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Promoting healthier recruitment strategies

Recent Gallup studies looking at what employees wanted from their next job revealed that both better pay and wellbeing rose significantly as motivating factors, with nearly two-thirds (61%) citing greater work-life balance and personal wellbeing as ‘very important.’ The study suggested wellbeing should be upfront in employee value propositions (EVP); new hires need to know their new employer cares about them as a person and that their work will help them thrive, not burn out.

Of course, discussing wellbeing, especially mental health, at recruitment stage is nothing new. Deloitte has advocated since 2017 that employers should, as a basic standard, encourage open conversations about it and the support available at both the recruitment stage as well as throughout employment. The same report made a strong case for investing in mental health interventions in the workplace, citing an average return of £5 for every £1 spent.

A growing trend

The past two years have seen massive changes in the world of work, not least of which was the spawning of ‘The Great Resignation’ aka the Great Reshuffle. In the wake of Covid-19, workers are re-evaluating what they want from their work and their employers. Glassdoor predicted that employees would be looking for both a career and a community. It claimed benefits like office table tennis and just health insurance wouldn’t cut it any more, employers needed to make way for wellbeing days and mental health support.

Paying lip service to health and wellbeing is not an option, organisations need to adopt a holistic approach and embed a ‘walk the walk not talk the talk’ culture. Indeed, company culture and values are the number one driver of employee satisfaction so employers need to work harder to create cultures that attract, engage and retain their workforce, particularly Young Millennials and Gen Z.

Recruitment (and retention!) of younger employees is key to the future growth of your business Talking of Gen Z and Young Millennials

It seems that almost every business we talk to at the moment is either trying to recruit new talent or hang on to existing skills and experience. But it’s a highly competitive market out there at the moment and for those firms who want to onboard a younger workforce for succession planning in a multigenerational workforce, for example, they need to understand what Gen Z and Young Millennials are actually looking for in an employer.

As we’ve already touched on, topping the wish list is an organisation that cares about its employees’ wellbeing, and this was the case before we’d even heard of Covid-19! Young staff may be physically healthy but can suffer from social isolation which affects their productivity. Homeworking, and even hybrid working, have in many instances exacerbated the feelings with nearly three quarters (73%) of office workers calling on employers to address loneliness for those who work flexibly. Worst affected seem to be the Gen Z and Young Millennials age group (18-34 year olds), 41% of whom claimed to experience loneliness.

More than half (51%) of 16-24 year old remote workers admit that working from home (WFH) affected their mental health; 41% went as far as to claim it made them unhappy.

But are Gen Z and Young Millennials any different to the rest of us?

Dale Carnegie [1] argues that what motivates a younger employee may be different to what motivates others. Identifying the differences is what will help managers tailor interactions and techniques to help Gen Z and Young Millennials feel valued, confident, connected and empowered, the key emotional drivers of employee engagement.

Wellbeing starts with care and compassion

Organisations everywhere are realising their own wellbeing is inextricably linked to that of their employees; you can’t have a healthy, productive culture without a healthy, productive workforce.

Companies are recognising the importance of demonstrating to potential candidates that they offer a good working environment where people are supported and cared for. Many firms are building robust health and wellbeing offerings to gain a competitive edge in recruitment. And it’s not going unnoticed as there’s been a 147% increase in the share of job posts that mention wellbeing.

Employers want to be seen as proactive and supportive in health and wellbeing, they realise this could be the clincher between a candidate choosing them over another organisation. It’s also worth noting that health and wellbeing resonates particularly well with women, research shows it could significantly influence a female candidate’s decision to accept a role.

Recent studies reveal two-thirds (66%) of Gen Z would like to see more investment in mental health and wellness to improve company culture; half (51%) of Millenials agree compared with less than a third (31%) of ‘Baby Boomers’. If employees feel cared for, they’re 3.7x more likely to recommend working for the company.

It’s time to ‘show and tell’ when recruiting

Enlightened organisations are already on the case in demonstrating to candidates that they offer a good working environment where their people are supported and care for. It’s time to ‘show and tell’ applicants about your health and wellbeing commitments and what they actually mean in practice.

  • Show empathy: train line managers and those likely to be interviewing candidates to be empathetic, Wellbeing Champion Training can help here.
  • Tell candidates about wellbeing initiatives: promote the physical and mental health support in place such as Mental Health First Aid Training and Wellbeing talks and webinars.
  • Show care: explain about flexible work arrangements for candidates who are also caregivers, for example.
  • Tell applicants about benefits: From employee assistance programmes (EAP) to the ultimate perk, the 4-day week!
  • Show appreciation: feeling valued at work is linked to wellbeing and performance.

It’s time to start investing in robust health and wellbeing strategies or lose out to good talent. The greatest ROI [2] comes in programmes that improve the knowledge of line managers and workers risks for mental health, as well as proving personalised exercise programmes.

Thrive4Life has over 30 years’ experience of delivering specialist health, safety and wellbeing guidance across many industries. For more information about its services and training courses get in touch or email or call us on 020 8972 9675.

  1. Source: Dale Carnegie white paper on Creating Cultures that Engage and Retain Millenials and Generation Z
  2. Source: The Economic Case for investing in the prevention of mental health conditions in the UK by Mental Health Foundation and London School of Economics.
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