What is a company without its employees? The heart and soul of every great company is its people and the most successful organisations are those which recruit the right people. People with passion, drive, and a shared sense of purpose. Recruitment can be the difference between success and failure. Between expanding or stagnating; being a leader or lagging behind.
Last year, we polled 500 senior decision makers from various organisations to ask them about their skills and recruitment needs. Even we were shocked by the results. Nearly nine in ten were struggling to recruit the staff they needed. At a time of increasing apprehension over productivity and Britain’s economic future, that’s a cause for concern.
Skills gaps have been looming for years, and are only set to get worse as Brexit bites, and the impact of the ageing population and long-term underinvestment in skills makes itself felt. Figures from the Office for National Statistics at the end of last year showed net migration dropped by a third in the year following the Brexit referendum, with EU nationals shunning Britain accounting for much of this change. The Local Government Association has also warned that the UKs failure to address the lack of skills in the workforce could cost us £90bn a year – getting recruitment right in this environment is absolutely key.
To attract the right candidates, businesses have to think about how they can make themselves more appealing. Whether that’s through flexible working, innovative training programmes, or offering outreach opportunities. A company’s values and culture and its willingness to invest in its staff are top of any millennial job-hunter’s checklist. Employers need to respond to this by going the extra mile – talking about their achievements and awards can provide the perfect platform.
The Princess Royal Training Awards (PRTA) honour businesses and organisations that create lasting impact by successfully linking their skills development needs to business performance. Many of the companies that won a PRTA in 2017 have already seen an impact on their ability to recruit top-talent. Susan Kane, Assistant HR Director at the University of York said that in an increasingly volatile higher education market, they had been able to use the award to attract new staff. “During a recent recruitment campaign a number of high calibre candidates said they had been attracted to the role because of the awards,” adding that “It showed we are excellent in what we deliver”. In the same vein, Janes Oakes, Human Resource Manager at Green Lighting said that the award had given their small business “greater gravitas in their industry “ which has been vital for attracting new talent.
There’s nothing quite like writing an award submission to get those creative juices flowing. It’s not just about receiving an award, but the introspection that comes throughout the application process. As Chris McLaughlin, Leadership Learning Manager at Ricoh UK said: “Winning a PRTA has encouraged us to add flavour and vision to our business strategy”.
This year, major UK businesses including RBS, Barclays, Mercedes Benz UK and Waitrose, together with a women’s refuge in Wolverhampton and a hospice in Christchurch, all showed us astonishing examples of training which makes a difference – both to their organisations’ success, and their ability to attract high- calibre candidates.
2018 is unlikely to be a smoother ride than 2017. In such a time of uncertainty, a small change can make a big difference. When the best and brightest are able to choose between different opportunities, it matters whether businesses have done everything possible to make themselves attractive places to work. Of course, many already are. If you’re one of them, and you’re already taking an innovative or unexpected approach to development and training, it’s time to share this with your prospective recruits.
The Princess Royal Training Awards are open for application until 29 March 2018. Find out more including how to apply here.