Despite the political uncertainty of Brexit, many businesses face increased demand for their products and services, but struggle to find the talent to support this growth. Outgoing chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, Kevin Green, explains why strong leadership can make all the difference.
When you think about a leader, what comes to your mind? Is it someone who can inspire by giving great speeches?
I am thinking of Elizabeth I telling her troops “We shall shortly have a famous victory over these enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people.” Or Winston Churchill’s “We shall fight on the beaches” speech.
What great leaders have in common is their ability to inspire people to give all their best in times of change and uncertainty. We are in a time of uncertainty so good leaders will be thinking about the effects of Brexit.
Employer confidence has taken a knock. Our data at the REC shows 33% of hirers feel economic conditions are worsening, while just 26% think they are improving.
That will be no surprise as labour, skills and talent shortages are rampant. With candidate availability getting worse month on month for the past four years, more EU workers leaving the UK and the employment rate near to a record high, there simply aren’t enough people in this country with the skills and aptitude for the jobs available.
Lead and inspire
Despite this, organisations feel positive about their own businesses. Many organisations are still facing increasing demand for their products and services so there will be ongoing employment growth.
As it gets more difficult to attract candidates, you are likely to increasingly rely on recruiters. But it’s also more important than ever for those at the top to lead their teams effectively through change.
The REC’s new report, The Scale Up Workbook: How to lead, inspire and retain your people is all about how recruitment leaders can outperform the market.
We spoke to people who are already leading successful recruitment businesses, as well as managers and consultants to find out what they want from their leader.
The skills recruitment leaders need overlap with HR, especially if you’re responsible for attracting and retaining talent. You can take practical actions to become the best leader you can be.
What does success look like?
Leadership is about turning your vision into action. You need to define your purpose and your reason for being.
Make sure your goals are focused. Articulate your company culture. Offer a competitive salary and benefits package.
Set time limited targets for staff retention and outline how you will achieve them. This will make you an employer of choice.
Organisational success isn’t a tick box exercise to be done once. Regularly measure and review how you’re doing against your targets.
Define your employer brand
Leaders must know what differentiates their business from competitors. You need a USP and a distinctive proposition to set you apart if you are to be successful at attracting and retaining staff. Potential employees want to know why they should work for you.
Think carefully about how you want your company to be perceived by staff. Make sure their perception matches up with what you want.
Build a strong team
Having the right people in your organisation is the most important step to success. Your team should share your passion and vision for the business – if they don’t, they might not be the right fit.
Hiring people that mirror the qualities of your current staff is a common mistake. You need a diverse team that complements each other’s strengths and addresses each other’s weaknesses. Ensuring diversity throughout your organisation will help it to succeed.
Clear and honest communication is the key to having a good relationship with staff. This will make them feel valued and they will know their work makes a difference. Remember to recognise and reward staff – celebrating their victories will keep morale high.
It’s vital to invest in training to develop your team’s skills. If they can see that they can progress in your company, they’re likely to stay with you.
You’ll sometimes have to take risks to make the most of opportunities. Pursue innovation – such as new ways of hiring or new management styles – but expect disruption. If your risks don’t pay off, bounce back. Everybody makes mistakes – the important thing is to learn from them and keep moving forward.
You can’t sit back on your success. Keep pushing yourself and your team to maintain your achievements and improve your leadership skills. Above all, it’s your people that will make your organisation successful.