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Belonging at Work: the Essential Recruitment Tool



Camilla Bruggen, global head diversity, equity and inclusion at Wavemaker on the top five takeaway innovations in talent strategy

Belonging at Work: the Essential Recruitment Tool

From the great resignation to quiet quitting, the recruitment and retention of brilliant people has never been more challenging. At a recent event for TalentEdge, I shared my views on the importance of taking an innovative approach to talent strategy. Attracting and keeping the best people, these days, goes well beyond a simple job ad. 

My five key businesses strategies include:  

1. Foster inclusivity

A positive, proactive approach to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) isn’t simply something businesses do to fulfil moral obligations or meet legal requirements. It’s a pragmatic, commercially astute response. Actively seeking to attract diverse talent widens talent pools and talent pipelines. Organisations are aspiring to provide equity of opportunity to underrepresented groups through targeted programmes to attract and develop new and existing talent, offering a culture and set of benefits that foster inclusivity is an effective way to retain talent. 

2. Nurture ‘early’ talent

Widening the talent pool is not just desirable but necessary as businesses seek not only to become more diverse, but also attract talent in a candidate-short market. Companies are increasingly focused on reaching out to potential candidates at very early stages of their careers, before they join the workforce, or when they are considering re-joining the workforce after a career break. There’s a greater recognition and mitigation of the barriers to entry (which are often financial) for early talent, through apprenticeships and internship programmes that offer greater financial support for housing and travel costs. People, talent, and DEI teams are encouraging hiring managers to rethink their perception of what the ‘ideal candidate’ might look like and flex on out-dated requirements when recruiting. 

3. Reduce barriers to mobility as well as progression

Some employers are increasingly focused not just on how to attract diverse talent but how to ensure that talent progresses through the business. It’s not just about reducing barriers to entry but also barriers to career mobility and progression. This can be addressed through focused programmes such as sponsorship and training schemes for under-represented groups; providing benefits that specifically support parents and care givers to enable them to balance work and home responsibilities; offering opportunities to re-train, promoting the idea of fluid skills sets to hiring managers and ensuring team leaders are open to sharing talent with the wider business. 

4. Support wellness

Employers have recognised that supporting and promoting good mental health across their workforce isn’t simply fulfilling their employer obligations or enhancing their employer brand, but also has a direct and positive impact on productivity and retention of talent. Since the pandemic there has been a greater understanding of the impact work pressures can have on mental health, and the positive action needed to mitigate it, through initiatives such as company-wide days/weeks off to focus on wellbeing; meeting free periods in the day/week; mandatory lunch hours etc. However, businesses need to keep in mind that if their employees are overworked and feel under-supported then these initiatives won’t necessarily have the desired effect, and in some cases, mandatory days off can further increase workload pressure. 

5. Enhance the benefits of office-based working AND create culture remotely

Hybrid Working will probably continue to be the norm moving forward for most organisations, although it’s a shifting landscape as companies seek to find a balance between teams spending time together while meeting employees desire to spend at least some of their working week based at home. Rather than forcing employees to spend more time in the office, organisations need to focus on creating an environment that attracts people back and enhances the benefits of office-based working. They may also need to accept that a proportion of the workforce don’t want to return, as they can effectively work fully remotely, or personal circumstances, such as neurodiversity, caring responsibilities or location make the commute and office environment a less attractive prospect. Either way, employers need to develop ways to create culture remotely.  

There are many ways to ensure people feel a sense of belonging at work. At Wavemaker, a business which embodies positive provocation, taking an innovative approach is at the heart of everything we do. Being open to conversations and new approaches, policies and practices around DEI, wellbeing and adaptive working practices will help every business evolve and grow into the best fit for the right people. 

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Wavemaker UK, Thu, 17 Nov 2022 15:38:31 GMT