Growing A Workforce


by Amanda McCulloch

7th May 2018

Growing a workforce means so much more than adding to your headcount through recruitment. I believe that it encompasses retention and development with employers adopting a duty of care towards employee engagement and wellbeing, where productivity is championed over presenteeism.

1. Performance Management

Which line manager really remembers with absolute clarity work that was well executed many months ago? How many people work in teams where it is hard to unpick the individual contributions from the collective outcome months after the project completed? Organisations are beginning to recognise that annual or biannual appraisals often fall short and are transitioning to continuous feedback as a much more effective way to motivate and share information.

2. Training & Development

Personal development is increasingly important to job seekers with 80% of millennials reporting the opportunity to learn new skills is an important issue when considering a new job (REC: The Future of Jobs). At the 2017 Granite Expo we asked attendees – do you hire for skills or attitude? The majority said attitude, supporting the general consensus that skills can be taught. But, across a multi-generational, diverse workforce learning styles are widely divergent and need to be supported by a training strategy which deploys different tactics for learning.

3. Benefits

When is the last time you asked your workforce which benefits they would value the most? Afraid of the answer, employers often avoid asking the question. But if you want to attract and retain people as they move through different stages in their lives then your benefits need to accommodate their evolving priorities. Flexible working continues to top the wish list, but that can come in many different guises with innovative employers using it to retain experience and skills.

4. Leadership & Trust

Between the misuse of personal data, #MeToo and rampant pay inequality the headlines have been filled with stories about breaches of trust. The Great Place To Work Institute believes that "trust is the defining principle of great workplaces" and is created through management credibility and treating employees fairly and with respect. This requires leadership at every level of your organisation and communication which constantly reaffirms how your employees contribute to the bigger picture. Do your HR practices create an environment where everyone is treated fairly and can you identify the areas that have room for improvement?

5. Resourcing

I couldn't finish without touching on recruitment. Look from within first, if you don't have the potential in your organisation think back to points 1 and 2 – there could be room for improvement there. Then, carefully consider the actual skills requirements of the role and write a new job description which is accurate and targeted at the right audience. Forget about finding the perfect candidate – they don't exist and, if you want to migrate away from intuition based interviews, consider complementing your recruitment process with role relevant assessments or predictive behaviour tools.

This opinion piece featured in the May edition of the Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce Business Bulletin.

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