2020 undoubtedly has been a year that forced us to take stock and re-evaluate every aspect of our lives. James Carss, Business Development Director and Head of Executive and Specialist Recruitment shares insight into the trends we are facing in recruitment and the emergence of Pandemic Value Proposition (PVP).
Priorities may look radically different today
Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is an important factor in every recruitment process, and more important now than ever before. For several years’ employers have taken their own value proposition seriously. On a surface level that mean the addition of a few fluffy bean bags, cubby holes and an Xbox or two. The more progressive organisations have taken the opportunity to examine how clearly, they define and communicate the real benefits of why a candidate should consider them. Factors may be slightly more important such as alignment of values, career path, overall culture and reward structure etc.
In the current climate we are unfortunately seeing more people from certain sectors having lost their job, or at a higher risk of this occurring. This inevitably has an influence on what that person wants to do next. Priorities may change, and what they were perhaps looking for in an employer 6 months ago looks radically different today.
Another steep trend we are seeing is buy backs and counter offers becoming even more prolific. This is unusual as would normally correlate with a bullish recruitment, and we are certainly not in that. What we are seeing is ‘itchy feet’ and an openness of those currently employed to explore the possibility of a new position. There will be a multitude of reasons behind this, but a huge factor is a decline being attributed to one or more of the following:
- Increased isolation since working from home
- Lack of communication from the business on how trading is really performing
- No clarity on changes to business strategy and long-term planning
- Fear of losing job and/or being furloughed
- Survivor syndrome from seeing colleagues made redundant and/or furloughed
If you are reading this as an employer, you possibly thinking at this point that some factors are very harsh and inevitable in these times so not a lot you do to fix that. You are right that during these tough times (I can’t bring myself to use the word unprecedented as its surely the most repeated word in the past 6 months) hard decisions need to be made.
Resilience is kicking in
Nobody really knows what the ‘new normal’ might look like 6 months, 12 months and 24 months down the line. The reality is though, companies are hiring. There are gaps in talent and critical roles unfilled. Resilience is kicking in and people are starting to ‘get on with it anyway’. But it’s different. Everybody has had their own unique lockdown experience during the past 6 months. This experience for better or worse has shaped to them to be who they are. And more importantly, how they think, feel and act today. So ‘itchy feet’ is one factor but the other is the buy back or counter offer. Think about it, you’re that candidate, you’ve felt nervous and unsettled all year. You go into the market, get a decent offer with a new company. You feel happy with your offer and push on with your resignation conversation.
And now we have a scenario which is somewhat like a reconciliation. Beneath the lack of clarity, poor communication and nervousness we realise that candidate still really likes employer and employer still likes them. And just to really ensure that, employer gives candidate some more money, and maybe the odd extra benefit here and there because guess what? It’s a lot cheaper and easier than finding someone new. We all know this is a short-term fix that’s going to fall over quicker than you can say the words ‘rule of six. So, welcome to the current situation, its………complicated. Many candidates are unsettled, many candidates are looking. Many clients are struggling with engagement and starting to hire more. A perfect recruitment storm in many ways but who can be the potential winners? How can we bullet proof ourselves from all angles?
Welcome to the world of PVP
In the current conditions what are you, as employer doing well to both engage and retain your staff and recruit new talent? It is no longer about EVP, that was 2019. 2020 and onwards is about Pandemic Value Proposition (PVP).
How is your business is shaping up in this climate to do things differently? Have you had clear and open communication with all employees during this period to see how they are doing? Not how they are performing but how they are doing. Have you (Mr. or Mrs. CEO) shared how you are doing? A lot of real human stories have come out of this mess. Now is the time to share, be open and to work together. Working in silos, a hierarchy and not being able to both recognize and discuss emotions is not a good thing right now.
You have probably not written a 5-year business plan at this point, let’s face it setting next year’s budget is going to be task in itself! I’m pretty sure if you’ve got a plan A, a plan B, a plan C and one right through to Z. Are these being shared to the best that they can? Have you considered why highly valued and high performing individual from a competitor may consider leaving their own safe haven and joining you on your plans for world domination?
I understand you’re a great bunch of people and have some lovely fluffy bean bags but you’re going to need to spell it out clearer. Welcome to the new world of PVP my friends.
Meet James Carss
James has over 20 years’ recruitment experience gained across the UK, Asia and North America. He is part of the executive board with responsibility for the Specialist and Executive Search recruitment division of NRG. Get in touch with James by email here.