Work/life balance. It’s a statement bandied around by businesses and recruiters, to differentiate working culture and attempt to attract the best talent.
GOV.UK defines flexible working as a ‘way of working that suits an employee’s needs.
I worked with a candidate last year who struggled to land a suitable role. They had ten years marketing experience – but needed to work from home and be available to do the school run.
Believe it or not, this person was turned away from employers, because their flexible working requirements didn’t fit into the working ‘norm’. But, let’s be realistic – with a marketing role (a chunk of which is now increasingly digital) why would the candidate need to be physically present for eight hours a day straight?
Here are my top three reasons why flexible working should be on the cards for your business:
Is it time to rethink your stance on flexible working?
Let me take you back to 2011. Recruitment was fast paced, businesses were growing, and the contingency recruitment model was going strong. Contingency recruitment (in case you aren’t familiar) is the traditional recruitment agency model we all know of. You call a recruitment agency, they send you candidates, if you hire one of their candidates you pay them a percentage of the candidates’ salary. No limit to the number of agencies you engage with, no fee unless you hire.
We were starting to lift ourselves from the 2008 recession – businesses were rising like phoenixes from the ashes and the SME’s borne out of the brains of the prior redundant population were growing. It was a good time to hire. There was still a lot of great talent on the market, candidates who hadn’t quite found their feet again since the recession, and the competition for the best jobs was tight. You could phone a recruitment agency and have 5 good candidates in your inbox the same day.
But businesses were starting to cotton onto the cost that recruitment agencies were adding to their bottom line. Internal recruitment teams had started to crop up in the dust covered corners of the HR Departments of the bigger businesses, called upon to ‘put a vacancy on the system’ when the need arose, or manage the recruitment agencies engaged to fill the vacancies.
But perhaps the internal recruiters could do more? The rise of LinkedIn had put paid to the ‘Yellow Pages’ days of head hunting, revealing a realm of candidates to anyone who knew their way around a basic Boolean search. Agency recruiters were burning out and looking for a way to move ‘in-house’ without doing a glorified admin job, and several ‘early adopters’ to the in-house recruitment model were able to take advantage of an agency style approach to in-house recruitment.
With my first foray into internal recruitment, the brief was simple. Treat the hiring managers like our internal customers. An agency mindset, with the service and relationships of an ‘in- house’ function. This was the way recruitment was moving. Internal recruitment teams started to realise that they too could engage with candidates on LinkedIn, post adverts on job boards and build talent pools using intuitive recruitment software.
Which brings us to 2019. The candidate landscape has changed drastically since 2011, even since 2015. Roles that three years ago, we would have had at least five great candidates for are challenging, and candidates (overall) are less loyal and more focused on ‘what’s in it for me’. Because they can be. Because we are in a very heavily candidate driven market. Candidate is King.
And some of that links back to the aforementioned 2008 recession. Companies weren't hiring graduates or trainees. As an example, in professions such as law and accounting just over ten years ago - no-one was hiring, and training contracts were gold dust. So if you're looking for a specialist candidate within the seven - ten year experience bracket - be prepared to battle your competitors for the top candidates.
Recruitment in 2019 is about treating your hiring function more like your marketing
function. It’s about telling candidates why you are better to work for than your
competitors. It’s about sticking your head above the parapet to become an ‘employer of choice’. It’s about creating an environment where people come to you out of choice – not out of necessity – because those are the candidates you want.
To achieve that, you need to be crystal clear on who you are trying to target. You need to develop a different mindset and approach to recruiting. And most of all you need to have the head space to think ahead and plan for the growth of your business.
Nope not plants, fruit or veg. This month I’d like to talk about growing your own talent. According to the 2019 REC (Recruitment & Employment Confederation) report, ‘Candidate availability continues to worsen … Demand for staff remains robust’. Roles that only five years ago we would have been able to fill three times over are experiencing a ‘tumbleweed’ moment.
But what can we do about it? Aside from having a great employer brand and ensuring your processes and strategy leave no room for error, lets start future proofing. Here are my three top tips for ‘growing your own’ talent for the future growth of your business:
I don’t foresee the candidate shortage changing any time soon, so as a business community we need to stop being surprised when candidates don’t come bashing down our door within the first 24 hours of an advert being posted.
Let’s start to think one step ahead.
To discuss this or anything else please get in touch
Our first Wells Voice column of 2019
In this edition our Director, Rosie Stevens, gives her top tips to stay one step ahead in 2019.
This month sees the second of our columns in the publication Wells Voice.
In this edition, Director Rosie Stevens gives our 3 top tips for utilising Employer Branding to become an employer of choice.
Anyone else think 'indeed' are really overplaying their hand?
Maybe I've been in recruitment too long - but I still remember the days when indeed were, frankly, a bit of a nuisance. They would trawl through sites, and aggregate jobs onto their platform - whether you liked it or not.
This would usually result in dross, time wasters and more work than it produced results. More often than not, I would contact them to ask them to remove my job from their sites. It used to be like advertising on the 'job centre' or 'Universal Job Match'.
Now, every client I speak to uses indeed. Not only uses - but pays for it! Extortionate amounts of money. Contacted by overzealous account managers, recommending you 'up your daily budget' shooting the bill up to hundreds of pounds - with little to show for it.
If you've paid to advertise before, and you try and advertise for free - your job seemingly gets 'blacklisted' - pushed to the back of the queue, until you add a budget. RPO's and third parties are instantly blacklisted - with talks of removing it as a free platform altogether for non direct hiring.
But here's the thing. I don't see that they are doing anything different to what they were doing ten years ago. By all means - tell me if you think differently - but if you start charging for something that used to be free, I want to know why - where is the benefit to me?
Indeed are already out of favour with a number of the employers I work with - some of it though my influence, and some through their own experience. Sure, it makes you feel like you are getting traction, by bombarding you with dross applications. But unless you get lucky (lucky being the key word), you cannot build a business on paying £5 a day for generic 'post and pray' advertising.
Recruitment in 2018 is about being proactive. It's about getting under the nose of the very people you are trying to entice into your business. If you have done your homework, and you are really happy that your target market hangs out on indeed - then cool - you do you.
But try and think of it as a tool in the toolbox - not the solution, simply because they shout the loudest.
Oh - and never, ever pay for it. Pay for it once - and you'll be stuck paying forevermore.
Millennial. The term used to refer to a demographic of people born between the early 1980’s and the early 2000’s. Fairly standard terminology today right?
Except when it comes to recruitment. When it comes to recruitment, millennial has become a mind-set – regardless of the year you were born, or the technology you grew up with.
The recruitment landscape is changing. It has been for the last few years, but this shift has really started to pick up pace. The biggest shift? Motivation. No longer do people want to work 8.30-5.30 Monday to Friday in a dingy Portakabin in the car park. They don’t want to wear a suit, and sit in a small cubicle you’ve tried to call an office. They don’t want to work overtime, weekends or for a big soulless corporate.
People need purpose; mastery and autonomy (yes Daniel Pink fans). We always have – but more intensely than ever it’s spilling over into the jobs market. Wanting to work for a business that aligns with a hobby or passion. Travel, animals or saving the world. Even if it means a smaller pay check.
Flexible working. Richard Branson initiated an unlimited holiday policy and provides the opportunity for super flexible working. The emphasis is placed on trusting his employees to act like adults, and focus on what needs to be done – as opposed to when it is done. Branson has the resources to monitor and enable such policies – however there is something that can be taken from this for every business. If you don’t trust your staff to complete the work you hired them to do – then you probably shouldn’t have hired them in the first place. Just because your employees are sat at their desks for twelve hours a day, it doesn’t automatically mean the quality (or quantity) of their work will improve. In fact – it doesn’t really mean anything.
Businesses that don’t start to recognise this millennial mind-set shift will start to get left behind in the hiring dust. It really is a tough market. Even sectors where good candidates were ‘ten a penny’ two – three years ago are starting to become scarce. It’s not enough these days to just post an advert and wait for candidates to come to you. You need to be pro-actively engaging, building talent pools, communicating and expanding your employer brand.
Can I leave you with this? Think about what you can ‘give’ to make your position as an employer more attractive? Flexible working? Early finish Friday? A day’s holiday on your Birthday? Or – as per one of my newest clients – a fully operational (and stocked) bar and pool table. I’d drink to that.
This month sees the first of our columns in the publication Wells Voice.
In this edition, Director Rosie Stevens gives our 3 top tips for accelerating business growth through quality hiring processes.