OPINION23 March 2022

Can human values solve recruitment challenges?

Inclusion Opinion People UK Wellbeing

With competition for talent high, Karis O’Leary-Smith of One Minute to Midnight argues fundamental human values could help attract and retain new researchers.

Balloons with smilie faces

As the quest to attract the best talent continues in 2022, what can insight leaders do to ensure our industry and our agencies are firmly on the consideration list? 

Once we’ve successfully attracted these bright and enquiring minds, what can we do to ensure they stay? 

It’s important for inhouse and agency leaders to regularly take a step back and consider – is this a great place to work? What more could we do to empower our teams to live their values through their work and help them to lead lives which are full and content?

Dig deep
Insight focuses on identifying ways to form deeper and more meaningful connections with people. Understanding the human values which drive people in their lives in terms of how they think, feel and behave is fundamental to our work. It’s just as important to talk to employees to find out what values are driving them in their professional lives.

Perhaps employees like to think up new ideas and be creative? Or do they crave adventure, taking risks and leading an exciting life? To unpick what human values drive our participants and our employees, we created a Human Values Game which makes it easy to see how human values shape their thinking and drive their interactions.

Giving teams the opportunity to live their values at work will ultimately make them happier. They will deliver better results for clients and they will be much more likely to remain loyal.

Once you have uncovered the human values which guide employees’ lives, think about how you can empower them to live these values at work. 

Remember employees have also bought into the values of your business, whether that’s bravery, growth or kindness, or something else entirely. We’ve been rolling dice every week and picking a business value to focus on. This keeps values front of mind for the team and ensures that what the business stands for is embodied by the everyone.

Take a breath
When uncovering what people think and how they feel, participants usually have full-time jobs, which means the insight industry isn’t always a nine-to-five, so we need to give employees some of their time back.

Introducing a four-day week could be a powerful driver of business innovation and team loyalty. After all, who wouldn’t want more time to pursue their passions or to spend with friends and family? A work-life balance is crucial, and it also gives people the chance to rest and recuperate so they can bring their best to the business and clients.

Don’t hang about
Have you ever worked somewhere where it takes for ever to land a promotion, regardless of the fantastic results delivered and clear flair for the job? It’s frustrating and often a reason for people to leave a business if it’s taking too long to get the recognition they deserve.

If an employee merits a promotion, but they were promoted six months ago, why wait? For employees, seeing that their career can progress rapidly will be an incentive to stay on because they will be excited to see the opportunities in store.

Champion diversity
It’s important to ensure our workforces are diverse because it is the right thing to do, but it’s also true that gen Z and millennials in particular want to work for a company where they can see these values are being championed, according to the recent Deloitte gen Z and millennials survey.

Consider working with organisations which support the personal and professional development of under-represented groups. Working with insights globally means our industry needs people with different experiences.

Instead of asking for a traditional CV, simply ask a few questions such as ‘Why do you want to work with us?’ or ‘What excites you?” to inform who you decide to invite for an interview. Key for any new recruit is that they are interested and eager to learn. 

Helping hand
Work is a huge part of the week, but we all have personal lives with challenges and stresses. We hired a life coach to help employees on their own personal and professional journeys.  

This helped the team to be happier and more fulfilled, which in turn improved client work. When hiring a life coach, anything discussed should remain confidential so that employees can have the chance to grow and achieve their chosen goals.

Consider allocating a monthly budget to allow people to try courses which aren’t research specific, but which allow them to broaden their horizons and experience life. Classes in meditation, acting and or even mechanics might be just the ticket.

Or how about a monthly budget for something that gives employees joy? Covid has been a particularly challenging time so anything which provides a moment of happiness and shows that you care counts.

Nurture your team
People are the heartbeat of any business. But they are also human beings with hopes, talents and feelings. Show them that you believe in them and that you value them. This will help to build a happier and more confident person day by day.

Recruitment takes a lot of time and energy, so once you find a diamond, take care of them and they will take care of you too.

Karis O’Leary-Smith is research director at One Minute to Midnight.