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How To Do More With Less: Creating A Cost-Effective Talent Pipeline During Economic Turbulence

Talent Acquisition Consultancy 26th October 2022
How To Do More With Less: Creating A Cost-Effective Talent Pipeline During Economic Turbulence

The perennial challenge of any recruitment team in the current hiring market is how to improve recruitment services whilst battling talent shortages and rising prices. In short – how to do more with less.

No one likes to waste money, and it’s wise for business owners to understand what their workforce recruitment returns on investment are to better plan for growth, product development, natural staff turnover and market disruption.

There are typical cross-industry recruitment metrics that point to cost-effectiveness – these terms are well known: cost per hire, turnover costs, onboarding costs and the like. But generalising recruitment costs is to lose sight of the highly subjective talent make-up of specific industries – you cannot, and should never, compare cross-industry recruitment costs.

In that regard, predicting recruitment ROI – and the process of understanding whether or not you are getting your recruitment bang for buck – should be context-led. Every industry has a set of benchmark costs, with some industries and seniorities costing more than others due to a highly regarded skills specialism, or a shortage of talent in certain niche sectors.

Good recruiters know this, and budget accordingly.

However, our collective near future is not getting any cheaper, and as the ongoing effects of the great resignation/the great exploration/the great retention and the cost of living crisis continue to be felt, cost-effectiveness is fast becoming the primary pain point for HR teams across the country.

So how can recruiting teams do more with less, hire better with fewer resources and create sustainable recruitment strategies that generate candidate attraction, without leaking money?

Our advice is to focus on three things; never compromise on candidate relationships (these are priceless!), let your employer brand do the heavy lifting (talent pipeline magnetism), and utilise tech (but don’t compromise on the human).

Cost Vs Candidate: Never Compromise On Candidate Relationships

As we discuss below, what recruiters cannot do is forget the candidate. This is the first rule of learning to do more with less – forget the candidate at your peril.

For candidates the idea of “cost-effectiveness” is meaningless; the talent you manage is putting their career in your hands, and the hands of your team, and expect to be treated with professionalism, candour and respect throughout the process.

Your talent pipeline is only as good as the relationships you build with your talent, and that means you cannot afford to treat candidates like accounting figures on a spreadsheet.

The Power of EB – Let Your Employer Brand Do The Heavy Lifting

Employer branding is known for being one of the most effective and personal tools behind successful hiring strategy.

But EB is also a vital part of creating cost-effective hiring strategies, due to how central it is to staff retention and how it works to guarantee the right hire, first time.

  • It’s not cheap to hire new staff – the CIPD estimates the average cost of filling a vacancy is around £1500 – £3000 (seniority dependent).
  • However the cost of hiring the wrong person – from a loss of productivity to money spent on training and attempting to recoup costs of loss of business as a result of poor hiring – can be staggering: “the cost of a bad hire can equal 30% of the employer’s potential first-year earnings”.

So hiring is expensive, and wrong-fit hires are even more expensive. The effectiveness of EB lies in the fact that it impacts multiple recruitment touchpoints and does so quite automatically. And, for a fraction of the cost of implementing independent strategies for each channel.

Indeed, as per this great piece in Business2Community, the tangible benefits of a magnetic, well-marketed and clear employer brand message are profound.

Machine/Human Interplay – Utilise Tech (But Don’t Compromise On The Human)

For the most part, recruitment ROI efficiencies will be driven by tech; both through the use of effective HR and recruitment tech software throughout the hiring process and by utilising internal data to stave off staff exits and improve company culture (and therefore improve staff retention).

Whilst there are a myriad of ways to implement tech in the search for better recruitment processes and outcomes, in our view no recruitment stack works without two critical tech elements; a targeted, cross-functional Applicant Tracking System (to help initial hiring and organisation) and a relevant and easy to use Performance Management System (to contextualise work and improve talent retention).

  • Applicant Tracking Systems – centralised points of applicant data and communication. Easily accessible across an entire hiring team, integrated with most (if not all) primary sources of talent and easy to integrate into existing CMS’s for smooth recruitment processing. They make hiring more efficient, more protected, more centralised and simply better in almost every regard.
  • Performance Management Systems – tools that create performance context. As more and more workplaces go hybrid, professional gulfs are opening up between staff and their employer, and workers are increasingly feeling disconnected from work and the value of their labour. A PMS grounds every working minute, project and outcome in the wider context of overall company health. They provide real-time analysis of workflow and performance, and provide the basis for one of the most effective staff management tools in modern HR: continuous feedback.

But what tech integrations, EB and recruitment ROI do not do is remove the human from the process of hiring.

Doing more with less in HR should always focus on what makes talent acquisition sustainable and trusted. Any changes made should augment the effectiveness of a recruiter and create efficiencies, without compromising on the ability to have real, tangible relationships with talent.

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