Business management

How your business could still attract talent amid the Great Resignation

Some businesses are still struggling to hire and retain talent after many Covid-19 lockdown resignations. Here NatWest Mentor’s Natalie Nelson offers key hiring insights.

According to the Spring 2022 Labour Market Outlook report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), 45% of employers report challenges filling vacancies, with many looking at increasing wages to address this in the short term.

And according to June 2022 employment figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), unemployment continues to decrease (3.8%) while job vacancies between March and May 2022 reached a record high of 1.3m.

With this challenging backdrop, it’s important that recruiters employ progressive ways to address employment shortages, such as: 

  • Focusing on well-being 
  • Offering career-returner programmes
  • Encouraging flexible working
  • Planning workforce needs strategically
  • Investing in skills and internal mobility
  • Evaluating employee value proposition

The Great Resignation, poor post-Brexit succession planning and an ageing workforce have all played a part in creating the current demand and supply shortfall, and businesses must understand why they have these gaps if they are to be successful in filling vacancies.

Here are 10 points for employers to consider:

1. Demand for skills

A particular skill might be in high demand and other employers are paying more for that skill due to inflation. But offering higher wages for a role to attract more applicants is only a short-term solution linked to the current economic situation. Instead, businesses should take a longer range view and try to make themselves attractive by other means.

2. Employee value proposition

Recruitment managers should remember that employees are now looking at an array of elements beyond their salaries when it comes to selecting an employer, so the entire employee value proposition should be considered when advertising for staff, not just the pay cheque. 

3. Well-being and assistance

Offering or improving well-being and employee assistance programmes should be a priority for firms looking to hire new talent. Many employees consider these an essential requirement in a post-pandemic world. And with the current cost-of-living crisis, this includes assistance with financial well-being too.

Companies should invest in career apprenticeship schemes and other personal development programmes now to dial in skills that will be needed in coming years

4. Internal talent

Evaluating your internal talent pool and investment in training of your company’s current workforce can be a great way to fill existing vacancies. Recruiters should first be asking themselves whether it’s possible to close skills gaps from within before looking further afield.

5. Career returners

Career returner schemes for experienced workers who retired during the pandemic, but now want to get back into the job market, can be an effective strategy. Many recent retirees are discovering that the cost-of-living crisis is making it hard for them to afford the retirement they had originally planned. Companies should also consider attracting job seekers who have not been working due to maternity or have disabilities that made it difficult to travel to a workplace but can now work remotely. 

6. Flexible working

The pandemic has created a re-evaluation of how work should fit into people’s lives, so a growing number of companies are offering flexible work opportunities. In fact, many job seekers now consider this to be a requirement for employment. 

7. Company culture

It’s important to think about company culture and how to project that to potential employees. Strong diversity and inclusion policies and sustainability credentials, for example, may make employers more attractive. Younger people are especially trending towards organisations with a purpose, and which contribute positively to society. 

8. Employment perks

Employment perks can also be key to attracting and retaining talent in a tight marketplace. This can include offering savings with certain retailers, help with energy bills, employee retention bonuses and help with paying off student loans.

9. Strategic planning

Strategic workforce planning, based on data-led insights, will help companies avoid future staff shortages. Managers should be thinking about the makeup of their current workforce, and what it might look like in five to 10 years’ time, to prevent gaps before they appear.

A good example of why this is important is the haulage industry. Businesses might have been able to avoid the current recruitment gap for lorry drivers if they had prepared earlier for Brexit-related shortages. 

10. Personal development

Companies should invest in career apprenticeship schemes and other personal development programmes now to dial in skills that will be needed in coming years. A company that sponsors training and education will be in a stronger position when talent shortages occur.

Hear here

For more on attracting the right talent, listen to Natalie Nelson chatting to hosts Holly Mackay and Eshita Kabra-Davies on the NatWest Business Extra Show.

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