Secure the best talent
Even during times of austerity, there’s still a war for talent. Attracting, engaging and retaining the best talent could make the difference between your company riding out the storm of financial uncertainty and needing to make cutbacks and redundancies.
So how do you attract and secure the best talent?
- It’s not all about money and offering the best packages, although the best are often fought over by employers, so unless your engagement process is swift and you sell yourself on more than just financial reward, don’t be surprised if you end up getting into a bidding war at the end of the process. In times of hardship, employers want candidates who are able to clearly demonstrate a track record of positively impacting a bottom line, so expect to need to fight over the best
- Get to know what candidates think about your employer brand, but don’t ask at interview. No candidate who’s sitting in front of you is going to give you a negative review. They want the job after all, and to be there in the first place they must have a positive view of things. You could ask your recruitment consultancy to help by carrying out a bit of tracking whilst they recruit for you, just as long as you don’t penalise them for being frank and honest with the results. Don’t forget if it is bad, at least you can do something about it
- Make your company known for something positive:
- High performance environment (but really BE that way, a lot of companies THINK they’re high performing, but if they benchmarked against other industries, they’re actually behind the marque)
- Give employees of all levels the ability to make a real difference through working on large, influential projects
- Show people how they can grow with your business, they’re much more likely to buy into the vision if they can see how they can help make it happen
- Enable cross collaboration within functions so employees can learn new skills and techniques
- Additional supported learning, such as MBA, CIM, SAS courses, etc. If an employee isn’t learning, they’re stagnating and that leads to disengagement
- Review your interview process. Lackadaisical managers who don’t understand the image they are portraying externally of your company through delivering a poor candidate experience could seriously harm how prospective employees view your business. All interviewers need to understand their role in selling the opportunity to prospective candidates. Interviewing happens two ways after all
- Prompt feedback, even if a candidate is unsuccessful, is key to managing your brand’s perception externally. A note thanking them for attending and asking how they felt about how their application was managed will really set you apart, as well as providing you with invaluable data to continually improve your processes
- Consider implementing an interview follow-up process to be carried out with every candidate at every level (your agency could run this for you). It could even be as simple as an emailed questionnaire
In times of austerity a pattern emerges in hiring practices which, in the longer term, never seem to work. Employers move from being open minded to candidate backgrounds in order to attract the best talent, narrowing focus to just hiring candidates with recent same industry experience.
Historically this has always been a short term reaction as a line manager’s focus changes from long term strategy, to immediate delivery. So they look for people who are able to have an impact from day one, as candidates will know the industry already. It’s completely understandable and on the surface seems logical. However taking this approach usually harms the long term vision, as a loss of innovation emerges over time.
The problem seems to be candidates who come with a long pedigree of experience within one sector, who move within that same sector, tend to come with the same pre-existing ideas which have been done before. This seems particularly prevalent within mature markets where differentiation between products or services can be limited. Yes, the ideas the candidate brings with them may be new to YOUR company, but if they have all been done before by your competitors, where’s the innovation and differentiation for you or your customers?
We have seen this trend occur within many industry leaders over the last couple of years. Some of the UK’s biggest brands lost their innovation edge because they changed their hiring practices and so brought in the same breed of candidate time and again.
The pattern repeats itself until one day, somebody is brave enough to want to break the cycle, changes the pattern and opens the door to variety once more. 3-6 months later (after allowing time to get up to speed with a new industry), back comes innovation once again.
As they always say, variety is the spice of life, and this seems just as true in business.