3 ways to boost talent acquisition

Internships, 'returnships' and job-sharing widen talent pool for employers

3 ways to boost talent acquisition

Navigating a talent shortage alongside rising inflation and a potential recession is making talent acquisition especially challenging for Kiwi businesses this year.

Many are in dire need of skilled workers, and raising salaries accordingly, while others looking to immigration to fill job vacancies.

But some organisations are looking to alternate ideas to cut costs and increase their talent pools.

Internships make a comeback

Internships are a tried-but-true option that can keep costs down while attracting a whole new talent pool of students eager to learn.

“While the concept of an internship isn’t new – many tertiary qualifications require participation in an internship – we’ve noticed an increase in the number of internship opportunities recently being offered and taken up,” Frog Recruitment managing director Shannon Barlow told HRD.

In Queenstown, where the staff shortages have been more acute than other parts of the country, an internship offered at IHG Hotels left the HR team blown away by the amount and quality of applications.

“Interns and graduates possess an enthusiasm that is hard to compare. They are smart, switched on, and ready to absorb all that they can and make as much of an impact as they can – who doesn't want someone like that in their workplace?” Brooklyn Middleton, IHGs HR manager, told HRD.

Recently, a café brand operator in Australia faced a $475,200 penalty in court after it underpaid Taiwanese students under the pretense of a supposed internship arrangement.

Returnships: Tapping into life experience

The reasons for taking a hiatus from paid employment can vary, including long-term illness, focusing on family, or pursuing personal business opportunities. Whatever the reason, making the decision to return to work can make for a promising opportunity.

Enter the “returnship” – an opportunity for job seekers to reintroduce themselves to the workforce after an extended period away from their careers. Amazon, Microsoft, Paypal, and LinkedIn are among the large enterprises that have put returnship programs in place.

“There’s been a noticeable rise” in returnships, said Barlow.

“Organisations can reap benefits far beyond an extra pair of hands on the job in having a ‘graduate of life’ in their workforce,” she added. “A returnee will likely be someone with experience managing a variety of tasks or teams, or even their own business. The returnee’s value and real experience may be what is missing from a new graduate. It can be a win-win for both employer and the returnee.”

Job sharing sees success

Job sharing gives employers a wider talent pool by including people looking for flexible work arrangements, according to Samuel Spurr of Niche Marketing Group.

The idea is met with hesitation by some employers, but over the last four years, Jen Manuel and Kate Downing have job-shared senior marketing roles in two organisations, allowing them to further their careers and balance the needs of their young families.

“It was a first for our employer at the time, and we were determined to not only make it work but to prove that, actually, it could be even more valuable to an employer than having one person in a role,” said Downing.

The duo prioritizes communication to ensure continuity, service and support, and the approach seems to be paying off, as they have earned several awards in their roles.

Accountability and ownership increase significantly with job-sharing, especially when both have a professional working relationship, according to Spurr.

“We endeavour to ensure the other is set up for success on the days they are working,” said Manuel. “Essentially, we always strive to be the best for each other.”

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