war for talent

Vital Statistics …. for your business

18 Jun
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Blog, jobs, Recruitment, salary, war for talent, Workplace   |  No Comments

Last week there were some interesting stats announced by the ONS (Office for National Statistics):

  • The number of people in work increased
  • The number of unemployed people decreased
  • The number of people aged from 16 to 64 years not working and not seeking or available to work (economically inactive) also decreased
  • The employment rate was 75.6%, higher than for a year earlier (74.8%) and the joint highest since comparable records began in 1971

So what?

Well, it means that it is getting even harder to recruit and retain good quality staff.

What else?

  • Latest estimates show that average weekly earnings in real terms (adjusted for price inflation) increased by 0.4% excluding bonuses, and by 0.1% including bonuses, compared with a year earlier.

Meaning?

The shortage of job seekers is pushing up salaries, albeit not by very much – yet!

So?

You need to ensure that you recruit and retain the right staff. Can you answer “yes” to these questions:

  1. Do you know what you are looking for?
  2. Do you know where to look?
  3. Do you know how to find the right type of people for your business?
  4. Are you attractive enough to encourage applications from the right sort of people?
  5. Can you sort the wheat from the chaff?
  6. Can you make a competitive and compelling offer?

Being able to answer “yes” to the above is essential if you are going to build and maintain a healthy, thriving business against a backdrop of increasing competition for a decreasing number of good quality, qualified, experienced individuals.

Recruiting Blind

18 Jan
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Blog, Discrimination, HR Policy, HR Support, Human Resources, Policies and Procedures, Race Discrimination, Recruitment, war for talent   |  3 Comments

Would you? Could you?
Over 100 UK businesses have pledged to recruit blind as a way of increasing social mobility and reducing the risk of discrimination candidates with submit their applications on standard company from without a name or school.

As an HR professional, I’m not sure how I feel about this.

15 years ago I developed application forms with tear off flaps for equal opportunity monitoring. The forms were all numbered sequentially and the applicant tracked through the system by number so we monitored age, gender and ethnicity. It actually made no difference to our employee demographics. It did however take time and resources to manage and continually monitor the applicants through recruitment, selection and promotion within the company. Even at the time, removing date of birth from the application form seemed odd – you just needed to look at when someone was at school or entered the workplace to be able to estimate their age.

So now we are removing name and school as well. Will it really make a difference? Will this prevent ‘the old boys network’ from blocking social mobility?

Companies signing up to the Compact have also agreed to use schools and other public forums to advertise work experience / intern opportunities rather than offering the places to informal contacts.

Thinking about your business, would you prefer to advertise for a junior in your local schools or take the son / daughter of an existing employee or a friend?

Is this the end of the saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”?

Flexible working

15 May
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in businesses, Flexible working, HR, war for talent, work life balance   |  No Comments

Today’s news headlines are that 4.5m additional parents will be given the right to ask their employers for flexible working arrangements.

I can hear the groans and the cheers now. Employers will have a mixed reaction, for some the right to request is an administrative nightmare, they don’t have the resources or the knowledge to handle the requests. For others it is welcomed with open arms as it means flexibility in their work force, retention of sills and an increased ability to provide quality service to customers – as with everything, if it is implemented properly.

For parents, well as one myself, flexibility is absolutely essential to ensuring our sanity as we work not only for our employer and our family, but to achieve a balance between the two. I was fortunate, I had good childcare for both the kids from a young age. The problems actually came once my eldest started school. The school day is shorter than a day at full time nursery. Parents are asked to help with outings, fairs and attend meetings and this changes the dynamics significantly. Giving parents of older children the right to request flexible working is ‘the right thing to do’.

But what does this mean in reality?
Well, just because an employee has the right to request flexible working arrangements, doesn’t mean they are going to be able to work flexibly. The business still has the ability to say “no”. There are several reasons why a business may say no and they include the burden of additional costs, inability to recruit to meet the needs of the business and a detrimental impact on performance or quality.

So, what could flexible working ‘look like’?
A flexible working arrangement is a permanent change to an employee’s contract and might involve any of the following:

  • reducing working hours – i.e. work part time
  • a change of work location – i.e. work from home or a company office nearer to home
  • changing working patterns – i.e. start an hour earlier and finish an hour earlier, 9 day fortnights, annualised hours ………
  • job share – 2 people share a full time position

Is it good for business? Yes, as long as the business manages it properly.

Is it good for customers? Yes, because it can be used to improve quality of service.

Is it good for families? Yes, because it enables parents to balance the needs of the family with their desire and need to work.

Could more be done to ensure that this is implemented in a way which supports businesses and their employees?

Yes, while parents and carers have the right to ask to work flexibly, other employees do not. This is detrimental to those without child and elder responsibilities. Flexible working should be a matter of course, available to everyone and one day it will be, but businesses need to make a psychological shift to see the benefits and be bold enough to make the move. Those that do, will win the war for talent.

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