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The value of giving to gain...

Written by: Kate Wilson is development manager at Osborne Thomas
Published on: 28 Jul 2022

What does any organisation have to do to attract and retain today’s most talented candidates? We believe following some set guidelines allows for the building of more meaningful relationships with quality candidates and leads to better outcomes with potentially less toing and froing at the latter stages of any process.

 If you are like many local authorities across the country, the area of reward and benefits is becoming trickier; there is potentially a perception that you can only offer so much. While we understand some of the restrictions you may be under, we thought we would explore these elements – and others - that may be helpful towards achieving a successful outcome.

Earn trust. Trust is at the centre of our own consumer experiences with any brand, it is also at the heart of the employment experience a candidate/employee has with an organisation. Searching for and embarking upon a new job is effectively a series of transactions and one could argue one of the most important transactions in a lifetime; a talented candidate will want to engage with your organisation and your people, evaluating whether there is a natural fit. Often these elements can be overlooked and employers can be poor at sharing key information about themselves, and what it is really like to work there. This approach of sharing provides an open door of learning and understanding for candidates enabling them to equally open up and share appropriate and meaningful detail.

Inspire. We are living in a world where competitive advantage lies with our people; thriving and progressive organisations not only link their employees’ skills and experience to their corporate strategies and vision they also link them to their employees’ hopes and aspirations.

Make it easy. The best talent in the market doesn’t have time – and will not respect – elongated, poorly designed recruitment processes.

Give some ownership. An employment process is a personal experience, and for that reason candidates do like to have some control of it. With potential candidates having more choices now than ever before being able to provide them with key detail about the entire end-to-end process at the early stages – be it interview dates, methods of assessment etc – this leaves candidates feeling empowered by it rather than overpowered.

Guide. A change of employment can occasionally come with elements of indecision and uncertainty. Like any good tour guide, a clear recruitment process (journey) should steer candidates through the key elements; be it educating, interpreting, sharing, providing feedback, and so on.

Anywhere, anyway, any time. You may want to review and enhance your career website/pages and other recruitment shop windows such as your social feeds; the best talent is more than likely currently employed, so make it quick and easy for them to engage with these tools when, where and how they want to do it. The same principle applies to how we make ourselves available to candidates; we need to be able to respond quickly and appropriately to their requests, be it a phone or virtual call, opportunity to meet, the provision of reassurance, etc.

Reward. Back to the trickier topic. We know that organisations delivering innovative work/life balance earn more loyalty from their employees. Rewards come in many shapes and sizes and it is important to consider both the intrinsic and extrinsic.

Intrinsic might be a thank you or recognition within their peer group or from their manager for exceptional work. Elements on the extrinsic list include hybrid working, compressed hours, time out for family and wellbeing, the option to purchase more holiday or take working holidays, the opportunity to take volunteering days, etc. And then of course there are the enhanced financial benefits – contributory pension, health and dental insurance, travel allowances, provision of leisure/gym membership, local shopping discounts/vouchers, bicycle salary sacrifice scheme, free car parking, subsidised café/canteen, again, the list goes on.

The range of benefits now being offered has never been as wide – and important – to candidates and employees. It might be time to look realistically at what reward and benefits you might be able to enhance and/or add to.

Stay. Long-term relationships need nurturing. From a candidate perspective this means maintaining regularised contact throughout the entire process including a comprehensive onboarding process. From an employee perspective this is about following through on the promises made, building upon and fulfilling their wants, needs and desires – and sticking with them for the long-term.

In summary, through giving candidates more – in whatever context is possible – we can move from what is sometimes a mild interest to full on action, from trust to confidence, from expectation to excitement, from a candidate to a successful employee. 

Kate Wilson is development manager at Osborne Thomas