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In this fast-paced and competitive recruitment market, we are finding that a one-size-fits-all approach to hybrid working, and work/life balance, fails to tap into candidates’ motivations. While hybrid working is a contentious issue, and we appreciate the concerns on both sides, a flexible and tailored approach may help to attract talent and retain staff. 

What is the current situation?
As we know, the current candidates’ market is proving a challenge for companies, where there are simply more roles than candidates. Employers are even losing candidates at late stages in the recruitment process, particularly for senior roles, where candidates are in multiple recruitment processes and benefitting from counter offers. It has been a time of re-evaluation and fast-paced decision-making for HR teams, but the looming skills shortage is of significant concern. 

What are candidates looking for?
What we are finding is that wage inflation, bonuses and more flexible working arrangements are key to attracting most talent in the current market, but not for all. Many high-performing candidates have returned from the pandemic with a different mind-set, with some willing to reject lucrative offers for the right working arrangements offered elsewhere. And, while most candidates understand that avoiding the office entirely is unrealistic, a better work/life balance, combined with a strong company culture that comes from being together when it works e.g. for office-based collaboration, creativity and innovation, is achievable. 

What does a flexible approach look like?
A one-size-fits-all approach does not work, and options should be available to all, if roles can accommodate arrangements and technical infrastructure facilities them. We must also consider that people are different, even within the same roles, and their personal preferences should not dictate working arrangements for all. Hybrid arrangements come in many forms that can be available to all and chosen based on the nature of the role: 

  • Working predominantly at home with occasional time spent in the office 
  • Variable (and pre-agreed) levels with seasonal fluctuations 
  • Working predominantly in the workplace with occasional days spent at home 
  • A 50/50 work/home blend. 

If evidence suggests that performance is unaffected and companies are continuing to thrive, flexible working arrangements could be the difference between a candidate accepting an offer or walking away. We recommend that all employers have an honest conversation with candidates at the earliest opportunity to truly understand their motivations and to avoid disappointment later on. 

    Suzie established Suzie Walker Executive Search in 2009 – a firm that has supported more than 100 companies to build high performing leadership teams, ranging from tech scale-ups to FTSE 100, FTSE 250, and global private equity-backed brands. In addition, Suzie has successfully placed more than five hundred candidates in senior interim and permanent marketing, data, digital and tech roles.

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