Linda Cappelle, General Manager at Bright Plus
The labor market is never perfectly balanced. One period there is more demand, the other more supply. In her seventeen years of industry experience, Linda Cappelle, General Manager at Bright Plus, has seen it all. But she finds the situation in which the labor market has been in for several years now very special. “There is still a major imbalance in the labor market. The demand for candidates remains extremely high, while the supply is very limited. As a company, how do you increase your chances of finding the best candidate and then binding them to your company? Bright Plus conducted research to find out what you should do in 2023.
Bright Plus likes to keep a finger on the pulse. That is why the recruitment specialist asked employers and HR professionals about their findings on the labor market. What evolutions do they see? How do they approach their HR policy? “From the research we have identified five striking trends,” says Linda Cappelle. “Trends that will play a major role in recruiting and retaining employees in 2023.”
Recruit outside the box
Companies still cling to traditional ideas: the ideal candidate is the one with the right diploma and sufficient years of experience whether the best form of contract is for an indefinite period. “Unfortunately, you are not helping yourself if you approach the labor market in that way,” says Cappelle. “The white raven, that perfect candidate with the right competencies, is not something you will easily encounter. But if you stubbornly keep looking for that, you will miss other candidates who are a good match.”
Those candidates may not have the desired diploma or sufficient experience, but that is no longer the most important thing. Cappelle: “The motto ‘Hire for attitude, train for skillsbecomes even more important this year. We no longer recruit solely on the basis of hard skills, but also – or even mainly – on the basis of soft skills. What potential does someone have? How motivated is the candidate? Do the values and norms of that person match the organization?”
You won’t come across the white raven, that perfect candidate with the right competencies. But if you stubbornly keep looking for that, you will miss other candidates who are a good match
These questions are now more important to answer than those about the degree. It’s a different approach than what companies are used to — and an open mind is also needed when it comes to contracts. 70 percent of employers indicate that they still use a classic contract form. But is that always interesting?
“A lot depends on the added value you are looking for,” says Cappelle. “Do you only need specific knowledge for a certain period of time? Or do you want to be able to respond more flexibly to the needs of your organization? Then dare to look at another form of collaboration, such as freelance or outsourcing.”
Diversity does not automatically mean inclusion
When you have finally found your new employee, it is important that he gets a seat around the table and that his voice is heard. Because it is still a bit lacking there, according to Bright Plus. “You can have a very diverse team in terms of age, cultural background, gender, etc., but that does not mean that you are doing well. After all, if people are not given a voice, if they are not involved and there is no work being done on inclusion, then you are at the same level.”
It remains important, of course, to focus on diversity — 77 percent of HR professionals say their organization is diverse, but in reality, a workplace is rarely a good reflection of our society. Yet many companies think that the work stops when they are ‘diverse enough’.
Inclusion is not just a role for HR, but should be supported by everyone within the organization
Not so, according to Cappelle. “A diverse workplace does not automatically mean that you also have an inclusive workplace. Inclusion is not just a role for HR, but should be supported by everyone within the organization. Like making sure someone can give their opinion in a meeting, for example. Or that a person is not always interrupted when he explains his idea.”
Mental well-being does not stop
For the General Manager of Bright Plus, inclusion is the most important HR trend for 2023, but it goes hand in hand with another: mental well-being, because inclusion contributes to happiness at work and mental well-being. “During the corona period there was a lot to do here – finally! —, but in the meantime it has snowed a bit, unfortunately. Companies are aware of the importance of mental wellbeing and many are also working on this, but research shows that there is still work to be done.”
Ask your employees what they need, involve them in the policy, because it is after all about their well-being
44 percent of the HR professionals surveyed saw an increase in absenteeism over the past five years, of which 1 in 5 even recorded a sharp increase. “A well-being policy does not stop at a few homework rules or flexible hours. You have to work on it continuously and adjust your policy regularly,” says Cappelle. “Ask your employees what they need, involve them in the policy, because it is after all about their well-being. And above all: don’t do window dressing. Don’t unpack with nice words that ultimately do nothing.”
One motivation is not the other
A good well-being policy attracts new people and ensures that your current employees stay on board. After all, if they feel good, they prefer to do their job. Another way to keep employees motivated for a long time is to focus on ‘high quality motivation’. It is the fourth and probably the most unknown trend in 2023. “Obviously everyone knows what motivation is and every manager will have his or her tricks to motivate people. But not every form of motivation contributes to happiness at work”, says Linda Cappelle.
She explains: “92 percent of those surveyed think that more motivation is always better. Unfortunately that is not the case. After all, there is such a thing as ‘low quality motivation’ and that is just bad for the well-being in your workplace. This form of motivation is about the pressure an employee feels, internally and externally: both pressure they put on themselves or pressure that is imposed by a manager or colleague. He does something because it is expected, because there is an incentive attached to it, or out of fear or shame.”
No doubt you already feel it: these forms of motivation are not okay. Firstly, they can undermine the mental well-being of your employee and secondly, it does not provide healthy motivation in the long term. “If, on the other hand, you work on ‘high quality motivation’, you will reap the benefits more and for a longer period of time. With this type of motivation, your employee does something because he finds the task fascinating, interesting or meaningful. These are things that you cannot force, but you can encourage by demonstrating the usefulness of a certain task or project.”
A good salary is important, but not everything
To complete the circle of the five HR trends for 2023, we return to the selection process. We now know that it is not easy to find a good match. It is often a competition against other companies and in the ‘war for talent’ everything is thrown into battle, including higher wages. But just blindly participating in a wage bidding is not a good idea, they think at Bright Plus. “You risk a lot, especially the fairness of your remuneration policy,” says Linda Cappelle.
So you better not participate. But of course it is naive to think that applicants do not look at that salary package. That is why it is important to outline a sustainable wage policy in 2023. “Be creative here,” Cappelle advises. “Start with a correct, market-based wage and build it up with non-financial benefits such as training, flexible schedules, etc.. where people can make their own choices depending on the phase of their lives.”
Finally, the Bright Plus General Manager recommends open, transparent and honest communication. “About everything – from how you work on inclusion to the composition of the salary package. Not only with the employees you already have in-house, but also with the outside world. The clearer you make the identity of your company, the more qualitative the people who respond to your vacancy.”