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The seemingly impossible task of recruitment

Businesses have faced many different challenges over recent years, however over the last year, one recurring theme across all sectors has been the difficulty to retain and recruit employees. This is especially noticeable for industries that require skilled workers and for recruiting into particular roles; drivers, chefs and technicians being a few that our clients have mentioned.

There are many factors affecting the ability to recruit at the moment so it’s worth outlining a few of these to give some context to the current environment.

Firstly, the pandemic resulted in a large portion of the workforce reappraising their lives and their career choices. Hospitality is a good example of this, in view of the uncertainty and instability that this sector faced and gave people the opportunity to change to a role with more sociable hours in some cases.

Secondly, Brexit has impacted our ability to recruit European workers with greater restrictions and therefore more hassle and red tape.


Also, the pandemic accelerated some of the changes expected in the workplace in the medium future – an appetite for greater flexibility, including to work from home and people prioritising ‘life’ and expecting more of a work life balance than they may have previously enjoyed. The ability to work from home now seems to be the top priority for most and a non-negotiable for candidates seeking employment, along with flexible hours, a competitive salary (wage inflation is increasing along with cost of living) and employee benefits (including employee wellbeing initiatives).

Add to that, that we are all working longer and you have a diverse age range in the workplace, whose priorities and needs differ significantly and therefore requiring a flexible menu approach to employee benefits that allows people to choose (based on what they value most).

It’s easy to think that it’s a lost cause but there are things that you can consider to help with the challenge:

  1. Review (objectively) how attractive you are as an employer (why work for you?) We have mentioned the more tangible benefits but ultimately people also choose employers as they buy into their ‘purpose’, they believe in their vision, they look for those businesses that align with their values.
  2. Review your employee benefits and how they compare with your competitors: salary, pension, benefits, wellbeing support including mental health, green initiatives and incentives, hybrid working approach.
  3. Once you have found the ‘perfect candidate’ make them feel welcome and have a clear and consistent onboarding process which reflects your culture. Your candidates experience at this early stage is vital to them choosing to stay!
  4. Be clear with what is expected and have clear policies so that people know how things work.
  5. Ensure managers are trained and supported in managing their people. An employee’s experience at work is governed by their immediate line manager and their skills and capabilities. People tend not to leave their company or their colleagues, they leave their line manager.
  6. If you are not considering hybrid working, challenge yourself on why? Some roles obviously cannot be done from home, but where they can, give consideration to this (and flexible working) – it’s everyone’s responsibility to make this work.

For more support with induction and onboarding, you can sign up to our next HR Support Management Training course on 5th October 2022. For more information on this course, click here.

By Kris Kerins BSc (Hons) Assoc CIPD HR Support Manager | CQI & IRCA ISO 9001: Lead Auditor


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