As we start to see greater numbers of people returning to their workplace, after months of working from home or other satellite locations, employers tell us that their next biggest challenge is to ensure they not only come back but stay.

In this blog we look at the importance of a having an employee retention strategy in place, in a post-Covid world.

In previous blogs, we talked about the high cost of staff turnover and how to create a workplace culture that re-built confidence in an organisation in the aftermath of the Covid-19 lockdown.

However, as lockdown eases, and staff have had time to re-assess their current employment, it’s now even more crucial that employers introduce staff retention techniques to hold on to the organisation’s best talent.

As we’ve said before, recruiting the right staff to start with is one of the key factors in retaining staff. Recruitment should always be based on attracting candidates that are committed to the beliefs and long term aspirations of the recruiter. This is particularly relevant in these uncertain times.

From effective recruitment to competitive remuneration, there are a number of techniques aimed at encouraging your staff to remain with you. Let’s have a look at probably the most important tip first.

Hire the right person

We know you would expect us to say this, but it’s true. You can introduce as many retention schemes as you want but if the employee does not fully value the long term opportunities with the organisation, then the chances of them leaving will be much higher.

What sort of techniques will help you stem any flow of staff leakages?   

The first part of developing a staff retention strategy is to ask yourself why people leave their jobs in the first place. Offering a competitive salary package is clearly going to be a key factor in initially attracting the right people but also goes a long way in ensuring they stay.

But it’s not the only incentive that will retain your talent. In fact, a high salary with little or no benefits can sometimes have completely the opposite effect. Today, the primary staff retainer is work-life balance, as workplace stress becomes an even bigger issue since the start of the Covid pandemic.

Working from home or away from the office has highlighted this even more. The demands of juggling home life with a busy work schedule but without the ‘always active’ support in the background, has led to increased anxiety and unease.

Agile working

One concept that is currently being promoted as a stress leveller is agile working, but is it more than just a combination of working from home and flexible hours?

Organisations that are looking to instigate a staff retention policy will now be looking at the many levels of agile working, that involves doing work differently to pre-covid. 

However, this new way of working is far more than hybrid working (a mix of home and office based locations). At its heart is an understanding of what incentivises staff to not only want to stay but develop as part of the organisation’s growth.

This concept of smart working is what agile working is all about and involves empowering staff. This means focussing on results and performance rather than previous parameters, such as time and attendance.

As many employers have discovered during the recent lockdown, 20th century maxims are no longer relevant in a 21st Century global economy. We know that if you create a positive workplace culture of trust and reliability, where staff are involved in their own future, productivity increases, efficiency improves, and staff retention becomes less of an issue.

Individual support

It does, however, depend on the support each individual receives from the employer. Two key activities that increase staff retention are involving them in decision making, and actively encouraging and providing professional learning and development.

We know from our own feedback, that skilled placements are happier and more interested in their work when they have a learning and development plan in place.

As we start to adjust to a new way of working, now is a good time to flesh out a career development plan with individual employees. This is not only good for them but of major benefit to the company, as it factors in the objectives and goals of both the organisation and the person themselves.

There is no doubt that staff members who feel frustrated by the apparent lack of advancement or promotion are more likely to look elsewhere if they believe they are stuck in a rut with no recognisable signs of progression.

Establishing a growth plan in conjunction with the employee will create an aura of confidence and reassurance. This is integral to the branding value of the organisation, ultimately leading to an increase in the employee’s pride in their work-place. 

By setting goals and benchmarks, staff can more readily envisage their future.

This, along with a competitive salary package, a good work-life balance, a mechanism for generating feedback in addition to regular appraisals, along with a positive and diverse workplace environment will go a long way to making sure your staff have no reason to consider leaving.

If you would like to discuss your employee retention strategies, and how your next recruitment campaign can be built around this, please drop us a line on 01709 820102 or enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk

With the increasing uncertainty in the jobs market, it is no surprise to find that many employers are becoming swamped with applications, while at the same time, struggling to filter candidates for their suitability. This is especially critical if there is a deadline looming (such as lockdown easing).

So, how do you ensure you select the most appropriate candidate for the position while at the same time ensuring legal compliance and fairness?

Shortlisting is the answer. But where do you start?

If you are replacing a staff member, you may consider a simple ‘like for like’ criterion but what if they’ve been there some time; things have changed, not just from a job description point of view but the increasing number of legal obligations now involved in the recruitment process?

So, you’ve identified a vacancy, produced a job description, and embarked on recruiting the best person for the job. What do you do first?

Step one is to define your criteria. In other words, what kind of person do you wish to recruit and what skills and experience do they require.

Start by using your job description and person specification to create two lists – Essential and Desirable. These are the requirements you’ve decided a candidate should have before being selected for interview. However, the key to success, when creating these, is to be strict and not inflate them with ‘it would be good if they could also etc.’ Aim to identify half the number of essential requirements compared to desirable qualities.

The first part of shortlisting is fairly straightforward. This is where you sort through the applications and score each one against the set criteria. Those that meet all (or most) of the ‘essential’ criteria can then be moved forward to the next stage.

At this point, it’s also worth mentioning that if more than one person is involved in this part of the selection process, it is crucial that they are working to the same format and terms of reference.

Also, remember when sharing information with colleagues and be aware of the implications of GDPR when disclosing personal data. Even though we are no longer part of the EU, the full GDPR act still applies in the UK.

To manage the shortlisting process, we find it easiest if employers create a spreadsheet with both criteria listed and what they involve.  Also, when deciding what skills / knowledge a candidate needs, it’s worth considering what ‘on the job’ training will be offered. This may have an influence on the final selection, where any missing ‘essential requirements’ are compensated from the ‘desirable’ list.

The essentials

Essential requirements are the must haves, and depending on the sector or industry, this could include:

This list will be the easiest to filter by eliminating those that don’t fit the criteria.  This is another reason why it is important that everyone involved in the process is working from the same template.

The desirables

The desirable list is more complex and comprises attributes that candidates may possess that give them the edge and bring something extra to the organisation. This could include:

Scoring the candidates

Once you have created a spreadsheet with essential and desirable qualities, you can then score each candidate based on your criteria and whittle your list down to a manageable number. 

This is probably the hardest part of the whole process. In fact, even with a comprehensive shortlisting process in place, most employers would agree that choosing the most appropriate candidate from the pool of applicants can be somewhat daunting.

There’s no doubt that having a shortlisting process in place does make the hiring process easier and ultimately more effective in helping you select the right person for the job. A desirable outcome can often be determined by the criteria chosen in the first place.

As we said earlier, if you are replacing a staff member on a like for like basis, it’s fairly straightforward. Ask them what skills and attributes they feel are necessary to do their job. However, do bear in mind depending on how long they have been with you, as there will be changes that now affect the position.

Employment law

For example, employment law has been amended several times in recent years, especially in the context of the UK leaving the EU and employment rights in respect of the Coronavirus pandemic.

This means that, before embarking on the shortlisting process, it’s undoubtedly prudent to have an awareness of the legislation that could affect your decision making. The equality act (2010) covers ‘protected characteristics’ such as disability, maternity, race, religion and sexual orientation, and should be a major consideration when drawing up the shortlist criteria.

It cannot be underestimated how important this is in when creating a shortlisting criteria. As we say, job descriptions and hiring practices might have changed dramatically since you last made the appointment.

Discriminating against someone because of their protected characteristic (not always obvious) even if inadvertently, is against the law and could have serious repercussions. This is another reason for having a strict selection process template in place so that your decision making is carried out objectively and individual perceptions do not influence the process.

Employment law can be a minefield, but our team of specialist recruitment partners will be happy to provide any help or support you require to stay on the right side of it.

A numbers game?

Finally, one of the questions we often get asked when clients are creating a shortlisting process, is how many candidates we should invite for an interview. Unfortunately, there is no real answer to this. Much will depend on your timescale, the quality pool of candidates submitted, and the number of candidates you are looking to recruit.

However, using a recruitment partner such as ourselves, will provide the support you need at this critical time. As a general guideline, we suggest you invite up to a maximum six candidates for a first interview, scaled down to half this number for the second.

Also, as a benchmark, on average around 12% of applicants will be invited to a first interview. Any more than that and your job description and / or shortlisting criteria may need amending.

We are here to answer any questions about effective shortlisting. Contact us on 0845 478 5009 or enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk to discuss your next vacancy and we will be happy to share our knowledge.

Earlier this year, we wrote about the high cost of staff turnover and the importance of staff retention. Now, as an increasing number of people return to work after a prolonged time away from the office, employers are facing a new challenge – how to re-build workplace confidence and ensure that, once again, it’s a great place to work.

As we come out of the Covid-19 pandemic, feeling safe and cared for has overtaken much of what we would term ‘perks of the job’ such as gym memberships or Pizza Friday.

Pre-covid, company culture would most likely involve activities that lighten the spirits of employees. This includes social activities after work, or long weekends, and early finishing. All notable parts of the employment package but, of course, for many members of staff, especially those working from home, this has been their experience for the past 12 months.

What do we mean by company culture and how important is it for attracting and retaining valued employees?

The problem with trying to define company culture is it means different things to different people. A positive shared culture can lead to lower staff turnover, less absenteeism, and a higher calibre of recruitment – all vital ingredients of a return to ‘normal ‘working.

What is company culture, and does it involve every size of business?

It’s probably best described as the personality of the business. This, of course, depends on the type of organisation, e.g. fast paced and dynamic (sales and marketing) or more methodical and static (professional services).

It will also include company policies and procedures, and the organisation’s management style, as well as the way employees feel about working for the company, along with their responsibilities.

It’s this shared ethos that determines whether current and potential staff feel they are a good fit and, of course, vice versa. We are aware that a high percentage (over 40%) of job seekers would not apply to organisations that did not possess their shared values.

We also know that staff who currently work for an organisation that has a company culture that aligns with their own beliefs and mind-set will work harder and stay with the company for longer. On the other hand, conflicts with their personal feelings will reflect on their work performance or result in them leaving.

Company culture is, therefore, high on the list of considerations for new job seekers. But as we said before, building the right employment package based on a single culture style is no longer a guarantee of high calibre recruitment.

Employers need to fully understand what makes their business a great place to work and of course, as we say, it will be different things to different people. For those that have been working from home over the past 12 months, a priority could be the office working environment. We’re not suggesting replicating their home layout in the office, but it is certainly worth discussing if there is anything that can be done to improve their respective workplace. We do, after all, spend almost a third of our life at work!

It could be simple things like more comfortable office furniture, a personalisation of the work desk and a selection of greenery to bring the outside in. Other considerations could be transparent windows that open, rather than relying on air conditioning, to create a brighter and less intimidating environment, as well as a comfortable and acceptable (to other colleagues) temperature etc.

Over the past few years, we have seen significant changes to the office environment. From closed doors and narrow corridors to open plan workplaces able to adapt to the needs of the business, something where employees can influence the layout.

Of course, despite further lockdown easing, there is still a great deal of uncertainty and concern regarding practices such as hot desking or shared kitchen facilities, but this will become clearer as time goes on.

Culture is driven from the top

There is no doubt, that the values of a company culture are driven from the top down. Also, the one thing that has become clear over the past 12 months is the fact that the word ‘care’ keeps recurring when we asked recruits what makes a company a great place to work.

Even before the pandemic, LinkedIn reported that 66% of job seekers consider the culture of the prospective hirer to be a major consideration when looking for employment. It was also reported that businesses who actively manage their company culture achieve 40% higher staff retention.

This means that having a transparent company culture that goes beyond a basic job description, as not only does it help to attract high calibre talent, but also goes a long way to retaining the staff you have already.

How do we build the right employment package, especially in these uncertain times?

If any of your staff have been furloughed or working from home, they will have become used to flexible working practices. Therefore, flexibility becomes a valuable component of the ‘culture of care’.

The one thing that returning staff will have appreciated whilst remote working, is being able to manage their own work-life balance. This could be flexible working hours, juggling childcare duties, or avoiding peak hours if travelling.

Reflecting on this, the one key influence of the pandemic is that working hours don’t have to be the traditional 9-5 if the style of employment can accommodate these changes. With the advancement in technology, it could even include hybrid working with a mix of office and remote working that suits both the employee and employer.

A great place to work is, therefore, a place that puts the individual staff member at the heart of the business. This includes a recognition that an emphasis on competitive performance might now be undervalued by employees, and rewards based on a team spirit might be more appropriate.

And talking of rewards, traditionally, social activities and fun events have generally been the backbone of company culture. In addition to Pizza Friday’s, this includes simple things like chats around the boiling kettle, interaction between colleagues, and celebrating occasions such as birthdays etc.

OK, some of this could be done over Zoom but this is definitely something that remote workers have missed, so it becomes an important part of the company culture as things get back to normal.

Building or re-building a company culture that inspires employees and encourages increased job satisfaction and productivity, is absolutely crucial as we work our way out of the covid pandemic.

As we said earlier, what makes people happy at work is very individualistic, but there are several steps employers can take to create an environment that will inspire an employee to feel secure with their employment.

Here are a few:

One of the main reasons for leaving a company (and no, it’s not money) is because employees don’t like the work environment. A negative workplace culture leads to a toxic workplace, which results in high absenteeism rates, increased staff turnover, low productivity, and unpleasantness between colleagues.

On the other hand, a positive culture fit with the individual encourages an atmosphere that leads to a happy, fulfilled and more productive workforce.

If you would like to discover more about building a post-covid employment package, please contact us on 0845 478 5009 or enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk

For many, it’s time to return to the office after spending months working from home.  And whilst employers have done their utmost to support staff in their remote working environment, it’s not the same as being able to motivate and monitor employees on a collective basis.

Despite the limitations offered by remote management, there is no doubt that employers have done everything in their power to retain a cohesive team, largely via virtual meetings and the occasional socially distanced get-together.

Academic research shows that while most people have managed to work from home, the lack of personal contact with work colleagues is starting to put a strain on the effectiveness of teams within the organisation.

This means that over the next few months, with a drift back the office, there will be a focus on re-building team spirit and re-establishing leadership skills.

The key is to find a balance between the wishes of the individual and the effectiveness of the team. This is where leadership skills play such an important role in the creation of trust and loyalty, something that is recognised by most successful organisations.

How do you build a winning team in the aftermath of a major pandemic?

The first consideration is to identify what we mean by a team and its importance in increased productivity and staff retention. A team can be best described as a group of people with a range of complementary skills that work together to achieve a common goal.

This is very specific and quite different to a group.

Which three of these do you think is a team rather than a group?

  1. A runner in a marathon
  2. Volunteers in a charity shop
  3. Members of two families attending a wedding
  4. Eight nurses working in a hospital not always on the same shift
  5. All the stewards and stewardesses of an airline
  6. A group of children on a fairground ride

The answer is 2 / 4 / 5 as they combine three elements key elements; the team, the individual and the task, along with the complementary skills needed to work together in order to achieve a specific outcome. 

However, choosing the right team members and style of management is not easy, as everyone will have a different approach.

This mix of the ‘right’ people and the most efficient leadership style is how successful teams are created.  These teams are managed by people who build trust and encouragement, spend time thinking about external forces such as customers, competition etc. and support the team on a ‘needs must’ basis.

Who are the ‘right’ people?

According to Dr Meredith Belbin, a team is not a group of people with job titles, but individuals – each of whom has a role that complements the other team members. The most successful teams comprise a diverse mix of talent, which are categorised into nine team roles.

Belbin says that these following nine roles (in no particular order) produce the most effective team:

  1. Co-ordinator: A good chairperson sets the agenda and clarifies the team’s objectives. This role suits someone who is confident without being domineering while, at the same time, promoting collective decision making.
  2. Completer: This role suits someone who is known for dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s. Meticulous and conscientious, who will personally check all the details – and then again, just to make sure.
  3. Implementer: Well organised, disciplined, efficient, trustworthy and reliable are words that sum up this role. Here is a person who can translate ideas into manageable talks and then timetable them for the other team members.
  4. Monitor / Evaluator: This is a role designed for someone who excels at absorbing and making sense of random information and then making a sound judgement.
  5. Creator: As the title suggest, an asset to the team is someone who is creative and has an imagination that can best be described as ‘out of the box’. Also good at problem solving.
  6. Resource investigator: This role suits someone who is enthusiastic and good at developing contacts. They are good at working under pressure.
  7. Shaper: Here is another one that works well under pressure and has the drive and energy to overcome obstacles.
  8. Specialist: This is the expert on the team whose interest is usually confined to their own sphere of knowledge. Can be best described as a single minded self-starter.
  9. Team worker:  This role epitomises the definition of a team. A reliable team player that co-operates willingly and can be relied upon to be diplomatic and a good listener.

What does a team need to make it work?

There is no question that team building will become even more important in the next few months as employers regain the trust and loyalty of their staff post lockdown. On the other hand, it’s not something that can be achieved over night, and could certainly prove to be a challenge for many businesses as they start to re-establish themselves in the market-place.

Once you have identified the type of right people for your organisation, speak to a recruiter like Multitask Personnel, who can help make filling these roles a reality.

As the UK starts to open up for business, it’s no surprise to find that many businesses are now busy gearing up for a return to better times. One area that is crucial for business recovery is recruitment.

In the next few months, we anticipate an increase in the number of candidates looking to change jobs or secure employment, so, for employers, that means producing an effective job description for any vacancies you will be recruiting for.

What makes a good job description?

The first thing to consider is the importance of a well written job specification. After all, according to the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, hiring the wrong person can have a significant impact on productivity and prove to be an expensive decision.

In fact, they go on to say that a ‘poor hire’ contributes around 25% less value than a ‘good match’ and costs three times more than just a wasted salary.

There is no doubt, the second half of 2021 is going to be a critical time for UK businesses. Both Covid and Brexit have disrupted the labour market to such an extent that many businesses are now completely re-evaluating their staffing needs. For some, the Covid pandemic has encouraged them to consider remote working, while others have changed their business model and consequently require a different set of employee skills.

A precise and compelling job description is, therefore, going to be a number one priority for any recruiting business wanting to stand out and attract the right candidate. In fact, it is said that prospective candidates take just six seconds to decide whether the job description applies to them. This is despite over 75% of candidates saying that it’s the job description that persuades them to apply for the position.

What is a job description’s job?

Its main role is to enable the prospective candidate to make an informed decision that yours is the kind of organisation they would like to work for. One of its key roles, therefore, is to sell your brand to the reader. This means providing a summary of what makes your business unique and worth working for, as well as its achievements and successes.

Talk about the kind of projects the successful candidate could be involved in, the range of clients, and how your product or service benefits them, as well as the potential for progression within the company (but without any oversell).

Also, don’t overlook the possibility that should the position not be what they are looking for, they might know someone for whom it is.

Where do you start?

A job description should include corporate information such as vision and mission statements, success stories, possible links to media coverage, blogs, location, and current members of staff before you go into finer details about the position.

This is where a recruitment partner can really help. After all, a job description forms part of the contract of employment so it’s important to ensure it’s clear and concise to avoid any potential conflicts in the future (‘that’s not what it said in the job description’ etc.)

If it’s a role that already exists, then it’s worth re-visiting the original job description and see how much of it still applies. If expanding the team – talk to current staff and see if they consider the role has changed.

If it’s a new position, an external opinion from a recruitment partner will certainly help identify the requirements of the role, as well as ensure the content is compliant with all the new employment laws, and HR rules and regulations that have been introduced over the past few years.

For example, the unintentional use of discriminatory words or gender specific roles etc. This can be a minefield and could lead to a negative reaction or even worse – legal action. We suggest keeping it simple and precise while being generic to the current employment pool, but specific enough for the position in question.

An effective job description should include the following:

Job title

For maximum effectiveness, be precise and specific, and use words that accurately describe the role, such as HSQE Manager / Electrician / class 2 driver / CSCS labourer / climber tree surgeon etc. The more precise the description the better the results.

Unless you are specifically targeting qualified staff with recognisable accreditation as above, try and avoid in-house jargon and acronyms. Remember, listings will be online so need to be Google friendly. Include key phrases such as ‘manager’, ‘supervisor’ or ‘director’ etc. rather than just descriptive content like ‘responsible for’, ‘in control of’ or ‘experienced in’. Specific keywords will then be picked up by search engines.

Also, keep the job title concise – it’s said that titles containing between 60- 80 characters outperform shorter / longer titles by 30 – 40%.

Job summary

This should provide an overview of the position and the company’s expectations of the role. This section provides the prospective candidate with a feel of what makes the organisation worth working for.

Highlight the company’s success stories, emphasise the brand message, and talk about the culture of the company.

This is where you should also include relevant details such as salary range, hours worked, holiday entitlement, site location, travel / parking etc. Including work location also helps to optimise the posting online for more effective search results.

Responsibilities / duties

Once again, be precise and concise. Outline the key roles the candidate will undertake as part of their employment. The more detailed the better, especially the responsibilities that are unique to the organisation.

It’s also good idea here to outline the regular activities involved.  You might want to break down the time staff are expected to devote to different aspects of the position.

Include details of the hierarchy of the role, in other words who they report to and how their role affects the functionality of the business. This is also good place to talk about team working versus solo working, especially if they are expected to be self-sufficient.

Qualifications / skills

Treat these as separate entities. You may advertise for someone who is a ‘self-starter’ or ‘works well with others’. These personality attributes will appear under the qualifications heading, while skills should include both hard (e.g. technical skills) and soft (e.g. problem solving).

Of course, you will also clearly identify necessary qualifications. However, there is no need to list every desirable qualification (unless you want to put people off applying), just the ones that enable them to do the job.

Other details

A job description will also include details of salary range, benefits – such as car / car allowance, laptop, phone, flexible hours etc, as well as desirable qualities (languages / computer competence etc.)

Finally, as you can see, producing a job description in today’s sensitive employment environment is not something to be undertaken lightly. It’s crucial that you ensure you are not putting an unintentional bias in your job description. Falling foul of the laws regarding gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicity, and using language that would be considered discriminatory or even offensive.

Contact us

We are here to help you create a compelling reason why someone should want to come and work for you. Contact us on 0845 478 5009 or email enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk to see how we can help with your next recruitment campaign today.

Many businesses up and down the country have been using down time during lockdown to re-assess their employment needs and plan for the future. This means change is inevitable. One area that is being given a new consideration is the importance and relevance of skills accreditation.

Nothing new you may say. After all, professional qualifications and industry accreditation have long been used as a benchmark for providing customers with a reassurance that the job will be carried out to a specific standard by a professionally qualified member of staff.

However, according to the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), they say that although the demand for engineers is rising, many companies are struggling to recruit candidates with the right skills and professional qualifications.

According to their ‘skills and demands in industry’ report, they found that this lack of accreditation was an ongoing problem, which could lead to a shortage of engineers as we come out of the current covid-19 pandemic.

In addition, 53% of engineering companies surveyed by the IET considered that this could be a potential threat to their business over the next three to five years.

How does this affect your recruitment?

As a long-established recruitment partner, we have always placed great importance on professional qualifications and accreditations as part of the recruitment process. For example, candidates applying for employment as a gas engineer must hold an approved evidence of competence, obtained through a recognised training route and assessment.

In fact, a gas engineer can only be issued with a licence to undertake gas work on behalf of registered business if they hold a valid and current qualification. For employers, the Gas Safe Register (formerly Corgi) is operated on behalf of the Health & Safety Authority and registration is only approved if the business has at least one gas safety qualified engineer.

This is a legal obligation and something we take very seriously when submitting candidates in order to ensure that only qualified engineers are licenced to legally work on gas installations.

With over 10 years’ experience in recruiting specialist staff, we have an in- depth knowledge of supplying accredited tradespeople, such as CIS and Gas Safe registered, to our clients.

Accredited candidates, identified at the start of the selection process, can be supplied on a short-term basis (some with own vehicles and insurances) or on a longer term more permanent basis. Accreditation, along with professional qualifications and memberships can, therefore, speed up the whole recruitment process – saving the prospective employer time and costs.

This ‘oven ready’ solution to hiring effectively removes the need for any third-party involvement and can lead to work being self-certified and approved. This is just one of the reasons we are committed to our candidates not only holding a professional qualification but also achieving industry recognised accreditation.

A re-designed job market

The Covid-19 pandemic is having a massive impact on the UK economy and the jobs market in particular. There is also the thought that any changes, in these unprecedented times, will be quick and long lasting.

As the economy starts to recover and furloughed staff begin a return to previous working practices, there is a possibility that employers and HR professionals will be re-designing job descriptions to take into account the future needs of the employment market.

Professional qualifications and accreditations will, therefore, play an increasing important role in the recruitment of suitable staff. As we know, the need for a professional qualification is already mandatory in some roles, such as engineering, gas fitting etc.

Our recruitment process highlights this during the selection process

As the UK returns to some of normality, we are aware that employers are looking for stability and an opportunity to attract highly skilled and professionally qualified staff. This is especially relevant in the engineering sector with its current shortage of skilled engineers.

This is confirmed by the UK’s Engineering and Technology Board, who say that as we head towards a manufacturing revolution in order to retain our global competitiveness, we will require more engineers. In fact, they claim the UK has a shortfall of 55,000 skilled engineers each year.

They also added, that for every engineering position filled, a further two jobs are created in the economy. These kinds of statistics are always in our mind as employers look to us to identify and recruit suitably qualified staff on a short term or long-term basis.

There is no doubt, Covid-19 has forced everyone to explore new ways of working. We responded to this challenge very early on in the crisis and have continued to support our clients in helping to reduce stress levels when recruiting new staff.

In fact, we are regularly told by our clients, that it is our attention to this and our commitment in ensuring the quality of candidates, those who have the necessary accreditations and professional qualifications to work in the sectors we represent, that sets us apart from other recruiters.

Looking for qualified staff?

Contact us on 0845 478 5009 or enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk and see if you agree.

In this blog, we look at the reasons why larger businesses and public sector organisations, in particular, have adopted Preferred Supplier Agreements in a bid to reduce the cost, time and hassle of repetitive purchasing, and whether it can apply to your recruitment process.

A PSL or Preferred Supplier List, is a directory of approved suppliers that have signed a Preferred Supplier Agreement (PSA) with clients to provide an agreed level of service and commitment.

For all size and type of organisation, procurement is an expensive charge against the business and any way of reducing this is always going to be welcomed. Having a directory of pre-approved vendors can, almost certainly, speed up the purchasing process, apply a defined security of delivery and provide the reassurance that the vendor has already undergone stringent tests to ensure suitability.

They will also have been credit checked and have a payment system in place that makes the whole process so much easier than having to start fresh each time. They may also offer a discount for the volume business.

In fact, PSL’s have been a part of the recruitment process for many years. Something that has enabled employers to quickly fill vacancies without the inconvenience and uncertainty of having to contact a large number of unknown recruitment agencies.

What are the key benefits of recruiting staff using a PSL?

To answer that we need to consider the pros and cons of having a PSL in place for recruiting staff.

We believe, one of the key benefits of a PSL is ‘trust’. 

This means that having such an agreement in place ensures that your recruitment partner truly understands your business, is financially viable, and is fully compliant in managing your recruitment.

This should inevitably lead to higher quality candidates, and a guaranteed level of service that is cheaper and less bureaucratic than a haphazard approach. In fact, if structured correctly, your recruitment partner effectively becomes an extension of your in-house HR department and brand ambassador.

Is it for everyone?

There is no doubt, having a Preferred Supplier Agreement in place offers many key benefits to all size and type of business. However, this decision will largely depend on the role taken by the recruitment partner in creating a consistently reliable service. That is, one that is able to offer a suitably skilled talent pool combined with a financial advantage of reducing costs and possibly fees, based on volume business.

Of course, some employers will prefer a more flexible recruitment process based on a dynamic approach. This does not necessarily preclude them having a PSL in place but allows them to respond to an ever changing market.

Multitask Personnel, for example, is an advocate of both processes. We appreciate that many employers value the confidence of working to a PSL but we also work closely with intermittent clients who may only have very specific roles to fill on an irregular basis.

Depending on the agreement signed, a PSL does not deny the recruiter flexibility. A larger company, for example, could operate a multi-faceted recruitment process for contracting specific roles within the organisation.

A PSL has to work for both parties

We said earlier that trust was a key feature of such an agreement. Employers have to be confident that their recruitment partner has met an agreed status when it comes industry compliance, service ability and value for money.

These are absolutely critical points to consider when recruiting for new staff and should form an integral part of any Preferred Supplier Agreement.

This is confirmed by the fact that there are some Employers and HR professionals who still consider the demands and efforts of recruitment agencies do not offer value for money.

This is where a PSL can really come into its own. Having an agreement in place ensures a guaranteed level of service as both party’s requirements are established in the initial stages. In addition, a PSL can also save organisation’s a great deal of wasted time in searching for an appropriate recruitment partner, especially one that understands the industry and is compliant to operate in that sector.

This is especially relevant when dealing with sensitive areas such as data protection and financial security. In fact, some industries such as the financial sector rely on PSL’s to ensure compliance vetting is carried out in order to protect the business from undue risk.

Building up a relationship

There is no doubt, having a PSL in place helps to maintain the integrity of the business. This means you have built up a relationship with the recruitment partner and can be confident that they are protecting your reputation and brand definition.

Working with a pre-selected recruitment partner also provides a high level of consistency, increased confidentiality, and access to a selective pool of candidates. At the same time, it also effectively manages an employer’s legal and commercial risk.

So, as we said before, employers can choose to go it alone and recruit through a number of recruiters, and for those that have the time and resources to manage this it can work well. This is especially so for those that employ a number of skilled and experienced HR people in-house.

A hybrid system or a mix of random recruitment and PSL is also a possibility and is something we have a great deal of experience in. We will be happy to offer advice.

To summarise

There are many benefits of setting up a preferred supplier list for your recruitment requirements. To start with you are working with someone who knows your business, is industry compliant, and goes out of their way to understand the client’s needs, thus providing extra reassurance.

However, before all that happens, we believe it’s important to consider what criteria you will apply prior to adopting a PSL.

For example:

Our flexible approach

Multitask Personnel is proud of its flexible approach to recruitment that is tailored to the client’s specific circumstances. Some prefer to engage us on an irregular basis, some will ask us to use our specialist knowledge to recruit niche staff while others will instruct us using a Preferred Supplier List.

We are happy to offer the best possible advice, service and support that best fits the recruiter’s own criteria.

If you would like to discuss what recruitment arrangement is best for you, please give us a call on 0845 478 5009 or email: enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk

It goes without saying that turnover of staff is a high cost, estimated, according to Harvard Business Review, to be anything from 100% to 300% of the replaced employee’s salary.

This is, naturally, something that all businesses will want to avoid. We also know that, on average, unless processes are in place, around 20% of new recruits will leave within the first two months, 30% will be looking for a new job within the first six months and 23% are off before 12 months are up.

Can this be reduced, or even avoided all together?

One way is to have an effective onboarding process in place. But what is effective onboarding, and does it apply to all businesses?

Despite us finding the ideal candidate for your vacancy, it’s said that without effective onboarding in place, it could take up to 12 months for a new recruit to settle in. However, put an onboarding process in place, and it’s estimated that recruits are 60% more likely to remain with the company for three years or more.

In fact, businesses that invest in an effective onboarding process are proven to have reduced staff turnover and greater employee involvement and consequently increased profitability.

How does it work?

To start with, onboarding is much more that an enhanced induction scheme. In fact, it starts with the recruitment process. The more the prospective candidate knows about the company – its vision, goals and what makes it unique, along with your expectations of them, the more they will buy into the position from the start.

The business that spends time and effort in ensuring the skills and attributes of the candidate reflect the culture of the business, the more cost effective the recruitment process. This means, new recruits hit the ground running, get up to speed quicker and start contributing sooner. As a result, they are 18 times more likely to be committed to the organisation over a longer period.

As we said earlier, onboarding is not simply a one-day induction course, it starts as soon as you confirm the appointment, and can last for a whole year. It’s your responsibility to ensure they want to stay. Your task is to make them feel welcomed and special.

If you remember your first day at work, you will know how daunting and exciting it was – both at the same time. Nothing has changed – it’s still a worrying time for most people, with many wondering if they have made the right choice.

It’s our shared responsibility to provide the reassurance that they have

Potential recruits can, nowadays, discover a great deal about your company from your website, social media postings and even job review sites. So, make it easy for them by sending links to your notifications. You might even have You Tube videos – once again send a link.

It’s imperative that candidates can gauge the type of organisation they are joining from these pre-emptive messages. This could include a cheery personal welcome letter telling them how pleased and excited you are that they accepted your offer, possibly even a ‘welcome to the team’ video, and even a company branded item such as a pen or mug for their desk.

Onboarding starts as soon as they sign the offer of employment

Naturally, it will depend on the type of employment, but this pre-start package gives you an opportunity to outline relevant information such as nearest transport links / stops, parking arrangements, company address details, including your email and direct phone number.

You may also want to include specific contacts such as HR / Union rep / Health and Safety etc. This will enable the candidate to make contact direct if necessary.

In addition, a welcome pack might also contain details of what type of equipment they will be using, such as computers or manufacturing tools. This will enable candidates to familiarise themselves with specific features and once again reduce the time spent getting to know their environment.

You may also use this opportunity to make them aware of social events, both past (link to photos / videos) and future (dates / venues). At the same time, you will also be preparing the formal paperwork such as contract of employment, payroll, first day induction programme etc.

Set out your expectations

The welcome pack should also clearly state your expectations, the company’s vison and mission statements, key company policies, as well as safety in the workplace (with health and safety being covered in more detail during on site induction).

Therefore, the effectiveness of this pre-induction activity undoubtedly sets the tone for the future employee / employer relationship.

The key is to keep it personal from day one. During the first few weeks of employment, it’s important that that they feel part of the team, are involved in discussing your future plans and know that they are more than just a number.

On the first day, following a welcome briefing (and at the end of the day, a de-brief) that includes a formal induction (with H&S forming a major part) some of the time should be used to introduce new recruits to fellow work colleagues.

It’s also a good idea to encourage social interaction with these colleagues. A team quiz always works well here, as it highlights the competitiveness of team members as well as specific interests of those they will be working with.

It is also helpful, at this stage, to provide an aide-memoire of key players including their photo and job description. Some organisations already do this on their website – job done.

Create a great first impression

Their first day with you imprints the culture of the company on them. It should, therefore, be fun and enjoyable, not daunting and overwhelming – especially if you want them to turn up for work the next day.

During this initial induction period, you may also encourage them to ghost or shadow other team members so they can obtain an honest feedback as to what the job entails. You may also use this as an opportunity to assign a ‘buddy’ to oversee them during this critical period.

Positive onboarding is all about creating a mix of anticipation with results-based feedback (from both parties). It’s also a chance to discover what training needs may be required, and even encourage the adoption of a formalised Continual Personal Development (CPD) programme. This may also include on the job training (OJT) and structured ‘learning by experience’.

How long should the induction process last?

The length of the induction process is largely down to the size and type of organisation, and complexity of the role involved. And although it’s an ongoing process, the first ‘settling in’ phase will probably last around 3-4 months. During that time, it’s imperative that you have ongoing communication with the new starter and encourage them to give you honest feedback – especially in respect of the onboarding process.

Within the probationary period, you should be able to assess how successful your onboarding has been and be in a position to consider the next phase. This will include regular review meetings, informal ‘water cooler’ chats, training success and ongoing work achievement results.

With a mix of projects, assignments and goal setting, the final phase will then pave the way for a formal staff review, a discussion of future aspirations, the setting of further goals, as well as considering potential promotion opportunities.

So, to summarise

Recruitment is not just about attracting the best talent; it’s about keeping them. Employees who quickly leave of their own volition are not only expensive to the business but do nothing to promote a positive marketing message to the outside world.

That’s why it’s so important to get onboarding right from the word go, and that means at the recruitment stage. We can offer advice on creating an effective onboarding process that is vital for attracting high calibre staff that want to grow with the company.

Finally, it’s said that job satisfaction is 30 times higher for employees who have experienced a positive and effective onboarding process. They are the ones, after all, who stay and help you grow your business.

For more information about effective onboarding please give us a call on 0845 478 5009 or email enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk

Whilst everything may be running smoothly in your business, there is the temptation to sit back and become complacent. However, whilst you are doing this your competitors could be on the prowl and preparing a better offer for your key employees!

It’s a well-known fact that the cost of replacing a member of staff far exceeds keeping them. Once you have factored in recruitment costs, plus the training and development of a new member of staff, you may start asking yourself if you could have done more to keep that member of staff who has moved elsewhere.

Attracting the best people to your business is a great start when recruiting, but you need to make sure you are keeping hold of them long-term to get the best value out of your employees.

Here’s our 5 top tips to improve employee retention

  1. Offer a competitive salary

Whilst selling on cost may not always be the best approach when looking for a new recruit, offering a competitive and fair salary is a vital part of the package on offer. Salaries should be benchmarked against competitors and the industry you work in. You should take into account regional variances; however, this should be aligned with industry averages not only for the salary itself, but the overall remuneration package (such as pension, employee benefits, holidays etc.)

Regular salary reviews in line with hitting performance related targets can give employees something to aim for and give a sense of career progression without needing to look elsewhere.

  1. Build a culture of trust

Employees need to be managed; however micro-management is not the way forward! You were trusting enough to offer your member of staff the job in the first place, so as long as you have set out a strategic development programme for them, with clear and achievable objectives, you should be able to trust them to perform to the best of their ability.

Mistakes will naturally be made but allow your employees to learn from them and adapt this to future performance. Remember, trust is a two way thing, so developing a culture of trust throughout your organisation will not only aid communication, but also improve retention. 

  1. Recognise and reward

Rewarding your staff doesn’t always have to be financial. Depending on the type of role, a bonus structure may not be appropriate for every employee, especially if they don’t have sales targets to meet, so recognising your employee’s achievements can be done in other ways.

You could think about internal awards, retail vouchers, health benefits or additional days holidays. After all, we all like to be thanked for our hard work!

  1. Manage the relationship

One of the key reasons why employees leave their jobs is a breakdown in relationship with their manager. Promoting from within is a great way to retain key members of staff, however if they are promoted into a management position make sure they are put onto relevant training and development programmes to ensure their management skills are fine-tuned alongside the culture and long-term plans of the business.

Training doesn’t always have to be formal; it could come in the form of mentoring or on the job coaching – which is good practice for staff development at any level.

  1. Be flexible

Flexibility at work doesn’t necessarily have to mean offering flexi-time to your employees. As we have seen in recent months, home working is becoming more of a necessity as opposed to a luxury for many employees now.

Giving your employees the option to work from home, or work more flexible hours can improve loyalty. It also shines a positive light on the employer, showing you to be caring and considerate of the wider needs of your employees. 

Build your business around your employees

Employers who strategically align their overall package to the needs of their employees, are more likely to reap the rewards of long-term staff attrition. Thinking about what’s important to your employees is just as important as what’s important for your business, as without your employees there is no business!

At Multitask Personnel, we feel employee retention is just as important as recruiting the right person for the job in the first place. In order to get the best value out of your recruitment, having long-term employee retention plans in place are essential.

If you need our advice, we’re only happy to help. Contact us on 0845 478 5009 or enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk and we’ll be happy to discuss how our employee retention tips can help future-proof your business.

As the building sector starts to bounce back, with the government announcing new work growing by 22% and repair and maintenance by 26%; this is certainly reflected in the current burst of activity we are experiencing in the mechanical and electrical (M&E) sector.

Over the years, we have built a reputation on providing a level of service second to none. This is shown in the number of testimonials received from both employees looking to recruit and individuals searching for a new position.

Covid-19 has obviously had a major impact on the recruitment business over the last few months and we have not escaped the downturn. However, as a specialist agency we have managed to retain our highly knowledgeable staff who continue to work with technical and trades sectors to supply both temporary and permanent mechanical and electrical staff throughout the UK.

Quality assurance

Having a specialist team working full time in-house means we are able to spend more time in fully understanding your employment requirements to ensure a perfect fit. This includes making sure all candidates have the relevant qualifications and accreditations in place.

We also work closely with industry bodies, such as the Joint Industry Board, Construction Industry Training Board and government agencies, to certify that all candidates are accredited to undertake the role in question.  For example, for Gas service and breakdown vacancies essential qualifications will include a certification by the National Accreditation Certification scheme (ACS) as well as an advanced City & Guilds diploma or equivalent in gas or plumbing.

In addition, all subcontract gas engineers are legally required to show evidence of gas safety competence, be on the Gas Safe register and hold relevant insurances.

Having said that, vacancies in the mechanical and electrical industry cover a wide and diverse range of skill sets. We believe the first-hand knowledge and vast experience of our team members plays a major role in the renowned track record we have gained over the past ten years.

On any day, we can find ourselves recruiting for gas engineers, plumbers, dual fuel engineers, pipe fitters, air conditioning, HVAC engineers, Electrical installers, Maintenance Electricians, EV Charge point installers as well as fire and security electrical technicians.

In fact, every day brings new opportunities to get the country back on its feet and on the road to recovery. This has recently included recruiting for a home appliance gas / electrical installer to work for one of the UK’s biggest retailers as well as plumbing and heating engineers to join a gas service and breakdown company. All on a permanent basis.

But of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. A long standing background allows us to offer clients an ever growing resource support package as well as tapping into a hand-picked pool of highly skilled and appropriately qualified candidates.

Nationwide recruitment

We don’t just operate on a local basis either, we have nationwide clients who call us first when they have a requirement. It could be anything from a commercial heating service provider, looking for a service and maintenance engineer with experience working on steam boilers, to an electrical project manager for the new build sector.

As a leading recruitment partner in the building services industry we wholeheartedly support the ‘Roadmap to Recovery’ programme created by the Construction Leadership Council. This is a strategy designed to drive the recovery of the UK economy, following the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the building industry, with an increase in construction activity.

Recruiting with you in mind

Although the report admits that it will be at least two years before lost output will be regained, there are some recommendations we have already applied to our current recruitment process. One of these is to encourage those looking for positions in mechanical and electrical engineering to have an awareness of what skills will help secure employment in the post-Covid ‘new normal’.

Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has already kick started the UK’s economic recovery with his £2b green homes grant aid. This is aimed at providing over 600,000 households with energy efficiency upgrades. As Rishi Sunak says, ‘this is going to be a green recovery with concerns for our environment at its heart’.

According to the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) it is vitally important that we have a skill base that can deliver the government’s ambitious plans for green recovery and low carbon economy for the UK. This means that mechanical and electrical engineers will be an integral part of the road to recovery.

There is no doubt, the government is placing renewable energy and clean technology at the forefront of its Covid-19 recovery, with an emphasis on developing a highly skilled workforce of new ‘green’ employment.

This means that employers in the M&E sectors are now looking for enhanced skills that will help them compete in a net zero future while employees are, unquestionably, assessing what extra skills are required to increase their desirability for employers.

Our specialist team of Technical recruiters can help. Please contact us on 0845 478 5009 or enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk.

Changing the face of Construction Recruitment in Manchester, Sheffield and beyond.
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