This week I attended the Isle of Man CIPD Conference, a one-day event focused on the area of ‘Attracting, retaining and developing talent on the Isle of Man’. It was a great opportunity to hear about current recruitment and employee development trends and issues, and I’d like to share the key messages with you in this blog post.

1) Effective employer branding is essential

Debbie Scrimshaw from Paragon highlighted how employer branding can have a real impact on both a company’s success in obtaining the best talent and also on the individual candidate experience. I talk to clients from a job-seeking point of view about the importance of personal branding in order to communicate and sell an effective, relevant and positive career message to potential employers, so it was interesting to consider the two-way nature of this process. The message was clear – employers can no longer sit back and expect to recruit the best candidates – they have to work hard to identify and communicate their brand to potential employees, just as jobseekers have to market themselves effectively to employers. This conjures up an image in my mind of a bird mating ritual where both parties are trying their best to impress each other and get the required buy-in!! This method of communicating a clear brand message benefits both sides, allowing for a better connection before and during the application process based on attracting candidates with shared values. If such values are maintained and actively upheld within the company then this can also contribute positively to retention rates.

2) Employers need to embrace new technologies
Another clear message on the recruitment front was the need for employers to keep up-to-date with technological advancements that potentially enable more effective ways of attracting and shortlisting candidates. For example, Christine Tautari from The Needle Online spoke about developments in video recruitment technology that enable recruiters to engage with candidates at an early stage in the selection process, and also allow for a shorter, more efficient process overall.

Psychometric assessments were also highlighted in terms of their added-value in recruitment and development. The amount and quality of tools on the market continues to increase, with assessments available for measuring a range of psychological variables such as ability, personality, skills, emotional intelligence, values and motivations. With most assessments now being undertaken online, they are recognised as an effective tool to aid recruitment decisions and development activities. Employers using psychometrics were reminded to exercise caution to ensure assessments used were reliable and valid for the specific use intended.

3) Don’t forget the current workforce
As well as focusing on external recruitment, employers need to concentrate on developing and up-skilling their current workforce to retain the internal talent pool. Phred Steer from Redrock Consulting spoke used the technology sector as an example, and highlighted the need for companies to consider the development requirements of their older workers who may need to be taught new skills to adapt to changing business requirements.

4) Apprenticeships are in!
Although not a new method of recruitment, apprenticeships have received mixed opinions from employers and jobseekers, however they’re currently gaining more traction on the Island, particularly in the engineering and technology sectors. A representative from Swagelok detailed their apprenticeship scheme and went on to highlight the many benefits felt by all parties involved. These included:
– Individuals on the scheme report high satisfaction with the apprenticeship format which enables practical on-the-job skills to be learned alongside gaining theoretical knowledge.
– Utilising more experienced staff in mentor roles for apprentices has increased employee motivation and allowed for close links to be made between the new and existing employees.
– Lastly, the organisation see benefits both internally from a trained and motivated workforce, and also externally with the focus on employee development adding to a positive employer brand image.

5) Mindset is everything
Lastly, it was emphasised that organsiations need to ensure they have the right processes and mindset in place to create and implement an effective talent management programme. Speakers from Manx Telecom and the IOM Government emphasised how this requires senior management involvement and ensuring the correct HR systems and internal development plans are in place. Again, this message can be applied to job seekers, highlighting the importance of a positive mindset and having the right goals and strategies in place when approaching job searching.

I hope you find the above useful – please feel free to share your thoughts and comments below!