Recruitment in a Social Distancing World
As with many areas of life, the coronavirus pandemic and integration of social distancing will change how we interact with people and recruiting fire and EMS personnel will be affected. We only need to look at changes taking place in other aspects of life where contacting people is critical to success. Political campaigns (door to door canvasing), military recruiting and college recruiting have all struggled to adjust to the new realities of recruiting in a time of social distancing and shelter-in place orders, becoming almost 100% media and social media driven.
Community activities being curtailed are another scenario which will modify recruitment. With protracted periods of social distancing, these in-person interactions may no longer be viable from a public health standpoint. How then, can we engage people in such a world?
- Leveraging pre-existing personalized social connections is one option that involves contacts between people who belong to the same social network, such as friends, families, acquaintances, or neighbors. In this model , individuals called “captains” commit to identifying and encouraging at least 10 people they know to join. The captains, in turn, recruit other captains, thereby increasing the reach of these efforts even further. Research demonstrates that this approach can be substantially more effective than traditional efforts.
- We can take this to today’s world and expand the approach to social medial applications using emails, tweets, text messages, and facebook posts to motivate engagements.
The concept that a person is more likely to be swayed by friends than strangers is very compelling. This is very much consistent with a “word of mouth” effort and the “Everyone Gets One” program promoted in the FASP Resource Center.