The recruitment process has gone through a huge shift in the past few years. In a post-COVID world, employees are looking for different things in their workplace. It’s no longer enough to be offered a decent salary with the potential for a promotion in a few years.
“Job seekers now consider everything from company culture, to what investment the organisation makes in the community, to how a role works in conjunction with their family or personal life,” says Emma-Jane Harrison, organisational psychologist at the University of Queensland.
Once considered a “nice to have”, flexible or remote work is now an expectation for many in the hiring process. In fact, 78 percent of workers wouldn’t consider an employer that doesn’t have a flexible working policy, according to the ‘2023 Officeworks Flexiworks Snapshot’ report. “This is one of the biggest shifts in expectations for job seekers,” says Emma-Jane. “Prospective employees know they have the power when it comes to flexibility, which means organisations have to step into line with that expectation.”
Add in a cost of living crisis, which has many organisations competing with each other to incentivise staff, while still remaining commercially viable, and it’s clear employers need to be aware of how the landscape has shifted in order to find staff.
These five key recruiting trends will help employers prepare for the hiring process over the next 12 months.
1. Finding Staff for Your Business Means Offering Flexible Work
Flexible work is no longer just the domain of working parents: prospective employees now expect it to be offered in the job description. Forty-five percent of employees have turned down a job due to unsatisfactory flexible working conditions, according to the Flexiworks report. In further proof that flexibility is a major incentive when considering a new job, 49 per cent of those surveyed would justify a lower salary in return for greater flexibility.
“Flexibility can mean very different things to different people,” says Emma-Jane. “For some people it might mean a part-time role, for others it might be flexible hours during the day, a nine-day fortnight, or working away from the office. This is an important conversation to have early on in the interview process.”
Whatever an organisation offers in terms of flexible work in their recruiting process, it’s essential there are formal policies in place for insurance purposes. “Policies should include details such as who is responsible for equipment if an employee is working at home; for example, if their workstation isn’t ergonomic and the employee hurts their back, then who is responsible? Technology is another issue; if an employee is using a personal laptop for work, will IT support help if something goes wrong? All these things need to be documented and formalised,” says Emma-Jane.
When it comes to remote work, 58 per cent of participants in the Flexiworks report believe two days at home and three in the office, or vice versa, is the most productive way to spend the standard working week. However, Gen Z employees report being less productive, and less comfortable in their work-from-home spaces than other generations.
“Younger people may be more likely to be in shared accommodation, which might make it harder to have an ergonomic workspace,” says Emma-Jane.
It’s unsurprising that productivity is lower when Gen Zs work from home, she adds. “It’s natural that younger employees want more support. Organisations need to ensure senior people are available for mentoring, or they need to structure meeting days and in-person interactions so everyone can gain energy from these connections. Junior employees learn through observing and role models, so it’s essential organisations plan for this and promote it when recruiting.”
2. It’s Important to Acknowledge the Cost of Living When Recruiting
With a record stretch of interest rate rises over the past year – and more expected over the next few months – it’s no surprise potential employees currently have high expectations when it comes to remuneration. “It’s smart for businesses to focus on this as a priority – and even more so when there’s a cost of living crisis,” says HR consultant Hayley McLennan. “Consider whether any other areas of the business can be trimmed in order to offer the right salaries to attract and retain talent.”
While salary is a key motivator for potential employees in the hiring process, remuneration isn’t just about a monthly figure. “Training, salary sacrificing, covering travel costs or car park spots, subsidising health care and offering performance-driven incentives can all be attractive to future employees,” says Hayley.
3. Work-Life Balance is a Major Consideration For Employees
Ninety-one percent of employees believe that working from home gives them a better work-life balance, and 94 per cent believe WFH benefits their overall wellbeing, shows the Flexiworks report. As such, many candidates will address this through their own interview questions. “Employers should expect to be asked about how they support employees' work-life balance,” says Hayley. “That includes articulating how the business supports the mental health of employees and practical ways this is implemented.”
The right set up that supports wellbeing is essential, too. Providing the right tools for your employees both in the office and for their hybrid working environment, such as an ergonomic keyboard and mouse or sit-stand desks that encourage movement, will encourage better mental and physical outcomes.
4. Company Culture Is Key
Conveying positive messages about your company culture on your social media might be initially enticing to job seekers, but not if it’s at odds with the word-of-mouth reputation of the organisation. Sixty-nine percent of people looking for a job in the past two years have read independent reviews of the organisation they are applying for, according to the Flexiworks report.
“Company culture is a constant work in progress. The fact that existing and former employees talk about their experiences in a workplace shouldn’t be underestimated,” says Emma-Jane. “There are two main times for an organisation to really convey their company culture; during the selection process and in exit interviews. The selection process needs to be well thought out. This means that even if someone doesn’t end up being offered or accepting a role, they’ve had a clear experience they can talk about with other people. When someone leaves an organisation, they should have a meaningful, authentic exit interview. This allows them to talk positively about their experience after they’ve left. Doing regular surveys amongst staff also allows organisations to monitor their company culture and ensure employees are happy.”
5. Many Employees Want Investment in the Community
“Some businesses have found it hard to encourage staff back to the office because local areas have lost their vibrancy post-COVID,” says Emma-Jane. “Many job seekers are looking for organisations that understand people want to work in a community. As such, organisations are increasingly finding it beneficial to invest in the local community by arranging community events and sponsoring other local businesses.”
Talk about initiatives your company has in the interview process, so potential employees can get a feel for what’s important to your business and what culture they will be part of.
What To Try:
- Pago Radar III Synchro Ergonomic Mesh Chair Ash Grey
- Newhaven Electric Sit Stand Desk with Drawer 1200mm White/Oak
- Horsen 4 Cube Bookcase White
- Post-it Super Sticky Notes 76x76mm Marrakesh 5 Pack
- Lenovo 14" IdeaPad Flex 5i 2-in-1 Laptop Core i5/8GB/256GB
- J.Burrows Wireless Ergonomic Keyboard and Mouse Combo Black
- Logitech MX Vertical Mouse
- Mobile Pixels 13.3” Duex Plus Portable Laptop Monitor Grey
- Lenovo 15.6” Portable USB-C Monitor L15
Make WFA Work for You
Flexiworks, part of Officeworks, is an online platform designed to help organisations support their team to work from anywhere. You can provide employees with credit and let them shop a tailored Officeworks range to buy everything they need to create a productive office workspace. Discover more at flexiworks.com.au.