David Phillips: Talent engagement and retention will require new training opportunities

As restrictions begin to ease, we can expect to see employers across the UK beginning to scale up recruitment once again. However, the pandemic has brought huge changes in the way we work which employers will need to adapt to in order to secure highly sought-after skills.

In sectors where skills shortages are likely to be particularly acute, increases in pay may well help to attract new employees, but employers will also need to consider other factors that will impact candidates’ decisions when choosing a new role. These include offering greater flexibility of working practices to allow people to improve their work-life balance and having more inclusive policies that mean that everyone in the business is able to contribute to the best of their abilities.

Research conducted by City & Guilds in December 2020 found that three-quarters of employees across the UK felt that leadership had been lacking during the pandemic. In light of this, employers should focus on providing additional training to their leaders to support and empower staff in a post-lockdown world. Beyond this, business leaders should aim to embed a culture of leadership at all levels throughout their organisation, encouraging people to develop leadership behaviours regardless of their seniority.

Our research also found that UK employees placed a high level of importance on providing training to their staff, with 81% stating that they believe effective and engaging training methods are important to the successful performance of teams.

By investing in training and upskilling, employers will gain a significant advantage over competitors in terms of attracting and retaining staff over the long term, providing employees with a clear path to success.

David Phillips is managing director at City & Guilds and Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM)