The balance of power in the UK job market has shifted significantly over recent months. According to Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of job vacancies in July to September 2021 was a record high of 1,102,000 – an increase of 318,000 from its pre-pandemic January to March 2020 level. There are lots of shortages across the board, notably including sectors like retail, hospitality and manufacturing. Many skilled workers in particular, are now feeling comfortable seeking new opportunities – and employers increasingly face a ‘war for talent’ in terms of recruiting and retaining them.

Implementing the right processes

To compete effectively in this war for talent, employers first need to ensure that their recruitment and onboarding processes are smooth, streamlined and efficient. Recruiting new staff will remain a costly and time-consuming process for many businesses, especially in the current climate. According to new data from online talent sourcing specialist, Talent.com , three quarters of hiring managers report that the cost of recruiting workers has increased since January 2021, as businesses strive to secure skills amid the current talent shortages. All this puts an even greater premium on having the right processes and systems in place.

Before they start to implement or upgrade technology, businesses need to make certain those processes are up to date and in optimum shape. With new employees being recruited in ever greater numbers today and going through the recruitment and retention journey, this is absolutely key.

As part of this ongoing process, employers need to ensure that when they recruit staff, they immediately begin to engage them, with a focus on keeping them engaged and with long-term retention as the aim. Such an approach will, after all, be key in reducing the onerous cost of recruitment and helping to balance the overall HR budget. Differentiation for any business comes from how it interacts with its employees, including through the hiring and onboarding process and how it differentiates itself from the competition. It is vital to show new recruits they will be a valued person within the organisation.

To set themselves apart from the pack, companies need to show  that they have their employees at the heart of their business. They need to ensure that the employee experience is effective in attracting the top talent, and they also need to make sure that the recruitment and onboarding process is as smooth and seamless as possible for new hires.

Working on their brand as an employer is critically important too across all these processes. Businesses need to ensure that running through their recruitment, they have underlying engagement processes that match them. That’s key because even the best business in the world will struggle to onboard and retain employees if it doesn’t get this right.

Putting the right technology in place

Once they have the right processes in place, organisations also need to make sure they are implementing the appropriate approach to technology. Tools for recruitment need to be integrated within larger HR systems. Businesses should avoid disparate systems that don’t work together seamlessly. It is important that these broader HR and payroll solutions deliver one version of the truth – and recruitment modules need to be part of that.

Every HR system should have an integral recruitment module and that module itself needs to be integrated not only with the HR system but also with all the key recruitment systems out there in the marketplace, including LinkedIn and a range of other apps. It is all about thinking beyond the short-term and putting a long-term strategy in place, within which recruitment will have a key part to play.

Automation will have an important role to play as part of this. Efficiencies, and ultimately also cost savings, can be gained from greater use of the capabilities within the technologies that the business has at its disposal. But it is not just about cost savings, technology can also be used to add value to the work that that the recruitment and broader HR teams carry out every day.

The technology should be able to take care of the routine, day to day work. By freeing up HR from administrative tasks, they’re able to work on the higher level business vision and strategic plans.

More and more businesses today are appreciating just how important recruitment is to them. Organisations are realising that if they don’t have a full salaried workforce in place; and if they are not attracting the cream of the crop, they will be losing out to the competition. With the current war for talent continuing to rage, that focus on recruitment is only likely to grow further in the coming months and years. Getting their process delivery and technology selection will be key to these businesses in making that focus an ongoing success.