Businesses across the UK are looking to improve their efficiencies and seek out opportunities for continual growth, enabling them to increase their market share. Employers are eager to increase their headcounts, by adding talented professionals who have the skills and experience needed to point them in the right direction.
There are only so many high-flyers to go around - and as such, organisations are waging war with one another to attract the top talent. The most in-demand professionals can almost pick and choose where they work, according to who is willing to offer the most attractive deal.
With this in mind, employers need to establish what motivates talented professionals, and what makes them tick. This knowledge feeds directly into their recruitment and retention strategy, as they try to bring skilled professionals onboard and keep them for the long term.
- Pay generously
A survey of HR executives conducted by Robert Half revealed that pay is still the number one reason why employees leave their jobs. Some 32 per cent of respondents said pay was the primary motivator for their staff, suggesting employers who offer high salaries will always receive applications from high-flying candidates.
However, employers should never assume that paying a premium for talent will guarantee their long term loyalty. If your organisation has hired somebody because it was the highest bidder, it should come as no surprise when the same individual leaves in the future, having received a more lucrative financial offer from elsewhere.
For this reason, many employers view remuneration as being just one facet of an overall rewards package.
- Offer flexible benefits
Flexible benefit plans may also appeal to employees. These allow workers to select the additional benefits they desire, such as increased pension contributions, childcare vouchers, subsidised training, access to mentoring, company cars and entertainment incentives.
Research conducted by Aon Hewitt suggests the number of organisations offering flexible benefits has risen from 62 per cent to 70 per cent over the last year. Nearly half the employers surveyed said they are offering benefits in order to attract the best talent and boost staff retention rates.
A separate study, conducted by the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP) found that 85 per cent of workers rate flexible employee benefits as being either 'very important' or 'important'. This suggests there is value in allowing them to customise their rewards package, according to their particular wants or needs.
- Allow flexible working
HR executives surveyed by Robert Half expressed the view that flexible working appeals strongly to employees. Some 29 per cent of those surveyed described the opportunity to work flexibly as being 'the main motivator' for their staff members. As such, an increasing number of organisations are allowing their people to work flexibly - whether this means split-shifts, customised hours or telecommuting.
For some professionals - in particular, those with young families - the ability to work from home or reduce their working week may be particularly appealing. If they are eager to achieve a better work/life balance, some may sacrifice the opportunity to earn more in order to gain flexibility.
- Offer progression opportunities
If your organisation is looking to hire the best people, you have to expect them to be career-focused and eager to move on up the jobs ladder. As such, it is important to ensure there are clear pathways to promotion, and the additional rewards that come with seniority and greater responsibility.
In a study conducted by Robert Half, 42 per cent of respondents said scope for progression is an important factor in job satisfaction. A quarter of those surveyed revealed they had turned down a job opportunity owing to fears over the potential for future career development.
If there is little prospect of vertical movement within your organisation, do not be surprised if this dissuades talented individuals from joining.
- Use a recruitment agency
One way employers can attract the most talented professionals is to use a recruitment agency as an intermediary. Recruiters have access to a wide and varied talent pool, including jobseekers and other individuals who are not actively looking for a new role. If your organisation is able to offer them an attractive enough opportunity, they may be willing to pursue it.
Recruiters can discuss issues such as pay and benefits expectations with both parties, and establish whether it will be possible to find a middle ground. They have the ability to negotiate on behalf of both the employer and prospective employee, ensuring mutually beneficial agreements can be reached.