Recruitment News Round-up. The Brutal Truth #8

Recruitment News Round-up. The Brutal Truth #8.

by Howard Greenwood, 18th August 2023

Welcome to edition #8 of Jump Advisory Group Newsletter. As the summer holidays close for most recruitment agencies, the busiest time of the year is now upon us. Are you ready? The drive to finish the physical year on or above target, to set up 2024 and to create a high-performing team as the market swings again are all priorities, so how do you fit that all in?

Mastering the Art of Building High-Performance Teams in a Challenging Market

In today’s competitive business landscape, building and maintaining high-performance teams is essential for any recruitment owner aiming to thrive in a challenging market. The ability to assemble a group of individuals who possess the necessary skills and collaborate seamlessly, innovate, and adapt to rapidly changing circumstances is a strategic advantage that can set your agency apart. Let’s delve into the art of creating high-performance teams in a tough market and offers actionable insights to achieve remarkable results.

Define Your Vision and Values

A clear vision and set of values are the foundation of any high-performance team. Clearly communicate your agency’s mission and objectives, emphasising a shared purpose beyond monetary gains. Fostering a culture based on respect, trust, and collaboration will attract individuals who align with these values, leading to a more cohesive and motivated team.

Prioritise Diversity and Inclusion

In a challenging market, diversity and inclusion become even more critical. Diverse teams bring various perspectives, ideas, and experiences that can spark innovation and problem-solving. Prioritise creating an inclusive environment where all team members feel valued and empowered to contribute their unique strengths.

Embrace Adaptive Leadership

Effective leadership is pivotal to high-performance teams. In a challenging market, leaders must exhibit adaptive leadership qualities—being flexible, responsive, and capable of guiding the team through uncertainty. Encourage open communication, provide regular feedback, and lead by example to inspire your team to excel even in challenging times.

Recruit Strategically

Recruitment becomes an art in itself during tough times. Focus on hiring individuals who possess the required technical skills and exhibit a growth mindset, resilience, and a willingness to learn. Look for candidates who thrive in dynamic environments and can embrace change as an opportunity. BUT they must match your VISION AND VALUES.

Encourage Skill Development

Investing in skill development is a powerful way to foster team growth and performance. Provide access to training, workshops, and resources that empower your team members to improve their skills and stay updated with industry trends continually. A commitment to learning creates a culture of excellence and adaptability.

Promote Collaboration and Communication

High-performance teams rely on solid communication and collaboration. Encourage an open exchange of ideas within teams and across different departments. Implement collaborative tools and platforms that facilitate seamless communication, enabling team members to work together irrespective of geographical constraints.

Set Clear Goals and Expectations

Clearly defined goals and expectations are essential for team alignment. Break down larger objectives into achievable milestones, and celebrate successes along the way. Regularly assess progress and adjust goals and plans as needed, ensuring the team remains focused and motivated.

Recognise and Reward Excellence

Acknowledging and rewarding exceptional performance is crucial for maintaining team morale and motivation. Implement a recognition program that highlights individual and collective achievements. This boosts confidence and reinforces a culture of excellence and dedication.

Emphasise Work-Life Balance

In challenging markets, the pressure to perform can lead to burnout. Prioritise work-life balance to ensure your team remains energised and engaged. Encourage flexible working arrangements and provide wellness initiatives that promote physical and mental well-being.

Building high-performance teams in a challenging market is an art that requires strategic planning, adaptability, and a commitment to fostering a positive and inclusive culture. By defining your agency’s vision, embracing diversity, nurturing adaptive leadership, strategically recruiting, and fostering continuous skill development, you can create a team that survives and thrives in the face of adversity. Remember, the art lies in recognising that a high-performance team is an evolving masterpiece that requires constant attention and care to reach its full potential.

Summary of the Jobs Report by the REC.

The KPMG and Recruitment & Employment Confederation UK Report on Jobs survey, compiled by S&P Global, reveals that hiring activity in the UK has been subdued due to a weak economic outlook and reduced business confidence. Permanent placements saw the sharpest contraction over three years, while growth in temporary billings also weakened significantly. Staff availability increased notably, driven by reports of redundancies and hiring freezes. Pay pressures slightly eased, despite rising living costs. Total vacancy growth hit a 29-month low in July.

Key Statistics:

  1. Permanent placements declined at the quickest rate in over three years.
  2. Temporary billings growth weakened notably from June.
  3. Overall staff availability rose substantially, marking the steepest increase since December 2020.
  4. Total vacancies increased at the slowest pace in 29 months.
  5. Redundancies drove the fastest rise in labor supply since the pandemic.
  6. Salaries for newly-placed permanent workers continued to rise sharply.
  7. The rate of inflation in salaries slipped to the lowest since April 2021.
  8. Temporary billings growth slowed to the softest pace in 29 months.
  9. All four monitored English regions posted a decline in permanent placements.
  10. Demand for staff in various sectors experienced divergent trends.

Neil Carberry, REC Chief Executive: “The jobs market overall remains fairly robust, with vacancies and pay still rising and unemployment low but there is a sense in today’s report that the economy will need some growth soon to sustain this positive picture.”

Claire Warnes, Partner, Skills and Productivity at KPMG UK: “The latest survey results reflect the current Summer weather – damp, but with some possible bright skies on the horizon.”

AI, What’s on the Horizon and Do You Have the Potential to Harness It?

The growing influence of AI in the recruitment process has sparked a debate about the optimal level of human involvement. Recent evidence has shown that candidates often need to be more satisfied with AI-driven processes. However, Terry Terhark presents a compelling case for organisations to leverage five primary types of AI tools to attract top talent.

The Society for Human Resource Management in the US reports that a significant 40% of companies are already utilising AI for candidate screening and assessment. An additional 41% use AI chatbots to engage with job seekers, while 44% have successfully harnessed AI to identify promising candidates through their social media profiles.

Amidst these advancements, it’s understandable that talent acquisition professionals may question whether their organisations recognise the pivotal role of their innate “human” skills in driving successful recruitment endeavours.

The good news is that many leaders comprehend the value of the human touch within recruitment and talent acquisition activities. However, it remains irrefutable that AI will inevitably monopolise specific tasks.

Recruitment comprises transactional elements (screening, data handling, and communication) and strategic functions (interviewing, assessing, and aligning candidates). A harmonious integration of technology and human skills at critical junctures ensures candidates experience a refined and professional process coupled with efficiency. During this transformative phase, the true pioneers will be recruitment teams that proactively embed AI into their workflows and discern technologies that amplify productivity and enhancements rather than replacing recruiters outright.

Five Types of AI Tools for Recruiters to consider

  1. Generative AI: This AI application, notably exemplified by ChatGPT, leverages existing data to create original content. McKinsey highlights its potential to boost productivity by up to 70%. Recruiters can harness generative AI to expedite the drafting of job descriptions, outreach emails, employer branding content, and more, allowing them to focus on other pivotal recruitment phases. However, care must be taken due to the open nature of AI models like ChatGPT, ensuring sensitive information is handled cautiously.
  2. Natural Language Processing (NLP): In a competitive job market, engaging candidates effectively is challenging. As seen with Siri, NLP empowers computers to understand and interpret human language. NLP-driven chatbots can enhance candidate interactions and expedite application and screening processes. This technology can potentially eliminate bias from candidate screening and improve cross-channel engagement.
  3. Sentiment Analysis: Coupled with NLP, sentiment analysis categorises emotion in text to gauge correspondence as positive, neutral, or negative. This aids recruiters in understanding candidate responses, providing insights for informed decision-making. However, it’s crucial to note that sentiment analysis should inform rather than dictate candidate qualification.
  4. Machine Learning (ML): ML, also known as conversational AI, recognises patterns within datasets and applies this understanding to tasks like candidate-role matching. ML systems consider various factors, streamlining interactions and engagement. Though guidance is required, the system’s effectiveness depends on the data it is trained on.
  5. Optical Character Recognition (OCR): Despite being less spotlighted, OCR is a gem in recruiters’ toolkit. It transforms image-based text into digital formats, improving the candidate experience by simplifying the submission of documents and work history.

Embracing the Future with a Human Edge.

While AI undoubtedly enhances candidate sourcing, its effectiveness hinges on the acumen of recruitment professionals. With proper training and familiarity with emerging tech, recruiters can become adept technologists. Those who invest in training AI systems and adapt to emerging technology trends will not only shape the industry’s future but also wield more precise, effective, and valuable tools in the present. The future lies in the hands of those prepared to integrate AI thoughtfully while preserving the irreplaceable human touch in strategic decision-making.

AI will not replace the recruiter; it will only make their ability to service candidates and clients quicker and better. The human element of recruitment will be the key to the overall success of any recruitment strategy.

Here at Jump we would love to hear your views on the market and the things we have written, and we would love to know what you want us to report on. Thank you for being so supportive. 

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