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Preventing a Wage Spiral: How to Balance Talent Retention and Recruitment Post-Pandemic

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The post-pandemic UK recruitment market is currently defined by record numbers of unfilled vacancies, with little sign of it changing any time soon. In fact, 60% of UK employees are planning to reassess their job options and find a new role this year as they desire a better work-life balance.

The Great Resignation has presented a huge challenge for businesses that now have to balance retaining skilled talent with attracting new ones. As workers evaluate whether to stay with their current employer or move on, a Totaljobs survey reveals that 33% of UK working-age adults wish to review the current benefits and options their role offers. Therefore, organisations must take urgent steps to help them retain staff and succeed in recruiting – all whilst preventing an unsustainable wage spiral.

Identifying internal talent

 Many organisations might already have the ideal candidate with the right skills and competencies for an unfilled position sitting just a few desks away. So, instead of wasting time and resources on external recruitment, it’s worth firstly putting the skills and ambitions of the existing workforce under the microscope. Here is where talent mapping can provide a clearer picture.

HR departments and managers can do this through regular check-ins and discussions with their team members to evaluate how best to utilise their employees’ skills. These check-ins can not only help identify the right internal candidates with transferable skills but also benefit the employees’ career development, making them want to stay and progress within the organisation.

Many forward-thinking employers are already implementing and further developing “grow your own” strategies where current employees are continually upskilled and offered development opportunities. Such investment in employees allows for employee career progression, and employer succession planning and ultimately creates a more resilient and engaged workforce.

Foster an employee engagement culture

Employee engagement plays a vital part in retaining talent. With the help of HR platforms, managers can not only empower employees but also boost their wellbeing and motivation through facilitating and advocating communication channels. This is crucial in any business but particularly important for those with hybrid or remote working models.

By fostering frequent communication with all employees and clearly mapping out career pathways, organisations can be better equipped to offer the right training opportunities or mentoring programmes and greatly benefit from a satisfied workforce that simply wants to stay. After all, giving current and potential employees few or no options to develop will invariably make them want to look elsewhere for a role.

Networking to supercharge recruitment 

In scenarios where an internal search isn’t fruitful, organisations will have to look into external recruitment. This is where company culture has a major role to play. Whether it’s through word-of-mouth or direct experiences, businesses wanting to recruit should be confident in the knowledge that anyone who comes into contact with their brand and its employees will have a positive experience and be an advocate. If a company lives up to its reputation, it might find its employees to be the best recruiters. With a bit of encouragement in a shape of a financial incentive, current workers can utilise their personal networks and social channels to spread the word of an available vacancy and on behalf of the HR team help candidates understand the perks and the culture. A recommended candidate is more likely to be a good fit, saving time and recruitment costs.

Beyond a good salary

Interestingly, a recent survey by MHR showed that for 70% of people a higher salary was more important than the support of a good manager or leader. Remuneration indeed plays a key part in employee engagement as everyone wants to be appropriately rewarded for their effort and time. However, managerial support in form of regular performance reviews and corresponding pay increases must go hand-in-hand.

Whilst salary is clearly important, so are the extra benefits. But free fruit and drinks are no longer enough on their own, so organisations must get creative. An Employee Assistance portal with online benefits, employee discounts, as well as mental, physical, and lifestyle support, could stand out. And so will the latest digital technologies and tools for younger generations that can make their work easier.

As UK businesses fight to keep their skilled employees and hire new talent during these challenging times, reviewing the whole salary and benefits package and implementing the right HR and communication solutions will help prevent the spiralling recruitment and wage costs.

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