Why is my business failing to attract top talent?

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Your business is only as good as the people it employs, which is why it’s essential to have the best possible team behind you. But try as you might, it may seem like a futile pursuit if high-quality candidates don’t seem to be interested in working for you.

Rather than settling for mediocre employees at the expense of your enterprise, it may be time to examine why you’re being sent so many subpar CVs. Read on to see where you might be going wrong during the hiring process, and how you can turn things around to attract talent to your business.

1.    Inflexible work environment

Flexible working means allowing staff the freedom to decide when and where to do their job, whether that means choosing their own hours or working away from the office. A recent YouGov survey commissioned by McDonald’s revealed that 70% of people want to work more flexibly in the future, which is unsurprising given that 90% believe that flexible schedules boost morale. Conveniently, remote working has many business benefits, including increased productivity and reduced office costs. Furthermore, as a quarter of workers have turned down jobs that didn’t offer flexible working, your business could be deterring top talent if this isn’t offered—and advertised—as an employee benefit.

2.    Bad advertising

If your business is struggling to attract high-quality applicants, perhaps you’re looking in the wrong places. Rather than placing listings on crowded recruitment websites, think about who your ideal candidate is and where they would be most likely to look for jobs. For instance, if you want to fill an entry-level role, you could advertise on websites, blogs, and forums aimed at recent graduates.

You may also have more luck if you turn to social media for headhunting. As well as using LinkedIn, which is home to over 500 million users, conducting searches on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram could unveil the most suitable talent. Speaking to the Telegraph, a Twitter spokesman shared that #job had been one the most popular hashtags in the UK during 2018. Seek out potential employees on these platforms by searching for terms associated with the role you want to fill and make sure you post your roles on here too, marking them with the same hashtags.

3.    Lack of employee involvement

Involving your current employees in the recruitment process is a great way to attract talent to your business. You could ask staff to reach out to any impressive contacts they’ve made through work, and encourage them to direct any potential candidates to those in charge of your company’s hiring strategy. It might even be worth introducing a referral reward programme—a financial incentive or extra holiday, for example, will motivate them to look for promising new team members. This strategy could also help you find a talented new team member much quicker. It’s estimated that employees hired through a referral scheme start 55% quicker than those found on career websites. 

4.    Few development opportunities

Before anyone accepts a job with your business, they’ll want assurance that you’re committed to investing in their career progression. Over 55% will leave a job within the first year if they don’t receive adequate training, and a huge 80% would walk away from a role with no development opportunities. Therefore, in order to attract top talent, you must show prospective applicants that they will be able to learn and grow. Invest in the right resources and experiences so you can demonstrate what a candidate’s future could look like, and how you’ll help them get there. This isn’t easy for new businesses, as it takes time and careful planning to create an organisation with a clear career path. However, it’s vital to make this happen if you want to work with the best employees.

5.    Unappealing work perks

Perks have become a key part of the modern work landscape and are important to almost 85% of UK professionals. However, though you may believe your business offers enticing employee benefits, they may not be enough to impress the candidates you’re hoping to attract. Gimmicks like free snacks, mandatory fun, and dog-friendly offices are unlikely to align with what they really want. Make sure you supplement these with some of the most popular job perks like private healthcare, enhanced pension contributions, assistance with childcare costs, and additional holiday days. Approximately 75% of employees are more likely to stay in a job because of their benefits package, so offering quality perks is a great way to attract and retain top talent.

6.    Vague purpose and values

Your business’s branding is incredibly important as candidates will want to know a company’s purpose before they consider working for it. A study by PwC revealed that a quarter of employees hope to work for an organisation that shares their values, while just under a quarter claim “doing a job that makes a difference” is the most important thing in their career. To really attract top talent to your business, you need to sell it. Outline your business mission and how it benefits the wider world to demonstrate what makes it unique, and ensure it stands out from competitors.

Claire James
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