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Why employers need to be flexible to recruit top talent

By Rob Muddiman on 19 Nov 2014

By Rob Muddiman, Healthcare Manager at TPP.

The latest figures show that unemployment has dropped to below 1.97 million in the three months to the end of August and although businesses are growing, there is a threat of potential skills shortages. With fewer candidates available and applying for jobs, employers will need to work harder to find staff. The very best candidates are likely to already be happily employed, and are unlikely to be tempted to move unless an attractive salary entices them or the job advertised suits them better in terms of their life stage.

As a not for profit organisation, offering financial rewards is not always possible, so you need to attract staff with a job that suits their lifestyle. This month we give you our top tips on how to attract top talent by offering flexibility.  When writing your job description and person specification consider how you can make this role attractive and what flexibility can be offered and ensure these are advertised in the role from the start.

Life Stage Benefits

Individual benefit plans can appeal to employees, as they can select the benefits that suit their individual needs, tastes and goals at their current stage in life.  For example, childcare vouchers would suit a parent, where as mentoring or vouchers for gym membership may suit people beginning their careers or without commitments.

Other benefits that could be included in life stage benefits include pension, life assurance, private medical insurance, holiday and purchases on items such as laptops/ mobile phones.

CIPD provide more information on flexible benefit schemes here.

Hire and train up

Consider hiring a more junior candidate for the role and train them up. Carry out a job analysis to identify skills and knowledge that are essential before beginning the recruitment process, be realistic with essential and desirable skills.

By offering training, you have the added benefit of being able to employ a more junior candidate at a lower salary and you can mould this person to your organisation, while improving their skills. By offering scope for development, you are more likely to attract an individual that will remain loyal to your organisation and money saved in terms of salary can be invested in on the job and off the job training. provides further information on hiring and training staff.

Part-time/job share

Consider whether you need someone full-time. If you need someone full-time consider allowing job share applicants. By allowing these you immediately open up your job vacancy to more applicants, such as parents. With job shares you have the added benefit of two people’s ideas and initiatives on your team.

Many part-time workers will also consider travelling further for the right role, as they won’t be travelling everyday, this may be the difference of attracting a great candidate that is the perfect fit for your role.

You can find out more about recruiting part-time workers here.

Flexible working

Flexible working gives people a better work-life balance. Results of our past salary surveys have showed that flexible working is a sought after benefit. Flexible working can include part-time working as mentioned above, but more sought after is flexitime. This gives the freedom for people to work when they want (possibly from home) with core hours when they need to be present.

It is rare to see many jobs advertised with the benefit of flexible working advertised, although are sometimes negotiated at offer stage. This immediately will put some candidates off applying, by advertising this benefit you will have a broader, more diverse applicant pool. This can also help with equal opportunities and diversity for staff that might be unable to work standard hours or full time.

TPP has adopted a flexible working policy to retain our current staff and attract the best new employees in the future. You can find out more about flexible working on the website.

Building in flexible working practices and benefits into the job description right from the start of the recruitment process is one of the key ways in which a not for profit organisation can distinguish itself as an employer of choice and compete with larger organisations and the private sector for the very best candidates.