Last week the Nestle UK boss was on Breakfast TV explaining the benefits of apprenticeships and work experience for their business. One of the issues that they face is that they have an ageing but highly competent workforce and have had a high level of staff turnover at the entry level roles so they are not training up the next generation of capable people to continue to produce at the current (and future) levels. Nestle UK are seeking to address this through a mass recruitment programme via Apprenticeships and work experience placements with the hope that this more integrated approach will develop a more capable workforce who are committed to the business and their future with it.
On the same day, I was in a Fast Forward learning group with Unlocking Potential discussing business systems, processes, approaches and staffing, sharing practice, blunders and successes between organisations in order to
learn from each other. In this group discussion, we recognised (anecdotally) that the labour market is changing and attitudes to work are becoming more complacent in our experience.
We offer about 40 work placements each year with many being highly successful in providing an engaged learning experience for the individual and expanding our capacity at the same time. However, this year I have also
found that recruiting the right staff has been really difficult. For most of those recruitments, there has been a flaw in my process or decision making which in the context of workload etc, is understandable but from the
business point of view is unacceptable. With a shift in 2014 in how we operate to become more flexible, appointing the right people will be crucial to our business success and I still believe that work experience is a valuable means to get to know candidates, see them at work and for them to get to know us and understand what we are looking for and how we work.
Recruitment is a two way street and involves both parties taking a risk, especially in the current economic climate. It also takes time and effort and commitment from both parties, much more than just sending in a CV and not thinking about it and much more than just shortlisting and interviewing. As Michael Rabone from The Seafood Restaurant says if we were spending £15-£20k on a piece of equipment, we would research it in great detail checking that it was the right thing for us and was going to generate the required return, so why dont we do so when it comes to recruitment?. I invest time, effort and money in each member of the team and I now realise that recruitment should be about considering what the return is on that investment.
Claire Eason-Bassett, Managing Director Mackerel Sky Events and Event Cornwall