20 Jun 2024

The great hiring problem of 2023 is unfortunately lingering long into 2024

Whilst the rate of inflation in salaries and wages has slowed, good people are still incredibly hard to find and there is still a lot of competition out there in the jobs market, candidates continue to have a lot of choice and hold a lot of cards much to the ongoing concern of employers. Holding onto your best people is the most important thing you can probably do now but if you are expanding how do you then find the right people for your business?

Salary & benefits package

Your overall compensation and benefits package is key. Is your headline salary competitive? and what also comes behind that? 

Are you prepared to put a salary range on your adverts? This will focus people in on your roles and means you save a lot of wasted time for you and others if your salary expectations are wildly different. Most people may now scroll on by without a salary indication to hook them in.

Have you done some benchmarking in your sector and for the roles you are recruiting to? Being competitive at the top line is really important. You also need to be realistic about salary vs calibre of candidates you are likely to attract. Most employer will have budget constraints and as much as you'd like to offer higher salaries for roles, realistically you may not be able to do this. Consider then that you may need to be flexible with what you are looking for in candidates.

The benefits package will depend on the type and level of the role but even for entry level positions, having a good package offer is key - if everyone else is offering the statutory minimum, you might stand out if you can do a little bit more.

Are you looking for highly sought after technical skills? this is an area where basic pay has become increasingly competitive and these skills often command high levels of pay.

For professional and/or senior roles even small businesses need to be creative to think about what else they can offer to have a competitive edge. There might be some non-cash benefits you can offer which are very attractive such as flexible working and holiday purchase schemes - this generally doesn't add costs for employers but gives employees the opportunity to take more holidays when they need to for special events such as big birthdays, visiting family overseas etc.
Benefits such as company cars or car allowances, private medical insurance and bonuses are still very much at play for a lot of roles. Consider how any bonus scheme is structured though - you want to be able to fairly reward people but there is a balance between criteria so challenging that actually obtaining a bonus becomes impossible or your criteria are so loose that you pay out without being able to measure and manage the benefits to the company.

Hiring & onboarding process

Our biggest tip is please don't drag your heels. When you start out on your hiring process, set an estimated timetable and set time aside to review applications and to carry out interviews. Making candidates wait for an extended period between applying and next steps means you risk losing them. They either become frustrated with the process or may have other offers in the meantime.

Where there might be unavoidable delays, keep in touch with candidates and manage their expectations.

Make sure that you do scope out the essential vs desirable criteria for your roles. What skills, qualification and experience do you absolutely need someone to have in the role or what flexibility might you consider in order to get the right attitude and behaviours vs experience?

In scoping out your requirements also have an eye on setting criteria which might be considered to be discriminatory e.g. setting lengthy time served bars might disadvantage people who may have been out of the workplace for various reasons such as carers, people with disabilities, mothers etc. Not only might this leave you open to challenge, but it may also exclude some great candidates.

Where will you place your adverts? Do you have the right reach? Are you targeting prospective candidates?

Don't forget about your onboarding process. Having a chat on day 1 and then throwing your new hire in at the deep end is not likely to make for a long-term relationship, even for experienced, self-starters. Having some clear plans to bring people together and develop relationships and an understanding of how you do business is incredibly important.

Culture & brand 

Do you have an online presence? What does this look like and what platforms does it cover? How can people find out about your company values and ethos? Social and professional media is not the only way to do this, but it is an incredibly effective and low-cost way of developing your brand for people to feel connected with you.

About the HR Branch 

The HR Branch are a HR consultancy business specialising in supporting SME's with their people challenges, business growth plans and scaling up. We are not a recruitment agency; we only work with our HR clients, and we have a track record of filling roles for them as we know their business and we understand the challenges in the recruitment marker and how to bring in the right candidates. We manage the whole recruitment process in conjunction with business founders and directors to design the right roles, manage expectations on both candidate and hiring business sides, keep ongoing dialogue, pitch salaries and benefits at the right levels and help create the right environment for successful hires.