An engaged and happy workforce is key to every successful business, but can often falter when businesses go through periods of growth. A business which lacks foresight and planning with regards to recruitment can hugely damage company culture, employee happiness, morale and retention. Implementing a strong recruitment strategy means successful retention which will encourage huge efficiencies and increase productivity and ultimately profit for your business.

Hiring decisions are often lead by hiring managers as a business starts to grow but this is often unsustainable; whilst hiring managers understand their requirements better than anyone, there is often a lack of overall strategy, leading to inconsistencies with interview capabilities, unconscious bias, urgent hiring and slow/poor interview process which can lead to bad candidate experience. A recruitment strategy which balances the overall business needs and growth plans, with a formalised and consistent process which embraces the hiring manager strengths, should deliver positive results.

Here are some key considerations when developing your recruitment strategy:

1.    Strategic Workforce Planning

Strategic workforce planning requires understanding the talent your business needs to deliver strategy and deliver on objectives. This is particularly critical considering current workforce trends; an ageing workforce, STEM skills gaps, higher costs for recruiting scarce skills and changing workforce patterns and expectations. Setting realistic targets and getting workforce planning right, delivers significant improvements and competitive advantages.

2.    Succession Planning

Succession planning is educating, mentoring, and promoting current employees so that they can increase productivity and growth for your business. In many cases this can be far more efficient than hiring new staff. Promoting from within is at the core of any successful business and identifying the skills of your employees can not only open up opportunities of retention but also fill skills gaps that may be available.

3.    Consider Specialised Recruitment Support

Recruitment can be delivered by a centralised function (in-house), decentralised (managed by individual departments) or outsourced to a third-party provider. Each have their own strengths and weaknesses and it is down to the nature and needs of your organisation to decide which option is best suited. It is worth being aware that there are now a number of flexible outsource partners on the market who offer support with recruitment projects or elements of the recruitment process. For example, development of a recruitment strategy, peaks in recruitment activity, contingent hiring, day-to-day activity based hiring, employer branding or to support with large recruitment projects which require additional support. This combination of in-house and outsource recruitment is on the up, with almost half organisations within the UK using this method in 2017 compared with only 28% in 2013 (CIPD).

4.    Employer Branding

Every business has an employer brand even if they have not worked to develop one; this is how the business is perceived through the eyes of its current and future potential employees. It is fundamentally a term used to describe an organisation’s reputation as an Employer and its value proposition (EVP) to employees. A strong employer brand should connect an organisation’s values, people strategy and HR policies and be linked to the overall company brand. Honesty is key and will ensure a right fit for future employees to your business. To ensure you have a strong and effective employer brand it should be evident across all marketing recruitment channels and through induction, performance management, internal communications, promoting effective management behaviours and when people exit the business.

5.    Candidate Experience

Getting the recruitment process and candidate experience right has a significant effect on company’s employer brand and overall attraction and retention rates. Candidates who are unsuccessful but have had a good overall experience from initial contact to offer/rejection and have been given timely and genuine feedback, will speak positively about the business to other people and this contributes to building a reputable company brand on the market. As the market becomes a more difficult arena to source talent in and company social presence increased, the impressions a company makes on applicants can be a powerful tool for generating interest from potential future candidates. There are some simple ways to improve candidate experience; inform candidates of the recruitment process so they understand what is required and how long it will take; keep in frequent contact with candidates throughout the process and ensure regular feedback; ensure a strong close on offer or you may lose out; and ensure feedback on rejection is given, you never know when you may want to speak to that candidate again.

6.    Company Benefits

In the current market offering benefits which represent the individuals you recruit is really important. Key drivers for graduates joining your business in their first job are likely to be very different to your experienced workforce or parents with children. Should your workforce be majority graduates or office-based workers, you may want to consider in-office perks such as a canteen, free coffee/tea or a games room or financial rewards such as a bonus or commission. For parents or the more experienced workforce flexible working and/or working from home may be key. Having a flexible benefits package which incorporates relevant and rewarding benefits that is tailored to your workforce is critical to attracting and retaining the right candidates.