What do workers want? quick turnaround and reliable follow-up

Claire Sheerin

By Claire Sheerin, director of Hays Construction & Property in Scotland

GOOD communication with employees shouldn’t just start at the office door. When it comes to recruiting, managing the process efficiently from application to offer can have a significant impact on how your organisation is viewed by potential candidates and, indeed, your retention rate.

At Hays, we define each stage of the applicant’s journey like this: Search – Apply – Decide – Join.

The latest report from Hays, What Workers Want 2018, shows that the biggest disparity in satisfaction between construction and property employers and applicants occurs at the ‘Decide’ and ‘Join’ stages. For example, construction and property applicants are more likely than the UK average to accept another job offer if a written offer isn’t provided within a week. In fact, 35% of professionals in the industry say they have done this at least once, compared to a UK average of 25%.

An overwhelming majority (95%) of construction and property professionals say that more than a week between verbal and written offers is unacceptable, although 20% of employers in the industry take longer than this. So, as an employer, it’s important that a written offer is sent within a week of verbal confirmation to avoid losing applicants. Also make sure you always provide constructive feedback even after an application is rejected.

It’s also worth investing in your Employee Value Proposition (EVP). Whether you like it or not, every organisation has an EVP. However, you may not be aware of it, if it’s not clearly defined. In simple terms, an EVP describes the characteristics and appeal of working for an organisation. It’s the deal struck between an organisation and employee in return for their contribution and performance. This is where an employer can really differentiate itself from the competition.

Our report shows that 60% of construction and property professionals will only consider applying to organisations that have a clearly defined EVP, yet a large proportion (39%) of construction and property employers do not believe that their EVP is clearly defined. This is a significant proportion of employers who are missing out by not investing in this channel as part of their candidate attraction strategy. Only 40% of employers in the industry say they are investing in the development of their career website, and 32% say they are investing in recruitment agencies.

To define your EVP, talk to your employees and find out what they really value. What do they like or dislike about working there? Think about the kind of culture you have, or wish to have, and make sure employees (and new recruits) are a good fit. Align your salary and benefits package with your business strategies. What do you offer your employees that no one else does? Then once you’ve defined your EVP, introduce it as part of your recruitment strategy. And, of course, make sure you follow it through.

This applies with on-boarding too – the process of integrating a new employee into your organisation and its culture. Our research revealed that, after joining, 29% of construction and property professionals have left a role because the on-boarding process was badly managed.

So don’t overestimate the quality of experience that you offer applicants at all stages of the applicant journey – and beyond.