Is recruitment holding your business back?

How to attract the best talent and keep it

What is business about? Executing a great idea maybe? Or perhaps delivering value to shareholders? Whatever your beliefs, the fact is that no business can run properly without an effective team. And, depending on what kind of business you're running, your team may be the most important physical resource you have.

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Building the best team you can, then, is vital to your organisation's livelihood and success. But the job market, from a recruiter's point of view, is becoming increasingly competitive. Figures published in March 2018 by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the number of overall job vacancies in the UK between December 2017 and February 2018 stood at 816,000 10,000 more than September to November 2017 and 56,000 more than the same period 12 months before.

Businesses are therefore fighting over a smaller talent pool to try and build their perfect teams. So how can you attract the best talent out there from this diminished stock? And then, once you've attracted the right employees to your business, keep them loyal, engaged and motivated too? 

Building a better workplace

Over the past 10 years, what people want and expect from their place of work has changed dramatically.

Thanks to greater mobility with the advent of smartphones and the cloud, increased knowledge of startup and Silicon Valley work culture and perhaps as a reaction to the instability wrought by the global financial crisis of 2007-2008, flexible and agile working have become more desirable to workers.

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In a blog post, online recruiter Jobsite listed "the agile workforce" as one of its top trends for this year.

"The fact that organisations like Sky, Google, Facebook and the NHS are among agile working's earliest large-scale adopters says a lot about its potential. Its rapid rise as a software development methodology in the IT sector is also telling, and the value is not lost on candidates," Jobsite says. 

Citing research carried out towards the end of 2017, the blog continues: "While 77 percent of recruiters say agile working hasn't significantly affected the hiring process, a massive 86 percent of candidates say they'd consider changing roles if it meant working in an agile environment. And, on average, candidates with an understanding of agile working said they'd give up 16 percent of their salary to make the same switch."

That's not to say wages count for nothing, though, nor is an agile working environment the only way to offer an "extra something" to entice workers to your business and encourage them to stay.

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Responding to the ONS' January statistics, which covered the September - November 2017 period, Kevin Green, chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), said: "Employers who want an edge over the competition have to design new ways to attract people, like flexible work patterns. Some may need to go to specialist recruiters to get help sourcing talent in areas where there are very few candidates.

"Our data shows employers are increasing starting salaries in a bid to get applicants. However, this isn't translating into broader pay rise for current staff and workers are facing hard times as inflation continues to outstrip pay growth. Employers need to think about salaries and benefits for all of their staff otherwise employees could be tempted by better offers from rival companies."

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This raises a key issue: building the best team isn't just about the high-flyers, it's about everyone who works within the business. After all, your organisation isn't just made up of those at the top of the tree, it's a contingent whole. As the Chartered Institute for Professional Development (CIPD) has pointed out, excessive pay and rewards at the executive level can have a negative effect on the rest of the workforce.

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When deciding to augment their workforce, businesses don't necessarily have to look to recruit on a permanent basis.

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For certain projects, taking on temporary contract workers or freelancers may be the best way to bring in the skills and expertise you need without creating what could be unnecessary permanent positions.

Indeed, according to a March 2018 report by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE), the growth in the number of workers classed as self-employed over the past 10 years has been driven largely by more and more highly-skilled individuals opting to work this way. 

This means that, while there is still competition among businesses for this kind of talent, its fluid nature gives organisations a greater chance of finding the right person for the role at the time you need them.  

Additionally, contract work can act as a facilitator to finding a standout new team member. If one contractor fits particularly well within the business and did a great job in an area where you're likely to continue investing, there's always the possibility of offering them a permanent role once the project they were brought on to do comes to a close.  

Bringing it all together  

Underpinning all of this is the need for proper human resource management. No matter what size business you're running, choosing the right software or service is vital to managing remuneration and benefits, keeping track of absences and holidays, or knowing when contracts start and end.

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Some of the more advanced platforms out there can also help with recruitment and onboarding, or even collaboration between different sites and locations. 

So when you're considering how to build the best team possible for your business, it's worth also looking at the various cloud and on-premise solutions available to make sure your HRM system can keep up with your vision for the future of your company.

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