The challenges presented by the skills shortage in the UK labour market have been well publicised, with many industries struggling to fill roles. Investing in a strong employer brand is becoming an increasingly important way to attract talented people. So, how should businesses go about it?
The last recession saw a number of industries dismissed by those choosing qualifications and career paths and, in some other sectors a programme of outsourcing work overseas has also impacted on the available talent within the UK labour market. However, with the economic outlook improving, recruiters have noted the return of a ‘candidate’s market’, where opportunities are rife, and they are increasingly focused on matching prospective employees with their ideal company. In order to entice the best-possible candidates, businesses are looking for ways to make their employer brand more compelling.
Strong employer brand
In a recent survey by LinkedIn, 40.2 per cent of global recruiters said that a strong employer brand is crucial when it comes to attracting talent. For the most part, employees are no longer interested in financial gain alone. They want to build careers that are fulfilling and offer scope for personal development, in organisations that offer flexible working in a comfortable and positive environment.
Before businesses look to strengthen their employer brand, they should start by considering the culture of their organisation. The world is an increasingly transparent and open place, where any potential candidate can easily research a company, read reviews from past or current employees and deduce the company culture for themselves. The experience of working at the company has to match up to promises made about what a specific role will be like. Failing to do this could damage the employer brand and make it more difficult to attract talented people.
Candidates expect workplaces to be inviting; an environment in which they are valued as an individual and feel they are making a difference. In addition to the right pay and rewards, this is likely to involve perks such as the ability to work flexibly, as well as other corporate benefits and opportunities to train. Other cultural considerations can be very important to candidates, such as the company’s approach to corporate social responsibility and the impact it has on the world – environmentally and socially.
Smaller businesses have advantages too
Most businesses will not be able to compete with big brands such as Facebook, Apple or Google in terms of global recognition or placement in the social consciousness, but in truth they shouldn’t attempt to. Smaller businesses can have some in-built advantages, in that they can more readily individualise roles and packages to meet the needs of specific candidates and develop a career path for them.
Once a company culture is properly developed and its benefits are understood and appreciated by the workforce, its reputation as an employer will be enhanced by positive ‘glass-door’ reviews and word-of-mouth. However, communicating through a clear digital strategy and making use of all channels, including social media and a well-designed website, is key to furthering the spirit of open and honest communication.
The role of the recruiter
The role of the recruiter has seen substantial changes over recent years. Where previously recruiters may have been expected to fill roles with candidates based solely on their written qualifications and CV, they have now taken on more of a strategic role, in which candidates are matched to jobs based on their personal preferences, interests and temperaments. To attract talented people, businesses should individualise their offerings; stressing their expertise within a specific field or locality and expressing the value they can offer to the right candidate.
By ensuring that their business culture is inviting, professional and socially responsible, and communicating this clearly across all channels, organisations can appeal to a diverse, pool of talent. Making the right hires at the right time will enable them to build a stronger business proposition, with the right culture to succeed.