Peter Jones, Managing Director at recruitment specialist Foyne Jones, discusses the importance of keeping traditional trade skills alive.
As businesses up and down the land weigh up their short, medium and long term plans in the wake of COVID and Brexit, managing and retaining talent is just as important as recruitment. I therefore urge employers to devote time and energy to optimising their existing workforce. With this in mind, make sure you fully communicate all the opportunities available in the future to your staff and do not short-change your business with hasty, knee-jerk decisions.
Building back better
As the government begins to lay out plans to ‘build back better’, we all have a part to play in making traditional trades an attractive career path for school leavers and career changers. The construction industry contributes 7% of the UK’s GDP, which might not sound much in comparison with our services industry which brings in 80%, but we should be proud that the install market underpins every structure in this country. The customer journey is everything in trade and retail, but I invite you to consider the journey that your employees can go on with you. When I speak to job hunters, a key reason why they want a new role, outside of a recession, is that they felt they had to move on to pursue their career goals. It’s true that recruiting is a big investment, which is why we’re always keen to assist with hiring decisions so that you have the best pool of candidates to choose from, but you also need to actively nurture your own talent and encourage progression to grow your profits as well as your people.
Supporting the ‘sandwich generation’
Looking to the future, the UK has a falling birth rate, so we need to support an ageing population as fewer people come into the workforce and people will tend to work longer. The average age of the UK worker is 42 with retirement age now 66. It makes sense to look to the needs of the ‘sandwich generation’ who are often mid-lifers supporting their parents and other older relatives as well as caring for their own children, who may well end up living with them for longer in a multi-generational household. Mindset, passion and strong leadership is everything when it comes to dealing with change and new opportunities in the workplace, so I would take a positive team-based approach for maximum employee buy-in. Brexit is likely to be a huge learning curve for us all, especially within the new parameters of the pandemic. Consumers will expect you to be well-informed and upfront about stock levels and lead times so make sure you have a communications plan in place so you are regularly speaking with your suppliers and manufacturers and ensuring the relevant information goes to your team. I always encourage people to look at how they can use change to their advantage – as teams and businesses evolve all the time. If you do what you’ve always done, you get what you always get so I would invite you to take a long, hard look at your current systems and processes and see where you can upgrade and make efficiencies to boost your business for your customers and make it a great place to work for your team.