Housing associations overcoming COVID hiring challenges with flexible working, study finds

Housing associations overcoming COVID hiring challenges with flexible working, study finds

Many industries are facing unprecedented recruitment challenges due to COVID-19, but one seems to have the right strategy in place to weather the storm.

The social housing sector has so far managed to reduce the impact of the pandemic on the recruitment and retention of staff, by prioritising remote working among other measures.

According to the results of the recent 2020 HR and Rewards Trends in Housing Associations report, just 20% of employers in the sector expect to face difficulties recruiting and retaining people over the next year. 

This isn’t to imply that it’s all been plain sailing for housing associations. Around 32% have reported difficulties retaining staff over the last 12 months, while 42% struggled to fill vacant positions. However, these levels are similar to those reported across other major UK sectors.

Why flexible working matters – especially for housing associations

The way we work has been turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic. Many of us are still working from home, which creates challenges with juggling childcare and other responsibilities with work. If more companies not only offer remote working, but actively facilitate it as well – these pressures can be significantly eased for working parents in particular.

The report found that housing association employers have been employing remote working with flexible hours as a key tool in keeping existing staff motivated and attracting new ones. This approach is particularly well suited to housing associations, who tend to have a wider geographical spread of locations and housing stock – rather than just one head office.

When it comes to recruitment, organisations need to wise up to prospective employees’ expectations. Flexible, remote working has become the new normal across many sectors almost overnight. In the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown, it’s no longer a perk in a benefits package – it’s become integral to many job roles.

If housing associations and other businesses are unable to offer flexible and remote working, they will inevitably lose out on the best talent. But if they can make the shift to an agile working approach, they could significantly widen the available candidate pool.

How to communicate your benefits to prospective new hires

Now that more employers are offering flexible working policies, it’s more important than ever to stand out from the crowd when launching recruitment campaigns.

A standard job description, however well-written, won’t always cut it. You need a detailed insight into target candidates and their motivations, as well as the new personal and professional challenges they’re facing due to COVID-19. You also need dynamic, effective ways to communicate your benefits and the standout selling points of your organisation to candidates.

How do you do all of this? You may need a specialist running your recruitment campaigns.  

At Castlefield Recruitment, we have dedicated and specialist consultants for each sector, and our highly experienced social housing division is lead by Dan Evans.

Dan works closely with housing associations to offer an industry-specific recruitment service. This includes providing his insider expertise to candidates on roles and the way companies work, offering information that cannot be gleaned from an online job advert alone. It’s a targeted, highly effective approach, and one that delivers an exceptional quality experience for both candidates and employers. 

Get in touch to find out more – call 0161 638 8747 (Manchester) or email dan.evans@castlefieldrecruitment.com.