2015 On The Employer Blog – A Review Of the Last 12 Months

So, it’s that time of year again. By the fact that it is the final month of the year, December always seems to be the time that we take stock; take a pause and look back at the year that we have just charged through. Whenever new government initiatives are introduced in the world of employment, we blog about them and, as employers, you no doubt implement some and hang fire on others. And before we all know it, all the predictions and the implementations have carried us headlong through another 12 months, and we wonder where those 12 months went.

Next month will see us all in a whole new year with new hopes and predictions for the future of employment in the United Kingdom and overseas, too; particularly the employment of young people in the case of E4S. But, before we go rushing off into 2016, what happened in 2015?

Let’s take a look back at some of the employment issues addressed in this blog. Has there been any real change for school leavers, students and graduates in the world of employment in 2015? Has their lot improved or is it now even more difficult for them to find the employment they want? Has there been any change, for better or worse, for companies and for you as employers? Have you found any benefit to your company from any new initiatives that might have been introduced or do you feel they have actually made life more difficult?

A Review of 2015 on the E4S Employer Blog…

The E4S employer blog addresses a range of issues around employment with a general running thread on recruitment and, from that, staff retention. As with other years, 2015 was a year of of tips, discussion and advice.

January 2015 – Getting Those Job Vacancies Noticed By Young People

Right at the beginning of the year, we looked at all those killer ways to promote your student job vacancies. Having the vacancies at your company is one thing, writing the job advert is another skill altogether – and then, once you have master all of that, you need to promote your job vacancy so that as many people as possible see that vacancy.

But you don’t just want anyone and everyone to apply for your job vacancies. There is nothing worse than trawling through piles and piles of unsuitable application forms from people who don’t match your requirements. This is clearly time best spent elsewhere in the development of your company.

If you are looking for students or school leavers to recruit into your vacant roles, then you need to think about how you are going to get them onboard. Our January article gave lots of tips about promoting your company to young people – your job ad is also an ad for your firm and if you want to get young talent onboard, you need to convince your potential applicants that you are a forward thinking, exciting company to work for.

  • Tailor your ads
  • Use social media
  • Use video
  • Use companies like us at E4S who will be able to combine all of the above and direct that towards young jobseekers – those job seekers you are looking to attract.

February 2015 – The Correlation Between The Number Of Jobseekers And Staff Retention

Throughout the whole of 2015, there has been a lot of movement in the jobs market and also a continuation in the shift in trend from employees sticking around in their ‘job for life’ to a more flexible attitude towards their jobs and careers.

This means employers are having to become increasingly inventive when it comes to their recruitment and staff retention strategies; this is especially the case when it comes to keeping hold of the best talent so that you can drive your company forward with innovative ideas. These days, many employees are more confident about changing jobs in order to improve their lot and many are even undergoing a complete career change.

Why is this the case? Why are so many people so willing to hand in their notice and move on to pastures new? Reasons given by employees are:

    • A general change in attitudes towards jobs and careers. 2015 – and before that, too, saw more appetite and more ambition for new challenges amongst employees.
    • New Year Syndrome. Well we all get that new year feeling of starting afresh and taking control of our lives in all sort of areas. For some, it’s that time where you join the gym – again! For others, it can be that time where it’s time to make a change in their career. Perhaps you have noticed yourself, as an employer, that you sometimes lose staff at the beginning of the year.
    • More opportunity for progression. Are you giving your young staff, whether school leavers, students or graduates, the opportunity to progress – or at least a career map where they know progression is possible in the future? These days, employees don’t want to feel they are in a stagnant role.
    • Higher wages. Finances are always going to make the list when it comes to reasons why employees look to change jobs. Wages were set to increase through 2015. Did this happen within your company or did you come up against other obstacles that either prevented these wage rise or slowed them down?
    • A more interesting job. Are your young employees challenged and do they feel they are a valued part of your company? Handing different projects over to your younger employees – even if it is students working in a part time role for your firm – can encourage staff to stick around for longer and, in the case of students, you could bag yourself a future graduate member of staff.
    • Employees feel unappreciated or undervalued in their current role. Whatever type of company you are involved in, what are you doing to make sure your staff feel appreciated and valued in 2016?
    • Some employees are unhappy with current management. Again, it depends on the size and type of firm you own or work for but whatever the situation, have you got good management in place that seeks to actively involve and develop other staff members?
    • Employees would like more training and development. Are development programmes in place in your company where all staff feel they are progressing, either via promotion or within their current role?
    • More flexibility in working hours. Government legislation is already trying to address around rights to work flexible hours. On a more informal level, do you have a culture within your workplace where staff feel they can go to those in senior positions to ask for time off for childcare purposes or similar?

If any of these issues have arisen within your company throughout 2015, here is the article in more detail so that you can look forward to 2016.

March 2015 – The Gender Pay Gap In The UK

Yes, March was the month where the gender pay gap issue came to the forefront once more and, unfortunately, it is a problem that is not going away. The month in the Guardian, it is once again being addressed as December is the month that the Commons Women & Equalities Committee starts to take evidence around the gender pay gap. Let’s see if 2016 can bring more positive news on this issue. For more detail about the issues that were addressed in the March blog post about the gender pay gap, here is the link to the article.

April 2015 – Are Young People Being Let Down By Lack Of Employment Options

As with the gender pay gap issues that I wrote about in March, April was the month where I addressed young people (well, we are Employment 4 Students) because they, too, have been very much a feature of employment and recruitment news throughout the year. That looks set to continue into 2016 as in October of this year, this article in The Guardian highlighted a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission that warned Britain’s youth are at risk of being a lost generation.

In my article, written back in April, we were awaiting to see which political party would be the victor in the general elections of the following month so I summarised what each part had pledged in the field of employment – specifically, youth unemployment.

We now know, of course, that the Conservative Party came to power. They had pledged to tackle Britain’s problem of youth unemployment by creating 2 million jobs and, on top of that, 3 million new apprenticeships. Perhaps your company is already making use of, and even benefitting from, the implementation of apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are seen as a key way of getting the youth of Britain into meaningful employment so if the government do manage to introduce 3 million new apprenticeships, this could be highly beneficial for young people, companies and the British economy.

May 2015 – The Issue Of Staff And Holiday Entitlement: How Does Your Company Fare?

Yes, another hot topic of 2015 was the fact that the workforce of the United Kingdom seems reluctant to make use of their full holiday entitlement from the workplace; indeed, many staff are not even taking their breaks and lunch hours within the working day.

Whilst the initial reaction to this news might be to think that is beneficial to your company as an employer – all your staff in the workplace, working all the time – evidence actually shows the complete opposite.

Staff not using their full holiday entitlement or not taking breaks makes them less productive and this is detrimental to the productivity of your company. And aside from less productivity, it can also be bad for your firm’s staff retention as staff become more likely to be in need of sick leave, they can become bored of their role and they don’t feel valued; these are all reasons why employees leave current roles for pastures new.

Issues as to why employees don’t make full use of their full holiday entitlement or their breaks are often issues that can be addressed by employers. The article from May offered the following reasons for staff not taking time out:

  • Too many things to complete so no time to take a break.
  • Staff feel they shouldn’t take time off – this is often due to the culture in the workplace where if other staff don’t take their breaks, those who want a break feel they shouldn’t take it.
  • Schedule clashes – this is more related to holiday entitlement. Employees with families and spouses have to juggle holidays so that everyone gets time off together. If this cannot happen – and there are numerous reasons why – then rather than take the holiday, anyway, many employees just continue going into work.
  • Saving holidays up – depending on how you company arranges staff holiday entitlement, some employees prefer to save holidays up and let them roll over to the following year so they can take a longer break, perhaps to travel further afield, for instance.
  • Not giving enough notice – arranging everyone’s holiday entitlement in the workplace can be tough. There are always going to be popular dates where lots of your staff want to take the same holidays and this is impossible. Some staff lose out on the dates they want because they didn’t jump in there first and rather than rearrange dates, they simply don’t take the holidays.

There are numerous benefits to your company if all of your staff are taking their breaks and using up their full holiday entitlement. Here’s the link to the original article with all of those benefits listed.

June 2015 – Top Perks Offered By Employers

Again, the running theme of good staff morale and improved staff retention. June was the month where I listed some perks employers can offer staff so that they are happier in the workplace.

The main point to note was that employer perks do not necessarily have to be limited to large corporations. Small and medium enterprises can get in on the act by being innovative and even quirky in their ideas and these can be just as effective in retaining your best young talent as quirks that might cost a lot of money. Young people and students like to feel like they are working for innovative, forward thinking companies and these little perks can go a long way to creating and maintaining that image.

You can read the full list of perks in more detail and their benefits to your company, here, but suggested ideas that could be implemented were:

  • Paid insurance.
  • Allowing staff to bring their pets to work with them – obviously, this depends on the nature of your business.
  • Casual dress code rather than office suits.
  • Offering clothing advances – this is good for students and young people whose wardrobe might not be suited to your company’s dress code.
  • Investing in the fitness of your staff – this can be through gym membership, for example, or it can be something that is also a social event such as cycling clubs or running clubs.
  • Offering a games room – A place where employees can go to switch off for a while and wind down.
  • Foodie days – This could be a monthly or quarterly get together in the workplace where you get a take away meal or where staff can bring in homemade cupcakes or pizza, for example. Days like this are good for boosting staff morale.
  • Time off work – a day off if it’s your birthday, for example. Again, young graduates and students are likely to relate to perks such as this.
  • Company retreats and getaways – This is a perk for perhaps larger companies.
  • Free treats – Not all companies can afford to offer their staff retreats and getaways but other free treats don’t need to cost the earth and they can still mean a lot to employees in making them feel valued.

July 2015 – Writing The Perfect Job Ad

When you have job vacancies with your company the job ad for that vacancy is also an ad for your company as well as having to be an effective piece of writing that attracts the right people. If you are looking to employ students, graduates or young apprentices and you place your ad with companies such as us at E4S, your company needs to look dynamic and the type of place where those young people would like to work.

Writing a job ad to attract a target group of people is a skill and in July, I offered some top tips for making sure you (or someone else within your company, if need be) present your job vacancy to the people you want to attract. You can read the article in more detail for further information about each tip but the top tips covered, were:

  • A good job title with location information, too – already, your advert is targeted to people in a relevant geographical location.
  • Be clear and concise – young people do not want to be reading through reams of information in the initial job advert.
  • Make your ad flow – is all the information in a good order so that it reads well?
  • Sell your company – as I said above, make your company look attractive to school leavers, students or graduates. No one wants to work for a dull company.
  • Expand on your job headline – as with newspaper headlines, the subsequent article expands on the initial headline. You have used your headline to grab attention and now you need to go into a bit more detail about the job description.
  • Who do you want to apply for your job vacancies? Keep this in mind throughout the creation of your job ad. Do people need to have their own transport, for example or do they need to have any specialised skills for the role? Including specifics like this will mean you should get more targeted applicants.
  • Include some information about the wage or salary. Not necessarily an exact figure, if that isn’t relevant, but your candidates will want to know about financial gain for their efforts.
  • The call to action. This is paramount in any job vacancy advert. Tell people exactly what you want them to do in just a few words. ‘Apply now,’ for example is concise and to the point.
  • Proofread your job advert – or better still, if you are the one who has spent time carefully preparing your ad and you have read through it over and over, why not ask someone else in the company to cast a fresh eye over your work. If your ad is aimed at young people, ask the younger staff in your company to give you some feedback on the ad, too.
  • Post your ad – you need people to see your job vacancy! You can advertise your vacancies to students and young people with E4S.

August 2015 – Challenges Faced By Employers In The Workplace

There are many challenges faced by employers in the workplace these days; lots of them, ultimately based around staff retention. In August, I highlighted some of the issues that employers face along with some possible remedies for these problems. Do you face any of these problems in your own workplace?

The 8 issues highlighted were:

  • Unqualified or unsuitable applicants applying for your vacancies. One remedy for that problem is mentioned above – does your job ad ask the right questions?
  • Your job adverts fail to attract any applicants.
  • How much should you rely on taking a peek at applicants’ social media presence?
  • How do you make sure your company gets the best young talent over other companies?
  • How do you retain that best young talent once you have attracted them to your firm?
  • How can you keep productivity high within your company?
  • How do you improve and maintain employee morale?
  • How do you encourage women to apply for roles that have traditionally been dominated by men?

October 2015 – The Pros Of Psychometric Testing

It’s not a recruitment method that is going to go away any time soon so in October 2015, the advantages of psychometric testing in the recruitment process were looked at. Again, ultimately, psychometric testing can be good for your staff retention because, when used correctly, you should be able to spot candidates who would be best fit for your company.

Advantages of psychometric testing for employers are:

  • Companies of all sizes can make use of the process.
  • You are not relying on interviews to decide who to employ.
  • Psychometric testing saves the employer time and money – you are attracting the most suitable candidates for your role.
  • You get a true picture of candidates rather than a snapshot of their interview skills.
  • Psychometric is fair for you and the candidate so it is a win win situation.
  • You can choose the stage at which you introduce the testing to the application process.
  • The tests measure a candidate’s skill and ability rather than exam grades.
  • You can protect the culture of your workplace because you will get an idea of which candidates will fit in well when they start to work for you.
  • You will have consistency in your recruitment process because everyone will do the same test.

The article explained in more detail what psychometric testing is and how it can be best used in the recruitment process for the benefit of the candidate and the company. You can read the whole article, here.

November 2015 – Engaging New Recruits

And in November I looked at what employers can do to engage new recruits once they are in the workplace. Starting a new job, whether that’s a part time student job or embarking on a graduate career, can be extremely daunting. When you have been to all the trouble to successfully land your ideal new young recruit, you don’t want to lose them almost immediately because they don’t feel settled in your workplace. Many new recruits leave companies leave their company within six months of starting the job so what can you do to make sure this does not happen to you?

I looked at ten different ways of engaging new staff:

  • Start immediately with an email or a phone call before they even start work.
  • Get feedback from your new recruit, both formally and informally on a regular basis.
  • Encourage friendships in the workplace.
  • Draw up a career plan together so they can see a map of where they are going.
  • Recognise their achievements – even the little ones.
  • Be consistent and clear in communicating your expectations.
  • Allow new staff to be themselves.
  • Involve new recruits in new and ongoing projects.
  • Give new recruits a position of responsibility on a project.
  • Let your new staff know you are supporting them.

The full article regarding this issue can be read here.

As you can see, 2015 has been a busy year in the world of recruitment and 2016 will no doubt be exactly the same. In 2016, the difference is, we will have a more established government who could well be acting upon election promises when it comes to employment. This could throw up changes for employers and, of course, we will look at those here on the employer blog if and when they arise.

For now, we wish you a very happy new year and look forward to seeing what 2016 has to bring.

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