Written by Claire Sofield, Co-Owner & Managing Director
Earlier this year, as part of our sponsorship of the Insider’s SME300 list I had the pleasure of hosting a roundtable event at Four HQ. This particular roundtable event provided an opportunity for the region’s SME’s to discuss how they have overcome recruitment challenges and what their strategies are for developing company culture.
One key takeaway from the discussion was that despite officially being in a recession, job numbers are still high and at Four we’ve had a super busy start to the year with a large number of new vacancies being worked on. This indicates that many companies are still hiring and looking to expand their workforce. It’s important to note that different industries and regions may be affected differently by the current economic situation, but overall the outlook is positive and there is still a level of optimism and growth in the job market.
Another important topic discussed was the inflation pay increases vs the cost of living crisis. This is a topic that is top of mind for many employees and employers alike. With the cost of living continuing to rise, it’s important for businesses to consider offering pay increases that keep up with inflation to attract and retain the best talent. However, it’s also important to keep in mind that many companies may be facing financial constraints due to the current economic situation. A balance needs to be struck between providing fair compensation for employees while also ensuring the financial stability of the company. A good compromise to this situation could be offering one off ‘cost of living’ payments to support the team, which is something we’ve opted for at Four.
Following on from this, benefits that reflect the needs and wants of your team is crucial for attracting and retaining talent. It’s important for employers to understand that different employees have different needs and priorities, whether it’s wellbeing services, retirement savings, or flexible work arrangements. Employers who are able to offer a comprehensive and customisable benefits package that addresses the diverse needs of their workforce will be more attractive in today’s competitive market.
We discussed how ‘internal mobility’ is a crucial aspect of talent management. Maximising your existing workforce potential is 9 times more effective than direct external sourcing. It’s important for employers to create opportunities for employees to grow within the company, whether it’s through promotions, transfers, or cross-functional training. Managers should not hoard talent, instead they should actively seek out and develop their team members’ potential. By fostering a culture of internal mobility, companies can increase employee engagement, motivation and retention.
We also talked about how an outdated employer brand can be a significant obstacle for companies looking to attract talent, particularly from Generation X and Z. Talent teams need to be strategic with their marketing to attract the right people for their business. A cohesive brand across all channels is key, as it helps to build trust and credibility with potential candidates. It’s important for companies to regularly review and update their employer brand to ensure it aligns with current market trends and appeals to the demographic of talent they are targeting.
An interesting figure that came out of the discussion was in 2023, 75% of talent is passive talent and they aren’t actively looking for a new role. This means that a strategic approach to recruiting talent is crucial for the success of any company. This includes planning and marketing, developing existing employees, retaining top performers, and internal mobility. It’s important to get full buy-in from the board and senior management for these initiatives in order to ensure the necessary resources and support are available to implement them. By taking a strategic approach to talent management, companies can improve their business offering and increase the chances of attracting, developing and retaining the very best talent in their industry.
Overall, it was a very valuable discussion, and has given everyone involved lot’s to think about and implement within our companies. Including myself. Thank you to all the participants for sharing their insights and experiences. You can read the full coverage of this roundtable in the February issue of Insider.