I am proud to work with a range of businesses. Across a variety of sectors, I support household name brands, as well as ambitious SME’s as they look to attract talent. Consequently, I will deliver offers of employment to candidates on pretty much a daily basis. I see first-hand what people’s responses are to offers and get to gauge what impresses (and what disappoints) people at role briefing stage. I have a pretty good handle on what businesses could do to maximise their chances of getting an acceptance and creating a great bit of initial engagement at the onboarding stage.
Naturally there are some things that large companies can offer that smaller companies can’t through spending power. Vice versa, there are often things that small companies can offer which larger companies are unable to match, often due to restrictions around policy and procedure. But what can they learn from each other? What 5 things could any employer instantly do to become more attractive, without directly spending money?
1)Be competitive with holiday days. Granted, you need to consider the staffing implications here, but companies that offer less than 25 days plus bank holidays are way off the mark when it comes to normal holiday provision. To offer anything less will likely work against you if a candidate has competing offers. In my experience, offering less than 25 days is usually the case in smaller businesses and is sometimes due to legacy of entrepreneurs and small businesses taking basic contractual advice and implementing government guidelines around benefits. Its often the case that they simply have not reviewed their entitlement but take it from me, delivering offers with less than 25 days offered is always a challenge and its always met with disappointment.
2)Offer flexible working. This may be harder for larger businesses to implement and we do find that our smaller clients are typically more open and willing to listen to needs here which is probably logical, but whatever the barriers are, a culture which demands that its people are desk/office bound between 8-6 is questioned and ultimately avoided by top talent.
An openly flexible environment captures much more interest compared to openly ‘non flexible’ cultures. One of our small clients does this fantastically well and leads the way in our opinion. At offer stage, they agree a pattern and working hours around what is right for the person (with of course some consideration to business needs to). We are briefed to supply full time, part time, job share candidates and no consideration is placed on working pattern through the initial selection process. Its adds a layer of thinking and complexity at offer stage, but the result is an environment that is always over subscribed with applicants and a business that has amazing retention rates.
3)Ensure you have parking. I have supported a few businesses which have grown so quickly that parking has become an issue. Whilst it may seem minor, this actually becomes a major problem in attracting talent and can make your business less attractive compared to other businesses very quickly. Peoples mornings (and evenings) are often busy and chaotic. To add in the stress of finding a place to park, might just tip them over the edge when it comes to being able to accept a role with you. Furthermore, do not underestimate the financial impact on your chosen candidate of you not being able to offer someone a space, it may be the difference in them taking an offer elsewhere over yours. Show that you are employer that cares and find a solution no matter what that might look like.
4)Offer childcare vouchers. You would be surprised at how many applicants ask at briefing stage if a company offer child care vouchers. This is a particular concern and blocker for talent working in larger organisations who may otherwise consider an opportunity with a smaller employer (as smaller employers are less likely to offer them). For limited financial impact (as we understand it), as an SME, offering child care vouchers as a benefit could remove a blocker for smaller local businesses being able to attract full time permanent talent.
5)Birthday duvet day (and celebrations). We have a few smaller business clients who give their staff their birthday off (on top of their holiday entitlement). What I like about one of these businesses in particular, is that this benefit has developed into a real celebration and treat, which has gone a long way to build engagement, loyalty and team togetherness. Ok they are a small business of only 15 so this is arguably easier for them to manage, but on every staff members ‘birthday eve’, the office is filled with cake and presents and usually a social event. At the start of the year each staff member has a ‘secret birthday organiser’ which is another team member picked at random. They have to spoil the person on the eve of their birthday and ensure that some fun activities and a social event is planned. The following day, the birthday boy or girl enjoys a duvet day. You don’t have to go to these lengths but its pretty obvious to see that it adds to engagement, team togetherness, understanding and collaboration.
I hope these ideas were interesting and helpful. What is a key consideration for you when moving role? If you are reading this as an employer, do you or could you offer all of the above?
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