Employment issues facing founders

The Top Three Hiring Issues Facing Modern Employers: and How to Beat Them
23 June 2021

Among the challenges facing today’s founders, you’d think hiring would be one of the easier tasks on your to-do list. With funding, product development, legal risk management, and much, much more to consider, it’s easy to think employment by comparison would take little thought. And yet, hiring is one of the most complex issues to tackle in a company’s growth cycle. It’s unpredictable, it’s expensive, and it’s crucial to get right.

Only with the right team can a business can truly flourish: great minds grow great businesses. However, when issues relating to hiring begin to arise, companies face a lack of resources, unexpected costs, and a whole host of headaches.

From broken recruitment processes, to shrinking talent pools, to the ever elusive “culture fit”, the “people problem” is one of the biggest issues facing founders today. Estimates indicate it’s only due to get worse, exacerbated by an explosion in demand for highly skilled workers (with only a fraction of the people to fill them), and the rise of competitors; offering chunky salaries, remote working, and even in-house chefs.

In this article we break down the top three hiring issues facing founders today… and how to beat them.

Is there anybody out there? Dealing with the talent shortage.

According to The Open University Business Barometer, 63% of UK organisations are currently experiencing a skills shortage. A troubling 68% of employers found they were unable to find candidates who were even suitable for their vacancies.

So, what can founders do to:

  1. Combat the skills shortage.
  2. Hire the skilled employees that are available on the market.

There’s an important aspect of hiring that many founders forget: a job vacancy doesn’t always reflect the reality of the market. If you’re inflexible with your requirements you might find yourself missing out on excellent hires by getting too caught up in the “desirables”.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t have core requirements for a role, but it’s important to remember that for niche roles some upskilling and training may be required. Employees will hail from all walks of life, and by prioritising coachable candidates that tick some boxes, rather than all of the boxes, you’ll find it far easier to hire. Not only that, but by hiring coachable candidates with the right growth mindset, you’ll hire passionate people who will stay fulfilled for longer.

Ask yourself: does this job specification look more like a wishlist? If so, it might be time to head back to the drawing board.

Let’s say the perfect candidate does exist, what then? We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the harsh reality is a candidate like that is likely in high demand. Like you, your competitors are on the hunt, and it’s therefore important to stand out.

When it comes to finding the right people for your business, times have moved on.

With many offers on the table, the days of harsh negotiations are long gone, and candidates now expect transparency and fairness.

Be upfront, research market rates, and make them an offer they can’t refuse.

How to retain: build something that lasts.

You’ve gone through the arduous task of securing the person for the job, now what? One of the biggest issues when it comes to hiring is retaining the candidates you’ve brought onboard. Not only does the loss of a candidate put you back to square one, it can cost employers an estimated 33% of an employee’s annual salary to find and hire a replacement.

So, what can you do to retain top talent? There are few key things you should consider.

Dreams Vs Reality

Ensure expectations are clear from the outset and that new employees are given an honest overview on what they’re getting into for the first 3/6/12 months. A hard sell in the recruitment process can come back around to bite you if you’ve sold a fantasy.

Welcome to the clan!

Starting a new job can be nerve wracking, whether you’re an intern, or a CTO. We’re human after all, and being the “new kid on the block” is enough to make anyone nervous. Onboarding new employees with care is often an underrated element of the hiring process, and yet, we urge you: do not underestimate its importance. Research by Glassdoor found that companies with robust onboarding processes improved retention by a whopping 82%. Not to be sniffed at.

A home away from home

One in five UK employees quit their job as a result of toxic workplace cultures, according to Breathe’s Culture Economy 2020 report. And who can blame them? Employees are met with more flexibility, improved company packages, and better working environments, and with high employment rates they’re at liberty to shop around. With millennials making up more than 50% of the UK workforce as of 2020, calls have increased for truly inclusive work spaces. KPMG’s “Meet the Millenials” report even goes so far as to say that a robust company culture is the key to attracting, and retaining modern talent.

Warring overseas: compete creatively

In the world of recruitment, competition is rife and, as businesses emerge from the global pandemic and look to grow, the battle for top talent has never been so ferocious. Industry giants and startups alike are battling to grow their teams, and employees have rarely been faced with so much opportunity. Many businesses are being forced to think creatively when it comes to attracting employees, and those who fail to innovate are being left behind. Poor remuneration packages, toxic workplaces, antiquated tech: the list goes on. Global giants are losing out to more agile businesses, and the pain of hiring is felt by companies big and small.

In addition to this, many UK companies are losing out to US businesses equipped with the cash to pay out exorbitant salaries. While candidates might find themselves enticed by the prospect of a meaty pay packet, it’s not the be all and end all when it comes to choosing a job.

If competing with the wallets of US companies is out of your budget: never fear. In addition to financial incentives including EMI schemes, CSOP schemes, and growth shares, there are countless, and much more meaningful ways of positioning yourself as “the one to work for.” Modern employees are a discerning bunch, with many prioritising finding a company that aligns with them on both an intellectual, and an ethical level. So much so, that more than four in five (86%) of candidates globally says diversity, equity and inclusion is at the top of their priority list, with 62% of people stating they would go so far to as to turn down a job offer if it came from a business that didn’t understand the importance of inclusive work spaces.

It’s a comforting reminder that modern employees are looking for something deeper, and that the best of the best will be paying close attention to much more than your budget. By investing in the foundations of your company – from company culture to the use of modern tech – you’ll inadvertently invest in your hiring prospects tenfold.

Stephenson Law is an award winning legal services firm that’s doing things differently. Did you know that you can use your subscription blocks for employment related issues?

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