In January 2023, the CITB estimated that an additional 225,000 workers would be required to fulfil the total sector pipeline by 2027. As we progress through the current year the challenges posed by talent acquisition, retention and development are clear for the construction sector. All businesses are unique, as are their employee needs, but this article explores some ways that Exyte Hargreaves is seeking to address our challenges.

Recruit to Recruit

Amongst the many tools we employ to scour the market is direct sourcing. Why? There’s an obvious financial benefit in terms of roughly 10-15% saved over agency hires. More importantly, however, is that there is nobody better placed to tell the compelling employer story of Exyte Hargreaves than our own people. We have decades of experience in HVAC across the business and those individual networks are difficult to replicate for anyone with a lesser knowledge of the sectors in which we are working. The missing piece has been a specific individual to coordinate our direct sourcing activities. 

Welcoming Liz Bedford

Liz Bedford joined our HR team in September 2023 as our Talent Acquisition Specialist. She brings a wealth of experience in dedicated recruitment and engineering resourcing and has been a fantastic addition to the team. Working closely with hiring managers, alongside our wider HR and Marketing teams, Liz is able to tailor our recruitment approaches to specific role requirements and market sensitivities. We’re already seeing her experience bear fruit with Liz helping us to bolster talent in our Quality, BIM and Engineering teams.

Engineering Young Talent

Early careers is vital for Hargreaves. Our longest-serving employee, Barry Collingwood, started in the mid 1970s and is close to half a century of service with the company. That sort of experience is invaluable to our Manufacturing team, but he began as an apprentice. Our Engineering Young Talent (EYT) programme has been active throughout most of Hargreaves’ recent history. It is a successful and enduring initiative. Former apprentices are now managers or have grown to become experts in their field. 

Building a local network

We have used connections with local schools and colleges to find manufacturing, engineering, digital innovation and other talent. We’ve partnered with education providers like Rochdale Training and JGA Group to bolster the work experience gained by our apprentices with a formal qualification. Building skills for life is essential to EYT. It was a blow to pause the programme when COVID struck, so its return in 2023 was most welcome. We look forward to welcoming our 2024 intake later this summer. 

Training our People

One of our strategy commitments in 2024 has been further investment in training and development. We recognise that many of the current and potential industry stars are already working within our business. It’s important that we’re looking after our employees, feeding that potential and encouraging their career growth. 

So far this year we’ve funded courses in Site Safety, Project Management, Mechanical Engineering, Document Control, Leadership & Management, Internal Auditing, PAT Testing, Working at Height and many more! 

Skills for Life

In 2018, research by LinkedIn suggested that 94% of employees would stay longer at an employer who invested in their development. That culture of long service and building skills for life is certainly something we aspire to at Exyte Hargreaves. With the longest-serving of our employees now approaching half a century of employment with us, it’s also not merely aspiration, but fact. 

Leadership Training

Wellbeing and Occupational Health

The employment journey for each individual is unique and needs to be regarded as such. Many things can impact upon and shape our experiences as we pass through application, onboarding and a working routine. These factors are neither fixed nor standardised. They change and shift and it is an acute challenge for any employer to have appropriate support systems and processes in place to safeguard employee health and wellbeing. 

Robert Walters suggests that 88% of professionals believe that mental wellbeing support is an important factor when choosing an employer. At Exyte Hargreaves we’ve recognised that and have designed a holistic approach to health and wellbeing which takes account of all the major touchpoints in that employee lifecycle. Our ambition is to deliver bespoke, sensitive and effective support for our teams whether in the office, the factory or working remotely on our projects. 

Focusing on Occupational Health

We understand that the talent challenges facing our industry aren’t going away. Our People strategy in 2024 leads with an enhanced focus on Occupational Health to support and nurture the employees we have already, whilst dedicated market recruitment and early careers development serves to identify the new and future talent to further strengthen our business. 

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