34% of Australian employers say they can’t find the talent they need, 43% of medium sized employers (50 – 250 employees) say they have trouble filling vacancies while 32% of small employers report the same. Every industry is impacted, from manufacturing to mining, transport to trade, employers can’t find the people they need with the right blend of technical skills and human strengths. Keeping pace in the changing environment demands faster, more targeted talent management than ever before.
The leading cause of being unable to fill positions, according to a recent survey of Australian businesses, is a lack of applicants. The secret to attracting high-quality applicants is differentiating yourself from the competition, and showing top talent how joining your company will be a great career move, so how can you impress the cr*p out of potential employees?
Put your people first
When you truly care for your employees, they’ll care for one another, your customers and the community. Go beyond amazing benefits. Foster a workplace that thrives on trust and respect for everyone — and protect that culture every day. Word will get out. Your people will talk, and they’ll refer like-minded, talented people who believe in your culture and your mission.
When it comes to attraction & retention culture is king
Identify what sets you apart from the competition and shout it from the rooftops
This is not a piece of marketing spin; this is your elevator pitch to potential employees. What are you going to do for me that I can’t get from every generic employer in the industry? Just as an organisation has a brand for the external market, there needs to be an employer brand that can effectively communicate the employee experience, this is your value proposition when you can define your purpose, values & point of difference for candidates they will be motivated to apply. Employers unable, or, unwilling to do this will need to be prepared to pay a premium with benefits, wages or other perks. An environment of skills shortage can drive up wages and turnover, employers need to understand that candidates are consumers too; in order to attract and engage the best and brightest, they need to offer something tangible and appealing.
Know your target market
Recruitment is a sales pitch for your organisation, just as with taking your product to market, you need to do some market research. Have a good grasp of skills your candidate needs (and what are the compromises eg: are you willing to take on someone with less work experience but a tonne of potential?), the age demographic you are likely, or seeking to attract and where to find them. Let’s say you are looking for a tradesperson with a few years of time up their sleeve, 90% of your candidates are going to be early 20’s – mid 30’s. Don’t waste time advertising in the paper, this isn’t where this generation seeks out information. Advertise on seek, your website & Facebook, if you aren’t online then GET ONLINE! Facebook has been around for over 10 years, the internet has been a mainstay in Australian households since the early 2000’s, not being computer savvy enough is no longer an excuse. Advertise your workplace culture and ensure any advertising & web content echo’s your candidates skills, needs and attitudes as it relates to your employer brand.
Understand the candidate experience
You can have nice shiny offices, the newest technology, expertly written job ad’s and pay in the 75th percentile for your industry but if you treat candidates & employees poorly all the work you are putting in will be in vain. I’ve written about the ways in which employers turn candidates off here and here. Your organisation’s reputation permeates candidate decisions. The candidate experience is a continuum that begins prior to the candidate contemplating a role with your organisation (brand awareness) and extends well beyond the time they may leave. Understand your organisations turnover and put strategies in place to counteract the negatives.
If they don’t exist, create them
You don’t always have to bring in new, skilled staff. Instead, you could focus on nurturing your current employees with training and possibly even offering subsidised higher education or apprenticeship opportunities.
The obvious advantage is that you’ll already know the staff member, their work ethic, commitment and skills, but offering progression will also work wonders for your employer brand. Employees want to know they’ve got somewhere to go and potential employees want to see that you are an organisation that invests in top talent.
Don’t make promises you can’t deliver on. Be honest about the realities of the role, it’s critical the candidate knows exactly what he or she is walking into and can make a smart decision about the future. The only way to know if it is a fit is for both parties to have open eyes and clarity.