By Daniel Hunter

HR directors are being urged to work with marketing directors to avoid being left out in the cold in post-recession UK.

A white paper, 'Total Immersion', published today (Tuesday) by recruitment and resourcing company, BPS World, says the biggest challenge businesses face today is not having enough skilled staff. In some sectors the problem is so acute it is threatening to hold back economic recovery. BPS World say the businesses with weak brands struggle to recruit.

BPS urged employers to think about how to set themselves apart. The research found that organisations need to become the “employer of choice” and to do that they have to get themselves noticed in a marketplace where skilled staff can be more selective about who to work for.

Simon Conington, MD and founder of BPS World, said: “What the company offers in its brand has to be matched by HR. The two have to work together to ensure potential employees hear about the company and then HR has to prove the benefits promised do exist. That is also an effective way of retaining good people; at a time when they can be more picky about who they want to work for.”

Whilst pay levels have to be competitive with the industry rate, company culture plays a major role in the ability of a company to recruit and retain the best people, BPS said. People like to be proud of the company they work for; that may mean a well known brand or one that does good work in the local community. Recruits will also look at things such as the working atmosphere and management style.

With social media there are no secrets about what it is like to work for a company. Disgruntled staff will let their feelings be known. Companies which, for example, have been exposed for oppressive cultures (such as those that police how long staff are taking for toilet breaks) are avoided by the best recruits who have many other options.

Mr Conington said: “The role of internal culture and brand advocacy among employees becomes particularly important when it comes to social media. Staff now champion a company’s identity through blogging and tweeting as “brand ambassadors”. Switched on recruitment specialists have embraced this phenomenon as part of broader efforts at digital innovation.

“To be truly effective, many businesses have learned that what you are telling customers about yourself must be aligned with communication to your staff . Recruits need to have heard of you and what you represent. The internal culture has to reflect the company’s values, mindful of the fact that a company’s employees are likely to be its strongest brand advocates.”

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