Like many a parent of a 10/11 year old, I’m currently trekking around local secondary schools in order to make my preference choices in the next academic year.
Three schools have stood out, for different reasons.
School A, an “outstanding” and massively oversubscribed school, did very little on its open day to sell the school to prospective parents and pupils. The attitude was “We can pick the cream of the crop, and if you’re lucky enough to get in you’ll do really well here”
School B, an “outstanding” school, was welcoming and both staff and pupils put in a lot of effort to promote it. But their selection method (effectively a lottery) means that candidates have little or no chance of influencing the process
School C, a “good” school with some outstanding characteristics, spent a lot of time talking about their values and ethos, and significantly let the pupils act as tour guides so that parents and children could ask questions. They also invited pupils separately to spend a day at the school.
What I found interesting was that the schools operated in the same way as many employers do when recruiting staff. Many companies take the view of School A. They assume that individuals would love to work for them and do little to sell themselves to job applicants. In a recession they can get away with it, but once the job market becomes more competitive they can struggle to find suitable staff.
School B is typical of many companies who’ve heard of “employer branding” but don’t fully understand what it means. They do a lot to convince candidates they are good firm to work for but then let something in the selection process let them down and make the candidate feel it is all window dressing
Companies like School C recognise they are competing for staff and have to convince people as to why they should work for them. Being open and honest about their culture, and recognising that “branding” is only part of it, is a key factor.
So which category does your organisation fall into? And if you are complaining currently about skill shortages, what are you doing to make your company the place that employees want to go?