We all know that most employers are starting to suffer recruitment challenges. There is real pressure on staffing with a mixture of the fallout from Brexit, COVID-19 and the “Great Resignation”.
Many staff have been re-evaluating their lives and work life balances and decided that it is the right time for a career change, retirement or simply just a new challenge. Recruitment has therefore been a real problem.
What we set out below is how to get best practice in place for recruitment so that when you are dealing with candidates, your organisation appears the most professional, legally compliant and has its appropriate checks in place.
Since April 2020, all employees and workers need to have a contract of employment or worker contract in place before the first day of their employment. It is best practice to get this document sent across to employees a number of weeks before their employment starts. We suggest that in an ideal world this is sent by email and signed remotely. It is also sensible to have a deadline and when it needs to be returned so the employee knows that they have to consider it promptly. You would normally want to give a week or two for the employee to properly consider this and ask questions.
Of course it is really important to ensure that your terms and conditions are legally compliant. A candidate who may be being approached by several employers will notice the difference if your terms and conditions seem out of kilter. In April 2020, the Good Work Plan review meant that contracts of employment needed to have additional information included within them. In particular, they needed to include information about benefits, paid leave and also training. This can be a great opportunity for you to showcase your organisation.
If you have missed out on these changes, I really suggest you look at these now. It is also an opportunity for you to showcase ‘how good an employer you are’ by explaining the benefits and wellbeing steps that you take. Most candidates make their decision about a new position on a range of reasons and salary is just one of them. However, obviously it is important that the salary is competitive and included within the contract.
We are also very well aware that currently there is intense pressure on salaries. It is important when you are recruiting to ensure that wages are still fair across the rest of your staff and that you don’t sleep walk into issues around gender pay gap and equal pay. It is important to keep your principles around pay fair or at least make sure that you review your pay rates scale urgently.
It is important to remember that from the moment a job advert appears online or is forwarded from a recruiter to a prospective employee, your obligations in relation to equality start. It is also attractive to a candidate when they feel they’ve been treated fairly and justifiably. We would therefore suggest that you undertake an audit of your recruitment adverts to ensure that they comply with equalities law but also all stages of your recruitment process. Do you ask for an application form? Do you request practical tasks to be completed? Do you have a matrices for interviewing? These should all be reviewed to ensure that they are not directly or indirectly discriminatory and also ensure managers are trained in implementing these processes.
Most candidates will remember forever if they have been asked a question that they feel is inappropriate. Many younger women have stories about being asked about plans around having a family. Equally, many other horror stories are for those who are disabled being asked inappropriate questions. Make sure your managers are guided and trained on this. It will give you an advantage over your competitors in the recruitment market.
It is really key that you onboard staff correctly. Make sure you have a set induction process that shows them what they should be doing and how you are going to support them. Remember, it is a worrying time starting a new job and therefore giving people extra support is no bad thing. In particular, if your starting a job remotely due to hybrid working or homeworking then more support is needed.
Equally, a robust management process for the first 6 months of employment helps you as an employer assess their suitability for the job as well as the candidate integrating within the organisation. Have a probationary period that is stated clearly in your contract, and have regular reviews during that period. Remember to diarise the end of that period so you can have a constructive conversation with the employee.
If you need any help with reviewing any of the documents around your recruitment process, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Employment team.