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How to recruit talent for your next big project

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Thanks to a turbulent two years in global events, the job market is in a very interesting phase. According to Atkins Search, COVID-related transformations have created “a market where candidate is king or queen.” Right now, candidates have more choice and more power than they had before, and if we want to attract, optimise, and retain talent, we must adapt to this new dynamic.

Attracting new talent

These last two years have raised awareness of social issues, resulting in a stronger sense of social responsibility amongst candidates. Candidates are now interested in the positive impact of their work on their communities. Organisations can tap into this by connecting their work to wider values and developing their social responsibility programmes.

Because candidates now have a wider job pool to explore, they’re less likely to spend time on long, convoluted recruitment processes. If you keep them waiting, you may lose their interest; we can use technology to streamline the process. For example, using online assessments to filter applications, recruitment teams can quickly follow up with strong candidates.

In a crowded job market, you can ensure you stand out by offering sign on bonuses to capture attention and provoke interest. You may also encourage your pre-existing employees and team members to bring fresh talent through referral programmes.

It’s also important that you advertise development opportunities upfront. This is especially important if you hope to appeal to younger people. Startups Magazine has noted that “where Gen Z are concerned, companies that offer training programs, career opportunities and a positive working culture are more likely to see an uptake on Gen Z applications.”

Optimising the talent you have

Due to increased remote working, team members could feel distant from their managers, and this can be demoralising during a big project. It’s arguably more important than ever to make the time to meet with your team one-on-one, whether this meeting is in-person or remote. The objective should be to understand their career aspirations so you can match them with tasks that interest and motivate them.

You may find it useful to evaluate your systems of measurement too. Before, you may have monitored the amount of time spent on a project, however, the demand for increased flexibility at work has resulted in a move towards measuring by performance over attendance. Rather than checking your team members are adhering to a 9 to 5 schedule, you should check that they’re completing their assigned tasks on time.

Data is often a company’s most valuable asset, and since we’re working online, there’s surely more data available than ever. The question is are you using it effectively to optimise your talent? Predictive Index suggests that data can be used to “predict workplace behaviour so [you] can hire the right candidates, design goal-crushing teams, cultivate an award-winning culture, and manage employees according to their unique preferences.”

Project managers should also take the time to investigate new technologies and training team members on how to use them properly. Tools such as Slack, Dropbox, Google Suite, and Trello could be invaluable for a team that’s working remotely on a project. And if you lead with tech by your side, others will surely follow.

Retaining talent

At the peak of the pandemic, wellbeing became a huge priority for employers. Investment in creative mental and physical health solutions should continue if you want to retain top talent. Compliance Week notes that “mental health and wellness benefits are now commonplace. This includes free access to mental health apps, personalized assistance from healthcare experts, flexible fitness reimbursement options, Peloton memberships, and more.”

When welcoming new team members, use video conferencing for a more personalised approach. Organisations, as well as team members, should also promote their culture remotely, which could be achieved by sending gifts, organising video meetings dedicated to small talk, and developing online teambuilding activities.

Another way to retain top talent is to offer a mentoring program. Training magazine states that “retention rates for mentees are 50 percent higher than those not mentored. In fact, mentoring can have a greater impact on retention than salary increases.” That’s great news for everyone; as a project professional, you can be mentor for a newbie, helping them thrive and learning from them along the way.

The huge rise in remote working has increased interest in flexible arrangements. It has also made many people aware of the global job market, as before people tended to limit their search to local job opportunities.  We can’t afford to ignore these changed circumstances. To recruit, retain, and make the most of the talent out there, we’ve got to be proactive and take decisive action.

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