You've attracted the right people.... so what's next?

Guest columnist Brian Cartwright offers some advice.
Logisitcs, COMMENT, Business Trends


Written by Brian Cartwright, managing director, MEA Region, Logistics Executive.

In a previous article, I raised the question “What can we do to attract more people to the sector?” Feedback from my peers within the region has confirmed it’s a topic at the front of everyone’s mind where immediate steps need to be taken by the Supply Chain and Logistics community as a whole, to address the skills-gaps we are facing.

Without swift action it’s a potential disaster, and we are all aware that proactive solutions need to be found and action taken quickly.

This leads me to consider another important point. It’s a far worse situation when we attract talented people but don’t know what we are going to do with them once we have their interest.

In an ideal world, there’s a clear and timely recruitment process, starting from candidate attraction and evaluation followed by ongoing career and succession planning.

When a person decides they want to pursue or further develop a career in a Supply Chain or Logistics-related function they should have a clear vision of their potential for growth from the start, and this needs to be reinforced regularly throughout their career.

We spend a lot time defining various processes on paper, but are those processes properly implemented and adhered to every day in the real world?

If the theoretical processes don’t match the physical day-to-day processes, then all of this is a waste of time. This applies to everything we do, regardless of whether it’s elated to recruitment or another aspect of the Supply Chain.

Perhaps hiring managers should forget the operations manual for now and go back to basics by walking through the current physical recruitment process in their companies to see what’s really happening when people are applying for jobs?

It’s important to consider the candidates’ experience from the first time they make contact. Will they have a good impression of the company throughout the process, regardless of whether or not they are successful?

I say this because the recruitment process is often an area of frustration for hiring managers, external recruiters and prospective employees alike. It’s particularly frustrating for potential employees searching for new jobs.

People who were initially very excited about new job opportunities can quickly become disillusioned if the steps to getting the job are too complicated, too slow or not clearly defined. They need definite time frames and regular communication through each stage in the process.

First impressions count!

It starts from the first contact a person has with an organisation when applying for jobs. If applicants have a negative experience with a company at such an early stage, it’s potentially damaging to the brand itself. Word travels fast.

Even if an applicant is unsuccessful in their application it doesn’t have to be a negative experience. The key is that they are given proper feedback with regular communication throughout the process.

If we want to attract and retain top talent in the Supply Chain and Logistics sector then we must get them engaged and keep them engaged from day one.

Another interesting point which I wanted to share came from the Supply Chain and Logistics 2011-1212 Employment Market Survey which was compiled by Logistics Executive. The research shows employers indicating that the main reason for someone choosing to join their company was for career advancement, with 26.89% of respondents citing this as the major contributing factor.

Yes, pay is up there too, as a close second with 20.86%, and for sure both of these factors go hand in hand, but if an organisation is serious about hiring the best of breed candidates and knows the market and their competition well enough, then the package they are offering for a particular role will already be equal to or even above the market average.

That said, I am sure every employer can recall a time when he/she has failed to hire an outstanding candidate who he/she really wanted on board, so the big question should be why, and what can be done to stop this happening again.

I will finish by highlighting my earlier point, that having a clear and timely recruitment process, starting from candidate attraction and evaluation to ongoing career and succession planning, is an essential factor in attracting and retaining top people. This is imperative in ensuring the continued success of a company.

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