field.
Well-orchestrated public relations can help round out a company that might otherwise lack the communicative aspect that engages its stakeholders. By interacting with the work force that it wants to attract, the mining industry can ensure a steadily increasing share of skilled workers to maintain the growth of Canada’s vast mineral resource industry.