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How to attract staff in a worker shortage.

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Published on 06 July 2021

When the pandemic hit and workers suffered a wave of redundancies, it was assumed that many would struggle to find work again after lockdown, with so few jobs but so many job seekers. Little did we know, it would be just the opposite.

The combination of EU workers returning home as a result of Brexit, surges in demand after lifted restrictions, a change in attitude regarding workplace values and workers choosing to switch industries, has created the perfect storm for a labour shortage.

So, with demand for workers rising at its fastest rate for more than 23 years, but the number of staff available to fill those jobs declining at the quickest rate since 2017, how do you attract and retain staff in a worker shortage?

With salary being a huge factor that influences job decisions, company culture and benefits come in close second. Besides an income, what else is in it for your employees?

Team lunches and days out, birthdays off, bonuses, wellbeing support, long service rewards, health insurance, awards, childcare allowance. They don’t always have to have to be monetary, but they should show people that you consider their needs and appreciate them for working for you.

Not only is a strong company culture appealing to new employees, but it also provides a sense of group morale and pride, which will help retain existing ones.

The UK has seen a vast skills shortage for some time, particularly in sectors such as driving, construction, tech and engineering. One way to tackle these shortages is to offer workplace training and development, thus building skills as opposed to buying them. By doing so, you craft a motivated and loyal workforce that’s invaluable to your business.

The pandemic has taught us that many employees can work comfortably and effectively from home. And with attitudes shifting to favour less commuting times and more time with family, it may be worth your business keeping a flexible work practice.

While a fully-remote workforce wouldn’t be ideal for most businesses, offering at least one day of home working or introducing flexible working times can help create a better work-life balance for your staff.

Offering flexible working can attract employees who live further afield, who otherwise wouldn’t apply to your role due to the length of commute. Flexible patterns can also attract parents or work groups who would not normally be available.

You have a few quality candidates in the running, but you don’t want to rush your decision in case you make the wrong choice, so you give yourself more time to think and arrange further interviews if necessary. You’ve finally come to your decision, but by now, all of your candidates have already been snapped up. Sound familiar?

In such a candidate-led market, there really is no time to waste. Your ideal employees are probably being approached by many other employers, so if you don’t move the process along quickly enough, they’re like to receive other offers.

Another make or break for candidates when considering a role is whether or not it leads to anything more. COVID-19 resulted in wavering restrictions and lockdowns, and redundancies rocketed, so workers are seeking job security more than ever before. By knowing they can maneuver or climb the ladder within your organisation, candidates will feel that there’s less risk in the role.

It’s not the most favoured option, but it’s the most obvious one.
Have you looked into what your competitors are offering their candidates? If you’re offering less than what they are, you must ask yourself why candidates would choose you.

There’s no doubt that most businesses have suffered greatly since the start of the pandemic, and increasing costs even more will be difficult for some. But when you take into account the cost of a bad hire, it’s worth spending that little bit extra to ensure you can attract quality candidates that add value to your business.

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How to attract staff in a worker shortage.