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Recruitment and retention best practice

This resource includes information to support councils create a structured and effective recruitment process using the six P’s: Plan, Promote, Process, Partnerships, People and Pledge.

The LGA understands the challenges councils face with recruitment and retention of employees. Creating an effective recruitment journey can be a long process, but the LGA has resources to support you through this. At a time of increasing pressures on services, councils are continuing to report recruitment difficulties, so it's important to develop an effective recruitment plan.

This resource includes information to support the creation of a structured and effective recruitment process using the six P’s:

1. Plan

Addressing your capacity challenges starts with understanding your workforce needs. For councils this means having an effective approach to workforce planning. Your strategic workforce plan aims to create effective process for recruitment and retention of employees. It is important for you to understand what skills your council currently has, and where there are gaps. This can be focusing on your council’s corporate reputation and how you engage your target audience Consideration needs to be made towards short-, medium- and long-term objectives.

2. Promote

As a sector we have over 800 different professions. Whilst this is a strength in terms of the work and career opportunities we can offer people, it can also be a hindrance as we struggle to clearly promote what we do and the benefits of working for and in local government to attract new candidates. 

As the labour market becomes more and more competitive with higher rates of employment and scarce skills due to a lack of supply in many graduate based professions, it is vital that councils present a strong employer value proposition within their brand. Promotion will vary depending on the candidates you seek to hire but to be competitive you need to be confident you have a strong local employer brand. For certain occupations you can raise your profile through professional networks promoting your successes. Always take advantage of and use existing promotional tools and recruitment platforms to widen your reach. Longer term workforce planning, and an engagement strategy focused on future talent will address the short-term problems faced now in the future. Engaging young people is an important first step to create a talent pipeline (see section below on people to see what support is available to target specific candidates).

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3. Process

Your council will need to be innovative with its recruitment plan and how you engage and communicate with potential employees. Creating a positive recruitment and onboarding process, will create a more welcoming environment for potential candidates. As a council you may need to think of new ways of recruiting and engaging new employees. You will also need to ensure the vacancy advert appeals to and reaches your target audience. More flexibility in the role will be another way to increase the number of individuals considering local government as a career path.  

4. Partnerships

Consider which partners you are working with to build your recruitment pipeline. Working with Further Education/Higher Education institutions will allow you to promote local government as a career path. Depending on the role you may want to partner with professional bodies to devise strategies for increasing the number of people entering the workforce. 

5. People

It is important to consider your current employees, with a focus on retention. As a council you will want to create a positive working environment and give people a reason to stay in the sector. Consider what rewards and benefits you can implement, as well as offering a clear career progression plan.

6. Pledge

Councils working together to save money and to promote career opportunities in local government is an excellent way of engaging with potential employees. Sharing best practice will aid inspiration and allow councils to implement successful strategies.