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A Guide To Culture Fit – Is Cultural Fit A Feature Of Your 2016 Recruitment Strategy?

by Andre on January 29th, 2016  

In the world of recruitment, ‘culture fit’ or ‘cultural fit’ has become a bit of a buzz term over recent years and more and more companies are starting to take this method of recruiting very seriously and adopt it into their recruitment methods. In this article, we will look at cultural fit and how it can benefit your company and we will also address the potential disadvantages of adopting it into your recruitment process.

First of all, let’s look at the first question that might come to mind: What is cultural fit?

What Is Cultural Fit Or Culture Fit?

When it comes to recruiting employees to a team, what we are all looking for is to make sure we are getting the right person for the job. Recruitment can be both costly and time consuming and so the ideal end result is to end up with a new member of staff who is going to work well with the rest of your team, who is not going to move on to pastures new after a matter of months or weeks, and who is going to drive your company forward, flourish and be successful in their role.

For many companies who are recruiting new staff, that’s where cultural fit plays a part. Cultural fit is all about making sure they get the right person for the job, not just because of their previous experience, skills or qualifications, but also because of their outlook on life and work. Cultural fit is all about employing someone because their values and work ethic match those of your company’s culture.

Interview Scenarios

For example, you could be interviewing someone for a role within your company – it might be a graduate role or you could be interviewing a student for a part time job or seasonal work. Let’s say that the person you are interviewing ticks all the qualifications and experience boxes – but then you find out they love to work independently and do things their own way. Your company is a company where your workforce thrives on teamwork and collaborations. Perhaps then, even though your candidate looks the part on paper, they are not going to gel with your firm.

Another example could be that you discover your candidate likes to work to fixed routine and know exactly what is going on. Perhaps your workplace has a staff of people who thrive on innovation, working with new ideas and not necessarily working to a set routine. Is that person going to be the best person to fill your vacant role? Again, they might look the part on paper but will that person truly flourish in your company’s culture?

If the people you are interviewing do not really fit your company culture then, chances are, they will become unhappy in their role and start to look for work elsewhere. This is obviously not good for your staff retention and certainşy not good for your recruitment because, if that employee does move on, you are going to need to begin the recruitment process all over again.

Culture Fit Can Be A Win-Win Situation

Awareness of culture fit can be a two way scenario. It doesn’t have to be a situation where employers are assessing whether potential employees will be successful with the company. Making candidates aware of your company’s culture can also give them the opportunity to decide if your company is right for them, too.

Different people thrive in different situations. Does your management style and the way other employees work in your company suit your candidate? Does your management style lend itself to getting the best out of that potential employee? Being able to work this out during the recruitment process means that, in the end, your staff retention will be boosted because both parties can decide whether the arrangement will work for them. Culture fit can be central in developing your workforce and driving your company forward.

The Benefits Of Cultural Fit For Your Company

The benefits of cultural fit can be significant for your company, whatever type of company your run. When everyone is working towards the same mission, cultural fit can:

  • Encourage productivity and business success. We’ve looked at the challenges of keeping productivity high in the workplace in the past and good cultural fit can be one of the ways of cementing good productivity levels.
  • Improve the self-esteem of your employees because they feel more able to do their job. This means they are more likely to stick around for longer because they are more committed to the company as they perform better. If you are recruiting graduates and students, this means you have more chance of retaining the best young talent out there.
  • Research has also shown that if culture fit has been used effectively during the recruitment process and you have a committed staff, at challenging times for the business, this staff are more likely to work harder to fix things and also adapt to new business practices for the success of the firm. You will have a strong team committed to success.
  • When you have a strong team because that team shares the same values as those of your company, you could also end up with a happier staff who are less stressed. This means they are less likely to need to take sick leave and, again, this is beneficial for productivity.

Cultural Fit Is Becoming Top Priority For Larger Companies

Rather than just concentrating on filling vacant positions such as graduate programmes or individual roles, some larger companies are making cultural fit a top priority in their recruitment by considering the culture of the organisation as a whole.

Companies that take cultural fit seriously, actively market this to potential candidates right from the outset. Their websites appeal to a particular type of person and, when they time comes for recruitment, their job ads appeal to a certain sort of person. If lots of young people work there, then the website will reflect this. If they are big on providing student jobs, this will be reflected, too.

Cultural fit can assess whether people are right for the job from the get go. Good cultural fit helps people to work together to adapt to necessary changes in the business to keep on top of the game.

Do You Know Your Company’s Culture?

So the next question to follow with is, if you are interested in cultural fit as a recruitment strategy, do you know your company’s culture? This obviously has to be the starting point as you will be recruiting staff based on the beliefs, attitudes and traditions of your company.

If your company is well established then you could have written mission statements that staff are aware of and maybe you even have long-serving members of staff, too, who know your company inside out. For others, it might not be so simple, however. You could be a new start-up or you could have recently gone through lots of changes in the company set up for whatever reason. If this is the case, then how are you going to pin down what your company’s culture is?

Whatever field your company operates in and whatever type of roles you have on offer, there are a few things you can do to try and identify to identify the culture of your company.

  • Think about whether you could explain the culture of your company to a candidate who comes for interview. If you are interviewing a student for part time work or a graduate for a more senior position, what could you tell either of those types of people about the firm?
  • Indeed, before you get to interview stage, do you actually know the types of people you want to interview so that they can be a valuable member of your existing team?
  • Sit down and have a thing for yourself about the culture of your company.
  • Ask existing employees what they think the culture of the company is. What do your young apprentices, students or graduates think and how would they describe the company culture to other people of a similar age?

Before you can consider recruiting staff with cultural fit in mind, it is important that you are clear on your company’s values, goals and practises and work out how to put these into your recruiting process. For larger companies, this could involve working with a consultant to really drill down into some values and the company’s mission. For smaller companies and new start ups, maybe you already have an idea of the type of people you want to work for you because of the staff already employed.

Can The Strategy Of Recruiting For Cultural Fit Be Over Used?

Recruiting for cultural fit can be very effective in boosting your company’s productivity and staff retention but it is also important to make sure you are still recruiting a diverse range of people rather than a group who are clones of each other. Can your company afford to let a talented interviewee go just because you think they might not fit in with your team? This is a tough decision to make and that is why it is so important to know what the culture of your company is.

Sometimes, opposites attract and a variety of people from a diverse range of backgrounds can make a really strong effective team because they behave in particular ways in given situations. So, just because an interviewee says they are not the type of person who likes to go out drinking after work, are you going to let that talent slip away just because the rest of your staff often go out together after work? That is down to you to decide via other aspects of your application process.

A candidate’s personality, whilst it is important, might only be one part of your decision to decide whether or not to offer them the job. Other ways to decide if someone will fit into your company is to do personality questionnaires, group exercises, role plays and presentations, for example. This is where psychometric testing can also be a useful tool in recruitment, too, because you will get a chance to see how your candidates operate in given situations and also how they assess their own personality and behavioural traits. You will get a more rounded picture of your potential new employees.

So, what is important is that you don’t use cultural fit to end up with a lack of diversity within your company.

Should You Be Adopting Cultural Fit As Part Of Your Recruitment Strategy In 2016?

Recruiting for cultural fit can be very effective for both the culture and the productivity within your company so, yes, it can be a part of your recruitment strategy. But, as with other recruitment strategies, it’s perhaps best not to use it solely. Culture fit should not be a blanket for your company because you do not want to stifle individuality. Individuality is also a trait in people that can drive your company forward.

It is certainly true that some people will really thrive in particular cultures within the workplace whilst others will struggle in the same environment. That employee could well have all the relevant experience, technical skills or qualifications to do the role but if the culture isn’t suited to them, they won’t feel motivated to succeed in their role. If the employee is unhappy in their role then productivity will be affected, the mood of other members of your team can be affected and also, your unhappy employee will feel more motivated in looking for a new job rather than stick around. That leaves you back at square one, beginning the recruitment process all over again.

Depending on the role you are recruiting for, yes, you need to hire people for their skills and knowledge, too, but don’t forget that these are something that can be taught. This is especially true of entry level jobs that you might be recruiting students or apprentices for. If someone seems right for your firm but doesn’t necessarily have the skills, then they might still be worth taking on because then you can train them up in your role.

One incompatible person who just isn’t singing from the same hymn sheet as the rest of your staff can upset or destabilise even the strongest team. As I said above, some level of psychometric testing can be good so that you can get a broader picture of aptitude and ability as well as personality. If you are the type of firm that requires your staff to work well as a team, introduce some, team building exercises on recruitment days so that you can see how different candidates behave in certain situations.

Certain candidates might have a completely different way of going about their task to everyone else but it could still be a method that you think will work really well for your company. It is important to hire individuals who are a good culture fit for your workplace but who are still individuals who can thşnk for themselves and feel they can work in their own way. Don’t want a company full of clones or robots who all think and go about things in the same way. This can put your company at risk of losing any innovative ideas and processes.

As well as exercises, questionnaires and presentations, at interview time, introduce some questions that centre around your company’s culture. Is the candidate aware of your company’s culture? Perhaps you arranged some open days so that candidates could visit and observe the atmosphere throughout the workplace. If you can ask questions about this in the interview, you can ascertain whether they will fit in with your company by their answers.

Even if you are recruiting for cultural fit, successful candidates can still be from all different backgrounds. Perhaps they have no previous work experience, they might be graduates or students looking for part time work. Depending on the nature of your company, if you recruit a student who happens to be ideal cultural fit, they could go on to stay with the firm full time after graduation.

Whatever recruitment practices you employ in your application processes, the hoped for outcome for all companies is the same: You want to hire professionals or trainees who will flourish in their new roles, train and develop and make a contribution to driving your company forward. If you get cultural fit right, you should end up with a team of talented individuals who are innovative, highly motivated and who are more likely to remain with the company for a significant amount of time. This, ultimately, saves you a lot of time and money when it comes to recruitment.

If you are looking to recruit students, graduates and other talented young people to be a part of your company, then you can post your ad with E4S and see what we have to offer employers, here.

2015 On The Employer Blog – A Review Of the Last 12 Months

by Andre on December 20th, 2015  

So, it’s that time of year again. By the fact that it is the final month of the year, December always seems to be the time that we take stock; take a pause and look back at the year that we have just charged through. Whenever new government initiatives are introduced in the world of employment, we blog about them and, as employers, you no doubt implement some and hang fire on others. And before we all know it, all the predictions and the implementations have carried us headlong through another 12 months, and we wonder where those 12 months went.

Next month will see us all in a whole new year with new hopes and predictions for the future of employment in the United Kingdom and overseas, too; particularly the employment of young people in the case of E4S. But, before we go rushing off into 2016, what happened in 2015?

Let’s take a look back at some of the employment issues addressed in this blog. Has there been any real change for school leavers, students and graduates in the world of employment in 2015? Has their lot improved or is it now even more difficult for them to find the employment they want? Has there been any change, for better or worse, for companies and for you as employers? Have you found any benefit to your company from any new initiatives that might have been introduced or do you feel they have actually made life more difficult?

A Review of 2015 on the E4S Employer Blog…

The E4S employer blog addresses a range of issues around employment with a general running thread on recruitment and, from that, staff retention. As with other years, 2015 was a year of of tips, discussion and advice.

January 2015 – Getting Those Job Vacancies Noticed By Young People

Right at the beginning of the year, we looked at all those killer ways to promote your student job vacancies. Having the vacancies at your company is one thing, writing the job advert is another skill altogether – and then, once you have master all of that, you need to promote your job vacancy so that as many people as possible see that vacancy.

But you don’t just want anyone and everyone to apply for your job vacancies. There is nothing worse than trawling through piles and piles of unsuitable application forms from people who don’t match your requirements. This is clearly time best spent elsewhere in the development of your company.

If you are looking for students or school leavers to recruit into your vacant roles, then you need to think about how you are going to get them onboard. Our January article gave lots of tips about promoting your company to young people – your job ad is also an ad for your firm and if you want to get young talent onboard, you need to convince your potential applicants that you are a forward thinking, exciting company to work for.

  • Tailor your ads
  • Use social media
  • Use video
  • Use companies like us at E4S who will be able to combine all of the above and direct that towards young jobseekers – those job seekers you are looking to attract.

February 2015 – The Correlation Between The Number Of Jobseekers And Staff Retention

Throughout the whole of 2015, there has been a lot of movement in the jobs market and also a continuation in the shift in trend from employees sticking around in their ‘job for life’ to a more flexible attitude towards their jobs and careers.

This means employers are having to become increasingly inventive when it comes to their recruitment and staff retention strategies; this is especially the case when it comes to keeping hold of the best talent so that you can drive your company forward with innovative ideas. These days, many employees are more confident about changing jobs in order to improve their lot and many are even undergoing a complete career change.

Why is this the case? Why are so many people so willing to hand in their notice and move on to pastures new? Reasons given by employees are:

    • A general change in attitudes towards jobs and careers. 2015 – and before that, too, saw more appetite and more ambition for new challenges amongst employees.
    • New Year Syndrome. Well we all get that new year feeling of starting afresh and taking control of our lives in all sort of areas. For some, it’s that time where you join the gym – again! For others, it can be that time where it’s time to make a change in their career. Perhaps you have noticed yourself, as an employer, that you sometimes lose staff at the beginning of the year.
    • More opportunity for progression. Are you giving your young staff, whether school leavers, students or graduates, the opportunity to progress – or at least a career map where they know progression is possible in the future? These days, employees don’t want to feel they are in a stagnant role.
    • Higher wages. Finances are always going to make the list when it comes to reasons why employees look to change jobs. Wages were set to increase through 2015. Did this happen within your company or did you come up against other obstacles that either prevented these wage rise or slowed them down?
    • A more interesting job. Are your young employees challenged and do they feel they are a valued part of your company? Handing different projects over to your younger employees – even if it is students working in a part time role for your firm – can encourage staff to stick around for longer and, in the case of students, you could bag yourself a future graduate member of staff.
    • Employees feel unappreciated or undervalued in their current role. Whatever type of company you are involved in, what are you doing to make sure your staff feel appreciated and valued in 2016?
    • Some employees are unhappy with current management. Again, it depends on the size and type of firm you own or work for but whatever the situation, have you got good management in place that seeks to actively involve and develop other staff members?
    • Employees would like more training and development. Are development programmes in place in your company where all staff feel they are progressing, either via promotion or within their current role?
    • More flexibility in working hours. Government legislation is already trying to address around rights to work flexible hours. On a more informal level, do you have a culture within your workplace where staff feel they can go to those in senior positions to ask for time off for childcare purposes or similar?

If any of these issues have arisen within your company throughout 2015, here is the article in more detail so that you can look forward to 2016.

March 2015 – The Gender Pay Gap In The UK

Yes, March was the month where the gender pay gap issue came to the forefront once more and, unfortunately, it is a problem that is not going away. The month in the Guardian, it is once again being addressed as December is the month that the Commons Women & Equalities Committee starts to take evidence around the gender pay gap. Let’s see if 2016 can bring more positive news on this issue. For more detail about the issues that were addressed in the March blog post about the gender pay gap, here is the link to the article.

April 2015 – Are Young People Being Let Down By Lack Of Employment Options

As with the gender pay gap issues that I wrote about in March, April was the month where I addressed young people (well, we are Employment 4 Students) because they, too, have been very much a feature of employment and recruitment news throughout the year. That looks set to continue into 2016 as in October of this year, this article in The Guardian highlighted a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission that warned Britain’s youth are at risk of being a lost generation.

In my article, written back in April, we were awaiting to see which political party would be the victor in the general elections of the following month so I summarised what each part had pledged in the field of employment – specifically, youth unemployment.

We now know, of course, that the Conservative Party came to power. They had pledged to tackle Britain’s problem of youth unemployment by creating 2 million jobs and, on top of that, 3 million new apprenticeships. Perhaps your company is already making use of, and even benefitting from, the implementation of apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are seen as a key way of getting the youth of Britain into meaningful employment so if the government do manage to introduce 3 million new apprenticeships, this could be highly beneficial for young people, companies and the British economy.

May 2015 – The Issue Of Staff And Holiday Entitlement: How Does Your Company Fare?

Yes, another hot topic of 2015 was the fact that the workforce of the United Kingdom seems reluctant to make use of their full holiday entitlement from the workplace; indeed, many staff are not even taking their breaks and lunch hours within the working day.

Whilst the initial reaction to this news might be to think that is beneficial to your company as an employer – all your staff in the workplace, working all the time – evidence actually shows the complete opposite.

Staff not using their full holiday entitlement or not taking breaks makes them less productive and this is detrimental to the productivity of your company. And aside from less productivity, it can also be bad for your firm’s staff retention as staff become more likely to be in need of sick leave, they can become bored of their role and they don’t feel valued; these are all reasons why employees leave current roles for pastures new.

Issues as to why employees don’t make full use of their full holiday entitlement or their breaks are often issues that can be addressed by employers. The article from May offered the following reasons for staff not taking time out:

  • Too many things to complete so no time to take a break.
  • Staff feel they shouldn’t take time off – this is often due to the culture in the workplace where if other staff don’t take their breaks, those who want a break feel they shouldn’t take it.
  • Schedule clashes – this is more related to holiday entitlement. Employees with families and spouses have to juggle holidays so that everyone gets time off together. If this cannot happen – and there are numerous reasons why – then rather than take the holiday, anyway, many employees just continue going into work.
  • Saving holidays up – depending on how you company arranges staff holiday entitlement, some employees prefer to save holidays up and let them roll over to the following year so they can take a longer break, perhaps to travel further afield, for instance.
  • Not giving enough notice – arranging everyone’s holiday entitlement in the workplace can be tough. There are always going to be popular dates where lots of your staff want to take the same holidays and this is impossible. Some staff lose out on the dates they want because they didn’t jump in there first and rather than rearrange dates, they simply don’t take the holidays.

There are numerous benefits to your company if all of your staff are taking their breaks and using up their full holiday entitlement. Here’s the link to the original article with all of those benefits listed.

June 2015 – Top Perks Offered By Employers

Again, the running theme of good staff morale and improved staff retention. June was the month where I listed some perks employers can offer staff so that they are happier in the workplace.

The main point to note was that employer perks do not necessarily have to be limited to large corporations. Small and medium enterprises can get in on the act by being innovative and even quirky in their ideas and these can be just as effective in retaining your best young talent as quirks that might cost a lot of money. Young people and students like to feel like they are working for innovative, forward thinking companies and these little perks can go a long way to creating and maintaining that image.

You can read the full list of perks in more detail and their benefits to your company, here, but suggested ideas that could be implemented were:

  • Paid insurance.
  • Allowing staff to bring their pets to work with them – obviously, this depends on the nature of your business.
  • Casual dress code rather than office suits.
  • Offering clothing advances – this is good for students and young people whose wardrobe might not be suited to your company’s dress code.
  • Investing in the fitness of your staff – this can be through gym membership, for example, or it can be something that is also a social event such as cycling clubs or running clubs.
  • Offering a games room – A place where employees can go to switch off for a while and wind down.
  • Foodie days – This could be a monthly or quarterly get together in the workplace where you get a take away meal or where staff can bring in homemade cupcakes or pizza, for example. Days like this are good for boosting staff morale.
  • Time off work – a day off if it’s your birthday, for example. Again, young graduates and students are likely to relate to perks such as this.
  • Company retreats and getaways – This is a perk for perhaps larger companies.
  • Free treats – Not all companies can afford to offer their staff retreats and getaways but other free treats don’t need to cost the earth and they can still mean a lot to employees in making them feel valued.

July 2015 – Writing The Perfect Job Ad

When you have job vacancies with your company the job ad for that vacancy is also an ad for your company as well as having to be an effective piece of writing that attracts the right people. If you are looking to employ students, graduates or young apprentices and you place your ad with companies such as us at E4S, your company needs to look dynamic and the type of place where those young people would like to work.

Writing a job ad to attract a target group of people is a skill and in July, I offered some top tips for making sure you (or someone else within your company, if need be) present your job vacancy to the people you want to attract. You can read the article in more detail for further information about each tip but the top tips covered, were:

  • A good job title with location information, too – already, your advert is targeted to people in a relevant geographical location.
  • Be clear and concise – young people do not want to be reading through reams of information in the initial job advert.
  • Make your ad flow – is all the information in a good order so that it reads well?
  • Sell your company – as I said above, make your company look attractive to school leavers, students or graduates. No one wants to work for a dull company.
  • Expand on your job headline – as with newspaper headlines, the subsequent article expands on the initial headline. You have used your headline to grab attention and now you need to go into a bit more detail about the job description.
  • Who do you want to apply for your job vacancies? Keep this in mind throughout the creation of your job ad. Do people need to have their own transport, for example or do they need to have any specialised skills for the role? Including specifics like this will mean you should get more targeted applicants.
  • Include some information about the wage or salary. Not necessarily an exact figure, if that isn’t relevant, but your candidates will want to know about financial gain for their efforts.
  • The call to action. This is paramount in any job vacancy advert. Tell people exactly what you want them to do in just a few words. ‘Apply now,’ for example is concise and to the point.
  • Proofread your job advert – or better still, if you are the one who has spent time carefully preparing your ad and you have read through it over and over, why not ask someone else in the company to cast a fresh eye over your work. If your ad is aimed at young people, ask the younger staff in your company to give you some feedback on the ad, too.
  • Post your ad – you need people to see your job vacancy! You can advertise your vacancies to students and young people with E4S.

August 2015 – Challenges Faced By Employers In The Workplace

There are many challenges faced by employers in the workplace these days; lots of them, ultimately based around staff retention. In August, I highlighted some of the issues that employers face along with some possible remedies for these problems. Do you face any of these problems in your own workplace?

The 8 issues highlighted were:

  • Unqualified or unsuitable applicants applying for your vacancies. One remedy for that problem is mentioned above – does your job ad ask the right questions?
  • Your job adverts fail to attract any applicants.
  • How much should you rely on taking a peek at applicants’ social media presence?
  • How do you make sure your company gets the best young talent over other companies?
  • How do you retain that best young talent once you have attracted them to your firm?
  • How can you keep productivity high within your company?
  • How do you improve and maintain employee morale?
  • How do you encourage women to apply for roles that have traditionally been dominated by men?

October 2015 – The Pros Of Psychometric Testing

It’s not a recruitment method that is going to go away any time soon so in October 2015, the advantages of psychometric testing in the recruitment process were looked at. Again, ultimately, psychometric testing can be good for your staff retention because, when used correctly, you should be able to spot candidates who would be best fit for your company.

Advantages of psychometric testing for employers are:

  • Companies of all sizes can make use of the process.
  • You are not relying on interviews to decide who to employ.
  • Psychometric testing saves the employer time and money – you are attracting the most suitable candidates for your role.
  • You get a true picture of candidates rather than a snapshot of their interview skills.
  • Psychometric is fair for you and the candidate so it is a win win situation.
  • You can choose the stage at which you introduce the testing to the application process.
  • The tests measure a candidate’s skill and ability rather than exam grades.
  • You can protect the culture of your workplace because you will get an idea of which candidates will fit in well when they start to work for you.
  • You will have consistency in your recruitment process because everyone will do the same test.

The article explained in more detail what psychometric testing is and how it can be best used in the recruitment process for the benefit of the candidate and the company. You can read the whole article, here.

November 2015 – Engaging New Recruits

And in November I looked at what employers can do to engage new recruits once they are in the workplace. Starting a new job, whether that’s a part time student job or embarking on a graduate career, can be extremely daunting. When you have been to all the trouble to successfully land your ideal new young recruit, you don’t want to lose them almost immediately because they don’t feel settled in your workplace. Many new recruits leave companies leave their company within six months of starting the job so what can you do to make sure this does not happen to you?

I looked at ten different ways of engaging new staff:

  • Start immediately with an email or a phone call before they even start work.
  • Get feedback from your new recruit, both formally and informally on a regular basis.
  • Encourage friendships in the workplace.
  • Draw up a career plan together so they can see a map of where they are going.
  • Recognise their achievements – even the little ones.
  • Be consistent and clear in communicating your expectations.
  • Allow new staff to be themselves.
  • Involve new recruits in new and ongoing projects.
  • Give new recruits a position of responsibility on a project.
  • Let your new staff know you are supporting them.

The full article regarding this issue can be read here.

As you can see, 2015 has been a busy year in the world of recruitment and 2016 will no doubt be exactly the same. In 2016, the difference is, we will have a more established government who could well be acting upon election promises when it comes to employment. This could throw up changes for employers and, of course, we will look at those here on the employer blog if and when they arise.

For now, we wish you a very happy new year and look forward to seeing what 2016 has to bring.

10 Ways To Engage New Recruits Straight Away So They Stay With Your Company Longer

by Andre on November 30th, 2015  

It can be easy to assume that once you have gone through the process of writing a great a job ad to attract people to apply for your latest vacancies, and you have gone through the interview process and perhaps even some psychometric testing, that once you have selected your candidate and told them they have got the job, that’s it.

All your hard work has been done, you have chosen your next bright young thing and they are just going to waltz into your workplace on their start day and just slot straight in, seamlessly. This is a mistake many employers make but if you actually put yourself in the shoes of your new recruit, take a moment to imagine how they must be feeling on that first day at work.

Whether you have employed a student for some part time work or seasonal work, or you have taken on an apprentice or you have recruited a graduate onto your graduate programme, your new recruit has to deal with a new building, new faces, names, where those names and faces fit into the company, perhaps dress code, a whole new work and company culture. It could be this person’s first ever experience of any workplace, at all, in fact. Whatever type of company you run, whoever you employ, being the new kid on the block can be a daunting process for anyone.

We all know by now that, these days, the ‘job for life’ culture is a thing of the past and, for various reasons, employees feel more confident in moving from job to job and even undertaking complete career changes. This means, for employers, that the task of boosting staff retention is even more of a challenge than it might have been previously. Many young people leave their post within a year of starting to work for a company and some even leave within six months of starting.

So, what can you do as an employer to prevent this from happening to you? How do you avoid the frustration of going through your company’s whole recruitment process only to lose your newest recruit within a matter of a few months? Is there a remedy for this trend?

Rethinking Staff Retention Strategies

One remedy for improving staff retention and not losing your best young recruits to other companies just a few short months after you have recruited them is to look after those new starters. Staff retention is often thought about over the long term with companies focussing on existing staff who have been working for the company for some time. The assumption can be that new staff will stick around but this is no longer the case.

New recruits need to feel engaged, they need to feel like they are a part of the team and they need to feel they are a valued member of your company straight away. In a fast moving world, companies need to act fast to make sure new recruits feel this immediately. There is no time to leave young people floating around the workplace aimlessly, wondering what is going on and feeling new and ignored.

Be aware that when new young people join your team of existing staff, you are expecting them to step into a culture that has probably been established for some time and if you have a successful, tight knit team it can be even more difficult for your new recruit to break into that and feel like a member of that team. So when it comes to new recruits in your workplace, whatever role they are employed in, be aware that it can be a difficult task for them, for you as the leader and for your team of staff, too.

Companies need a strategy and a structure for making sure young new recruits are engaged straight away so that they don’t become disenchanted with their new workplace and make a decision to move on as soon as they spot the first chance.

So with that in mind, let’s take a look at ideas that, if they are not already, could adopted in the workplace to make sure your new recruits don’t disappear as soon as they spy the chance.

Engaging New Recruits In Your Workplace

1.Start engaging new recruits immediately

No, not from their first day at work. Your newly recruited school leaver, student or graduate wants to feel a part of your team as soon as you inform them they have got the job – even if that job might not actually start for a few weeks to come.

As soon as you have told your candidate they have got the job, send them any paperwork or information about your company that might make their first few days easier. If there’s a uniform for your firm, why not invite your new recruit in to get them measured up so that they can arrive on their first day both looking part and feeling the part. Your new recruit will already be feeling like a fish out of water on their first day; don’t make them look like a fish out of water by letting them be dressed differently to everyone else.

For some roles, such as graduate programmes, your new young staff could be relocating, specifically to begin their career with your company. Or you could have seasonal work on offer for students looking for summer work, for example. Where relocation is involved, perhaps the offer of some type of support would be welcome – suggestions for suitable areas, reputable estate agents and transport links, for example.

Other types of communication could be in the form of an email, letter or phone call from a direct superior. A welcome chat where your new recruit could ask any questions that might have cropped up since you offered them the role. And perhaps a map of your company’s layout and photos of key people within the company – and where they fit into the company – could be useful, too.

Anything helpful you can do before your new member of staff arrives on the first day will help them to know you are waiting for them and when they do arrive, they are going to be valued and looked after.

2.Ask for feedback from your new recruit on a regular basis

Even if you have an appraisals system, don’t just wait until appraisal time to sit down with your new member of staff. The wait for this meeting could seem like a lifetime to new recruits. Ask your new recruits on a regular basis for feedback – how are they settling in, what are they finding easy or difficult. This can be done in the form of a formal sit down in private but it can also be an informal stop in the corridor; a quick, ‘How are you doing?’

All employees want to feel valued and challenged, even brand new ones, and if they are feeling a bit lost during their first few weeks, with no one to hold their hand, this can force them to shut down and not feel a part of the team or fulfilled in their role. Ultimately, that could lead to you losing your new talent that you have spent so long trying to hook.

3.Engage new recruits by encouraging workplace friendships

New recruits can be engaged quickly by having a culture in your workplace where friendship between colleagues is encouraged. This can either be done via organised team activities where team members can reward each other or it can be done via peer to peer lunches where your new member of staff can get to know fellow team members in a more informal and relaxed setting.

When your new staff member gets to spend more informal time with members of staff who have perhaps recently been in the same situation as themselves, it can help them to settle in more quickly because they will likely find that some of the concerns and worries they have are exactly the same as those that existing members of staff had when they first started. The important point here is, your new recruit will then feel it is perfectly normal to have these dips in confidence or particular worries and it will help them to settle into your company culture much quicker.

4.Engage new recruits by drawing up a career plan together

As new recruits join your company in whatever type of role, sitting down together to discuss a career plan will show young staff that they are not only valued within the firm but that also, you are looking out for them to succeed. This will surely encourage more loyalty from your member of staff because they will be fully aware of what you have discussed with them, what you are looking for from them and they will also know that you know what they would like to achieve.

If there is any training involved, both formal and informal, academic or practical, make sure your new recruit knows about this and what dates this training will take place. This way, they will not feel forgotten about or pushed to one side, and they will know the training will let them do their job better whilst also developing their broader skills.

Letting new recruits take charge of their own training also encourages independence and shows that, as a company, you are trusting them to develop their own skills so that they can thrive in their role for your firm. Giving your new recruit links to online training or pointing them towards professional magazines and journals shows that you value them.

5.Engage new recruits by recognising any achievements

Even if it is just a small achievement in their new job, showing your new young staff that you have recognised what they have achieved – whether this is a scalable result from a project, hitting a target or just general settling in and working as part of the existing team – will let them know that you value what they do. This means that in the future, your new recruits are much more likely to be engaged and try harder so that they continue to get this recognition.

Recognition can be anything from a rewards scheme such as ‘Employee Of The Month,’ a simple pat on the back and a ‘well done,’ or it can be a build up to future promotion.

As a boss or a leader, watch and learn what your new recruit is good at and what they are most enthusiastic about within your company and, where possible, begin to develop and encourage these skills rather than trying to make them do jobs that don’t stimulate them. Obviously, there are tasks in the workplace that just have to be done even if no one likes to do them but, where possible, if you can develop the skill of a new recruit where you feel it can help your company move forward, this can be a win win situation for both you and your new young talent.

6.Engage new recruits by being consistent and clear as a boss or a leader about what is expected of all employees in your firm

Yes, in this world of fast-paced lives, where employees are more ready to move on than ever before, this is where leaders can look at their own skills and their own company culture. Do your employees know that they are valued and do they know exactly what is expected of them? If this is the case, this will definitely get passed on to your new recruits as they go about their work, either by you or by their colleagues, or indeed, both.

Make sure your new recruits know exactly why a certain job needs to be carried out in a particular way and make sure they get the recognition for that if that happens. If your new young staff are fully aware of what achieves recognition and reward in the company, they will be more likely to work towards that.

Employees knowing what is expected of them is not just about leaders within the company dictating the rules. This can demoralise staff and have a detrimental effect on your staff retention ratio. Where possible, have a company culture where employees – including your new recruits – can make suggestions to you. This could be suggestions for training courses, for example, where a young member of staff might want to start specialising more. When staff take responsibility for their own training in this way, they feel more committed to the company because they feel trusted and respected.

7.Engage new staff by allowing them to be themselves

Allow your new young staff to be themselves in the workplace by encouraging their ideas. As human beings, we are all individual and unique and we all have our own take on a given situation. Having a company culture where staff -including your new recruits – feel they can out those opinions and suggestions forward. Where necessary, as a leader, boss or mentor, you can then guide your new member of staff so that, in the future, they can hopefully become the stars of your company. After all, new staff are employed in all sorts of roles so as to develop the future of any company – this can be achieved by encouraging your new staff to be themselves.

8.Engage new staff by involving them in bigger more innovative projects straight away

It can be easy to think you are doing the right thing by not giving your new recruits too much responsibility at the beginning and easing them into their new role. While this can be true to a certain extent, it is also important to make your new young staff feel valued and part of the team by involving them straight away in any big company projects that might be already underway or are about to begin.

By doing this, young staff get to prove themselves both to you and their workmates and they will also stretch themselves in a workplace environment, meaning they will learn quicker. Involving your new recruits in projects like this will let you observe how they work as part of a team and you will also see if any natural leadership qualities stand out during the process. Don’t forget, retaining your best staff is your aim so if you do spot any leadership skills in your new staff, have you got a system in place where they could perhaps be fast tracked into managerial roles in the future. Don’t just go through the motions with your new staff -if you spot a talent, how can you leverage that talent so that your company benefits and your new young staff member benefits, too.

9.Engage new recruits by putting them in a position of responsibility on a project

This doesn’t have to a huge, important project where the future of your company depends upon the outcome. It can be small tasks in the workplace or a team-leader-for-the-day activity. As mentioned above, this allows you to observe certain skills in your new recruit but also, from your new member of staff’s point of view, it allows them to stretch themselves and also take away that feeling of being the new kid on the block with no idea of what is going on around them. Your new employees will feel a sense of responsibility towards your company straight away.

Leadership is often about taking a step back rather than micromanaging staff all the time. If you allow your staff to flourish by giving them responsibilities, they will feel more engaged and your new recruits are much more likely to stick around in the future.

10.Engage new recruits by being consistent and letting them know you support them

Employees need to know that, as an employer, you are transparent and consistent and that you support them in their desire to progress their career. Don’t have your staff wondering which head you are going to be wearing at work each day otherwise they will become disengaged. They need to feel they can come to you with any work issues rather than fearing knocking on your door.

If your company has good staff retention because you offer lots of employer perks, be consistent by offering these to new recruits, too, even if they are temporary or part time. This will also make encourage them to be more engaged and part of your team.

In conclusion, engaging new recruits right from that very first time you inform them they have got the job, is a great way to boost your staff retention. An open company culture where all staff feel valued and part of a team works in tandem with this.

Advantages Of Psychometric Testing For Employers

by Andre on October 31st, 2015  

Introduction to Psychometric Testing

The purpose of this blog is to address various issues around employment and recruitment for employers looking to employ young people, whether they be school leavers looking to embark on an apprenticeship, for example, or students looking for seasonal jobs and part time work, or even university leavers hoping to get started on their graduate career ladder.

At all levels, recruitment can often be a timely and costly process – so, for employers, once new recruits have entered the company, improved staff retention is always a high priority. Over previous posts, I have written about various recruitment strategies that companies can consider, both for attracting the most suitable candidates to apply for jobs and for giving yourself the best chance of making sure your best young talent sticks around once they are working for you.

In this article, we will look at psychometric testing and its advantages for employers when they are looking to recruit new staff. If you are part of a larger company, the chances are you are already making use of psychometric tests as part of your graduate recruitment process – these days, larger companies are spending millions on getting their test completely customised to suit particular roles – and you may already have seen positive results in employing the staff most suited to your company’s culture. If you are not already making use of psychometric tests as part of your recruitment strategy, they could be worth thinking about.

Obviously, we are not saying psychometric tests are the be all and end all which can take the place of all the other recruitment strategies that you might already have in place. Indeed, some people debate their usefulness, at all, but for many companies who have incorporated this method, they say they get a more objective, overall picture of their candidates rather than relying on their own personal views.

Where psychometric testing has been employed as a tool for recruiting the best young talent into a company, those companies also use other means of deciding whether an applicant is suitable for both the job and the company. Depending on the size of the company, this can be application forms, outside references, exam results, covering letters, interviews and assessments centres.

So, let’s take a look at what psychometric testing is and why, if you are not already using it in your company for graduate and other types of recruitment, it could be advantageous for you.

What Does Psychometric Testing Measure?

First of all, if you are going to be asking job applicants to complete psychometric tests as part of their application process, you need to know what these tests are measuring. How do you know which candidates are best suited to your job vacancies?

Although psychometric testing measures a candidate in a variety of areas, the basic umbrella definition of psychometric testing is that it is a measurement of the mind.

Depending on the nature of your company and the industry you are involved with you might put more emphasis on one area of psychometric testing over another but generally speaking, psychometric tests measure:

  • Ability / Aptitude
  • Personality

Within these tests, you will get an idea of your candidate’s abilities, of how they work in given situations, what their strengths and weaknesses are and how they relate to other team members. Rather than just relying on the candidate’s appearance, exam results or previous experience, you can get a picture of whether a person will thrive within your company set up.

The ability and aptitude tests will give you an overall snapshot of an applicant’s ability and intelligence via numerical, logical and abstract testing whilst the personality test will give you an idea of how your candidate’s deal with certain situations.

So what are the advantages of psychometric testing for employers when recruiting graduates, school leavers and even students? Let’s take a look.

The Advantages Of Psychometric Testing For Employers

Companies of all sizes can utilise psychometric testing

Psychometric testing does not necessarily need to be reserved for larger corporations looking to recruit graduates. SMEs can use the method, too, as part of their overall recruitment strategies. Whilst it is important to make sure candidates are being tested for the right traits, small and medium enterprises might not necessarily tailor tests quite as much as larger companies. Rather, they can be used to give a more general idea of candidates’ abilities and personality.

Psychometric testing means you are not relying solely on interviews

Of course, interviews – and asking the right interview questions – are crucial to any company’s recruitment strategy but if you are in charge of recruitment for your firm, you’ll know that interviews don’t always go according to plan when you are looking to employ the most suitable students, school leavers or graduates within your company.

  • Some candidates could be absolutely perfect for your job but they just don’t interview well. This could be because of nerves, because of a lack of previous interview practice, or the candidate might just be having a bad day.
  • On the other side of the coin, some candidates could have lots of confidence or be well versed in the art of interviews and will offer a whole range of well rehearsed answers to your questions. Does this necessarily mean that person is the best fit for your vacancies?

Recruitment is all about filling your vacancies with the right people for the job and, on their own, interviews do not measure capability. Psychometric testing gives you a benchmark where you can compare results against other candidates who have applied and also previous candidates who might be thriving within your company. Introducing this type of test means you don’t need to sit and rack your brains, trying to remember everything that each candidate said in interview.

Psychometric testing saves employers time and money

Recruiting new staff can take up a lot of valuable time and can also prove costly, especially if the best young talent isn’t found straight away. Psychometric testing can save employers both time and money because, if it is used at the beginning of the application process, it means you are not sifting through a mountain of application forms sent in by people who might not be the best person for the job. If you work for, or own, a company where competition for jobs is high and hundreds or thousands of applicants apply for your roles, you will appreciate effective filtering methods such as this.

If you’ve written a great job advert that is going to tempt all those students and graduates towards your company, psychometric tests used early in the application process means you can quickly identify those young people who will best fit your company both through their abilities and their personality. In this way, psychometric testing can contribute to much more efficient recruitment because you are only taking those most suited to your company to the next stage of the application process.

Psychometric testing provides a true picture of candidates

Psychometric testing gives a good overall picture of your candidates – they give an idea of the candidate’s personality what makes them tick and how they prefer to work in given situations; how they work under pressure, for example, and how they work alone or as part of a team.

The very nature of psychometric tests is that they are difficult to game so the results you get from each test should be true results in that they show you what your candidates are really like in the workplace. This means you will also know not only their abilities but how well they are going to get along with other employees within your company.

Psychometric testing is fair for your candidates as well as for you

Psychometric testing offer a standardised approach to recruitment and it is fair for candidates because they all go through exactly the same testing process. If you have done interviews in the past, perhaps you have had days where you are not feeling to well or you feel a bit fatigued. This means students and graduates who apply for your job vacancies might not be getting the same type of interview as the candidates who were interviewed the day before, for example.

Psychometric testing also helps candidates to better judge themselves. It could be that a graduate who was very keen on your role realises their key strengths actually lie elsewhere so they can save you time and money by not pursuing their application. If you have found their personality really suits your company, however, you might be able to make use of the candidate’s new found strengths elsewhere in the company. In this way, psychometric testing can be a win win situation.

Psychometric testing can be used at any stage of the application process

A further advantage to psychometric testing for employers is that they can be slotted in at any time during the application process. Depending on the size and nature of your company, they can be used right at the beginning in the form of a fun questionnaire or they can be slotted in at various times during the day at assessment centres, for example. Some companies even run two lots of psychometric testing, at the beginning and the end of the process, just to compare the results and double check they are employing the right person.

Psychometric testing is about measuring skills and abilities, not just education

When it comes to recruitment strategies, many companies still place a lot of emphasis on education and academic achievement, as well as any previous work experience. Whilst this is valuable to a certain extent, psychometric testing can be used to plug a gap in that academic achievements are not going to give you a complete picture of what your applicants are actually capable of in the place of work.

Depending on the nature of your company, psychometric testing can give a chance to school leavers and graduates who might not have work experience or particularly fantastic grades but you might find, however, that these applicants are more than capable of doing the job you have on offer and they would shine within your company. Exam results alone cannot show you whether a candidate is going to thrive within your company and drive it forward in the future but psychometric testing measures these abilities.

Again, we can go to the flip side of the coin here because another advantage of psychometric testing for employers is that it can reveal to you if a candidate is over qualified for the role they are applying for. When you are recruiting new staff, obviously, the aim is to have the best talent stick around to contribute to the future success of the company. If a candidate who is overqualified for the role is offered the job then that person is soon going to become bored and unfulfilled in the workplace and, chances are, they will soon have itchy feet and want to move on. This is clearly not good for your staff retention and you will have to go through the whole recruitment process all over again; time and money that can be better used elsewhere in the company.

Can protect and develop the culture of your workplace

Recruitment is not just about hiring young people who have demonstrated they can do the job. Whilst this is obviously a key requirement, you also need to know how well the candidate will fit in with the rest of the team already working for you and how they will operate within your company’s culture. Someone who prefers to work alone in a quiet atmosphere, for example, is not going to feel fulfilled or work to their full potential if your company thrives in a fast moving environment which relies heavily on teamwork.

Psychometric testing can help do this both with the personality test and the other tests because you will get an idea of how that person works and what motivates them.

Also, staff retention can be a problem for companies of all sizes but psychometric testing becomes an advantage for employers because, in theory, the test results will guide you in employing the right person for the job – someone who is going to feel challenged and fulfilled whilst also thriving in your company’s culture, whatever type of culture that may be.

Depending on the size of your company and the amount of money you have available for staff recruitment, psychometric tests can be customised to meet your company’s specific requirements and complement other parts of the recruitment process so that you can maintain the company’s culture. As a recruiter you obviously want to find people who share your company’s values and who will strengthen that culture rather than go against it or weaken it.

Psychometric testing encourages consistency in recruitment

Last, but certainly not least, is the advantage that psychometric tests encourage consistency and standardisation when when you are looking to hire new staff. As I said above, every candidate is given exactly the same tests and you can use this as a benchmark.

Whilst other aspects of recruitment and your company’s application process are certainly valid, references are from outside your company and a candidate’s previous workplace might not have had the same values as your own workplace. The previous company might also have been looking for different requirements from their employee.

Covering letters and CVs, whilst they offer clues about previous experience, employment and achievements, are always carefully prepared and have usually been checked and double-checked. These can only offer a clue as to how your candidates will operate in your particular environment.

Psychometric testing removes bias from that area of your recruitment strategy.

How To Get The Best Out Of Psychometric Testing For The Benefit Of Your Company And Your Job Candidates

So, now we’ve looked at all the advantages of psychometric testing for employers, let’s summarise and take a quick look at some points to note if you want to implement this method to your recruitment process. Although psychometric testing is a scientific process, it is not a faultless system so here are some points to bear in mind:

  • As a recruiter or employer, you need to be able to utilise psychometric properly and be fully aware of what particular tests are showing you. The tests must be suitable for your company, otherwise the results you get will be interpreted incorrectly and you will end up with the wrong people in the wrong jobs. This is not good for your staff retention and not good for the candidates involved.
  • Where possible, allow for nerves from your candidates. Depending on the type of company you are, your job might be the dream job for some of your applicants and their nerves could be getting in the way of them completing tests quickly and efficiently. Psychometric testing is indeed scientific and standardised – but human beings are human beings.
  • Allow for the fact that some candidates might not have any previous experience of psychometric testing. For graduate careers, chances are, most of your applicants have had quite a bit of preparation and practice. However, some candidates will be facing this system for the first time and will have no idea what to expect.

So the key to getting the most out of psychometric testing and making sure that there are advantages for you as an employer is to make sure you don’t rely solely on that one method. Have psychometric as a part of your recruitment strategy that works alongside your other methods. There is a lot to be said for gut instinct so if you have a candidate that might not have performed so well in some areas of the test but their application form and references are impressive and you really liked them in interview, allow that to be a part of your decision to employ someone or not.

Psychometric testing can be very a very valuable part of your recruitment strategy when utilised to complement more traditional methods of recruitment.

8 Challenges Faced By Employers (And How To Face Them Head On)

by Andre on August 31st, 2015  

Recruiting the best staff to your company is always going to be a top priority for you as an employer, whether you are a small and medium enterprise or part of a large, corporate firm. It sounds simple doesn’t it: You get job vacancies in your company, you advertise for new staff, you recruit the staff and then they come to work for you and remain with the company, happily ever after. Problem solved – in theory, that is.

We all know it is not quite as easy as all that, though, don’t we. The UK workforce, the setup of different companies, the changes in work culture, the introduction of new initiatives by the government of the day; all of these factors, and more, can contribute to the challenges for the employer in both the recruitment of staff and the retention of staff.

So, what are the top challenges facing employers today? Perhaps you can even think of other challenges to add to the list with regards to your own company but these are just a few. Let’s take a look at those challenges – and let’s also look at how those challenges could be tackled. In previous blog posts, we’ve addressed some of these challenges at length so we’ll be linking back to some of those posts for further reading. The following challenges are listed in no particular order.

  • Employer Challenges – Number 1: A vacancy arises within your company and after advertising it, you receive hundreds of CVs and completed applications…from completely unsuitable candidates.
  • Employer Challenges – Number 2: Completely the opposite to challenge number 1. You get a vacancy within your company, advertise it and you receive hardly any applications to fill the position at all.
  • Employer Challenges – Number 3: You think you have found the perfect person to fill a role within your company but then you check out their social media presence and start to wonder if the candidate if suitable after all.
  • Employer Challenges – Number 4: How to get your hands on the best young talent out there when there are so many other companies out there trying to chase down the same staff you are.
  • Employer Challenges – Number 5: How to retain that fabulous young talent once you’ve got it. It’s one thing tempting the United Kingdom’s best bright young thing to your company in the first place but what are you going to do to harness that and make sure those people want to stay around for a while?
  • Employer Challenges – Number 6: How to keep productivity high within your company. Are all of your staff working at optimum levels to drive your company forward and, if so, how do you encourage them to keep up that momentum? How do you get the most from your employees?
  • Employer Challenges – Number 7: How to improve employee morale. What is the mood like within your workplace? Is your team of staff motivated and happy or is your staff turnover and staff sickness level high?
  • Employer Challenges – Number 8: Encouraging women to apply for your vacancies. This is a challenge that isn’t faced by all employers – obviously it depends on the type of company you are working with and the types of job vacancies that might arise. However, some firms struggle to encourage women to apply for top posts within their company so we will take a look at this challenge, as well.

As I said above, you might well be reading this and thinking you could easily add a whole host of other employer challenges to this list but as E4S focus on trying to match young school leavers, students and graduates with employers like you, we are focussing on the recruitment of these people.

Employer Challenges – Number 1: A Pile Of Unsuitable Applications And CVs

As an employer, the chances are this has happened to you scores of times when you have advertised job vacancies within your company. The advert goes out and then all of sudden, you are drowning in a sea of CVs and applications. Whilst this might seem like the perfect solution, you can become disheartened very quickly as you sift through each application form, CV and / or covering letter, only to find each one relatively useless.

Yes, your candidates might be super enthusiastic in their applications, which is great, but maybe, for your particular job vacancy, enthusiasm is not quite enough. You start to wonder, “Did anyone even read this job advert?”

Well this is where you might want to take a look at the information that has gone into the job advert. Because as well as unsuitable applicants for vacant positions, another challenge faced by employers is getting an effective job advert out there – one that not only attracts lots of applicants but attracts lots of suitable applicants. What a luxury it would be to have the headache of trying to choose between a handful of fantastic, keen young people looking to work for your company.

Writing for different audiences and different purposes is a skill that not all of us has and, if you think this is you, why not get someone else within your company to either write the job advert for you, give you some pointers or at the very least, proofread what you have written. And if you really are wondering where on earth to begin with the whole process of writing your job advert, take a look at these E4S tips about how to write a great job ad so that it’s tailored towards the people you want to attract to work in your company.

Employer Challenges – Number 2: Tumbleweed. Your job advert falls flat and fails to attract any applications.

There can be a number of reasons for why your job advert has attracted zero or hardly any applications:

  • The nature of your company mean jobs are difficult to fill because those jobs are seen as unattractive.
  • Perhaps jobs vacancies are difficult to fill because your company is seen as dull and unattractive.
  • Jobs with your company are difficult to fill because there is a skills shortage in the field that you operate in.
  • And / or we could shoot back up to the solution offered in number 1 – perhaps you might need to look at how you are writing those job adverts and presenting the firm.

Recruiting new staff and advertising your job vacancies can be a time where you can sit back and really have a good look at how your company is seen by school leavers, students and graduates. After all, they are the people you are trying to attract. If they see your company as a bit dull, they’re not going to apply for your vacancies and you could be missing out on the best talent.

If you are struggling to find young people with the relevant experience or qualifications to fill your traditionally difficult to fill vacancies, some employers remedy this by introducing apprenticeships or school leaver programmes as part of your company recruitment strategy. This means you can train young people up to the standards you need them to be at. Internships or work experience programmes could also be an option where students are given a taster of what it is like to work at your company.

Employer Challenges – Number 3: The Social Media Profiles

To peek or not to peek, that is the question. And if you are going to have a little delve into the social media presence of your candidates, do you do it before they reach the interview stage or afterwards?

More and more employers are looking at the social media presence of potential candidates, these days, and it’s down to you to decide where you draw the line between someone coming to work for you and not.

This will depend on the nature of your company. These days, students and school leavers are more savvy about what they allow to be public on social media but for some roles, there could be more room for leeway where you can perhaps more relaxed about what potential candidates are choosing to share.

Employer Challenges – Number 4: Getting Your Hands On The Best Young Talent

You are in competition with all the other companies out there who are looking to get their hands on the best of the United Kingdom’s young talent, so how do you get in there, ahead of the rest. This can be a particular challenge for SMEs who might be in competition with the larger corporations.

If you are reading this article, there is a pretty good chance you are interested in employing young people – after all, getting young people into employment is what we focus on at E4S.

Offering jobs to students during the holidays or on a long term basis at evenings and weekends can be a good way to spot talent early. These days, a lot of students choose to stay on with companies they have worked with during their time at university once they have graduated. If you can offer quality staff development and promotion, for example, you might be able to persuade your former star student worker to stick around.

And again, how are the students and school leavers viewing your company? When you place your adverts for job vacancies are you appealing to them as a fun, forward thinking company to work for, or do you look a bit stuck in your ways as a company? Think about different ways to promote your vacancies – we’ve addressed this in a previous blog post – and add videos and testimonials of all the great young staff you have working for you. If you want to attract young talent, then you need to look young and exciting as a company.

Advertising your job vacancies on E4S is a great start because we have so many students, school leavers and graduates visiting the site on a daily basis. E4S is the most visited website specialising in undergraduate jobs and you can read more about this on our About Us page.

Employer Challenges – Number 5: Keeping Hold Of That Bright Young Talent

So you have gone to all that trouble to write a great job ad and you have promoted it in all the best ways possible to attract that bright young talent. Your labours have paid off and you’ve bagged yourself what you believe to be the perfect person or people for the roles. I’ve written in the past about the job for life being a thing of the past, with more and more employees feeling more confident about hopping from job to job but there are a number of strategies you can implement within your company that could see your new star remaining with your company for the longer term and driving the firm forward.

Small & Medium Enterprises – Traditionally, small and medium enterprises have faced the bigger challenges with staff retention because there is sometimes limited room for growth. However, SMEs can adopt a strategies to make sure their staff stick around, including a celebration of the fact that you are an SME. If you are an SME and are looking for recruitment ideas and staff retention strategies, take a look at some of these tips from a previous article.

Staff Holidays – What is the mood in your company when it comes to taking time off work? Is there a culture of everyone remaining glued to their desk throughout lunch hours and breaks, feeling the need to keep up with demanding workload? Are all of your staff taking the holidays they are entitled to? As I said in a previous article, rather than increasing productivity in the workplace, a culture where staff feel they need to be in work at all times can actually be counter productive and people are more likely to apply for other roles if they feel undervalued and tired all the time.

There are lots of reasons why staff don’t take breaks or the time of that they are entitled to and it’s an increasing problem in the UK. You could improve your staff retention by addressing the work life culture within your company.

Staff Development – Making young staff feel like a valued part of the company, whether they are doing part time student jobs or they are school leavers, is a great way to make sure they stay around for longer. If you have in house training and opportunities for more responsibility within the company, involve your younger staff in this, too. Where appropriate, the implementation of apprenticeships could be a good way to apply structure to this and get some help with funding, in the process.

Employer Challenges – Number 6: How To Keep Productivity High Amongst Employees

How do you go about making sure all your staff are working to the best of their ability and therefore keeping productivity high within your company? This is just another of the challenges faced by employers.

Well, we can go back to your company culture, here, with regards to staff taking time off. Ensuring that all your staff take a break when they are entitled to one and also making sure they use their full holiday entitlement means they return to their desk or workstation feeling refreshed. People who have taken a break also often have new ideas which can really benefit your company.

Staff incentives are also a good way to keep productivity high within the company. Again, if you are employing students just on a part time or temporary basis, you could also involve them in your incentive schemes, too, so that they feel a sense of belonging within your company. Apart from this being good experience of the workplace for young people, you might also find, in the future, that they stay with you on a more permanent, full time basis.

Employer Challenges – Number 7: How To Keep Staff Morale High

Employers often state staff morale this as one of the challenges of their job. And how do you keep staff morale high so that they enjoy coming into work every day or for every shift? Again, it depends on the type of company you are as to the details of what you might be able to do to improve staff morale but one thing is for sure, if your staff are buoyant and happy, then your staff retention is going to be much higher.

So what can you do? This is a similar employer challenge to those mentioned above. The culture and atmosphere of your workplace is likely to be the determining factor that affects staff morale.

Are you approachable as an employer? A good relationship between management and staff can do wonders for morale. Staff who feel valued for what they do for the company are more likely to remain with your company.

One way to do this is by offering employer perks. There are lots of different perks employers offer to boost staff morale and staff wellbeing and these are all great not just for staff retention but also for attracting staff to apply for your vacancies in the first place. And the best thing about offering employer perks is you don’t have to be a huge multinational corporation that can afford hotel breaks of high-tech gyms in the workplace. A little bit of imagination and companies of all sizes can offer quirky perks that also attract the attention of students and young people. Here are a few ideas for you if you missed our last article on this subject.

Employer Challenges – Number 8: Attracting Women To Your Posts

Yes, this depends on the nature of your company but if you are company specialising in mechanical engineering, for example, chances are you are struggling to attract women to apply for your roles. This is a huge problem facing the UK at the moment and one the government is continually trying to address.

Some jobs and professions are not seen as traditionally female roles, and for to jobs in any sector, there is a struggle to find women with the drive and ambition to reach those positions. There are lots of reasons for these issues, discussed in this article, recently. For solutions to this problem, it might well take you, as an employer, to take the initiative in the beginning and, for those roles that are seen as traditionally male roles, actively try to attract females into them.

Again, apprenticeships are a good option here. If you have female staff already in one of those roles, perhaps see if they can be a type of ambassador for the role to encourage more females.

So, these are just seven of the challenges facing employers today. As I said above, you can no doubt list a few more than these. But, if you do want to try to reduce some of those challenges, you can make a start by registering with E4S and posting your job vacancies with us. Your first step in attracting students and school leavers into your current vacancies.

How To Write The Perfect Job Ad

by Andre on July 30th, 2015  

Over the past few months, we’ve looked at many different ways of attracting young school leavers, students and graduates to not only apply for your job vacancies, but to also attract them into sticking around once you have employed them. Recruiting the best talent to your company can take up valuable time and money so you need to get it right. Whatever the position, be it full time careers or temporary student jobs, you need to attract the most suitable candidates for your job vacancy and, also, your company needs to be the best environment for your candidates.

So, in the past, we’ve talked about different ways of promoting your job vacancies online, we’ve considered interview questions and also looked at ways of improving your staff retention by offering employer perks that make your staff feel a valued part of the company. But what about that very first stage of actually letting everyone out there know that your company is looking for new staff?

Of course, this is where the perfect job ad comes in and, whatever the type and size of your company, clearly, you want to attract your next star employer to move the firm forward. Writing a perfect job ad is the very first step and it’s important to make it a worthwhile step – a quickly written job advert that hasn’t been well thought out can lead to a couple of possible outcomes:

  • You might get a flood of applications to read through – all from candidates who are unsuitable for the role you have on offer. Perhaps they don’t have the right qualifications or experience you are looking for. The candidates have no real information to go off and are applying blindly and for you, you are wasting time reading through application after application.
  • You might have a tumble-weed situation on your hands – Very few people – or even worse, no people – apply for your job vacancy. Well, if you haven’t taken the time to write an informative job advert, perhaps potential candidates are put off because they wonder if you are going to invest the time in them if they worked for you.

In the past, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, options for advertising job vacancies were limited to small newspaper ads or perhaps a quick post in a shop window. For newspaper ads, you were limited to a short word count depending on how much you wanted to pay and your job advert was very much based around that. These days, however, you have the beauty of online advertising – but so does everybody else, too. Your ad needs to stand out above all the others so that you attract the best young talent to your job vacancies. As well as visuals such as photos and videos, the wording around all that needs to be carefully thought out and well written so that job seekers know exactly the type of person you are looking for.

Top Tips For Writing A Perfect Job Ad

Tip Number 1 – Come up with a clear job title that also includes where that job will be based

What is the exact job vacancy you are advertising? You need to be clear and specific on this and treat your job title like a newspaper headline. If you are clear, potential candidates will know exactly what you are looking for and if they are interested in the position, they should continue reading.

These days, young people don’t want to have to scour through lots of irrelevant information and they could move onto the next job vacancy if they can’t find what they want from you. So if you have vacancies for student jobs in hotels for example, which hotel jobs are they? Are they seasonal or long term?

Also, where are your particular hotel jobs? If you are looking to recruit locally, a raft of applications from people all over the UK are of no use to you. And, if you are looking to recruit nationally, you can go into this in more detail in your job description.

So, “Hotel Jobs” could then become “Summer bar jobs – _____ Hotel, London.” And if you need to recruit lots of students for summer jobs, for example, then a catchy headline could really do the trick. “Calling all students…” And then you need to sell the position.

Tip Number 2 – Be clear and to the point in the rest of your job advert

Writing a great job advert is not about flowery prose. While you write the rest of your advert, stick to the point so that potential candidates know what you want from them. If you are going down the route of using clever, catchy language that you think might appeal to younger people, make sure it does appeal to them and doesn’t leave them wondering what the heck is going on. Make sure it matches the ethos and image of your company, too.

Tip Number 3 – Make sure your job advert flows

Being and clear and to the point is important – but it is also important to make sure all the information in your job advert flows in a logical way so that potential job applicants know exactly what you are offering. They should also know what they need to offer you in return.

If needs be, you can break your job description down into completely separate sections and use headings and bullet points to guide candidates easily through the nature of your job vacancy. This also makes it look easier on the eye and encourages those interested in your position to continue reading. One long, unbroken stream of writing can look daunting to many and you may put off potential young talent from reading on.

Tip Number 4 – Sell your company to the candidate

So you’ve captured the candidate’s interest with your clear, simple job title. Now you need to think about why students and young people would want to work for you over everyone else who is advertising job vacancies. Why are your summer jobs or part time jobs, for example, more attractive than those at other companies?

This is where you think about your job description and sell what is fantastic about your company. Maybe you’ve already got an existing team of young staff (possibly students) who love working for you. Do you offer any quirky company perks that are also offered to students or younger staff? Perhaps there’s a uniform or a clothing allowance included with the job or some specific training that could lead to apprenticeships or graduate roles. We considered employer perks as a way of attracting staff and retaining them in a previous post.

If you are advertising your job vacancies online via E4S, for example, we give you the space to highlight what is great about your company for particular vacancies.

Tip Number 5 – Expand on your job headline

So now, a potential candidate knows exactly what the job position is you are offering and they also know what a great company you are to work for because you have told them in the second part of your job ad. The next stage in how to write a job vacancy is to start to go into more detail about the role. Clearly, there is no one correct way to do this because each company has different expectations from, and duties for, their employees.

What is relevant for your company? If you are advertising summer bar jobs, for example, what are the exact duties of your bar staff? Will they work fixed shift patterns or are you looking for flexibility so that you can call on them at busier times? Will they be offered any training so that they can learn about the wider aspects of working in catering and hospitality? Is there a chance of a permanent job or promotion within the company? These days, lots of companies have a ‘promotion from within’ policy where staff are encouraged to work their way up. This can be attractive to students and school leavers alike, so include it when writing a job advert if that’s the type of thing your company could offer.

And let’s say you are recruiting nationally to fill vacancies at your company. If you are really looking for the best talent, not only do you need to sell the company to potential candidates, but if you are looking for someone to relocate, then you also need to sell your location to them.

Obviously, if your firm is in the middle of a large industrial estate or business park, although you can describe all the fantastic facilities there, this is not going to convince anyone to leave home. If you are offering jobs with accommodation, make sure you let candidates know this and also tell them about the local area and nearby attractions, as well as ease of commuting and neighbourhood facilities.

Tip Number 6 – Who do you want to apply for your job vacancies?

This is the part where you need to tell potential applicants exactly what you are looking for.

  • Are you looking for particular skills – perhaps with certificates or licenses to prove that candidates have those skills.
  • Are you looking for any particular qualifications such as a degree, A-Levels or industry-based qualifications that can be achieved in via Apprenticeships.
  • Are you looking for previous work experience in that field –  or a similar field – or is an enthusiasm for the post more than enough? Lots of students and young people are looking to get a foot in the door of the world of work and if you can offer them entry level jobs where they can gain a bit of experience (and perhaps training), emphasise this in your job description to attract more applications from them.
  • Are you looking for particular qualities in people? Able to work as part of a team, able to work under own initiative, do you need people who are friendly and outgoing and who can deal with your customers confidently?
  • Depending on  the nature of the vacancies you have, do you need people with their own transport or accommodation, candidates who are willing to travel around the UK or even go to work abroad occasionally?

Tip Number 7 – The Wage Or Salary

Applicants are going to want to know how much you are prepared to pay them in return for their hard work. Are employees paid weekly or monthly? Is it an hourly rate, is there commission or the opportunity to earn extra tips? This is all part of selling your role to candidates so even if the financial reward isn’t substantial (depending on the roles you are advertising), make sure you have sold the job to candidates. Perhaps the life experience and perks your job provides outweigh the possibility of a high salary. Summer activity camp jobs are an example of a situation like this.

Tip Number 7 – Never Forget The Call To Action

In any piece of writing, if the main aim of the piece it to encourage someone to do something, then you need a call to action and, certainly, with job vacancies, this is no different. It will be a wasted effort going through all the steps above and carefully writing your job description if there is no call to action at the end of it all.

Depending on the nature of your company, it could just be a direct ‘apply now’ call to action. For some companies it might be further direction with clear instructions of how to begin the application process by attending open days around the country or completing a preliminary form or attending recruitment dates. Whatever the case is for your company, it needs to be a direct and obvious call to action so that those students, graduates or school leavers who are interested in your vacancies know exactly what to do to take their application to the next stage.

Tip Number 8 – Time to proofread

Read through your job description. It might even be better to take a complete break from your writing task and return to it a day or two later so you can look it with a fresh pair of eyes.

Does your job advert reflect the ethos of company and does it attract the potential applicants you are looking for? If not, be ruthless and change it. If so, ask someone else within your company to read through it, too. You never know if you have missed something out – or perhaps that person could word something better than you have.

Teamwork on a piece of writing is invaluable so no need to take anything personally if someone else starts to suggest lots of changes. The eventual aim is to employ the best talent in your company and make sure they stick around for a while. Writing a job advert is the first step in achieving all of that.

Ask other people in your company to read through it, too. Would they apply for that job if they read your job description? Would they think your company looks like a great place to work?

Once everyone is happy…

And finally – Post your job advert

We’ve already discussed killer ways to promote your job vacancies online in a previous blog post and let’s assume you will be using online resources to get your job vacancy, or vacancies, out there so that you can find the best candidates.

When using E4S, you are given space to have a company profile where all of the information above can be included. Take a look at our typical audience – the type of visitors that come to E4S looking for work – and read our About Us page to find out more about our ethos, what we are trying to achieve and what other people have said about us. We know you will find E4S an effective way of advertising your job vacancies.

The Top Perks Employers Can Offer Their Employees

by Andre on June 28th, 2015  

I’ve written posts in the past about the challenges companies can face when it comes to staff retention. We are now in a culture where, for many reasons, the notion of a job for life is increasingly fading. Many employees feel the need to move on to other workplaces for a number of reasons including career progression. However, other reasons for your staff handing in their notice and going to pastures new could be because they don’t feel valued in their current role.

As we all know, high morale is very important in the workplace and when there is high morale, you have much more chance of hanging onto those young, talented members of staff you spent so much time and money trying to recruit. And staff who feel happy and valued in their roles are more likely to perform better, thus increasing the productivity of the firm. These days, companies are coming up with more innovative ways to keep morale high and boost their staff retention.

Offering company perks has always been both a recruitment strategy and a way of increasing staff retention and in the 21st century, as well as the more traditional perks, many others are becoming fun, innovative and quirky. In this post, we’ll look at some of the perks out there on offer to the United Kingdom’s employees.

Top Perks Offered By Employers Are Not Just Limited To Large Companies

The great thing about company perks is that they are not just reserved for the big, multinational corporate firms who have the money to spend on attractions such as paid holidays with all travel, accommodation and food and drink expenses paid.

Yes, those types of perks are definitely going to attract new applicants and boost morale within the company but there are also lots of other ideas out there that can be adapted to companies of all sizes. Just because you are a small or medium enterprise, for example, doesn’t mean you can’t treat your staff to company perks, because not all perks offered by employers are going to cost the earth. Quirky, simple ideas can also attract and retain the best staff by boosting morale and demonstrating to staff that the CEO values what they do.

Increasingly, companies are becoming famous not just for the products they offer or the services they provide, but also for all those little extras they offer their employees on top of their standard pay packet, breaks and holidays. More and more employers are realising the benefits and value of rewarding their staff and, get these perks right, and you could have a constant stream of applicants eager to work for you and a team of happy and fulfilled staff already working hard for you. It’s a win win situation for both employer and employee.

Does your company currently offer any perks to full time employees, part time employees or maybe even both? If not, some of the ones listed below could be worth your consideration. They are all extras that are in operation across some of the world’s largest companies and also smaller ones, too, and for some, it’s these perks that always get them listed in ‘best company to work for’ compilations.

Google, for example, are always right up there when it comes to innovative ways of keeping their employees happy. Google CEO, Larry Page, has the belief that when you treat people well, you get better productivity – and their performance speaks for itself. As a company, they have food on tap for their employees – served meals and a pantry where staff can use food to prepare their own dishes. Other perks include bowling alleys where employees can go and wind down for a while and they also offer massages at the desk.

This is just a sample of what’s on offer at Google and obviously, SMEs are not in a position to go out there and buy themselves a bowling alley to keep staff amused. But ideas can be adapted and scaled so that perks can be offered to employees.

Employer Perks

So what are some of the top perks out there which can benefit both you and your staff? And could you incorporate some of these into your own company?

Paid insurance

We all know how expensive insurance can be and how time-consuming it can be trying to find the best quotes. Some larger companies are able to offer their employees perks such as free car insurance, home insurance or even pet insurance. Pets are a much-loved part of many families so this one could be a good draw both for attracting new applicants and also for your staff retention.

Allowing pets in the workplace

Isn’t this a quirky one? Clearly, it depends on the type of company you are as to whether you have a suitable environment but, as mentioned above, pets are much-loved members of many families. Most pet owners don’t like to leave their little animal friends at home alone so if they can bring them to work, they feel much happier. Some tech companies operate a bring-your-pet-to work policy. Have you got the space or the ability within your company to allow pets? This is an employer perk that could suit SMEs as well as larger companies.

No-tie policy and casual dress code

Some employer perks have no financial outlay and operating a no-tie policy and a casual dress code is used by many firms, especially SMEs. This type of employer perk can be good if you are looking to attract students and young people into student jobs or training positions. Young people like the idea of working for a fun, forward thinking company and a casual dress code can give that impression. While this employer perk isn’t suitable for all companies, for those who could consider implementing this, there is no financial cost; just happy, relaxed staff.

Offering clothing advances

Particularly if you are employing graduates, students or young school leavers, if you are a company that requires staff to be smartly dressed in a more formal business suit, for example, a clothing advance can show that you are a company willing to help and support. To students and graduates straight out of university, the prospect of having a big (to them) cash outlay for clothing just to go to work can seem daunting and a clothing advance, or even paying for that first suit outright, can go a long way to making new young talent feel valued and wanted.

Investing in staff fitness

Exercise can clear the head and make you feel fresh and energised and a team of healthy, energised staff can only be a win win situation. For larger companies, some are in a position to offer their staff yoga and exercise classes within the workplace or even a fully kitted out gym. If this isn’t possible for your company, then it can still be possible to offer quirky or low cost employer perks that employees can really appreciate.

Investing in staff welfare and fitness means you can have a more productive, healthy workforce and possibly decrease the likelihood of staff needing to take sick leave. If you are a smaller company other fitness perks you could offer are:

  • Pedometers & phone apps. Whether it’s individual pedometers or phone apps, this can be done as a company where staff can not only monitor their steps but also encourage each other by having an online system where results are pooled for everyone to see.
  • A weekly running club. Again, this is cost free and can bring people together in your workplace who perhaps wouldn’t meet otherwise. If the funds are there, choosing a charity to support and paying for entry to organised local runs such as the Great North Run or local marathons can be a good incentive for staff to keep up with their running.
  • Bike rides. These could be a weekly event after the workday has finished and, as well as everyone keeping fit, it can help build team spirit. If you have recruited young people or graduates, chances are, they have moved away from home for their new job. Activities like this can help them to settle in and bond more with workmates.
  • Football or other sports teams. It can just be a regular kick around, 5-a-side or, if there are other companies in your area doing similar, perhaps a mini league. Team sports can really boost the camaraderie amongst staff within your workplace and can also help to attract and retain young talent as they feel more of a sense of belonging.

Games rooms

Some companies – both SMEs and large corporations – offer games rooms with arcade games or traditional pub games such as pool and darts. Table football or air hockey are also ideas to consider. Lots of people benefit from being able to take time out and just chill, away from their desks or work station and playing games is also said to encourage creativity and increase people’s attention span. Providing this space to relax also gives your staff members a chance to interact in a different environment and it can build team spirit within the company as a whole.

Food offerings

Food is more than just fuel for the body. It also encourages chat in a more informal setting and employer perks in the way of food can be really good for both staff retention and in attracting staff. Young talent out there on the jobs market can be attracted to your company, even if you’re an SME competing with larger corporations for the best staff, because of your foodie perks. Again, these give students and graduates the impression that you are a fun and modern company to work for. Here are some of the top employer perks when it comes to food.

  • Meals for staff meetings: Some companies have staff quarterly or monthly staff meetings, for example. Whenever your staff meetings are, could you incorporate food into them? This could be fast food with a bit more of a young, modern feel to it such as getting a delivery of sushi and noodles or a mini buffet.
  • Pizza Day / Doughnut Day / Cupcake Day Especially for smaller companies, a lot of time is spent working at desks and working lunch hours. As a bit of chill time where staff can just come together and talk about their week, some firms will finish earlier or take a longer lunch break once a week. In this time, staff can come together for doughnuts, cupcakes or pizza. Whatever everyone prefers – and it doesn’t need to be expensive. These are the types of perks where you can also include those doing student jobs or part time temporary jobs. It helps to make everyone feel part of the team.
  • Summer barbecues. Again, staff perks such as summer barbecues could be incorporated into staff meetings or more informal get togethers.
  • Subsidised organic drinks and foods This can relate back to the encouragement of staff to keep themselves fit and healthy. As well as fitness and exercise classes, some companies can offer subsidised organic or healthy drinks and foods. Again, this can reduce the number of days staff are taking on sick leave.
  • Free restaurants and canteens So that employees don’t feel they have to bring a packed lunch in to work and also to encourage staff to make sure they take a lunch break and fuel their bodies for the day ahead, some larger companies are in a position to offer free restaurant or canteen facilities to staff. With an assortment of healthy dishes, staff are refuelled and feeling valued by the company, too.

Time off work

I’ve mentioned in a previous post about British workers not taking the time off they are entitled to. When staff take a break, they come back feeling energised and many employers are realising this by offering company perks centred around time off. Here’s what some firms are adopting and maybe some of these can be added to your recruitment strategy or adapted t fit your company’s needs:

  • Unlimited holidays: staff can take off as much time as they need to. As mentioned in that previous post, however, there needs to be an existing culture in the workplace where staff are encouraged to feel that is acceptable to take time off.
  • Financial rewards: And how better to make staff feel it is okay to take time off b y offering financial rewards or other incentives to those members of your team who use up their holiday entitlement.
  • Birthdays: How about company perks where staff can take an extra day off each year (especially if that’s paid) for their birthday or other special days.
  • Early Finish: It depends on the nature of your company but some firms are in a position where they can alter their working week slightly so that an early finish is possible on Fridays, for example. This gives staff a feeling that management cares about work life balance.

Company Retreats & Getaways

Some companies own holiday cottages around the United Kingdom that employees can use when they book their holidays. This is either free for the employee and their family or at least subsidised. This is a win win because employees get a good break in quality accommodation, and they come back to work feeling refreshed and more productive. Also, many graduates come out of university in lots of debt so company perks like this could be a draw for them because it means their breaks are subsidised whilst they pay off student loans and overdrafts.

Free Treats

We all love a freebie and, as company perks go, they don’t have to cost the earth for the employer. Freebies can be something related to your company – the services you offer or the products you sell – or it can be something completely unrelated but which suits individual staff members. Some free treats can be quirky (but not expensive) that can make your company look fun and young – perfect for attracting and retaining young talent.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Doughnuts, cupcakes and pizza were mentioned above. Why not add a free beer to this, for those employees who don’t drive. A treat.
  • Tickets to sporting events. Some companies can get tickets to top sporting events and pass them on to employees but there can be other events you could attend as a group where the entrance is paid for by the company.
  • Make-overs and massages or other treatments can be offered.
  • Free gym membership for employees and subsidised membership for spıses. This ties in with the investment in the health and fitness of employees and, as mentioned above, if this isn’t financially possible, then running or cycling clubs could be arranged.
  • Free tuition and exam fees. If you want to show school leavers and graduates how committed you are to their future development and education, paying for future courses and training demonstrates this. Of course, existing staff will feel valued, too, if they feel you are committed to their career growth by encouraging them to go on courses.
  • Free clothing and footwear. These types of company perks can be good in the retail sector where sales assistants need to look the part as a representative of your company. Free or subsidised company clothing – especially in fashion retail jobs – can be a good draw for students and other young people.
  • Free oil changes or car washes. Yes, there are lots of employer perks out there that you might not have thought about previously. Keeping a car clean can be an unwanted chore for many people so if you can offer a car wash or a valet every once in a while to employees, this could be really appreciated by them.
  • House cleaning. Household chores can be difficult to keep on top of for full time workers, especially if they have a family, too. You can imagine how grateful those employees would be if your company could offer a perk of providing a cleaner to clean the house every so often.

Assistance With Childcare

Childcare can be very expensive and, for working parents, it can also be difficult to juggle family life with the work day. Depending on the size of the company, there are different employer perks out there that can ease some of the difficulties working parents face.

  • Creche – Some companies are able to offer perks for employees such as a free onsite creche.
  • After School Clubs – For parents with no one to look after their children between school finishing and the end of the work day, after school clubs are offered by some companies so that parents know their children are being looked after and are doing meaningful activities.
  • Time off (as an extra to holidays) for parents to be able to go to school events such as parent’s evening. These types of perks could be offered by SMEs as well as larger companies. As mentioned in a previous post, SMEs often have the luxury of being able to be flexible with occurrences like this as other employees can cover the absence and take their time off when needed, too.

These are just a few of the employer perks that are being used out there in the world of work and many employers value them as a way of building camaraderie and team spirit within the workplace. What types of perks are you offering your employees and do you find they help with both staff retention and recruitment?

Is Your Company Losing Out Because Staff Are Not Using Their Holiday Entitlement?

by Andre on May 29th, 2015  

As an employer in the United Kingdom, you will be fully aware that your team of staff are entitled to take annual leave from their positions and perhaps, you might even be aware that not all of your staff are taking off the full amount of time that they are entitled to. Maybe the amount of holidays staff are entitled to at your firm is the statutory minimum or perhaps you have different holiday entitlements for staff depending on their position or length of service.

Whatever the situation at your company, according to a recent YouGov survey, almost a third of UK workers are not using their full holiday allowance and this is a concern because it appears there is an increasing culture in the United Kingdom where work life balance and staff wellbeing is being neglected. And this is not just a problem for employers; it’s a problem for staff, too.

Why people don’t take time off work

What is the culture in your business when it comes to staff taking time off work? Does everyone use their full allowance and feel comfortable in doing so, or have you got people who you just know are going to be there, in the workplace, every day? If you have got a team of those people, there could be a number of reasons why they aren’t using up their annual leave each year. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons cited in the survey – and therefore, some of the reasons why your staff might not be taking time off work:

  • Heavy workload – This was one of the reasons cited in the survey as to why staff are not taking time off work. They feel like they haven’t got the time to take a holiday because they have so much to do. Some staff worry about booking holidays because while they are not in work the emails and the To Do tray piles high in their absence. They feel it is simply not worth taking the time off because the workload will be even greater on returning to work.
  • Felt they couldn’t take time off – In some workplaces there is a culture where staff feel they can’t take time off work and so they don’t even bother asking. Of course, this might not necessarily be the case but if it is made to seem like a difficult task – like the staff member feels they are asking for a special favour rather than their entitlement – many staff just ignore their ignore entitlement and come into work each day.
  • Worried what work would think – This is similar to the reason above but it can also be applied to colleagues as well. It’s not just all about employers and if there is a culture where it is commonplace that staff do not take all of their annual leave, those staff who do want to take their holidays might worry about what their colleagues would think of them when they do so.
  • Schedule clashes – This is perhaps a common reason as to why staff are not taking their full annual leave and perhaps you have had the same issues in your business. If too many staff want to be off at the same time, then employers can only give the holidays to so many people. Those staff who are unable to get those particular dates often do not reschedule their time off and end up working through the year. Clashes in the holiday schedule can be a particular issue for employers and employees during the summer months, especially when it is school holidays. Other schedule clashes can arise when a staff member’s spouse, children or friends can’t get the same time off from their respective workplaces or school so the holidays are not taken.
  • Don’t feel they need to take the time off – Yes, this is definitely not just a post about employers and the culture they create in their workplace. It’s also about staff taking responsibility, too. Many staff in workplaces simply do not take their annual leave because they feel they don’t need to take the time off.
  • Holidays can roll over into next year so some leave that for a longer break – Perhaps you have this type of rolling system in your company where, if staff don’t take their full holiday entitlement in the year, then they are able to carry it over into the following year. Some staff like to save days, especially if they know they will need extra time off work, for whatever reason, the following year.
  • Staffing shortages – This can be a problem for small and medium sized enterprises, especially. Staff are not taking annual leave due to staffing shortages and SME’s often don’t have the numbers to play with when it comes to covering people’s absence from work because of holidays. If it is a company where a close-knit team operates, staff often feel they don’t want to leave their colleagues in the lurch by taking off for a fortnight in the sun.
  • Not giving enough notice – Depending on the nature of your business, there might be times when you, as an employer, need all hands on deck and no staff away on holiday. Perhaps there are important projects where strict deadlines need to be met. Sometimes, if staff – especially new staff, for example – are unaware of this, they might not give you enough notice about their holidays and then you are unable to give them the time off that they want. These staff are then not choosing alternative dates for their holidays.

And it’s not just about not taking holidays from work that is a problem in British work culture. It’s the fact that many British workers can’t seem to take a break; a little quality time out from work to recharge the batteries. Perhaps, as an employer, you’re guilty of this, too, as well as your staff.

Even if staff do take time off and use their full holiday entitlement from work, these days, laptops, tablets and smartphones mean we are constantly connected with whoever we want to be in touch with. Many staff, when they go on holiday to the sun, still take at least one of these appliances with them and will, at the very least, check emails and reply to them. They are never fully switched off from work.

And what about in the place of work, itself? Are your staff taking a break from whatever their role is? During the actual work day, these surveys have also found that many of Britain’s workers are not taking a full lunch hour or the full breaks they are entitled to throughout the day. Again, if there is a culture of this in your workplace that has just developed over time, staff who want to take their full breaks might worry about what you or their fellow colleagues will say if they are away from their desk or workstation for what is perceived to be too long. They don’t want to be seen as shirking their respınsibilities. Other staff might not take breaks because they feel their workload is too heavy.

How Many Holidays Are Your Staff Entitled To?

First of all, as an employer, you have the right to refuse a request for leave if it is inconvenient for the company in some way. For example, perhaps it is summer and too many staff want to take the same days off from the workplace. Whatever the case is for the refusal, your company still needs remain within the terms of your leave policy and staff should be given alternative available dates.

Following a European directive, United Kingdom staff entitled are entitled to take 28 days holiday per year including bank holidays. Did you know that this is actually the lowest amount of holidays throughout the whole of Europe? British workers are working more days than their European counterparts and the norm throughout Europe is actually 33 days. The reason for this is that the United Kingdom has fewer bank holidays than other countries.

Some British companies work to that minimum entitlement whereas others – perhaps your company – offer other holiday entitlements in the staff contract depending on the role or length of service for example. If this is written in the employee’s contract, they are entitled to take that leave.

Famously, Richard Branson introduced a no-limits system at Virgin last year whereby staff who control his finances can take as much annual leave as they like. While this probably looks good on paper – and very generous of Mr Branson, of course – a work culture like the one that appears to exist currently in the UK, where staff feel they can’t afford to take the time off work for various reasons, could mean staff take off less time than they would actually do normally.

Other companies have introduced similar systems and maybe your company is considering introducing this type of system, too. For companies that do operate these type of no holiday limit policies, perhaps the employers need to take as much responsibility as the staff do in ensuring workers take a break.

Staff Not Using Their Holiday Entitlement – Is It Beneficial To The Employer?

It could be easy to assume that if your staff are not using their full holiday entitlement, that this is happy days for you as an employer. After all, you don’t have the headache of staff being absent and having to arrange cover. Your life becomes much easier because you’ve always got your regular team of people on the job, knowing exactly what they are doing and therefore, this increases your productivity, right?

Well, according to studies, this assumption is incorrect and if your staff are not making use of their holiday entitlement, it could actually be detrimental to your company in the long run.

  • Staff burnout – We all need to take time out occasionally and those people who remain constantly on the job can eventually burn themselves out. This is now a bad situation for the company and the member of staff.
  • Increase in sick leave – Workers who don’t take a break, especially if your company is the type of business where jobs can be demanding and stressful, can eventually end up making themselves ill. This could result in your company having lots of staff on either short term and even long term sick leave. Interestingly, the recent YouGov survey also found that, as well as genuine illnesses, some staff even faked illness to take sick leave because they didn’t want to ask for holidays. This is clearly not good for the productivity, financial situation or effectiveness of your company.
  • Increase in staff turnover – I’ve written in the past about how the notion of a ‘job for life’ is becoming a thing of the past. There are many reasons why staff choose to leave their current post to move on to pastures new but one of those reasons is because they feel they can’t take time off from their current post. So, if your staff are not using their full holiday entitlement, rather than it being beneficial for you, you could find yourself with a lot of ‘comings and goings’ in the workplace with valued staff leaving and lots of training up of new staff.

What Can Employers Do To Make Sure Staff Use Their Holiday Entitlement?

It’s all about communication and looking after staff by ensuring they take their full holiday entitlement. What is the culture in your company? Do staff feel able to – and comfortable in doing so – ask for holidays? Staff taking holidays is beneficial for your business because research has shown that those workers who do take a break, they come back into the workplace feeling refreshed, batteries recharged. Their performance is much better.

  • Stress to your staff that it is okay to ask for holidays. A healthy work life balance is essential and workers need to be made to feel that it is perfectly acceptable to ask for time off as part of their holiday entitlement. It is beneficial both for your company and for your staff if you stress the importance of using holiday entitlement. More and more, British workers are feeling under pressure to be constantly at work and this situation could be happening in your company, even if you might not be aware of it.
  • Factor in the situation that not all of your staff are going to be in the workplace at any one time. If this becomes a culture in your company then staff will feel relaxed in asking for their holiday entitlement and you will be organised for their absence either by employing staff to do temping jobs or by arranging for other staff to cover their leave. If the nature of your company is such that students and young people can do entry level jobs to cover staff absences due to holidays, you could have a recruitment policy where you employ students. This could be summer holiday jobs so that your own staff can take holidays or Christmas jobs, for example. There are lots of advantages for employers who take on students and young people.
  • Make sure all staff know the company holiday policy. Are all your staff aware of their holiday entitlement whilst working at your company? Make it a focal point in your business so that, not only are they aware of how many days they are allowed to take, they are also made to feel that it is acceptable to ask for those days. A visible diary – either physical or online, which shows which staff are on holiday and when not only makes the idea of using holiday entitlement acceptable but it also encourages staff to choose alternative dates if there are other people off on the dates they wanted.
  • Can you cater for individual needs? A good employer relationship with staff means they will be comfortable in asking for particular requirements. Larger companies might find this easier than others as there are lots of other people to cover absence but SME’s can also offer flexibility, too.
  • Keep staff informed about leave – If holiday entitlement is a focal point of your company then open communication about taking holidays should promote more understanding. As mentioned above, as an employer, you are entitled to refuse someone holiday leave if there really is a genuine reason why you need them to be in the workplace at that time. Perhaps there is an important deadline to meet or a company project where you need all hands on deck. If this is the case, being open about that and letting all staff know why they need to be there and why that’s important for their jobs and the company will more likely result in staff being willing to work around that and rearrange holidays for another time.

What Are The Benefits To Your Company When Staff Use Holiday Entitlement?

It’s a win-win situation when your staff take their full annual leave. After a break, whether it’s a break in the sun or just some time out, most staff are refocussed when they return to work and they feel re-energised.

This means all that young talent you harnessed via apprenticeships, or through graduate programmes, for example, is more likely to stay around in your company for a while longer. A break means they should continue to have all of those innovative ideas that you employed them for in the first place and they will feel happier and valued at work.

Taking time out, both you and your staff, is vital for well-being and for your mental health and your company will benefit in the long run if all staff are encouraged to take their holidays.

Youth Employment UK – Is The System Letting Young People Down?

by Andre on April 23rd, 2015  

As the UK general elections draw ever nearer, the various political parties are outlining their manifestos and, as is the norm, employment figures and the state of the British economy are one of the main points that are hammered home by each party, whether in a negative or a positive light.

In my previous post we looked at the current state of the gender pay gap in the United Kingdom and looked at both the positive and the negative reasoning behind the facts stated. As Mark Twain remarked:

“Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.”

The facts are there and politicians will happily share these but the statistics will be used to benefit their party manifestos.

In this blog post, we will have a look at young people in the workplace. Youth unemployment in the United Kingdom is often on the agenda and, as an employer, maybe you have existing systems in place to make sure you are employing or training young people. Or maybe you are aware there is more room in your company for creating more graduate jobs or student jobs, for example, and are considering your recruitment strategy for getting more young people on board and being a part of your team.

As E4S are a company that focus on getting young people into work, chances are, if you are reading this now, you are interested in employing young people.

Youth Employment UK – Are Young People Being Let Down By The System?

The jobs market is looking rosy in the United Kingdom at the moment. As I mentioned in a previous post about the outlook for 2015 for the jobs market, the prediction was for more full time jobs than part time jobs and short term temporary jobs to be available and, as the year progresses, it certainly looks like that is the case.

Lots of new jobs out there means lots more young people can benefit from the vacancies and get themselves into the careers they are looking to go into, right?

But are young people – students, graduates and school leavers – benefitting from the number of jobs available on the market right now? Are they benefiting at all or are they being let down by, or even left behind, by the current systems that are in place to get people into full time employment?

Yes, the full time vacancies are there – in some sectors, there are more specialist skilled vacancies than there are people to fill them, according to some reports – but are young people being given the tools, qualifications and opportunities to help fill those vacancies and drive the British economy forward through the 21st century?

What young people can do to help themselves get into employment

Depending on the qualifications they are studying for, whilst at university, many students will do internships and other work experience placements in the hope of giving themselves a better chance of securing the graduate jobs they dream of when they qualify. Perhaps your company runs similar programmes and maybe you have even offered graduate jobs to those working with you for after they qualify.

Other students take on part time student jobs whilst they are at university. Student jobs are taken on for many reasons; to help fund studies, to help fund general living costs and socialising, to pay for travel and also, to build up work experience and transferable skills that they can hopefully take with them into future graduate positions.

Employers place a whole variety of jobs that might be suitable for students and young people on the E4S website; from seasonal work such as temporary events jobs, hotel jobs and supermarket jobs to full time roles that will suit graduates and school leavers looking to build a career.

I’ve written in the past about how employers can benefit students and young people by offering temporary holiday jobs such as summer jobs or Christmas work and it’s a win win situation. Young people have a lot to offer, they can often bring new and innovative ideas to your firm and inject new life into ongoing projects. And naturally, as an employer, you have then got the chance to harness any young talent you spot and develop that to the benefit of your company.

What is the reality for many of the United Kingdom’s young people?

At the moment, not all young people are benefitting from there being more jobs available across the United Kingdom. This is not just the case for school leavers but also for graduates, too. Many young graduates struggling to get graduate jobs find themselves at the Job Centre where they are then finding themselves sent to jobs that are not what they are looking for.

Do you have experiences of this as an employer where you have taken on young people recruited from the Job Centre? Perhaps it has been beneficial for you but one concern is that by having this system, the United Kingdom’s young people are not being given the opportunity to flourish in their areas of expertise.

Yes, unemployment figures go down if there are so many people in work but is this a long term solution for both reducing youth unemployment and also for benefitting the future economic growth of the United Kingdom? Young school leavers and graduates are likely to find jobs more rewarding if they themselves have chosen to apply for that particular role because it’s in a field where they really want to work. They are also more likely to stick around for longer and feel more loyal to the company; a benefit for your staff retention figures and therefore your firm.

And surely, as employers you also benefit because you have happy recruits who want to be there, working for your company, rather than having to be there because they risk losing state benefits otherwise. If you have unfulfilled, unhappy staff, both they and you are failing to benefit and in the future, the long term growth of the British economy could be held back, also.

2015 General Elections – What do the different political parties have in store for employers?

So, with elections looming large, what have the different political parties got in their respective manifestos that is going to affect you as an employer? Hopefully, lots of benefits that will assist both you and the high levels of youth unemployment that exist in some areas of the United Kingdom.

Youth Unemployment

  • The Labour Party have said they will tackle youth unemployment by sending those who have been unemployed for more than one year to a paid starter job. If this is not taken, that person will lose their benefits.
  • The Conservatives have said they are going to create an extra 2 million jobs in the next parliament should they be elected. They will also create three million new apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are increasingly seen as a way of investing in young people, giving them the skills they need to work in particular industries. You can click here to read more about apprenticeships if your company is not already using them as part of their recruitment strategy.
  • The Liberal Democrats have also said they will invest more in the expansion of apprenticeships and will go further by developing national colleges for vocational skills. If you are an employer in a firm that is in a field where there is a skills shortage, perhaps your company would benefit from being able to choose from more young people with relevant vocational training. You can read more here about why employers can benefit from the implementation of apprenticeships.

National Minimum Wage

Both Conservative and Labour have said they will raise the National Minimum Wage to £8 per hour by the end of the decade. This will hopefully encourage more people into the workplace and make those already in the workplace, working for the National Minimum Wage, feel more valued.

As an employer, it depends what industry you are working in, but maybe you have staff working for you who are earning the National Minimum Wage. Young people will obviously benefit financially but we will have to wait for the outcome of the general election before we know how this would be funded and how this would affect your company as an employer.

Benefitting Young People In The Workplace

So, getting young people into the workplace and onto their respective career ladders continues to be an issue within the British jobs market and for the British economy. In the long term, the British economy needs to remain up there and competitive with other world economies and to do this, young people need to be in the workplace doing jobs and careers which match their skills and aspirations.

For some industries, such as electronics and engineering careers for example, it remains a struggle to get qualified people into those positions. The Liberal Democrats have said they would like to see immigration policies that help fill those vacancies but we also need British students and graduates coming through and qualifying to fill those roles, too.

And perhaps the situation is not so bad as it seems for this field of work when it comes to filling roles. According to this point of view put forward in Electronics Weekly, now is a great time to be looking for careers in this area. It says there are more job vacancies because the field is experiencing a period of growth and therefore there are more roles in design, manufacturing and services available – this is an ideal situation for those with relevant qualifications who are looking for graduate jobs not just because of the number of vacancies but also because it means starting salaries are increasing, too.

Traineeships and Apprenticeships

As an employer maybe you already take on young people on traineeships and apprenticeships and, depending on your personal experience of them, you might be fully behind them or maybe you are disenchanted with them. Whatever the case, whether you are a thumbs up or a thumbs down, political parties are big fans of them and they are here to stay.

More regulation in the future should hopefully mean a similar experience for all employers and apprentices in their respective industries and those industries that traditionally struggle to attract school leavers and students could become more attractive via apprenticeships.

Student Jobs and Weekend Jobs

Whether it’s part time work at evenings or weekends or temporary seasonal work such as summer jobs in events or Christmas jobs, school leavers and students benefit from time spent in the workplace and this will help them in their future careers.

Of course, as I’ve mentioned in the past, it also gives you the opportunity as employers to spot young talent before other firms do so. Many students and young people go on to develop full time careers from their seasonal jobs and weekend work. For those who are looking to go on and do graduate jobs and other work, as an employer offering jobs to students and young people, you have been a part of their development in the workplace and given them transferable skills that can help them gain employment in their chosen field in the future.

Advertising Your Job Vacancies With E4S

As an employer looking to fill your vacancies by offering student jobs and roles suitable for young people, E4S can be an ideal place for you to do this. We advertise many types of roles such as part time and holiday jobs, gap year jobs, internships, entry level jobs and graduate careers as well as roles for school leavers such as apprenticeships.

If you would like to place your advert with E4S, take a look at what we have to offer and some reasons why you should advertise your jobs vacancies with us. You can also read our ‘about us’ section to find out what we are all about as a company – we aim to get young people into work. Here’s the link to our dedicated employers’ area on E4S where you can find out all you need to know…

Women & Employment – The State Of The Gender Pay Gap In The UK

by Andre on March 28th, 2015  

With general elections in the United Kingdom fast approaching, the various political parties are doing the rounds, trying to convince us all that they are the best choice when it comes to running the nation. Each party will have their own spin on a variety of situations including the state of the economy, levels of employment and pay and conditions. Although there is a coalition government right now, made up of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives will no doubt be keen to highlight the economic success of the United Kingdom under the Tories and will be trying to demonstrate how they intend to continue with Britain’s economic recovery.

Following the recession, compared to other European countries, Britain’s economic recovery has been swift and, according to government figures, the jobs market is buoyant and is forecast to continue improving with more full time, permanent jobs set to become available throughout 2015. Back in December 2014, I wrote about 2015 employment and recruitment strategies and mentioned Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke’s statement that there are now more opportunities out there for those wanting to work full time and, in fact, there are now more full time opportunities than part time jobs out there.

On the surface, this is all great news for both employers and employees. School leavers and graduates looking for full time jobs and careers should, in theory, have a better chance of landing the roles they are looking for and employers, meanwhile, should have more job vacancies as their businesses grow. It’s a case of tweaking recruitment strategies to make sure the best young talent is found and developed in the best ways.

The United Kingdom And The Employment Gender Gap

So, the picture that is painted by the Conservatives is that everything is going swimmingly for the United Kingdom economy and the jobs are out there for the people who want them. But, what about females in employment? For many years, the position and treatment of women in employment has been a hot topic of discussion and, unfortunately, that does not look set to change any time soon; certainly in 2015, at least.

As an employer, how many women do you have working for your company? The nature of your company could well be a factor in the ratio of male to female workers, for example. Are the women who are working for you in full time or part time positions, and what are their roles within your company structure? When considering recruitment strategies and employing the best staff, asking these types of questions coıld prove both revealing and valuable.

Despite the government saying there are now more women in employment, other sources argue that this fact is almost irrelevant because those women are often in part time roles and poorly paid jobs that are not well valued. These same sources also argue that as a nation, Britain needs to act to reverse this trend if the economy is going to truly improve so that Britain can remain competitive in the future.

In fact, some argue that because Britain is not addressing the gender pay gap and the role of women in employment, it is actually slipping behind the rest of the world and the World Economic Forum Report appears to show this with its recent results.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) Report

When it comes to women in employment, the statistics displayed in the recent World Economic Forum (WEF) Report, for example, paint a pretty bleak picture of the situation in Britain. Not only is Britain failing to bridge the gap between male and female pay, the situation is getting worse and the nation has fallen down the rankings rather than climbed.

According to this report in The Guardian about the World Economic Forum rankings, Britain fell to 26th place in the Global Gender Gap Report rankings. 26th position is Britain’s lowest ever position and overall score since 2008 and it means Britain is no longer amongst the top 20 countries in the world. When the World Economic Forum rankings were first launched in 2006, the United Kingdom was in 9th position but it has shown a decline each year and now, in the most recent WEF report, Britain is behind countries such as Nicaragua, the Philippines and Rwanda. Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden are in the top four places and this was the case last year, too.

What Is The World Economic Forum (WEF) Report?

The World Economic Forum (WEF) Report is broken down into four categories of:

  • Economy
  • Education
  • Health
  • Politics

Although some critics of the report’s findings say the United Kingdom’s position in the rankings is low because of how child care and other areas are funded, the fact is that the nation still failed to achieve a top 20 position in any of the above categories. Employers, firms and the government can work together to improve the positions of women in the workplace in companies throughout Britain.

For example, Britain only managed a low score in ‘economic participation.’ Economic participation assesses the areas of women in the nation’s workforce; how many women there are in the workforce, are they paid the same wage or a similar wage as their male counterparts who are doing a similar role, and also, how many women there are in senior roles within companies. And this topic is seen by many as a serious problem for Britain because, with so few women in top roles, the nation is not making full use of the talent that is out there to drive the economy.

This recent article in The Guardian about why women are still missing out despite the rise in United Kingdom employment figures highlights the fact that although more women are in work, many of these women are in low paid jobs such as social care and nursing. Also, as they start families, a lot of women choose to return to work but on a part time basis. This means their pay is lower and often, they miss out on the training they might have had the opportunity to receive if they had been working full time.

In the legal profession for example, the majority of the members are women but yet, less than one third of those women are in roles at the top level. Also of the companies in the FTSE 100 index, only five company chief executives are women. In academia also, women outnumber men but they only make up 20% of professorships and fewer make it to the position of head of department.

Possible Reasons For The Gender Pay Gap

More women do jobs that don’t tend to be valued –

As an employer, maybe you are aware of these types of scenarios in your company or maybe your company or business bucks this trend and you have many women in top roles or highly skilled jobs. Whatever the case, there are can be a number of reasons for the gender pay gap. As mentioned above, many women tend to be in low paid jobs – they could be working part time after starting a family, they might be doing temporary work or are working in jobs with zero hour contracts. More women tend to do this type of work. Perhaps the government’s claim that there are now more full time permanent roles available than part time can start to speed up the narrowing of the gender pay gap.

Also, due to maternity leave or career breaks for whatever reason, women who are choosing to continue in their full time careers are finding it harder to reach the top.

A lack of drive and ambition –

The lack of drive and ambition by women to get to these top spots is considered to be one of the problems. Could this be the situation in your company with your graduate recruits or school leavers?

This is about the many women who are not reaching the top because of a lack of encouragement in the workplace and also because of a lack of role models that they can aspire to. If more women were doing these top roles, then there would be more incentive for females in less senior roles to feel that they can take exactly the same route and also work in those top positions themselves. It’s a knock on effect and companies can address this issue by looking at their recruitment strategies and also staff development programmes so that all staff are not only given the opportunity to progress but positively encouraged to progress. In some cases, with regards to staff development, maybe different strategies are required for males and females. That could depend on the nature of your company and the field you work in.

A lack of interest for certain professions –

And the previous point leads nicely onto this point. Some highly skilled careers which are well paid – such as engineering positions, for example – are traditionally seen as a male-orientated domain. Many young women don’t enter university to do degrees and other courses in these types of subjects. Nor do they apply for roles like this in high numbers. Obviously, this is not just a task for employers to tackle alone but employers in these types of fields can look at their recruitment strategies and, if need be, change them to make these jobs more attractive to females so that they are encourage to apply. By women not entering certain professions in high numbers, the British economy is losing out by ignoring the talent of a significant proportion of the population.

Is The Gender Pay Gap Greater When Women Reach Top Positions?

Although the government can point to the fact that the UK has indeed had faster economic development than other countries, Anne Francke, chief executive of the trade body, The Chartered Management Institute, says a United Kingdom economy where women benefit less than men in unsustainable. As well as stating the fact that women tend to work in lower positions during their work life, she says that those women who manage to make it to the top roles within their profession are still earning much less than their male counterparts in similar positions. The gender pay gap in these top roles, she says, is ‘alarmingly large.’

Research has shown that up until the age of 34, the difference between earnings in men and women is not a significant one. However, by the age of 40, the gender pay gap sees women earning 30% less than men and, in management roles, women over 40 years of age are earning 35% less than their male counterparts. Obviously, this is a situation which needs to be addressed.

It’s not all bad news for women in the workplace

The gender pay gap is starting to narrow, slowly, in some industries, but there needs to be a continued concerted effort to make sure this narrowing continues; and continues across all professions. One reason, offered for the narrowing of the gap, by lecturer and researcher in Organisational Psychology at City University, London, Ruth Sealy, is the reporting of figures showing the numbers of women (or lack of) in top posts in the workplace. This continual push for transparency, she says, is leading to the number of women on boards growing and is also seeing an increase in the number of female chief executives.

Saadia Zahidi, the lead author of the World Economic Forum Report says that more women are entering the workplace and the narrowing of the gender gap is a result of women entering the workforce and politics in countries all over the world. In effect, transparency in the reporting of figures and more visible high profile women, encourages others to feel they can likewise. And Nicky Morgan, Minister for Women argues that women are now making huge strides in the workplace and they should never have to choose between family and career. The extension of the right to ask for flexible working from next year, so that both parents can share the leave, she argues, will continue to benefit Britain and help to narrow the gender pay gap.

This increase of women in the workplace can be good for your own company’s school leavers and graduate recruits if they see a higher proportion of women in top jobs; especially roles that are traditionally seen as male orientated. And if more of your female staff feel motivated to apply for more of your top posts, this means you have a better chance of finding the best talent because you will have more applicants to choose from when positions become vacant.

What employers can do to encourage women into top jobs

It’s probably fair to say that some employers will have a more challenging task on their hands than others to encourage more females into their top positions. As mentioned above, there is a certain group of professions – and preceding qualifications that are needed to enter that group of professions – that tend to attract far more males than females. As well as engineering fields, these types of roles include:

  • Manufacturing
  • Natural Resources
  • Tech Intensive Roles

In these types of industries, the problem is not just getting females into top roles within their field of expertise but, first of all, creating a climate where women aspire to be in those top roles and, indeed, feel inclined to enter these types of careers in the first place. The projected image of the profession to young school leavers and graduates and, later, the culture within the workplace is all important. At E4S, we focus on offering advice and employment for students, graduates and school leavers and if employers can project a positive image of women working in what is seen as more traditionally male roles to young people, this can make all the difference.

Whatever type of industry you work in, how does your company utilise its recruitment strategies and staff development programmes to make sure young females feel encouraged to apply for top roles and move through the firm. Are there already policies in place or is it something that could be addressed within your company?

Obviously, encouraging more young women to aspire to work in top roles within your firm is not just down to you as an employer. These days, government initiatives are in place (and others will no doubt be developed) that companies can make use of so that young women are attracted to the types of roles you have on offer.

On top of graduate programmes for those looking for graduate jobs, more and more employers are getting involved with School Leaver Programmes and Apprenticeships and these types of schemes can be a great way to leverage the encouragement of young females into roles where they can have structured career development so that they eventually reach the top of the career ladder. For more information about why employers are benefiting from the implementation of apprenticeships and school leaver programmes within their staff development programmes, take a look at this previous blog post on apprenticeships and school leaver programmes.

Another way to encourage inexperienced young school leavers to take their first steps on the career ladder and get experience of the workplace is to offer traineeships for those who perhaps are not ready to commit to apprenticeships. Employers who offer traineeships could make strides in really encouraging young women into roles they might not have considered in the past. If your company isn’t currently offering this type of short programme and you would like more information about them, you can read more here about what traineeships are and why they can be beneficial for employers.

In 2015, it is unfortunate that Britain is still faced with a gender pay gap but hopefully, the not-too-distant future will see this pay gap erased and young school leavers and graduates will feel encouraged to progress to the top of their respective career ladders, and earn equal salaries while doing so, regardless of gender.

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