It’s never ever been this competitive for talent, period. Just like the property market right now, people are snapped up within a week, having received multiple offers above expected value. Candidates have all the power and it’s a superb opportunity for great people who want to look at exciting roles. We’ve honestly never seen anything quite like it.
But why did it happen?
Rewind to March 2020; when COVID hit, everyone slammed the brakes on. No one had any idea what was going to happen, and the focus was on keeping the business afloat. Back to current day and we’ve all evolved our propositions and have optimised our cultures and working practices to operate remotely.
2022 will be a year of discovering what best practice looks like in our new working world, with a substantial focus on business improvement and growth. Most of us are playing catch up, working tirelessly to restore our business to its previous levels and capitalise on the changes we’ve made in a marketplace that is wildly different to what came before.
Countless companies were forced to pivot in 2020 to stay afloat. Some overhauled their business model, others diversified their offering and many entrepreneurs ventured out into completely new markets. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support and dedication of our employees. Put bluntly, your people really are your greatest asset.
How did it become a candidate short market?
According to the ONS, vacancies hit a record high of 1.1 million in Q3 of 2020. But there aren’t enough candidates on the market to fulfil business needs. People are still cautious about moving. A shift in attitudes led to many businesses adapting not only where and how they work, but also their benefits and remuneration packages. Why would people leave a business that supported them through such a turbulent time, especially with so much uncertainty still on the horizon? It’s better the devil you know, as they say.
The adage of ‘last in first out’ is playing a significant part in this decision. With cases rising again, reports of low efficacy rates of the AZ vaccine, and dwindling numbers of people getting their boosters, murmurings of another lockdown are rife. For many, putting a voluntary target on their back simply isn’t a risk they’re willing to take. So rather than seek a new challenge, they’re choosing to continue in a comfortable, well-paid role and reap the benefits of financial security. By our estimations, this accounts for around a third of the usual candidate pool.
What can we do to retain our current team?
One thing the pandemic has taught every business owner is that people are very much our greatest asset. We should be looking after the people who are already in our business, with a 12-month personal development plan in place, tying their work goals into achieving their personal goals, and mapping out a clear career path.
The next step is to clearly communicate a wider company vision. An aligned team is a productive team, but by demonstrating how each individual role contributes to the overall mission, you give people a real sense of purpose and belonging within your business.
Essential requirements coming from our candidates are:
Fair remuneration that reflects the value they add to the business
Clear progression opportunities
Strong values that align with their own
A sense of purpose within their role via meaningful contribution
Opportunities for personal development
An exciting business that is going places
Belief in the leadership team
Work from anywhere at any time
A job that works for their lives, not the other way around
Tick all these boxes, and you’ll stop people wondering if the grass is greener on the other side. But if you don’t, exciting and disruptive businesses could well turn their head. Because people ARE moving. We are busier than ever, so it is undoubtedly possible to attract new talent, even in this candidate short market. In fact, according to a recent poll, a quarter of workers in the UK intend to seek new employment in the next 6 months.
So how do you get them to jump ship?
In many ways, it’s as simple as replicating the list above. The same things that will help you to retain your current employees will attract new ones, and according to the same poll, remote working has made who you work for less important. But nothing is as simple as it sounds. We’ve all had to up our game.
We always liken the talent pipeline to your new business pipeline because the tap must be on 100% of the time. At the end of the day, whether new business or talent, we’re still dealing with people. Converting a client takes a lot of nurturing – relationship building, content creation, adding value and educating – to ensure you are their first call when the time comes. The same rules apply to securing top talent. Gone are the days of calling a recruiter to ask who they have on their books that could fit your requirements. You should always be attracting people.
If your proposition is stronger than your competitors, you’ll get their attention. This is where your new business marketing can influence your talent pipeline too. Position yourself as an industry leader with on trend, value-add content and people will want to come and work alongside your experts. We’re all human and are led by our ego; working for the best in our field is something we naturally aspire to.
Back up your marketing with an honest demonstration of your culture and showcase your inspirational leadership team. Social media platforms like Instagram are superb for this, allowing a behind the scenes peek into your business. If potential hires can picture themselves slotting into a working environment, you’re halfway there. Getting this level of buy-in BEFORE the interview process makes securing your perfect candidate that little bit easier.
Your unique narrative – a compelling tale of how your business began, its highs and lows – can be what seals the deal. It should be a significant part of your Employer Value Proposition .Embracing the past, showing how your brand has learned from experience and evolved into what they see today is invaluable context for someone looking to join your team.
Finally, you need to inspire. To do this you should share your ambitions for the business. Candidly discussing your hopes and dreams for the next 3 to 5 years and beyond helps the candidate understand how THEY fit into the grand plan. If they can see themselves joining you on this journey, they’ll sign on the dotted line.
If you want to discuss where to begin with your talent attraction strategy or need a helping hand with a tough role, reach out to Léon by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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