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Are we missing the culture basics?

Blog missing culture content

It’s pretty challenging to hire right now. In the rush to get bums on seats, are we skipping some easy wins and focusing too much on the £££?

Covid, Brexit, lack of foresight: whatever we want to blame it on, there’s an undeniable recruitment crisis — we talked about that last week in depth. We’re grabbing at lorry drivers and warehouse workers who were told in no uncertain terms they were persona non grata back in 2016, when 51% of us decided that untapped cheap labour wasn’t a good idea anymore. We won’t get into that one, as we only have a few hundred words to get our point across.

What we do want to get into, however, is that in the rush to get untrained drivers, warehouse operatives, care home staff, hospitality workers and pretty much every ‘operational’ role imaginable back into our economy, we’re skipping stuff that is critically important.

Unrecognisable changes

Gone are the zero-hour contracts and minimum wage. They are replaced with £15 per hour here, £1,000 welcoming bonus there, guaranteed 12-hour shifts elsewhere. We’ve literally turned the ‘unskilled’ industry around — which is a good thing.

Thanks to these people now being so hard to find, our hiring standards have collapsed completely. In a recent conversation with a Retail Director at a major supermarket, we learned that the interview-to-hire ratio had rocketed from around 15% to a staggering 90%. People who weren’t good enough previously are now being given a chance. Or in other words, the Hiring Manager doesn’t have any other choice and is being forced to take the gamble. We’ve heard that story elsewhere too.

What was also alarming is that the typical onboarding stuff, like the introduction to company values, awareness of basic operating procedures, and insights into the company itself are being moved out of training rooms and delivered as ‘on the job training'. Would you want to do your usual shift, then try and find time to soak up critically important information on company culture in between your daily duties?

Sure, we’re giving people chances they wouldn’t have otherwise had, but mix a lower quality of appointee with little to no true onboarding, and the problems quickly become obvious.

Eat or be eaten?

Yes, we get it, there’s a crisis, and the focus is on getting the wheels turning again. But are we creating a bigger crisis further down the line? How likely are people – who are simply handed a uniform and told to crack on, with the important culture stuff coming later or not at all – going to be when it comes to loyalty?

And what sort of quality of work are they carrying out, if they don’t know who to report to? Or book a holiday? Or how they should apply the company’s values to the work they do?

We firmly believe the battle of the future is the battle for retention. And if we’re just paying more, what happens when our competitors come along with an extra few quid per hour?

The real answer could lie in providing an engaging, culture-led experience that makes employees feel part of something bigger than the current wave. It will come crashing onto the beach at some point.

Do you think your organisation is skipping the essentials? Or do you completely disagree and firmly believe we have to sacrifice culture embedding to get the economy back on its feet? We’d love to hear from you either way, so connect with me on LinkedIn, or visit the contact us page!

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