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5 Ways To Attract Top Talent To Your Business

If you’re running a small business which you want to see expand, are you being held back because it’s an uphill battle to find the right calibre of workers?

Well, you’re certainly not alone, and Kevin Green, chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, a professional body representing more than 3,200 recruitment firms all over the UK, said pressure was being felt equally among companies and organisations of all sizes.

One in three out of a sample of 1,000 business people questioned recently for a poll said recruitment of suitably qualified staff was a challenge for their operation, while just a quarter said it was easy for them to find staff with the skills they were looking for.

It said just under three out of 10 employers had hired new staff in the past year, and with unemployment rates in the UK at a near 30-year low, and edging down towards five per cent, “data indicates that it will become increasingly difficult for employers to find staff”.

Money Talks

As a result, pay rises are becoming a vital tool in helping firms hold on to their most valued staff, with just under half (47 per cent) saying they’d had to increase what they were paying to attract and retain the best workers.

But what if you can’t afford to keep upping your staff’s wages, but really want to hold on to the people you’ve got?

A recent Telegraph survey took views from a range of recruitment specialists and business people on their key factors in ensuring that the staff they took on wanted to stay with their firm, and would not be tempted to be constantly looking out for their next move.

You’ve Got To Have A Strategy…

From this, it came up with a list of the five key elements behind a successful hiring and retention strategy, which it listed as follows:

  1. Court your target staff and make the recruitment process as streamlined as possible – With candidates having so much choice over their likely next career move, businesses need to know where anyone looking to change jobs in their sector is likely to look. Once they know that, companies need to assure their target recruits that they won’t hang about over making a decision, so that candidates know where they stand at all stages, and can manage the process of switching from one employer to another as easily and sensitively as possible.
  1. Think laterally – By not being afraid to engage with less conventional people, you could find someone who can become really influential on the direction your business takes and bring some new ideas to the table. Citing computing pioneer Alan Turing as an example, Dr Nasser Siabi OBE, boss of assistive technology company Microlink PC, points out that sometimes, those who don’t appear to immediately fit in with your ideal of your perfect employee can bring on board the creativity and imagination – and the fearlessness to express their ideas – which might take a business to the next level.
  1. Hire someone for their personal skills rather than the number of boxes they tick on a job spec – For many candidates, proving they have experience in most aspects of the tasks and attributes listed on a ‘person specification’ for a job won’t actually show whether they will be good at doing the job. Skills can be taught, so don’t get caught up on them,” advises Ricky Martin, former BBC TV The Apprentice winner who now runs his own recruitment firm. For those looking to recruit a highly skilled set of employees that might be counter-intuitive – but the right person will be keen and happy to learn the fine skills needed to do the job, and will have learned what they need to know ‘your’ way rather than someone else’s.
  1. Don’t overlook the importance of work-life balance benefits – For example, staff might welcome chances to take a sabbatical to go travelling, or just to deal with a personal issue. More mundanely, giving them the flexibility to be able to share in bringing up children, even if it’s just picking them up from nursery a couple of times a week, or going with them on medical appointments is likely to be a big plus in the eyes of many candidates trying to fit in their family duties alongside their work.
  1. Recognise people’s strengths, and ensure that their duties give them the best possible opportunities to use them – Many creative people find administrative tasks frustratingly dull. So give them the help they need to get these out of the way as quickly as possible, so they can concentrate on being creative! Equally important can be ensuring that people have access to the technology they need to work in the ways which suit them best. Provided people know what’s expected of them, and their objectives are measured, they’ll be much happier being left to get on and do their work in the way which works best for them.

Working productively with a group of people requires ‘give and take’ on both sides. But as an employer setting out to recruit and keep together a good team, it can help you achieve your business’s objectives if you keep an open mind about every candidate you meet, and don’t simply focus on what you’re offering them in terms of the work you want them to do. So leave your preconceptions and prejudices at the interview room door – and see where your instinct leads you.
Do you have any individual ways in which you evaluate the suitability of would-be employees? Let us know via Facebook or Twitter.

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