Lotte de Burlet, HR Director Advisory at Exact, on the current challenges facing employers
Many enterprises in this country have been finding the recruitment of talented new colleagues a challenge for some time now. Ever since the final quarter of 2021, the Netherlands has had more job openings than job seekers. There are currently 122 vacancies for every 100 unemployed people, according to Statistics Netherlands (CBS). How do you successfully attract and retain talent under such conditions? In this article, Lotte de Burlet, HR Director Advisory at software specialist Exact, shares three tips of relevance to every employer, be it small or large.
Tip 1: Determine and define your company’s mission and communicate it clearly
Most employers have not just started an enterprise for no reason. They had a good idea, wish to create value and to make an impact. Lotte de Burlet: “Write down that mission and express it. Not only does that clarify things for customers, it also helps existing and potential colleagues determine whether your enterprise’s mission aligns with their own.” Research shows that people who do work that is a good match for their personal mission will be more productive, healthy and resilient. If their mission is actually the same as that of the enterprise, this increases their commitment and they are more likely to stay with that employer for longer. Lotte continues: “At Exact, our mission is very clearly to help companies grow in a future-proof way. Responsible business practices are, therefore, an explicit element of our corporate strategy. That is the only way that we can be of lasting value for our customers, colleagues and the society in which we operate. We try to find colleagues who wish this too. People with an intrinsic desire to help customers and colleagues grow responsibly.”
Never before has the labour market had so many generations working at the same time. This is exceptional and can be challenging. How can you help these people to connect with each other? Focus on universal values such as flexibility and autonomy.
Tip 2: Review and update your employment conditions continuously, taking into account the different generations within the company
From Boomers to Generations X, Y and Z. Never before has the labour market had so many generations working at the same time. This is not just exceptional, it can also be challenging. After all, each generation has its own characteristics. How can you help these people to connect with each other and be a good employer to them all? “Focus on universal values such as flexibility and autonomy”, says Lotte. “Since Covid, everyone is looking for flexibility and even Boomers who have always worked in an office appreciate the benefits of working from home. In addition, people of all generations have become increasingly autonomous, wish to make their own choices and to continue their professional and personal development.” Exact keeps a close eye on such developments and adapts its working conditions accordingly. Lotte: “As with many other companies, hybrid working has become standard and we have set up a pilot to allow people to work from abroad one week a year. In these ways, we create more flexibility. Our Giving Back Activities are another example. All our colleagues may dedicate three working days a year to their choice of voluntary work. After all, as an organisation, we are firmly part of society. We wish to contribute to that society and not only in people’s personal time. With regard to autonomy, we now provide our colleagues with a budget to arrange their own home office setup instead of supplying standard equipment.”
Tip 3: Be transparent about people’s opportunities for growth at your company
In addition to a clear mission and up-to-date, flexible working conditions, Lotte has one more tip to share. It concerns growth, in the broadest sense of the word: moving up, but also laterally or in greater depth. Lotte concludes: “Everyone cares about growth. People like to feel challenged and to keep learning new things. That is why you should be transparent about growth opportunities at your company. State that already during job interviews, so you will be aware of applicants’ hopes and can manage expectations. Also be sure to check up on people who already work for you. Be sure to stay aware of your colleagues’ dreams. A job for life may be a thing of the past, but we can still make the most of the time we spend working together. At Exact, we also care about growth in a wider sense. We support people’s development in their existing job, but are also happy to have them change departments. In this way, we try to facilitate growth for everyone, in whatever direction that may be.”
In short: to become or stay a real talent magnet as an employer, you need more than a good reputation or a nice product that sells well. As an employer, your own growth depends on retaining the talents you already have and continuously attracting new ones. In 2023, this is not as easy as it once was, but it is certainly not impossible, as long as you communicate your mission clearly, pay attention to the various generations at your organisation and are transparent about the opportunities for growth.