5 ways business can make themselves more attractive to employees

What makes talented employees pick one place over the other? More importantly, how can you make sure your business is the most attractive for the best and brightest? Jon Paul Kelly at Trust Deed Scotland writes.

Many companies use this time of the year to kick-start a recruitment campaign but there’s bad news for those competing for the most talented employees from the 2017 crop: you’ll have to work harder than ever to persuade them to apply.

That’s because today’s workers expect a lot more from prospective employers than they once did. So how to attract new employees?

Here are some things to think about.

Offer flexible working

Because most people want it. Research from Timewise found more than 14 million people want flexibility in their working hours or location – that’s around half the working population. But, despite this, their analysis of 3.5 million job adverts found that a meagre 6.2 per cent offered such flexibility.

Bringing flexible working into your company culture is a great way to attract and retain employees. Remember, too, that all employees in the UK now have the right to request flexible working. You could offer a number of days a month working from home, flexi-time or allow staff to work from different locations, like coffee shops and shared working hubs.

Talk up the local area

What’s great about your location?

Perhaps you’re near excellent transport links, a park for lunchtime runs and afternoon BBQs or, if you’re based outside of London, you may well want to talk up your area’s cost of living.  Research from Trust Deed Scotland shows that many cities offer good wages and affordable rent, giving employees more disposable income than the capital city.

Take Edinburgh for example: it has a score of 73.47 on the company’s cost of living index. Rent there is an average £657, which is a lot less than other cities and thus leaves those working there with a lot more discretionary income (£791.56 vs London with £172.51).

Include perks that don’t cost the Earth

Unless you’re a large company, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to offer your employees expensive treats like, say, a company holiday. But you can still attract employees through smaller scale perks that won’t cost the Earth but will make a big difference to your workers’ lives. You could offer your employees perks that won’t break your bank:

  • Subsidised gym membership
  • A way to enjoy cheap meals, like Tastecard
  • A takeaway every couple of weeks
  • Their birthday off as a free holiday

Perks like these are a way to show potential employees that you care – a great way to attract and retain their services.

Be open

Research by Accenture found that only 15% of new graduates entering the jobs market want to work for a large company. So with 85% of the market to play for, offer open, inclusive work cultures that promote creativity and flexibility. If you appear overly corporate, you could put a vast swathe of potential employees off.

“Millennials want both creative work cultures as well as environments that promote transparency and give them a chance to advance quickly,” Fast Company’s David Smith said.

“They might be mistaken in believing those opportunities only exist in small companies and startups, but they can’t entirely be faulted for that. Bigger companies need to prove they can offer those experiences, too, backed by a breadth of resources smaller players can’t.”

Offer competitive pay levels

Sounds obvious, but many companies think they can get around this and offer lower wages in the hope of attracting new entrants to the jobs market. Do some research and find out what other employers are paying for similar roles, then match or better it.

While all of the above tips are no doubt prime drivers in attracting employees, it’s fair to say that pay is, for many employees, the most important deciding factor. So pay well – you should get motivated employees who want to stay with you over the long term as a result.

Do you have any tips for attracting employees? Share them with us.

Jon Paul Kelly is a director at Trust Deed Scotland.

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2016 to 2018.