If you’re a Human Resources professional, one of your primary duties – amongst many others, of course – will be to help find and recruit talented individuals to help your business thrive.
And it’s no small task, either. Finding the right person for a role is more than just ticking the qualification and experience boxes. Their personalities, ambitions and values will also play a huge part in whether they can be a success in their role. Not to mention how they perform in the dreaded interview…
However, whilst you might have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with great wages, potential long-term prospects and the chance of a half-decent Christmas party, getting the right people to even show an interest in your roles – let alone get them through the door – is a lot more difficult than you think.
Worse still, you might be missing out on the best the workforce has to offer…
THE EMPLOYMENT LANDSCAPE IS CHANGING
Despite the ongoing uncertainty of Brexit looming large over the British economy, the UK is experiencing record-levels of employment, meaning that competition to attract the best employees is now fiercer than ever.
However, it seems increased competition hasn’t really changed the way companies look to attract the top workforce talent. As a result, many businesses are struggling to fill their vacancies and find the right people for their roles.
Whilst low-levels of unemployment are playing their part, the real problem is that the workforce has changed immeasurably over the past 10-15 years; with the so-called Millennial and Gen-Z generations now making up a larger proportion of the workforce than ever before.
In fact, by 2020, it’s expected that Millennials will make up around 35% of the entire workforce, with Gen-Z’s also growing to around the 35%-mark, too.
What these socially-conscious and tech-savvy generations want from their jobs is vastly different to the ‘baby boomer’ generation – a mainstay of the UK workforce for so long. But despite this shift, employers seem to be lagging behind the times and struggle to attract this new breed of workers.
“Millennials—and now Gen Z—are acutely attuned to business’ wider role in society, and overwhelmingly feel that business success should be measured beyond financial performance.” - Deloitte
But before you start thinking ‘Oh God, not another article about millennials’, the millennials and Gen-Z’s are not the only ones changing the employment landscape.
RESPECTING THE NEEDS OF OUR ELDERS
With people living for longer than ever, they’re also working for longer than ever, too. And just like the booming millennial workforce, it seems that employers are also being slow to understand what older generations really want from their employers, too.
With more and more people over 50 choosing to continue working rather than take retirement, organisations now have access to a pool of available talent ready and willing to take on new challenges and responsibilities.
Their skills and experience make them a valuable and in-demand commodity for employers, so ensuring you can offer them more than just ‘a job’ is key to piquing both their interest in your roles and their engagement with your business.
So, how can you look to attract the best talent from the ever-growing pool of Millennial and Gen-Z employees, whilst also making your business an attractive proposition for the older workers out there?
Let’s look at some key considerations…
1. ARE YOUR JOB DESCRIPTIONS DAZZLING OR DULL?
When advertising for new positions, do you stick to the facts and just give an outline of the role and primary duties?
When you’re marketing your business or products, you’ll be looking to attract the attention of your ideal customer – advertising a job is no different, except your looking to attract the right talent to come and work for you.
Think of your job posting like a movie teaser trailer; whetting the appetite and generating interest whilst also providing all the information a candidate needs to know about the job.
If your job listing is stale, forgettable or doesn’t ‘sell’ your organisation’s best aspects, your ideal candidates may simply ignore you all together…
2. ARE YOUR INTERVIEWS REVEALING EVERYTHING YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW?
The traditional face-to-face interview is a great chance to look beyond the facts and statements on a CV. This is your opportunity to really delve into the character of a person, and it’s that character which can often have a more pronounced effect than their skills and experience.
With the right questions specific for the role your advertising, you can discover how candidates solve problems, what they’re passionate about and how they react when they’re pushed outside their comfort zones.
Also, take the time to talk through their own values and their ambitions – do they match those of your organisation? This is crucial to sparking that priceless employee engagement as your company culture must be compatible with the types of people you’re trying to hire, otherwise it simply won’t work for you or your employees.
3. ARE YOU KEEPING AN EYE ON SOCIAL PLATFORMS?
Before someone applies for a job with you, they’ll more than likely do some research of their own about your organisation, and not just by visiting your website to become familiar with your brand, products and services.
The world of social media can provide them with a goldmine of information – and not all of it can be positive.
The rise of employee review sites such as Glassdoor gives your current and previous employees the chance to share their experiences of working for you, warts and all.
As an employer, you should be keeping a beady eye on these sites to see what your staff really think of your business, as these platforms give them the opportunity to feedback what they really think without potentially upsetting their employers in the process.
You may also discover the real reasons why your staff are leaving their jobs; meaning you can get a truer picture of the health of your company’s culture and whether or not it’s as appealing to employees as you really think it is!
4. ARE YOU TRYING TOO HARD TO FIND THE PERFECT CANDIDATE?
Yup, if you’re holding out for the 10/10 perfect candidate to waltz in through the door, you may be waiting a long, long time!
Of course, wanting the best employees to join your business is the ultimate goal for any business, but be sure to be flexible during your recruitment process because every potential candidate you meet will have their own strengths and weaknesses. It’s then down to you to understand whether those weaknesses are genuine barriers or can be easily overcome.
For example, you may have a candidate who fits the role and has a personality just right for your business; but they may be living too far away from your location than you’d ideally like. However, this shouldn’t stop you from considering them for the role.
Offering flexible working or the chance to work from home on certain days may offer a solution that works for both you and the candidate. After all, if the job isn’t, say, customer facing or can be done remotely just as effectively as in the office, why not offer the chance for candidates – and your current employees – to work where they feel at their best?
5. DITCH THE CARROT AND STICK APPROACH
Businesses need to look beyond the basic financials because that’s exactly what the workforce is doing when deciding where next to take their careers - especially when it comes to those mercurial Millennials and Gen-Z's.
Workers at both ends of the age spectrum now care more about how their employers can improve the quality of life for employees both inside and outside the working environment. This is especially true of older workers who may wish to work well into the autumn of their careers.
Now of course, a good basic wage is always going to be a key part of anyone’s decision to move jobs or stick around, but a pay rise isn’t always the answer to retaining your best staff or attracting the most talented workers in the first place.
Also, offering higher than average wages or cash incentives is both expensive and, for many start-ups or SMEs, potentially unsustainable. Plus, if an employee isn’t engaging with their employer, feels unappreciated or simply doesn’t share the same visions and values, they won’t stick around – regardless of the size of metaphorical carrot on offer.
6. LIVE UP TO YOUR OWN HYPE
Finally, once you’ve got your ideal candidate through the door, ensure that their experience - from the moment they accept their new role - matches your own sales patter!
One of the most disappointing experiences any can go through in their professional lives is discovering that the company they’ve joined doesn’t live up to their own hype.
For instance, if you support that flexible working-element we mentioned earlier, ensure that your hardware and software doesn’t prevent an employee doing their job effectively.
If you’re a business that believes its’ staff are crucial to success, then you’ll need to ensure your most valuable assets are fully engaged with your brand. This is where a positive company culture comes in.
Your company culture has the potential to improve your employees’ quality of life; be it through tailored employee benefits, supporting their health and wellbeing, or simply saying thank you for a job well done!
These are the things that go beyond the wage, title or bonuses and gives potential employees those extra little reasons to love working for you and stick with you for longer, too.