Despite the widespread popularity of hybrid working, which enables jobseekers and potential hires to enjoy a more flexible way of working and improved work-life balance, not all employers can provide a remote working or work from home option. Just think of the frontline key workers who continue to do so much for the pandemic efforts, for example. So how can employers who simply can’t offer the level of remote working that some people have come to expect, adapt their recruitment strategy so that they can not only attract more bilingual candidates, but also ensure that they retain their existing talent?
Highlight the benefits
While salaries need to be extremely competitive in today’s market where demand for language skills is high, there are other monetary benefits that employers might consider offering. For example, to make up for the extra commute time, companies could provide extra time off or financial support for those whose job involves driving or taking public transport. Independent think tank Autonomy has even suggested that given falling real incomes and astronomical cost of living hikes, employers ought to consider paying half of commuting costs especially for more environmentally friendly modes of transport.
But what else can employers do to improve the daily lives of their people and prospective recruits? Given that potential candidates won’t be able to benefit from the perceived perks of remote working, businesses could consider creating a more ‘homely’ environment by relaxing the dress code. Having a canteen or offering discounts on food and shopping with local retailers will also lift the mood of staff while raising engagement and productivity levels. But crucially, employers must promote a culture of trust, allowing employees the flexibility to pick up their kids from school or stay home if needed in the same way their remote counterparts can. Any additional perks such as this should be fed into recruitment activity to ensure that a role is standing out to potential new hires.
Promoting the training and development opportunities in recruitment campaigns will also help overcome the challenges of attracting language applicants without remote hiring options.
Any information on the perks of a role need to be utilised fully and companies must feed this information into touch points at all stages of their hiring process – from job ads and job postings to interviews and onboarding. How the company culture comes across contact points with potential candidates will be pivotal in attracting bilingual specialists. Adopting a referral programme by which existing employees can share job posts about the company on social media channels can also be a highly effective way to boost quality applications.
Competing for top language professionals
We also need to remember that some workers, even in sectors where remote working is the norm, would rather go back to the office and resume the working pattern of old. This is especially true of the Millennial, Gen Z and now Gen Alpha cohorts who miss the social side and for whom there is a real fear of missing out (FOMO). A European survey by global workplace strategists Unispace found that although many were reluctant to return to the office, almost 7 in 10 (69%) 18-34 year olds would prefer a return to the office full time while 80% admitted that that financial support for their travel expenses would be a welcome perk.
Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) of those surveyed believe that their main place of work will still be the office with only 13% expecting to be working from home full time. The study also revealed that almost 3 in 4 employees (73%) were office-based pre-pandemic, so not that much has changed. Even though language specialists might find themselves spending more time working from home, this does not spell the end of the office!
Watching and learning from more experienced colleagues and receiving that all-important feedback are all fundamental aspects in aiding career development. The office can also provide a much better working environment than what they perhaps have at home where they might be flat sharing or living with their parents.
So, while remote working might not be an option for all language roles, that doesn’t mean that employers will be at a disadvantage. Instead, focusing on what potential recruits really want from a role and ensuring this information is driving hiring activity, job ads and role descriptions, will help stand firms out from the crowd.
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