Brexit and a global pandemic: quite the combination to be faced with. In these challenging times we’re living through, with economic uncertainty, less freedom of movement and fewer potential employees available, recruiting and retaining the right staff is a pressing issue. Finding workers while we recover from Covid-19 as well as the dreaded B-word is a major concern for businesses and agencies – HR’s number one concern as we move through 2021.
Let’s explore recruitment challenges a bit more before looking into possible solutions to tackle the issues.
Recruiters and businesses are facing an array of problems in the staffing arena, including:
Despite being on track for GDP rising by 7.2% in 2021, the UK is facing deeper scarring than other G7 countries, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Why? The impact of Covid-19 coupled with Brexit. Our successful vaccination programme led to the Paris-based think tank sharply upgrading its forecast for UK growth, outpacing other economies, including the US. And for 2022, growth was upwardly revised to 5.5%, from 4.7% four months ago. Despite that, the OECD predicts more longer-term damage than other industrialised nations: a result of leaving the EU combined with the pandemic.
Freedom of movement
When the UK Government signed the Immigration Act into law, on December 31st 2020 at 11 pm, freedom of movement ended for all EU citizens without registered residence. The new points-based immigration system encourages companies to focus on training and investing in the UK workforce. What’s more, people wishing to work in the UK have to apply for permission, awarded points according to their skill set, knowledge of English, and salary offering.
Condensed recruitment pool
Since Brexit, the increase in the number of EU citizens entering the UK to work has not risen in line with employment growth. A Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) Labour Market Outlook (LMO) report highlighted the share of businesses reporting hard-to-fill vacancies rose from 56% in the spring of 2017 to 67% in the autumn of 2019.
So, what can be done to address these recruitment issues? From smart commuting services and more competitive salaries to bringing in workers on temporary visas and broadening sourcing, there are plenty of options to consider.
Offering adaptable and responsive conditions for staff in terms of when and where they work is a big incentive. It improves job satisfaction, morale and motivation, and attracts new staff. From working at home to flexi-time, there are several methods you may want to implement.
Research from the Institute of Leadership and Management shows 94% of UK companies offer some form of flexible working. Are you part of that trend?
Introduce commuter services
Getting to and from work is a major consideration when assessing employment opportunities. Long, traffic-laden journeys increase stress levels and reduce the amount of time people spend at home with family.
By offering an alternative transport system to driving or trains, employees benefit from a more relaxing commute and lower costs. Take sustainable employee bus service Zeelo. Our innovative solution provides a fully managed fleet at affordable prices, with flexible booking and cancellation.
Smart and safe, employees can pre-book via our app or website. And there’s the option for employers to split the costs with staff, too – an added monetary incentive. We help you design dedicated routes and add new ones. That way, businesses can extend employee pools to more rural localities, widening catchment areas and attracting more candidates.
With 63% of workers considering turning down a job because of travel expenses, why not offer a stress-free commuting option, while reducing turnover and recruitment costs? “We saved £210,000 in staff recruitment over a year by offering an alternative transport solution to our site,” says Zeelo client Ocado.
Now, let’s look at a warehouse role as an example, where the site is located out of the way, accessible only by road. There are a handful of potential workers keen to apply for openings that have been announced, but none of them own a car and they can’t afford one.
Hone in on that by offering reliable and affordable transport, and help combat social and mobility issues facing the UK.
Zeelo’s bus services help retain staff, too. “Our distribution centres remain open 24 hours, so our dedication during these uniquely challenging times has been to review and do everything we can to keep our employees, their families and loved ones safe,” says XPO’s Europe Director, Martin Coughlin. “Zeelo’s management of this service has been second to none and has been key to colleague engagement.”
While onboard our commuting services, staff can kick back, connect to the wifi and listen to their favourite podcast or radio show. Moreover, our buses are kind to the planet, one of our core values. Reduce parking and congestion at your office or factory and lower harmful emissions at the same time.
For example, one Zeelo removes an average of 30 cars on the road, reducing traffic in your area. And as we make the move to electric, all Zeelo partners will be able to upgrade to a fully electric service, helping the environment further.
In these competitive labour markets, put yourself ahead of the curve with an alternative commuting service like Zeelo.
Employee perks of the job
Do you offer added bonuses to entice staff? Benefits that improve wellbeing and promote a healthy lifestyle are attractive to job seekers and they also enhance productivity. Once simply discounted gym memberships, employee extras have evolved over recent years.
With mental health, a more open subject these days, stress management and mindfulness courses create a happier workplace environment, with staff feeling more valued and cared for.
Other things for businesses to consider include:
- Paid leave. A sought-after and appealing employee perk, who wouldn’t want to take a holiday and not lose out financially? Annual leave should come as standard to all permanent employees, but in reality, there are disparities across sectors and employers. Paid maternity and paternity are also highly valued by parents.
- Security and stability. Strength in these two important areas make you a desirable employer. To cement your position, offer regular performance and pay reviews and salary your staff competitively.
It’s not just about attracting new candidates, but also keeping existing employees. To achieve that, methods we’ve already mentioned help, including flexibility, affordable commuting options and competitive pay.
It’s also important to provide first-rate training and keep existing staff refreshed and updated. Yes, staff should receive initial training when they join, but it shouldn’t end there.
If you do suffer from high turnover, look inwards and think about why? Consider talking to outgoing staff to understand things from their first-hand experience. The person may be leaving for a reason that was easily addressable if you’d known. Put together a set of questions for exit interviews to make the process efficient and standardised.
Attracting new staff
In this post-Brexit and Covid-19 landscape, there’s unease aplenty, with economic uncertainty and reduced freedom of movement impacting recruitment. What can your business do? Retain existing staff and attract new ones, with incentives such as safe and reliable commuting services and employee perks.
Zeelo can help with your recruitment challenges. For more info and to get tackling, contact us today.