Would you describe your current available roles as ‘hard to fill’?
Are you having conversations around the ‘talent shortage’ in FMCG?
Firstly you are not alone. Being at the forefront of the UK FMCG talent market, we are consistently engaging with Senior HR professionals and business leaders who are experiencing or highlighting the same challenges.
There is no “low hanging fruit” at the moment, nor queues at the door to work for your fantastic brand or business. This doesn’t necessarily mean there is a problem with your organisation, it can simply mean that there is too much noise around it from the plethora of other organisations seeking the same talent as you!
In the ‘Great Resignation’ period we have been experiencing, there have been large proportions of talent pools who have moved roles in the last 18 months. Across some areas and skill sets – such as Category Management, National Account Management and Demand Planning, there have been career changes with as much as 50% of the talent pools.
Even more so recently, securing talent is a recurring challenge for businesses in the FMCG space, and whilst we have said that it may not be your business or brand which is at fault, now may be a good time to review.
Ask yourself the following question – ‘Why would a happily employed person want to come and join the business in the role you are looking to fill’ – Can you answer this easily and effectively, or is it a stop and think moment?
In our structured role briefing session, we ask this question consistently and it is not uncommon for the stakeholder to struggle with a clear response. More often than not, we can help here, simply by repeating back some of the standout elements of the business or role that we have discussed throughout the briefing. It’s sometimes easier for us to do this, because we are doing it from a 3rd party perspective with a clear knowledge of what is appealing to potential candidates.
Either way, it’s a good exercise to do internally with key stakeholders as the differing answers can uncover issues or absolutely highlight key selling points.
Points to consider (Particularly with roles that you are or have historically struggled with):
- Salary – How competitive is it in comparison to the market? When was the last time you had this benchmarked against local or competitor organisations? Or Is it exactly at the level of competition which means no increase available to the talent you require?
- Experience Requirement – Are you being realistic in comparison to the size of the talent pool? (do you know the size of the available talent pool)
- Flexible Working – Do you offer this? Could you be missing out on talent?
- Benefits Package – Is this competitive and in line with others?
- Recruitment Process & Timescales – Is this working for you? Are you fast enough? Are there too many hoops to jump through?
- Candidate Attraction Strategy – What are the main selling points and where can people see them?
- Recruitment Partner? Do you have one who truly understands the business and the requirements? What insight are you being provided with from them (and I don’t mean – it’s tough out there at the moment or it’s slow – I mean tangibles! – that you can actually do something with). What awareness do you have of how your recruitment partner(s) position you in the market?
Salary in Consumer Goods
With any rise in demand, there is an impact in relation to cost – salaries are no different in this regard. Certain functions have seen more increases than others… key roles across Sales, Marketing, Supply Chain, Ecommerce, have all experienced fluctuation, particularly over the last 12 months.
More often than not, organisations are not a million miles out.. it’s just another factor to contend with, when potential candidates have so much choice in front of them. That being said, if your structure doesn’t allow for major changes, then real emphasis on the other ‘sellables’ of the role, need to be made.
As mentioned above, sometimes organisations feel they’ve got their salary spot on, as in… it’s exactly in line with the market average. However, if the experience you are looking to hire is at the same level of the market average, then your talent pool is limited to people open to a sideways move. For some organisations, this is absolutely achievable… major brands, purpose-led, but ask yourself when recruiting, what is the incentive for that talent to be attracted to you?
What are the ‘musts’ in terms of experience in the role you need? And what are the ‘nice-to-haves’?
Going through your job description, and setting it out into a table of essentials and desirables is a highly recommended exercise. When taking our detailed role briefings, one of our key aims outside of understanding what the ideal candidate is, is to widen the brief as much as possible. This gives more options for choice, and allows for larger shortlists.
The talent is there, it just sometimes needs a wider perspective, coupled with a proactive approach to engage with the passive or inactive talent pools.
Whilst we are firm believers in office collaboration, we are finding that organisations offering a wider availability of flexibility are gaining access to a larger talent pool.
Off the back of the pandemic, flexible working is high on the agenda of employee expectations and wants. That being said, we have filled several roles for organisations requiring people in the office 3-5 days a week, with individuals who were not only happy but preferred that way of working. Although we would highlight that there are a smaller percentage of individuals in the current market seeking this.
What does your employee benefits package look like? What are you offering? And when was the last time you had this benchmarked?
How focused is your business on showing the workforce that you actually care? Are there softer benefits included in the core?
Recruitment Process & Timescales
What is your current recruitment process? How is that working for you?
A lot of organisations, including major blue chip organisations have worked closely with us to look at and review their recruitment process – timescales, requirements, stages… and have then tweaked or adjusted accordingly. Strong examples of this include the removal of testing, or first stage presentations. These tweaks have enabled passive talent to be engaged easier.
Our advice is to work closely with your partner to ensure you have an understanding of the talent pool and shortlist situation – it’s not always a one-size fits all. Each candidate will have their own set of circumstances, and individual buttons that need pushing. Receiving guidance on the situations of each candidate, particularly when seeking to hire highly sought after profiles or in demand backgrounds, can be pivotal.
We’re sure, or we hope, that we don’t have to overstate the value of a recruitment partner… the key is finding partners that you can genuinely collaborate with – where each partner can provide tangible feedback to the other, and is taken in the way it was intended.
We speak from strong experience to say that a credible and invested recruitment partner will do everything in their power to ensure your roles are filled with high quality people.
We could use this as a shameless plug for us, highlighting the numerous case studies, testimonials, client relationships… but, if anyone wants to see that, it’s all over our LinkedIn!
Our view is that a recruitment partner should either be able to fill the roles within the agreed criteria, in the agreed timescales… or advise you as to why it can’t be done – and work with you to rectify this. EG – Provide evidence or real-time insight, so that you have something tangible to work with.
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