22 March, 2018

The right people (October 2013)

06 May, 2014
For any business, it is important to have all the components of a business and operational infrastructure in place for things to run smoothly and for customers to continue knocking on the door. Systems, processes and strategies of various kinds are naturally of vital importance to any company; but, of course, it is people that make these assets work. Therefore, the end game would be to ensure not only the retention of existing talented and motivated staff at all levels and within all roles, but also to sleep soundly in the knowledge that, when new personnel are required, this is going to be a fairly smooth process. However, as many readers of this journal will be all too aware, things are not quite that straightforward. New analysis of the engineering sector in both the UK and Germany has suggested that the UK must copy Germany’s recruitment approach in order not only to alleviate the current people crisis, but also to prevent further talent shortages. According to the research, which was carried out by specialist technology recruiter European Recruitment, the strategies are: • Adopting a long-term talent attraction strategy: Unlike the UK, Germany’s engineering sector has historically taken a long-term approach to its talent acquisition strategies. According to the research, the UK must forget its short-term policy of only taking action to fill skills gaps when they present themselves. • Not adopting a ‘boom or bust’ approach to recruitment: What appears to have worked well for German engineering firms is their commitment to hire in times of both austerity and prosperity. The UK must move towards this or continue to face a people crisis. • Equipping employees not only with technical skills, but also commercial acumen: Educational institutions play a pivotal role in developing the commercial skills of Germany’s workforce. ESMT European School of Management and Technology in Berlin, for example, has recently launched a Master’s in Management aimed at providing graduates with, not only the technical skills they require for their job, but also business acumen and international orientation. Students are also offered an internship as part of the course to secure on the job training. UK universities should follow suit. • Develop and maintain a strong Employee Value Proposition (EVP): Germany’s Siemens, for example, has spent decades devising a strong EVP not only to attract staff, but also to retain them on a long-term basis. By training its people the ‘Siemens way’, and offering strong development opportunities, the company has some of the best talent in the engineering space. European Recruitment’s managing director, David Wicks, has commented that the analysis of both engineering sectors clearly shows UK companies and education establishments need to mirror the strategies that have been prevalent in Germany for so many decades. “The UK education system is home to many talented STEM professionals,” he said, “however for too long it has got talent acquisition strategies wrong.” So, in order to avoid the sight of gifted people packing their bags for foreign climes, more attention needs to be given to the career packages many UK firms have to offer, together with increased levels of motivation that must also come into play. Let’s get the wheels in motion before things get any worse.

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