TT founder Clare talks the changing landscape of attracting and retaining staff with recruitment agency ILMY founder Louisa Mordaunt.
Within my Talking Topics series, I was keen to chat to the wider community who support running a company, namely the vital part of hiring and retaining staff. I have been naturally drawn to a recruitment company with the name ‘I Love My job’ as this, surely, is what we all aspire to. And I have long respected Louisa Mordaunt who founded ILMJ and has supported us at Talking Tables for more than 10 years. Many, many of our staff have successfully come through ILMJ.
I asked Louisa what changes she had seen over the years in recruitment. She replied that you now needs to be very aware of equal opportunities and non-biases, to be open to everything and everyone and not to judge. To this end, Louisa says, she keeps learning how candidates, have emerging viewpoints and wishes. A further example is the landscape of Work From Home, where things have changed entirely and bold decisions are required to move away from a formula that had previously worked for centuries. The vast majority of us now want a flexible way to work and change is an inevitable necessity.
What are your tips for hiring new staff within retail?
- Look beyond a candidate’s past experience and hire on attributes, strengths, values and forward-potential. Afterall one can train on new skills more easily than can train on attitude.
- Get to know the individual and listen out for what they can offer beyond the immediate job spec – for example, they may like to use their creativity to help on shop windows or a blog post. A new shop assistant may have a great eye for new products and emerging trends which can all be happily built into the role for mutual benefit and joy.
I asked “is the great resignation a thing?”
- Yes, because there have been two years of frozen job movement during lockdown. And also because candidates increasingly expect a better fit to their life model, be that flexi hours or WFH. Candidates are also getting tempted by the policies and benefits offered by companies that are putting their people first and listening to their needs.
Is there a general shortage of staff?
- There is indeed a shortage in candidates, and employers are working harder to attract and retain people. The power has levelled between the employer and employee now, which is right. It is particularly competitive to attract entry level people. Some companies are reinventing policies and benefits to become more attractive, and it is working – be that unlimited holidays, a sabbatical after two years or the ability to work from anywhere. Louisa says that ‘pawternity’ leave is even something that is occasionally offered!
Louisa recommended that none of us, as employers or manager, are tentative: proactively ask your staff if they are happy and listen to what they say will keep them with you.
Like Talking Tables, Louisa has a passion for doing business in the best way possible. To this end, the BCorp model aligned with her personal values and addtionally offered an objective framework to measure best practise against. Fantastically, I Love My Job is already BCorp accredited, which is no mean feat as it’s a huge undertaking. BCorp certifies that I Love my Job is a force for good within the business community.
Louisa said that the actual accreditation process was in itself a huge benefit in reminding her to actively measure the purpose of her business – namely to ensure that candidates’ lives have been transformed and that they are truly ‘loving’ their job once settled in their new roles. Thus she put more focus on a feedback loop to measure this objectively and the celebration now happens once the candidate says they are very happy in their new role, rather than before.
At Talking Tables we hope to join ILMJ with BCorp accreditation coming imminently for us. It feels we shall be even more aligned then as two companies and I hope with many more successful projects together.