Battle for talent – attracting and retaining staff

writes Peter Wright, partner, Haines Watts

For owners of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the recruitment quest has never been tougher. A ‘perfect storm’ of factors – including record-low unemployment, Brexit and the shifting expectations of millennials (those aged roughly between 22 and 36) – means employers are having to work harder and smarter to attract staff.

With job-seeker levels at their lowest in many years, roles and companies need to be attractive to tempt movers. Brexit has been blamed for a 95% decline in the number of EU-born workers moving to the UK, which has impacted the flow of the market.  Candidates also increasingly want an employer who can offer progression, agile working and new technology.

Millenial effect

Millenials want to see they can make an impact and feel like they’re developing their skills. They also look for employers who mirror their values – often including social and environmental impacts.

All of this has a huge effect on SMEs, as many can’t accommodate these factors as quickly or as easily as larger organisations.

How can small and medium business owners compete? Selling your company and the job is vital. It really is key for SMEs to spell out everything that’s great about their company and what’s on offer to any potential employee.

Ensure the candidate’s initial experience of the company is professional, smooth, fast and friendly throughout – and plan ahead. Try to recruit before you need to and before it hurts your business.

Nurturing talent

Developing key employees is an essential component of any retention strategy. Offering agile working, progression, training, competitive rewards and increased benefits packages is part of this.

Aim to be a forward thinking employer. People want to see an employer showing modern ways of thinking and also offering new technologies.

It’s expected that, by 2030, we’ll have a talent shortage of 85 million globally – so it’s really important for employers to move with the changes now and ensure they don’t get left behind. That will help them continue to attract and retain the best people.

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