Operations & resources

How recruitment can boost productivity

The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) published a new report earlier this year, and there was one particular statistic in it that I found fascinating: getting recruitment right boosts UK productivity by £7.7bn each year. If that wasn’t astonishing enough, I then read on to see that the overall cost of a bad hire to a business can be three times higher than just a wasted salary. These sound like enormous sums of money. Can they really be justified? I believe so. In this article I explore just how good recruitment can boost productivity.

The REC’s Recruitment and Recovery report 2021 was designed to look at how we can create a more productive and inclusive labour market, and one of the key findings it made was that recruitment is a major driver of the UK’s productivity. It explained that recruitment enhances competitiveness and productivity, bringing in fresh talent and growing businesses, but also that utilising a recruitment consultant helps to create better matches between prospective candidates and hiring companies.

But what does a recruitment company do differently that you couldn’t do yourself? The obvious factor is time. Trawling through CVs to find the best candidates isn’t a quick task. But there is far more to it than that. The biggest benefit that I often give to companies is a fresh perspective, making them think about the role in a more detailed way than they might have first considered.

The more information you put in the job description and the more you’ve considered the role from all angles, the better chance you’ll have of finding the perfect candidate and of them staying long term.

Job descriptions

We’re all familiar with job descriptions. However, there are certain elements that are often missed out that are actually pivotal to ensuring a good match. One of these elements is company culture. Finding a person who will be happy in your company environment is very important, but job descriptions are often task focused, forgetting about how the environment can have a massive impact on the productivity of staff. There’s also progression and whether you envisage this to be a static role or if there will be the chance for progression. Considering the ambition levels of the prospective candidate and ensuring what you’re offering actually matches their expectation is crucial. Furthermore, what about training? How does your company handle training, and how important is ongoing development with this particular role?

Whilst all of these elements matter, the biggest problem of all that I find in job descriptions is down to the job title and the interpretation of it. An Office Manager or Warehouse Manager, for example, could mean a hundred different things to a hundred different people. When you consider the job title you should actually ensure you’re very prescriptive about what it means to your company. Is it quite a desk bound job or will it be more interactive? Will it be very admin heavy or is there a support team to help? Does the role come with an office or will the person be sitting in the middle of a busy open plan space? A candidate may fill in blanks themselves based on their interpretation of a job role, so the more you can explain, the more likely you’ll be to find the best person for the job.


The REC report detailed that “according to businesses, the quality of their staff and recruitment is the second most important driver of their success, behind only the quality of their end product – and more important than management expertise, proprietary research or physical investment.”

Being heavily involved in health and safety, I am very aware of how much mental as well as physical health is becoming an increasingly vital factor for businesses. If you hire someone who isn’t a good fit, they may leave, yes, but also if they stay, how will that impact productivity factors? Someone who is unhappy won’t be able to produce their best work. Someone who is uncomfortable in a culture that isn’t natural for them won’t be on top of their game. Even if the person stays in the role for the long term, if they aren’t a great match for the job because the recruitment process wasn’t executed well enough, a business can still lose money in productivity, and it could have a negative effect on the whole workforce.

No matter what a person’s qualifications or experience are, their personality plays an important part of whether they’re right for a role, and this alone can determine how happy they’ll be. But would you consider that when creating a job description? It may be something you touch upon at the interview stage, but that’s already time lost if the person clearly isn’t right.

The report went on to say that “For individuals, there is a strong correlation between finding a good job match, job satisfaction and overall life satisfaction.” We spend a large proportion of the week at work. We need to be happy and we all deserve job satisfaction. A well thought through and detailed recruitment process can make a positive difference at all levels.

Coming out of the pandemic

There is no doubt that as businesses build themselves up again following this pandemic, recruitment will play a major role in helping things move forward. It could be to support business growth or support businesses who have had to make big changes and need to diversify their staff. It’s also possible that some businesses will see a vast difference in the expectations of staff as remote working may become more popular. The pandemic has certainly brought about a more flexible labour market.

Very interestingly, the report stated that “28% of large businesses told us that they were likely to explore hiring people who do not live close to the office in future, while remote working itself could boost UK productivity by £9 billion.” To be able to cast the net wider to more locations to find the ideal candidate could massively boost the chances of hiring good matches. Whereas before businesses may have only looked locally and the commute was a deciding factor, this could all change and could be very positive indeed. But irrelevant of how many candidates are out there, if the job description isn’t right, it will still make it harder to find the right person, or at least be a far more costly journey.

It can take a little more time to create a valuable job description, but that extra time up front will boost your chances of securing the best possible candidate, and someone who will stay in the company and thrive. As well as not wasting money through ineffective hiring, the positive impact this good match could make could actually be financially beneficial in itself.

Next time you’re hiring, make sure you explore all angles and work with your recruitment consultant to get that job description absolutely right. The return on investment could be massive.

Originally posted 2021-05-04 14:37:41.

Neil Chambers
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Neil Chambers

Neil is a health and safety adviser that aids businesses who want to take ownership of their health and safety. He does this by either offering guidance and support or through helping with the recruitment of in-house professionals. He can support you and your organisation in reviewing and implementing existing policies or creating your own policies, or he can help you find the right in-house resource to manage this for you. Through Neil's experience, he has found that for any health and safety management system to be truly successful, it has to be owned by and personal to each organisation. Every business is different and uses its own terminology, and the policies need to work for your specific circumstances.

How recruitment can boost productivity

by Neil Chambers Time to read: 4 min