Welcome to March. Although last week it didn’t feel very welcoming, more like we’d woken up on the set of 'The Day After Tomorrow 2'. What a week!
From a business point of view, snow days are often a disaster. Employees not being able to get in, schools closing, everyone shutting up shop. But from a community point of view, everyone seems to really pull together. Strangers looking out for one another, people doing good deeds for neighbours, social media awash with travel updates to help each other out. It’s actually really rather nice. It’s comforting to know that when we’re pushed out of our comfort zones, good things happen.
Market Harborough and our immediate surrounding areas; Kettering, Corby, Kilworth etc. Have been hit harder with the weather than we have in many years. When I was typing this (on Friday 2nd March), the snow had just started to fall again (as you can see below from the few pics I took near our home). I'm now updating the post on Monday morning and the snow has all gone, the sky is blue and the sun is shining!
Some of my clients love the snowy weather because it increases the need for their service or product, so they've been smiling from ear to ear. The rest of us were just hunkering down and and trying to juggle working from home and looking after the kids.
March brings the final month of this financial year. Lots of pushing to meet targets and setting new budgets. In the world of recruitment, we are seeing the usual ‘March surge’. This is where businesses are either spending the last of their budget from this financial year, or are kick starting their recruitment for the coming financial year. It’s all go, go, go.
With anyone who joins my team, I have a full plan for them which mixes up training days and on-the-job learning. I also add in lots of feedback and checking-in sessions. Even though Sian and Bethany will have their own line managers, I like to do the initial process, systems and brand training with them because it is so important that everyone in the team has the same grounding.
It makes a massive difference to how we deliver our service and it also helps me and my new team members build a great working relationship. Another factor here is about building a good employer brand, something else I often write about. If your team and new starters are happy, it helps you recruit more easily as and when you need to because of the reputation you have built up.
I recently learned that 69% of people would not take a job with a company who had a bad employee reputation. So, it really makes a difference. Getting your employer brand right also helps to protect you and the recruitment process. The average number of people shortlisted for a job when 250 people apply, is only 4-6. If you invest time in the process and interviewing, you don’t want your selected candidate to decline your offer because of a poor reputation as an employer.
I’m starting to plan my next big bi-annual team meeting. I get everyone together every month to review how we’re doing and share ideas, but twice a year I also host an off-site planning event. We dig deeper into targets and goals and how we’re going to get there.
This time we’ll be looking more than normal at how we source our temporary, permanent and contract candidates, as the pool of available people on the market looking for jobs gets smaller and smaller each year.
Last month we shared some information about GDPR with you; what is it, how it might impact your business, what you need to be thinking about. We’ve been sending emails to our candidate’s personal email addresses to encourage them to ‘opt in’. It’s easier for us from a client point of view because work email addresses and contact details are excluded from the personal data rules covered by the new GDPR rules.
I’ve had lots of conversations with people about GDPR and the overwhelming feeling is that it’s really bad news for a business’s marketing efforts. I don’t see it that way though. I see it as a really good opportunity for better targeting. You could be emailing thousands of people every month about your products or services and get an email open rate of 30% and a click rate of 5%.
Instead, with the new GDPR ‘opt in’ policy, you might well be emailing a much smaller number of people but your open and click rates should be so much higher, showing that you’re speaking to the right people; engaged, interested people - people who might buy from you. As long as we understand the process and our audience, I think GDPR is a positive move.
That’s nearly all from me this month. There’s lots going on, we’ll also be launching an Easter competition, so keep a look out for it dropping into your inboxes. My blog post might have just helped you with some of the answers too – shhhhh!
Have a wonderful March and hopefully I’ll be opening April’s blog post with news of a heatwave – we can live in hope.
P.S. have you heard about the GCSE grading changes? If you’re going to be recruiting, you need to know what to look out for on CV’s. Read our blog post about it here.