Recruiting & retention strategies for North American companies in the tight EU labor market

Talent shortages are impacting businesses worldwide. As a result, employers are challenged to fight for talent. Not only the United States, but Europe also is experiencing a tight employment market. European employers often refer to the current situation as 'the War for Talent'. This means that employers are forced to use different recruiting and retention strategies in order to recruit and retain talent. In this blog, we will highlight the topics that you as a North American employer in Europe should focus on and be aware of.

Europe is known for having a well-educated and talented workforce. How is it possible that Europe is having a talent shortage? There are several reasons why European employers are struggling to attract and recruit talent. In this blog, we've outlined three important current developments that are causing the problem. 

  1. Number of vacancies
    In general, there are more vacancies than unemployed people. To give an example: in the Netherlands, for every 100 unemployed people, there were 106 vacancies, making the tension on the labor market incredibly high. This is the first time in years this happened.

  2. Job-saving by governments
    In most European countries, the job-saving experiment, in which most national governments invested to save jobs, worked well. As a result, employees were able to keep their jobs and the unemployment rate did not increase as much as in other parts in the world. For that reason, not many people are unemployed and are not actively looking for a job. 

  3. Demanding employees
    As employees are aware of the fact that a 'war of talent' is going on, and that we find ourselves in an 'employees' market, talent is extremely critical and demanding towards accepting a new job offer. As a result, employers have to be increasingly creative and competitive in order to attract new employees. Employees are in the position to ask the most attractive packages to get the job. 

Recruiting new talent in Europe

Welcome to the war for talent. As mentioned, we find ourselves in a situation in which there is an increasing amount of job openings which gives the employee more choices. As a result, they become more critical towards choosing their employer. What will make you stand out as an employer? What should you offer as an employer to attract and recruit European talent?

  1. Invest in development
    Employees are looking for opportunities to work with organizations that are going to invest in them. By showing you are willing to invest in the development of your employees, employees will feel more engaged to your organization and will portray themselves in the organization for the next three years. It is vital to stimulate employees to develop themselves, and to make them aware of it. By offering trainings, the employees will feel guided and supported by the company, which will result in a higher level of employee satisfaction and engagement. Furthermore, providing your employees with a clear career path helps with retaining your talent as they see and feel growth opportunities.

  2. Be flexible and show trust
    A crucial part of this flexibility is a clear working from home policy. Make working from home possible if talent desires this. A hybrid model is something European employees are looking for. European talent highly values a healthy work-life balance. During the pandemic everyone has experienced how it is to work from home. While some experienced it as something positive, other experienced it as negative. Despite how it was experienced, the majority has in common that they liked the additional time that could be spent with friends and family, and being able to do an additional morning run or some household activities.  

  3. Share a clear culture and goals
    Employees who feel connected to your company's culture and who can identify themselves with the envisioned goals, are more likely to be wanting to be part of your journey.

EU companies are lagging in innovation

According to a research done by iCIMS, many European companies are still lagging in innovation and are failing to prioritize the candidate's experience. This is an element in which you as an international organization can stand out. This is the most common mistake by European companies:

  1. Companies are lacking personalization and responsiveness
    50% of the largest European companies do not reply to a candidate within two weeks of receiving an application. The majority of responses are from a generic email address. Many companies are missing out on candidates due to lack of personalization and getting in touch in time.

For more information on the HR trends in Europe, we invite you to read our blog on European HR Trends & Key Developments. In that blog we outline how to create a clear working from home policy, the new way of leadership, how and why you should invest in your employees and lastly how to be an attractive employer.  

Retaining talent in Europe

As soon as you have attracted and recruited the talent, retaining talent is the next crucial step. Our keyword in staff retention is effective employee boarding. An effective onboarding experience does not only retain your crucial talent, but does also save costs. If you want to retain talent, the overall experience of the employee should of course match the promises and expectations that were set in the recruitment process. Core topics in your retention strategy should be:

  • Flexibility - make working from home possible if employees desire this, this will also enable you to utilize a much broader talent pool.
  • A clear career path - Employees who see clear career paths for themselves and who feel committed to a company with a positive value system are statistically less likely to leave for their next role.
  • Employee development opportunities - By investing into developing your employees you become an attractive and reputable employer which results in attracting more talent. Furthermore, ongoing training will satisfy and motivate employees as well as increasing innovation and performance.
  • Engagement strategy - how do you make sure your employees still feel engaged with the company? In our blog on European HR Trends we have identified ways to increase engagement with your employees. 

What is the main reason why talent leaves the organization? One of the drivers of turnover is easy to overlook: allowing workers to stagnate in their current role. Even after controlling for pay, industry, job title, and many other factors, we find workers who stay longer in the same job without a title change are significantly more likely to leave for another company for the next step in their career. Stagnating in a role for an additional 10 months raises the odds that employees will leave the company for their next role by about one percentage point, a statistically significant effect.

To read more about how to create a successful retention strategy we invite you to read our blog on Effective employee boarding: the secret to staff retention.

More information

In case you would like to have more information, do not hesitate to connect with Monique Ramondt-Sanders - Executive Vice President of Human Resource Outsourcing at EuroDev. Interested in more information concerning our HR Outsourcing services? Please have a look at our HR Outsourcing page

Explore your chances in Europe

About EuroDev

EuroDev, established in 1996 with offices in The Netherlands and France, has a single, defined purpose to help mid-sized North American companies expand their business in Europe. We have created a proven, successful business development model and since our founding, have partnered with over 300 companies to help them define and meet their European business goals. Services provided include Sales Outsourcing, HR Outsourcing and Digital Marketing.

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