5 Top Tips for Securing Top Talent in the Housing Sector

tom thain 0URG2ZegMc unsplash scaled 1 | 5 Top Tips for Securing Top Talent in the Housing Sector
By Paula Smith | 11th June 2021 | 8 min read

Securing top talent in the Housing Sector is an ongoing priority for in-house recruitment teams.

With increased demand for housing and the subsequent increased pressures on services they offer, for social housing employers having the right people, with the necessary skills is arguably more important now than ever before. 

As a result, housing providers need to ensure that their recruitment strategies are focused on reaching the widest possible audience and presenting their organisations and their roles in the most attractive way. 

Take a look at our 5 Top Tips to securing top talent across your organisation. 
Tip 1: Be clear about the Salary 

One of the primary reasons a person starts looking for a new role or is open to a new opportunity is an increase in salary. 

But, in order for you to attract candidates in this position you need clearly state the salary when advertising rather than choose to use more generic terms such as ‘competitive’. There are some fantastic talented candidates out there, but they want to know what you are offering and how that compares to their current role. 

Housing providers not only need to provide a financial incentive to draw top talent to their organisation but a structured process for pay rises and reviews in order to retain talent too. Therefore it is imperative that this is clearly communicated from the start. 

It's important to remember, however, that there are also several other factors that can contribute to a new employee's remuneration package such as perks and financial-related benefits that can make a difference too.

In a new world where many organisations are set to continue to offer the ‘perks’ of working from home or even adopt a blended approach to office and home working, this too will be taken into consideration, especially if the cost of commuting can be reduced by 50% or more for example. 

Tip 2: Be as flexible as possible. 

 According to Deloitte, 82% of companies now see flexible work arrangements as a critical component of employee management.

As a result of the global pandemic, one lesson that we all learned is that technology has enabled housing providers across the globe can deliver their products and services even when their entire workforce is at home. Securing top talent in the housing sector needs to be managed in a similar way.

Whilst some employees may be particularly keen to return to a more normal ‘office’ environment, research suggests that actually 78 percent of respondents said they would prefer to work in the office for only two days or less and almost a third – 31 percent - said they would prefer not to spend any time at all in the office.

Despite the fact that workers were not originally employed on a work-from-home basis, organisations need to be flexible in their approach. There has been a sea of positive press associated with allowing employees to work from home which has encouraged many large organisations such as Amazon, Twitter, Capital One, and Starbucks to announce that their employees can continue to work remotely long term. 

This approach is actually particularly well suited to housing providers, who tend to have a wider geographical spread of locations and housing stock – rather than just one head office.

Remote working is set to become the norm for many professions and social housing providers need to offer flexibility wherever possible if they want to attract new employees and prevent the loss of those who prefer this new way of agile working. 

It can also help to open up new pools of talent as organisations are no longer restricted to candidates who live within commutable distances. 

Tip 3: Sell the vacancy and your business 

A key aspect of securing top talent in the housing sector relies on how you promote your business as well as the role you are advertising for. In order to present yourself as an ‘employer of choice’ you need to set yourself apart from any potential competition. 

  • Define your employer brand 

Creating or redefining your employer brand will ultimately determine the success of your hiring strategy. As a housing provider, its important to understand why colleagues chose you as their employer and more importantly why they choose to stay. Taking the time to speak with your current employees will help you determine what incentives are required and what qualities you need to ensure are clearly communicated at every touch point.  

  • Optimise the candidate journey 

It goes without saying that the candidate experience can also have a huge impact on your ability to secure the best possible talent for your organisation. In fact, the candidate journey needs to be the primary focus of your recruitment strategy. 

Organisations need to not only consider the role in question now but also the impact they have on potential candidates in the future too. Regardless of the outcome if you can deliver a positive experience for all candidates then they will be much more likely to apply for similar roles too. 

As the use of technology continues to rise in our everyday lives, jobseeker expectations are constantly increasing. As a result, organisations need to be aware that an ATS is no longer just about efficiently managing applications but an integral part of showcasing your organisation in the best possible light too. 

  • Communicate your EVP

Your Employee Value Proposition ( EVP)  is ‘the unique set of benefits that an employee receives in return for the skills, capabilities, and experience they bring to your company’.

Think about the incentives you can offer your employees and makes sure that you include them as apart of your advertising. Whether its your approach to CSR ( Corporate Social Responsibility), employee bonus schemes, professional development opportunities or simply flexible working hours, these can all help you attract the best employees. 

However, it’s important to remember that as the diversity and make-up of your workforce change, the wants and needs of your employees can quickly change. Again speak to your employees and find out what is important to them. You could find that something that is important to you is not actually reflective of the wider organisation or that different departments give more importance to different benefits. 

Tip 4: Focus on Diversity and inclusion (D&I)

Whilst the benefits of a diverse workforce are widely documented, actually attracting a diverse workforce is often underestimated. 

It’s not just about where you advertise but also how you advertise your roles and the processes you adopt in order to recruit. Securing the top talent in the housing sector relies on key factors such as:

Where you advertise

As more than three-quarters (78%) of UK companies reportedly started taking steps to increase their commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), in 2020 it's no surprise that there has been a steady growth in the number of diversity-related job boards becoming available. However without access to considerable budgets, as a housing provider, you may end up having to choose to advertise on one job board over another. 

How do you choose whether it's ‘better’ to advertise on a job board that targets army veterans, the LGBTQ+ community or one which supports candidates with visual impairments? 

In essence, the more people you reach, the more talent you reach, but where does your commitment stop?

That's why you also need to consider how you advertise your roles and the practices you adopt too. 

How do you advertise your roles 

Regardless of where you advertise your roles, accessibility needs to be a priority. As the biggest job aggregator in the world, Indeed attracts millions of people simply due to the wealth of job opportunities they offer. 

These millions of people will ultimately represent a large cross-section of society including disabled candidates, ethnic minorities, and potential candidates across multiple generations. 

Considering the potential barriers that might be faced by some of these potential candidates and seeking solutions will not only help you reach a much wider diverse audience but also generate quality applications too. 

Things to consider: 

  • Can your job advert be read using screen readers? 
  • Do you use gender-neutral text? 
  • Can you provide an alternative method of application? 
  • Do the images you use to represent your target audience? 
  • Do you clearly state your commitment to ED&I? 
Tip 5 : Upskill your employees 

Ensuring you have a structured program for continued professional development will not only help you fill skills gaps, improve productivity and retain your existing top talent but it can also help you attract it too. 

In fact, a study cited by The Open University states that ‘93% of Millennials see ongoing skills development as an important part of their future career’. A stat that simply cannot be ignored. 

Whether you choose to utilise mentor programs, online courses, workshops, or other learning platforms, if you offer candidates with the opportunity to continue themselves as part of their employment again it needs to be clearly communicated. 

Although many organisations are currently receiving unprecedented levels of applications the quality of candidates applying fluctuates from sector to sector and role to role. Sourcing qualified candidates remains one of the biggest challenges for all in-house recruitment teams and housing providers are definitely no exception o the rule. 

Check out IRIS networx solutions to find out how we support the recruitment of over 150 Housing Providers across the UK and help secure top talent in the Housing Sector.