Attracting top talent

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Written by Claire Harvey on 29 September 2021 in Features
Features

As we move into the post-pandemic world Claire Harvey offers advice on how to entice the very best people

There have been a lot of changes in the past 18 months, especially in the job market. People were either forced to work from home, lost their jobs, had new guidelines if going into the workplace, or were put on furlough.

In fact, as of August 2021, a cumulative total of approximately 11.6 million jobs, from 1.3 million different employers were furloughed in the United Kingdom as part of the government's job retention scheme.

This meant many people were forced to think about future job prospects. Job hunters are now moving between different industries, have new requirements they want their employers to meet, or maybe have new personal goals they want to reach. 

Industries worldwide were also forced to look at how their business strategies worked alongside this ‘new normal’, changing team logistics and impacting employees across the board. More and more businesses are adopting a remote working model and many workers have not only become accustomed to such change but also prefer it.

Think about the environment you want your teams to work in; does it create energy with camaraderie that you wouldn’t replicate at home?

With the job market being hit drastically by the pandemic, attracting top candidates when recruiting has definitely changed. So what should businesses be doing now to attract the best talent for their team?

Stop hiding salary

We have entered a candidate-driven market where job seekers, dependant on their industry, have more power to call the shots. There is a lot to consider; some job seekers are looking for something new and more fulfilling, but for many, they are looking for job security after being made redundant or being on furlough throughout the pandemic.

With this in mind, employers need to be as upfront as possible about the salary on offer. People are more naturally cautious about applying for jobs that don’t advertise a salary. On average, a vacancy with a fixed salary receives 90% more applications than one with a hidden or negotiable salary, so by leaving it out you’re not only making your job advert less competitive – you could also risk turning away the perfect candidate.

Salary also remains the most common reason for people to be looking for a job right now – our research shows almost four in 10 (39%) of people agree. And, when asking what employers can do to make workers more likely to stay, over half (53%) said a salary increase, followed by 31% who said more flexible hours.

Out of office perks

Pre-pandemic, complimentary tea and coffee, snacks and a collective drink on a Friday afternoon were a popular and common feature in many offices. But what now, in a post-pandemic world? The elements of sharing and togetherness that were once easily achieved by food and drink-related perks will not likely have the same effect anymore with more people now working remotely. 

‘Soft perks’ are those that employers can offer staff to complement their compensation and benefits packages. Offering these are natural happiness boosters in the day-to-day life of workers, the power of which shouldn’t be underestimated. Think about the environment you want your teams to work in; does it create energy with camaraderie that you wouldn’t replicate at home?

Think about how you can create teamwork while working at home, such as having coffee mornings or drinks after work, virtually. Encourage teams to collaborate and celebrate success in the way they would have done had they been in the office.

Prizes and monetary incentives can also be useful. Prizes can be small and are not intended to detract or be in place of bonus schemes. These can be incentives within career development frameworks, monetary rewards in the form of gift vouchers for small, localised targets, or team incentives if an individual or team reaches a collective goal. 

While the money or equivalent is appreciated, it is often the fun and light-hearted competition that drives people to engage with these perks. They can also be a relatively affordable morale boost that can be implemented regularly. 

Companies can also offer similar perks which were once appreciated pre-pandemic, including finishing early on Fridays and signing the team up to subscription boxes, in replacement of what was once offered in the office. Offering an element of a dynamic working pattern is one of the most attractive benefits now. The ability to do a school run or gym class and make those hours up later or earlier in the day are extremely popular. 

The ‘F’ word

For businesses to stand out as an employer of choice in a candidate-driven market, perks need to factor in flexible working.
While flexible, hybrid and remote working have traditionally been seen as high-ticket perks, businesses should now expect to offer them as a core part of their offering – especially if they’re looking to hire.

Jobseekers that use work from home filter (to search for jobs that offer remote working options exclusively) are more than twice as likely (114%) to apply for a job. 

Companies need to present real value to stand out and not lean on hybrid or flexible working as a perk of the job. Employers have, and can continue to benefit significantly from, the sense of responsibility and confidence they instil in their employees by supporting a ‘new normal’ at work – and offering attractive perks along the way.

Claire Harvey, managing director of Core Network at Reed

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