We’re delighted to be welcoming Alison King of Bespoke HR to guest write on this week’s blog for us! In this post, Alison focuses on todays’ topsy-turvy jobs market where there are more vacancies than candidates, and what employers are going to need to do next year to beat the competition. She discusses how businesses will need to rethink their hiring strategies and offerings in order to attract and employ good candidates in 2022.
It’s safe to say that it’s going to be a rocky 12 months ahead for anyone managing a team. The UK jobs market is what can only be described as ‘topsy turvy’. The ‘great resignation’ is everywhere in the press, and hybrid working is set to continue. The pandemic has affected us all. It has made many employees re-evaluate what’s important to them and what they want from an employer. So where does this leave businesses that now face stiff competition when it comes to attracting, recruiting and retaining great employees in 2022?
It’s a candidate’s market. For the first time in a generation, there are more available jobs than there are candidates. This puts the power in the hands of candidates who can now afford to pick and choose. We know that many businesses are seeking the same skills and talent, which pits them against one another. This means that to attract good talent, employers will need to stand out ahead of the competition. Businesses now have to re-think the ‘traditional’ techniques and consider their value proposition. What is that your business can offer, and will this be attractive to potential recruits?
Some trends we are starting to see include:
• Remote recruitment and widening the catchment: if a team is working remotely, then recruit remotely. One of our clients has closed its office and has become a 100% remote business. As a result, it has attracted a wider candidate pool, whereas before it was limited to those within commuting distance of Surrey. It now has employees in Finland and Spain, as well as across the UK.
• Enhanced benefits and perks: during this period, many employees have re-evaluated what’s important to them and salary alone is no longer enough. Candidates are looking for employers who offer good perks, flexible benefits and a better work / life balance. If your business doesn’t have a flexible benefits scheme in place, now could be the time to start looking into one.
• Company culture matters: candidates can afford to be picky, which means choosing to work for a business with a good culture fit. Make sure your social media channels are up to date and that you know what’s being said about your business on the likes of Google Reviews and Glassdoor.
• More transparency with salary details: in this candidate-driven market it is now essential to be clear on salary details in job advertisements. Vague ranges or statements will no longer cut it and you will lose candidates before you’ve even started.
A slick and transparent recruitment process is now essential. We’ve heard a lot about candidates ‘ghosting’ employers and this can largely be blamed on the length of time businesses are taking to recruit. Candidates will not wait to get through a drawn-out process. If the process is likely to go through many stages, then be upfront about this in the first instance to manage expectations. The key message for recruiters in 2022 is, don’t hang out. We’re sorry to say, but candidates will not wait for you.
Other tips include:
• Target passive candidates: businesses can no longer afford to post on job boards and wait for potential employees to come to them. We expect to see a lot more pro-active recruitment next year. Find relevant candidates and make contact with them. Go to where they are, whether that’s in LinkedIn groups or online forums. Employers will need to think creatively about where they can find their ideal employee.
• Plan ahead: don’t recruit at the last minute, instead carry out some talent mapping and plan ahead for the gaps that will need filling over the next 12 months. Look at the skills the business will need for the future, not just immediately and recruit with these in mind. There are many candidates in the market with highly transferrable skills, although not necessarily gained in your industry. Skills and attitude are likely to become more important than experience in businesses where there is a gap. Check out sites like Tech Returners.
According to a recent Ranstad survey, 69% of workers are ready to move jobs. Hybrid working has meant that workers are no longer tied to physical locations, which opens up a world of opportunity. Retention is crucial and not something that employers should take for granted.
• Make sure your onboarding process is slick: this is often overlooked and a bad onboarding experience can cause irreversible damage to the relationship with an employee. Be sure to have systems, processes and plans ready as soon as a new employee starts.
• Involve employees in decision making: another client, Platypus Digital has cultivated a great company culture which involves employees in key decision making. Its policies reflect the feedback from the staff and as a result, it has seen less than 3% staff turnover in the last three years (compared to an industry average of 17%).
• Benchmark against competitors: assess the competition, what are they offering their staff? Is it likely to draw employees across? With the cost of living rising, staff will be concerned about finances next year. If your business can’t afford pay increases, then look to other incentives or benefits to boost staff loyalty.
• Manage performance remotely: this is going to be an ongoing challenge, but managing a remote or hybrid team well is now essential. Put development plans in place for the new year and be sure to review these regularly with staff. Address issues that may have been overlooked during lockdown and start 2022 with everyone working from the same page.
• Take care of their mental health: January is traditionally one of the worst months for staff morale. Post-Christmas, with a long wait until payday, it’s also one of the most common months for staff to start looking for new jobs. Consider initiatives that can help support a team’s mental health, keep them motivated and feel looked after by the business. At Bespoke HR, we’re holding our team Christmas get together in January and have weekly scheduled video calls where the team can get together and discuss any concerns. You can also consider putting together a Mental Health at Work plan incorporating Mental Health First Aid training to support the team. There are lots of really useful resources available for employers, like these free guides from Mind.
The new year is going to bring about new challenges, but ultimately, it’s an opportunity for employers to set themselves apart. Those who understand their company culture, value proposition and what makes them a great workplace will ultimately be the ones who attract and keep the best people.
Alison King, Bespoke HR
Alison founded Bespoke HR in October 2005. After many years working for others in senior HR functions; she decided to start up on her own. There isn’t much that Alison doesn’t know about the world of HR, and she has surrounded herself with a team in her own mould. Nothing is too much for Alison; you will find her humour and knowledge infectious, and easy to work with. When Alison isn’t working she spends much of her spare time with her family. Her dream is to take a Winnebago around the States.