Strategies for attracting talent during a worker shortage

Smiling young businesswoman shaking hands with a coworker during a meeting with colleagues around a table in an office boardroom

It’s no secret that the UK is facing a talent crisis. Official vacancies remain at a high due to a complex number of factors including an increased number of retirees and younger people in education, fewer EU workers and a shift in employee needs. Recent reports now state that 55% of companies are facing skills shortages in the UK. And the battle to attract those who can fill a role is ruthless.

Qualifying workers now have more options, giving them the upper hand when it comes to salary expectations and other compensation. But if you can’t afford to pay your workers more, how else can you stand out from not only your competitors, but a pool of recruiting industries?

Talent requisition is a costly process, so it’s worth putting strategies in place to ensure applicants choose your roles over other offers when they reach the final round. Here we share a few proven ways to attract more talent – and keep your current employees happy in the meantime.

Ask employees what they want

Chances are that the employees you already have are the type of workers you want to recruit. Before heading off to think about what would make your company more attractive to jobseekers, consider the needs of your current workforce. Discovering what perks, technologies, processes and other improvements your employees want will give you a valuable insight into how you can attract more talent as well as helping you to retain those you already have.

Running an employee satisfaction survey is an excellent starting point that can be further investigated with focus groups and individualised feedback. Implemented a suggestion? Shout about it on your social media and show those in the job market that your company truly listens to its people.

Improve your employee benefits

Only 20% of employees are happy with their company’s current benefits package. That means many companies waste investment and the opportunity to improve employee satisfaction through undesirable and unused perks.

Your employee benefits play a vital role in both attracting and retaining talent. When it comes to deciding between different job offers, it’s often this area where one company will stand out. Therefore providing benefits that appeal to your target talent is one of the best strategies you can have.

Where many companies get it wrong is by providing superficial perks that are nice to have but play no real benefit. These include the likes of after work drinks, free breakfasts and office ping pong. What will really give you the edge are benefits that support an employee’s daily life, concerns and financial situation, particularly with the rising cost of living. They should also be inclusive of a diverse range of individuals, which will in turn attract a more diverse pool of talent. Examples include fertility benefits that provide financial and emotional support for those going through IVF, adoption and surrogacy, benefits that address women’s health such as menopause leave, and on-demand assistance programes such as companiions who provide employees with a simple, trusted way to arrange in-person support from checking in on elderly parents to childcare.

Implementing a thoughtful and considered employee benefits programme will make you stand out from the crowd and send a prominent message about your company culture. So make sure to highlight them on your website and job adverts.

Demonstrate your social responsibility

The public are becoming increasingly aware and involved in an array of pressing world issues from climate change to gender equality. And as a consequence, an organisation’s corporate social responsibility is often a key decision factor in whether or not they want to work there.

Proving that your company not only cares about important causes but takes action and stands by your beliefs is a positive way to attract customers, investors and in this case, top talent. It’s important to stick with issues that relate to your business – and be careful not to preach about all the good work you do. But naturally including your initiatives on your website, job pages, social media and brand messaging will catch the eye of those who share your company’s values.

This could be as simple as providing equal parental leave for mothers, fathers, same-sex couple and adoptive parents. It could also include efforts to reduce your carbon footprint or to diversify your workforce with a hiring process that supports refugees, students and carers.

Embrace flexibility

The demand for remote or hybrid working is at a record high, so much so that it’s now considered an expectation rather than a perk in many industries. Almost half of employees would consider leaving their job if flexibility wasn’t provided, a proportion that increases to 60% in 25-34 year olds.

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But allowing your employees to work from home is just the start of becoming a flexible workplace. Flexibility also includes initiatives such as unset hours (releasing employees from the structured 9-5), unlimited annual leave, job sharing and condensed work weeks such as the current 4-day work week trial in the UK, which has reported maintained or improved productivity for many of the firms taking place.

Demonstrating your flexible working practices shows you to be a trusting and empathetic organisation and will attract a wider group of jobseekers who can’t commit to traditional hours. This includes parents who juggle the cost of childcare with a full time role, those with health conditions or people who care for their relatives.

Attracting talent in the face of a worker shortage is a multifaceted issue but by highlighting your company’s culture, social responsibility and investment in its people, you can increase your chances of growing your workforce.

Find out more about how to attract a more diverse pool of talent, reduce absenteeism and support your current employees with companiions.


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