02 Jul 6 Top Tips for overcoming HSE recruitment challenges
You’re not alone when it comes to serious and ongoing recruitment challenges. Businesses right across the health, safety, and environment (HSE) sector are having great difficulty filling vacancies with suitably qualified staff. So, we’ve put together some tips to help you overcome your recruitment challenges based on the trends we’ve seen when comparing successfully filled vacancies with those that remain vacant for a long time.
1. Write a great job description
This might seem obvious but you’d be surprised how many businesses struggle to fill vacancies primarily because their job description isn’t great.
When your job description is lacking, you risk not attracting candidates because the work seems unappealing, or attracting all the wrong sorts of people — the wrong experience, wrong qualifications or wrong salary level. So, crafting an excellent job description can really help you start the recruitment process on a strong footing.
In addition to the basics, like details about the type of work and skills required, a good job description will include:
- An appealing organisational summary — like an advert selling the company
- An engaging role summary — like an elevator pitch
- Key objectives and performance indicators, so your ideal candidates can assess whether they’ve got the right capabilities and are keen to apply
- Critical tertiary qualifications
- Job remuneration, so you don’t spend time on candidates who will not accept the pay you’re offering
- Any special requirements (e.g. you might include a job task analysis)
- If you are advertising the role, keywords that your ideal candidate will use to search for your job ad (for example, we still see some organisations listing job titles like ‘OH&S manager’ where candidates are searching use the more modern WHS terminology)
2. Offer flexible work arrangements wherever possible
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us all that remote and flexible work arrangements enable staff to do their jobs to the same standard they would meet if they were working 9-5 in the office. And while some people like working in an office, part, or even all the time, a great many workers really want to maintain their flexibility. So much so that 80% of workers are willing to stay longer with an employer that provides flexible work arrangements and more than half of all Australian employees will take a pay cut in exchange for work flexibility. We’re also seeing high-calibre candidates turn down employment offers that don’t include flexible work arrangements.
So, if you’re recruiting for roles where you require staff to work ‘standard hours’ and be in the office 100% of the time, you are going to have more difficulty filling your vacancies.
Obviously, there are some roles where there’s no alternative (for example, site inspections after a WHS incident can’t be performed at home), but where there is an option, offering flexibility will make it much easier to fill your vacancies. You just might have to get a little creative. For example, ergonomic workstation assessments or risk assessments could be completed by HSE staff working remotely using video conferencing tools.
3. Shorten your recruitment timeline
Because there are so many vacancies and insufficient jobseekers to fill them, you may have more recruitment success if you can get your job offers out more quickly before good candidates receive offers from other organisations. For example, if you receive an application from a candidate who seems like a great fit, don’t wait to benchmark them — you can start that process once you’ve secured an interview with the candidate.
And if you’re conducting recruitment activities remotely, try to offer candidates an opportunity to meet their boss and/or team in person as this could help sway a candidate with multiple job offers in your favour.
4. Consider mandatory requirements carefully
In a candidate-lead market, like we are in now, it’s even more important to pay special attention to your mandatory requirements. Too many businesses are struggling to fill vacancies because they’re waiting for the ‘perfect’ person to apply. So, take a look at your requirements and be ruthless when sorting them into ‘mandatory’ and ‘good-to-have’ categories.
It’s also worthwhile remembering that technical skills can be trained, whereas it’s far more difficult to foster interpersonal skills and it’s nearly impossible to force together personalities that clash and still achieve a good outcome. If you find someone who would work well with the rest of your team but is missing a couple of important skills or lacking experience, it may be well worth your while to commit to investing in developing their skills rather than waiting for a perfect candidate who may never arrive.
5. Consider increasing remuneration
When there are multiple job offers on the table, candidates accept the one with the best combination of work flexibility, pay, and perks. Similarly, employees are less likely to leave positions that offer those three benefits. So, while you may feel like you can’t afford to increase your pay rates, it may be worthwhile exploring the cost of replacing employees to see whether increasing pay rates may actually save your business money in the long run.
Also, a recent survey revealed only 10% of Australian job seekers aren’t expecting a pay rise when they change jobs. So, you’ll be starting off on the back foot if you’re not offering more pay than your competitors.
Another trend is sign-on bonuses — a once off payment to secure the candidate. If you can’t offer a higher salary, a sign-on bonus is more affordable and may be enough of an incentive to convince your ideal candidate to choose your organisation.
6. Explore attractive perks
If you can’t increase remuneration (and even if you can), you may be able to attract more and better qualified candidates by offering high value, low-cost employment perks. Below are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing but try to think outside the box. You probably have access to resources that your ideal staff would value that cost you less to deliver than it would for them to access independently, if only through economies of scale.
- Allow your staff to use work devices 100% for personal use. This doesn’t cost you anything because you’re already paying for the devices, but it means staff save money.
- Offer the services you sell to your employees for free or at a discount. This will cost you a little in time and human resources, but saves your staff more than it costs you.
- Offer the products you sell to your employees at cost price. This can save your staff quite a bit of money while costing you nothing.
- Negotiate staff discounts with local businesses in exchange for advertising their products and services to your staff (car parking, gyms, allied health services, cafes, cinemas, etc.)
- Give your employees the day off for their birthday. It’s a small cost to you but it can do a lot to endear candidates to your business.
- Offer perks that turn negatives into positives. For example, if your work cannot possibly be done remotely, create a really awesome social club with lunchtime activities, like trivia or sporting events. And shout regular meals. Maybe you could start the week with Mexican Mondays or organise money-saving bulk Uber Eats deliveries. And, along with the usual fruit box, throw in regular morning or afternoon teas using supermarket deli platters or the catering services of a local small business bakery.
- Offer perks that reduce or eliminate the negatives. For example, if your employees don’t like commuting, set up a carpool system that reduces travel costs for staff. For dreary offices, fill your office space with artwork and indoor plants.
It’s sometimes these little things that mean a lot to staff and prospective candidates. They may just be enough to convince a candidate with multiple offers to choose you. And they can also keep employees loyal to your business.
Advice to help you overcome your HSE recruitment challenges
HOK Talent Solutions, specialises in helping organisations find the HSE talent they need to succeed and grow. If you’re having trouble filling HSE vacancies, get in touch with our recruitment specialists, and we’ll take a look at your process and help you understand what you can do to attract and hire the right employees.