The recruitment landscape has changed irrevocably, says Andy Bellass, Co-founder and CSO of hibob, a cloud-based HR and employee benefits platform. These days, it's getting harder and harder to attract and retain the best talent — and there are a number of reasons why.

“For a start, we have the lowest unemployment in generations,” he says. “Then there's LinkedIn. Now, admittedly this is a fantastic tool — but it's also a shop window for employees. The last decade has seen an exponential growth in recruitment consultants who are using Linked-in to find great people.” There's a rise in new industries, too, and greater competition among employers as a result.

When a company does find talented potential employees, they're shocked when they don't turn up for interviews, demand more, stay less and are generally harder to get through the door. These would-be new recruits are also not shy of turning down any job offers that come their way. In fact, new research from hibob shows that almost half (47 per cent) of the population has rejected a job offer at one time or another in their career. Reasons given include ‘the final offer didn’t match the interview promise’, ‘the role not moving my career forward’ and ‘the money not being enough’.


Natural cultures


But, interestingly, top of the pack was 'the wrong company culture' and a feeling from candidates that they 'wouldn’t get on' with their new team. There is way to solve this problem, however, says Bellass, and that's with cultural transparency: ie, unlocking the natural cultures that exist within an organisation to help create a sense of 'belonging' among existing and would-be employees.

Cultural transparency should be uppermost in the minds of all CEOs, says Bellass. Yet in his experience, most don't even think about it because they are so focussed on the job in hand that they forget to create an attractive brand that people want to join. This creates big problems.

He remembers going to see a company partner and asking him what the natural cultures within his business were. “He said to me: 'I don't know. I'm excited to find out, though.' I thought: 'Really? You're running this business and you don't know what its natural cultures are?' Because it's so important for managers to understand them. Think about it. If an employee wakes up in the morning knowing that they are going to spend the day working in a place where they feel they belong, then they are more likely to be happy, work harder and stay longer.”


Shared enthusiasms


Bellass's theory is that employees gravitate towards colleagues who have shared enthusiasms or are at similar life stages. “Dads huddle together,” he says. “Mums huddle together. People with expensive carbon bikes and Lycra huddle together. The fitness enthusiasts who set up the company yoga club huddle together. We did quite a bit of research on these types of groups and found that — rather wonderfully — they happen very naturally. So if you can shine a light on them and find smart ways to nurture them, you'll increase a sense of belonging for the people who are already in your organisation. Not only that, you'll demonstrate your organisation's natural cultures to potential employees. And that's very attractive.”

In reality, when new recruits turn up for their first day, the receptionist has invariably forgotten they are coming. Worse, nobody else has remembered either and soon colleagues are scrambling to find them a laptop and an empty desk. “Ninety per cent of businesses 'welcome' people that way,” he says. “And that makes a big, negative impact on how the new employee views the company. But imagine if the reverse happened. Imagine if the tech was in place to make sure that when they walked through the door the receptionist knew exactly who they were and where they needed to go. Better still, imagine how a new recruit would feel if they then met a group of like-minded people within the business who shared their hobbies and passions.”


Human interaction


There can be challenges to implementing cultural transparency, admits Bellass. For instance, some companies might find their staff reluctant to reveal their hobbies and interests. If that's the case, a bit of motivation can go a long way. “For example, you can send them an email explaining that you are trying to decide what to do for the company's summer away day — so it would help if everyone filled in their likes and dislikes.”

The other critical factor in good recruitment is streamlining the process with the right technology, effective planning and efficient organisation. “If HR doesn't get back to you, or if you turn up for an interview and it's cancelled, it creates a bad impression,” says Bellass. “We work with well-funded, high-growth tech start-ups who are recruiting, on average, one or two people a day. Just think of the logistics that need to be in place to be able to do that effectively. The things that really help companies in this area are super-efficient onboarding and automated workflows. Having said that, technology is only the facilitator. Human interaction that goes beyond technology is the key.”

Ultimately, when looking for new talent, employers have to accept that times have changed. “It's no longer about 'what we can do for you',” says Bellass. “It's about 'what you can do for us'. Employers have to say to new staff: 'We know that you may not be with us for a long time but, while you are, we want to help shape your journey.' If they go into recruitment with that attitude, maybe they'll get the best people to stay with them a little bit longer.”

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hibob, a leading cloud-based HR and benefits platform, is transforming the way businesses manage and engage with their employees.

hibob’s unique innovation helps business get in complete Control of day-to-day admin. Make informed decisions with smart real time Insights and more effectively drive Engagement to help build culture and aid retention. And all within a beautiful platform that your staff will actually enjoy using.