Written by Lynne Poole, head of people, Bailie Group, shares her thoughts on how employers can best attract the talent they need

As the employment market continues to evolve following a tumultuous period, businesses are experiencing increased difficulty when it comes to attracting and retaining talent in a competitive market. As a result, understanding exactly what new recruits want to see from an employer has become ever more vital.

While commutability used to rank highly on a jobseekers’ tick list, with remote and hybrid working styles becoming increasingly entrenched within organisations large and small — this once vital component of employment has taken a back seat. Now, companies can widen their talent pools and secure the skills and expertise of employees from further afield.

But amid fierce competition for talent — at a time where salaries continue to reach new heights — businesses must shift their focus, concentrating not only on what a new hire can offer the company but on laying out a proposition that provides holistic benefits for new employees, too. And this starts with providing a platform where colleague views are listened to.

Through garnering regular feedback, businesses can not only ensure they are creating an environment that people want to be a part of, but they can build a true picture of how employees — on a company-wide scale — see and experience the organisation.

Building up a genuine recollection of how it feels to be employed by a business at every level, enables organisations to communicate their proposition authentically — attracting recruits who know precisely what they are signing up for. These candidates are more likely to come armed not only with the relevant skills, but with commitment, passion, and longevity too.

While salary will, no doubt, remain a key driver for those seeking new employment opportunities — especially during the cost-of-living crisis — it is no longer the sole deciding factor. Sentiment among the jobseeker market has shifted dramatically. Work is no longer an activity that should simply ‘fit in’ to a person’s lifestyle. Increasingly, candidates expect a role that it will enhance it. As a result, benefits packages that stretch further than the standard salary and pension are no longer just wise, but essential.

However, curating a selection of benefits that remains stagnant and underutilised is not the answer. It is only by asking what team members genuinely want and taking steps to implement an offering that reflects these desires, that companies will create a proposition that sets it apart from its competition.

Flexibility is now a notable desire for many jobseekers, who have become accustomed to a different style of working throughout the pandemic. Employees now expect choice — whether that is in relation to working hours, location, or to more specific elements of their role. This increased autonomy plays an important part in aiding wellbeing, another topic that has risen in prominence during the past couple of years. People now strive for a different kind of work/life balance — an arrangement where life is firmly at the forefront.

Putting in place policies that encourage choice and enable team members to tailor their working lives — where feasible — to deliver the balance that this generation of workers craves, is vital. Whether that is offering an option to purchase additional annual leave, to enjoy discounted gym memberships and cycle to work schemes, or to subsidise access to health and dental care — people want to experience the full scope of a workplace’s offering.

Today, people want to work for a company that aligns with their values. One that makes the right choices — whether regarding its employees, its stance around sustainability, or in its charitable endeavours. While salary will always be important, so too is taking an approach which is both receptive and responsive to the feedback of a company’s entire team. Likewise, leading with authenticity is a value that will stand the test of time — in 2023 and beyond.


Lisa Baker

Author Lisa Baker

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