This week, we welcomed Hannah Maxwell, HR Consultant, to the PSHR team and it got us thinking thinking; what is it that potential candidates look for when they are hunting for their next role? Whilst there has been a rise in live vacancies across the UK, there does appear to be a shortage of candidates for these roles, so what can employers do in order to attract quality candidates?
What are potential candidates looking for in a role?
Since Covid-19 struck and forced companies into thinking differently about working practices, candidate priorities have changed. According to a LinkedIn report the fastest growing priorities for candidates are flexible working arrangements, an inclusive workplace and work life balance. These are in addition to company culture, interesting work, competitive salary and benefits.
Flexible working and work life balance
As an employer, if you offer flexible or hybrid working, would this automatically mean that your employees achieve a good work life balance? In short, the answer is no. Candidates will want to know what the working landscape looks like but also want to understand that when they are not at work, they are able to switch off without any stress or worry. According to the Mental Health Foundation, a good work life balance means:
- Meeting your deadlines at work while still having time for friends and hobbies
- Having enough time to sleep properly and eat well
- Not worrying about work when you’re at home
As an employer there are many strategies that can be put in to place to monitor work life balance and ensure that employees feel supported. These would include:
- Encouraging a culture of openness, so that your employees feel able to raise issues with their managers, that they will be listened to, and conversations are followed up
- Manager training – are they able to spot signs of stress and understand how to help individuals?
- Having a hybrid working offer in place, with clear details of what is expected and when
- Making sure breaks are happening and that annual leave is used
- Reviewing workload with employees and offering support when this is too much
- Subsidising exercise – encouraging fitness, yoga or meditation classes
- Asking employees of their views on work life balance and implementing ideas as and when possible
- Doing social activities together as a team
The professional association CIPD, are lobbying for flexible working requests to be available to employees from day one. The recognised benefits of flexible working are:
- Enhanced job satisfaction
- Better health
- Decreased chance of burnout
- Improved work life balance
- Adaptability and openness
- Greater access to the jobs market
- Diversity and collaboration
- Increased motivation and productivity
Once an employer can identify what the flexible working and work life balance offers are, it becomes easier to communicate this to potential candidates.
Along with a ‘competitive salary’ (and if it is as competitive as a company thinks, then please detail the salary in the job advert!) candidates are looking for a range of company benefits. As an HR consultancy, PSHR is tasked with looking at what can be offered in addition to pay.
Of course, employers must give annual leave, but what does your company do? Do you offer the basic 20 days plus bank holidays or are you offering more? It is more common to give employees between 25 and 30 days annual leave plus the bank holidays – PSHR work with some employers who offer unlimited annual leave to their senior level employees. Another option is to allow employees to buy annual leave or offer sabbaticals where a longer break may be available to an employee to allow them to travel or volunteer and return to their role after this time.
Although pension contributions are a mandatory benefit, some companies offer enhancements and the option to have any bonus payments added to the employee’s pension as this can be more tax efficient.
In order to support employee health, private medical insurance is a benefit offered more and more by employers. These now come with various options including mental health support and EAP’s (employee assistance programmes) which enable employees to talk to specialists in times of mental stress.
What other benefits can be used as part of an employer’s offer? It is important to think of your audience (your employees!) and what is important to them – get their input. At PSHR we have come across a wide variety which include:
- Hybrid working
- Gym membership
- Company car/travel assistance
- Discounts at shopping outlets
- Enhanced maternity/paternity and adoption pay
- A day off to move house
- A day off for your birthday
- A day off per 6 months to volunteer for a charity
- A loyalty or long service bonus
- Subsidised meals
- A training and development programme/career planning
- Regular social activities
- Team days
- Christmas parties
- Employee of the month awards
- Pets allowed in the workplace
Identifying your company culture and having the tools to explain this to a prospective candidate can be really difficult. At PSHR we work with businesses to help them identify their vision and culture which can then be embedded into working practices and processes to ensure that it translates throughout the business. By having a great company culture, you will increase employee engagement, happiness and staff retention, which is very important if you have spent lots of time, effort and money on attracting the right employees. The key is to become an employer of choice!
Our next blog will look at how employers can retain the candidates they employ by having an effective onboarding process, a meaningful probationary period and a comprehensive induction as well as ongoing training and development.