In the wake of the recession, the need for effective talent management is more important than ever for UK businesses. With a growing pool of emerging graduates year on year, businesses might assume that they are in a better position than ever to bag the best talent. However, the case isn’t quite so clear cut. Matt Wheeler, Product and Marketing Director from workforce management experts Amano UK, discusses how employers can meet these expectations to ensure that they can continue to attract top talent to their business.
Although the pool of applicants is ever-expanding, and the competition tougher than ever, it does not mean that the career expectations of graduates are lessening. As graduation day looms for thousands of students up and down the country, new research paints a depressing picture for the class of 2010. The latest figures from The Association of Graduate Recruiters states that there are now more graduates facing fewer jobs, with vacancies down by 7%. With the number of applications soaring, there is now an average of 69 people chasing every job – a formidable prospect for any new graduate.
Despite the challenges ahead, the class of 2008, 2009 and 2010, are looking for more out of their future careers than the traditional ‘nine-to-five’ and are unwilling to settle for less. A greater working-life balance and the freedom of flexible working are no longer considered tempting bonuses, but are now real priorities for the modern worker.
For businesses to ensure that they are able to attract the cream of the crop, they must be aware of and react to these high expectations, while making sure that the needs of the business aren’t held to ransom. To get the most out of emerging talent, the issue must be approached as a two-way conversation. Not only asking what can the employee offer the employer, but what can the employer offer to become the top choice for new talented employees?
Evidently, the working-life balance of businesses is changing as employers become more engaged with the modern culture of flexible working policies. A survey of 50 HR professionals carried out by Amano UK found that 58% stated that their organisation currently offered their employees more than the statutory minimum required.
Remote working ranked as the most popular policy in place (76%), with policies to enable flexitime (68%) also high on the agenda. By installing policies to enable remote and flexible working schedules, businesses are able to tap into a larger geographic pool of talent – no longer binding employees to their desks within the tight restraints of nine-to-five schedules.
By empowering employees to manage their own timekeeping and working schedule, a greater level of commitment can be ensured. As a result, staff retention can be improved through offering a real and tangible working-life balance for employees – a benefit which can set any business apart from fellow employers and encourage the best people to stay.
However, despite the demands on businesses to be increasingly flexible, they must ensure that they are not held to ransom by flexible working practices. With the growing need for improved efficiency, productivity and cost control, it is crucial for businesses to possess the technological infrastructure to facilitate and effectively track the flexible and mobile working patterns of their workforce – yet this doesn’t have to cost the earth. Businesses can now be assured that tracking and measurement can be easily achieved with the development of web-hosted services that offer flexible ‘pay-as-you-go’ options, negating the need for major financial investment.
Web-based services are also an ideal solution to enable businesses to easily and immediately manage mobile and remote workers and by analysing real-time data, businesses can keep an eye on productivity levels while accurately measuring impacts on profit.
In investing in these systems, UK businesses can create their own win-win situation. By offering and effectively managing a variety of flexible working practices, it’s not only the employee that becomes a desirable candidate. In turn, by allowing employees to remain in control of their working-life balance and enjoy the true benefits of flexible working, UK businesses can confidently seek and retain the top talent for their business.
Matt Wheeler is Product and Marketing Director at Amano UK