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Is a CSR Strategy really that important?

The days of running a business solely for profit are behind us and if you haven’t tapped into the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) now is the time to do so.

 

Having a well thought out CSR strategy ensures that your company operates in an ethical and sustainable way, dealing with its environmental and social impacts.

 

Some companies hold the view that a CSR strategy is a ‘nice-to-have’ rather than business critical policy however, recent studies differ in this view.  Research has shown that 91% of global consumers expect businesses to do more than just create a profit but to also operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues. While 90% of consumers would boycott a company if they learnt of irresponsible or unethical business practices.

 

If your consumers, be it clients or candidates, are considering your stance on CSR, why aren’t you?

Oftentimes, there is a perception that implementing a CSR strategy is costly for minimal reward outside of a little positive PR however, when you assess the impact on your overall business, it is clear where the true impact lies.

So how will my business benefit from a robust CSR strategy?

A CSR strategy can support your goal of becoming an employer of choice while engaging and motivating your current employees. To be an employer of choice, you need to attract motivate and retain, highly sought-after people. Today, talent pools have access to more information about your company than ever before. Thanks to the likes of Google reviews, Glassdoor etc candidates can find a lot out about your business before clicking the apply button.

So, what are they looking for? Potential employees want to work for “high impact” organisations where they feel they can make a true positive impact. Engaging in CSR may help your business attract this top talent. A survey by the non-profit Net Impact found that 72% of students about to enter the workforce stated that when applying for roles, they considered positions where CSR was highlighted.

Similarly, to your potential employees, a strong CSR policy could improve and enhance relationships with clients.  Executing your business in a socially responsible and ethical way builds trust with your clients. This trust may overtake other buyer considerations considering 88% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company that supports and engages in activities that improves society.

When your employers and clients are happy and trust a business, they become a free marketing tool – the more they love the business, the more likely they are to tell others about it. Happy customers are likely to tell 2-3 others about the experience whereas, a dissatisfied customer will  tell 8 – 10 people.

Finally, a well-executed CSR strategy that can help save money on business operating costs.  A CSR policy will often include a business joining a green accreditation scheme in order to operate more sustainably. Reducing your carbon footprint plays a large part in this and finding ways to do so often require a large process audit. Using less electricity, paper and resources will ultimately save you money as well as improving on business reputation. Win, win!

So where should you start with a CSR strategy?

There are a hundred of things you can look to change and improve but here are some things to consider:

 

  • Improving work standards and conditions– ensuring your business runs in a fair and motivating way, putting structures in place that ensure an inclusive working environment
  • Engaging employees in a meaningful way – opening lines of communication to your workforce encouraging them to voice concerns or areas of improvement
  • Being involved with the community – find a charity or association that aligns with your business values and support it
  • Environmental Management – focus on your waste reduction & sustainability
  • Responsible Sourcing – auditing suppliers ensuring their labour, health, safety and their stance on environmental practices

Implementing a robust CSR strategy doesn’t happen overnight. Here at Hinterview, we have focused on our waste reduction heavily through 2019 and into 2020. Implementing robust recycling systems as well as moving to a paperless office with a goal of 2021.  We have investigated our software providers and offline business providers choosing more sustainable options wherever possible -simple changes can make a huge impact.

Charity is at the heart of Hinterview and we recently held our second Hintelligence quiz raising much need funds and awareness for two of our chosen charities.

If you haven’t got a CSR strategy as part of your business roadmap think again, it could cost you heavily reputationally and otherwise.

7 recruitment marketing stats you should be measuring and reporting on

Measurement and reporting are loved and loathed by recruitment marketers in almost equal measure.  When done well, they can be used to make important budgeting decisions.  Without them, you’re working in the dark.  But what should you be measuring and how do you go about doing it?

 

Let’s start with what recruitment marketing stats you should be measuring

 

Candidates

  1. The source of every candidate who applies for a job
  2. Engagements via social media
  3. Salary survey downloads
  4. Blog subscriptions
  5. Event engagements
  6. Surges in website traffic
  7. Job shares

Clients

  1. The source of every lead
  2. Social media engagements
  3. White paper downloads
  4. Blog subscriptions
  5. Webinar registrations
  6. Event engagements
  7. Surges in website traffic

 

I’ve stopped my list at seven but I could go on.  It’s simple, you should measure every direct and indirect source for both clients and candidates.  No-one calls in out of the blue.  They will have seen your name in the media somewhere or engaged with you in some way.  Track it, or you’ll never know what is and isn’t working for you.  It may take, two, three, or even ten engagements before you see a conversion but you need to understand every step of that journey to inform your strategy moving forward.  Tracking just the last point of their path to convert only gives you part of the picture and may mean you are discounting valuable recruitment marketing conversion points.

 

That’s great but how do you capture these recruitment marketing figures?

 

Your CRM.

No, it’s not that simple.  It all depends which CRM you are using as to whether it includes a full marketing reporting suite.  However, what they will all do is give you the opportunity to capture information whether it’s automated or done manually.

One anecdote we often talk about at BlueSky PR is one of our clients who tracked the source of candidate applications via a drop down box on their CRM.  They found that a huge percentage of candidates were coming in from AccountancyAge, which was funny as they had stopped advertising there a few years back.  It turned out that AccountancyAge was just the first option in the drop down, and was being selected whenever consultants didn’t know what the source was.  I’ve fallen into the same trap myself in the past and I found myself traipsing back through the email history and previous notes to find out what the actual story was.  My issue was that I didn’t pay enough attention to the source until a placement was made, it was only at that point I would look back and see where the money had come from.  Now, I track the engagement points of every lead from beginning to end and often find there isn’t just one source, there is an original source, a latest source, and often multiple sources in between.

 

How effective is your measurement?  Can you clearly see your ROI?

 

We conducted a poll during a webinar with The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) a couple of years back and 88% of respondents weren’t confident they were measuring their return on investment (ROI) from recruitment PR and marketing effectively.  It came down to one key thing, knowing your numbers is one thing but interpreting them is something else entirely.

Once you’ve got your tracking in place, you need to know what you are measuring against.  What are your goals?  What are the overall business’ goals at that point in time?

I’m afraid to say, there is no one size fits all method to measure ROI – you need to find a way that works for your company, that effectively tracks engagements and gives a rounded view of each success.

 

So why bother to measure at all if it’s so challenging?

 

Recruitment marketing is, more often than not, seen as a cost rather than an investment.  And costs need to be justified.

Recruitment is a sales led industry and without rigorous tracking, you will struggle to get recognition for leads that are generated from marketing rather than sales.  And yet, if you are doing your job well, and measuring your efforts, you’ll probably find that virtually all leads have been influenced by marketing before they convert.

I’ve been working in recruitment marketing for over ten years now and once upon a time I had a magical spreadsheet where I tracked everything manually.  It took a long time to build and it held a vast quantity of data but that spreadsheet was invaluable to me.  I used it each month to see what content was working for me.  I used it to decide whether to renew advertising contracts.  I used it to justify where I spent my time and money.

Nowadays I am very lucky to have a suite of integrated tools to track the majority of engagements and highlight leads based on a number of scoring metrics but no matter how you track your recruitment marketing data, the important thing is that you do.

 

Want to find out more?  Register for our free on-demand webinar on how to measure ROI from recruitment marketing.

This blog was provided by TRN Gold Partners BlueSky PR, international PR and communications firm, specialists in Recruitment, HR & Talent Management are Gold Partners of The Recruitment Network.

Recruitment business owners: are you ready? Here’s a glimpse into the future of IR35

Recruitment business owners: are you ready? Here’s a glimpse into the future of IR35

 

In less than eight weeks, the new rules will come into force as part of the IR35 extension into the private sector. By now, you would already be familiar and have prepared your business (and your contractors) of the changes to come.

 

As with changes due to Brexit, GDPR and HMRC, the real question to ask is this: what will the state of recruitment look like? & how will it affect my business strategy for the rest of 2020?

 

Read on to get a glimpse into the future of IR35 and access for yourself the direct (and indirect) financial impact of the market for your business.

 

Reduced pool of contractors

 

When asked what their biggest fear was, a third of UK businesses said losing their contractor workforce. As much as this is feared, it is only a matter of time before this becomes a reality. Here’s why:

 

  • Contractors trade employment rights in exchange for money but IR35 decreases their earning potential (up to a 25% reduction in net income) making contracting jobs less appealing.
  • Recruitment companies potentially applying ‘blanket determinations’ classifying contractors as ‘inside IR35’ to avoid liabilities
  • Similarly, contractors joining Umbrella companies instead of keeping their limited companies or switching to Permanent roles driven by fear and uncertainty.

 

Rising pay rates for Contractors

 

In theory, with a smaller pool of Contract talent, agencies (or organisations) will have to pay an increase to offset NICs.  However, if agencies choose not to offer an increase pay rates, contractors will have to be the ones burdening the cost.

 

Ultimately, this is very much dictated by organisational budgets and begs the question if large organisations care enough to pay the extra.

 

Longer time-to-fill = lower placement rates?

 

Since that now the efforts for collecting and managing tax & NICs are pushed back up the supply chain, agencies have increased responsibilities and administration challenges to tackle.

 

This will have a direct impact placement rates and time to hire, especially so in a couple months time while still in the early stages of reform.  It could take longer for a job to be advertised, sourced and filled by agencies in light of talent shortages, compounded by compliance with IR35 and negotiations with clients.

 

More competition for permanent jobs

 

New IR35 rules are predicted to create more Permanent jobs on the market as risk averse clients may prefer fixed terms contracts and perm roles instead. This means more choice for job seekers in the market but more competition and increased pressure in the market for recruiters to engage job seekers.

 

Some industries like engineering and manufacturing may be less likely affected as these markets are more focused on perm jobs. However, for healthcare, retail and financial services, it is likely that there will be a reduced level of flexibility if hiring limited company contractors.

 

Rise of ‘Statement of Work’ Services

 

A lot of talk has surfaced with Statement of Work (SoW) as the alternative model for staying ‘outside IR35’. Why? It provides clients with more assurance on project price and output.

 

With expected additional costs that businesses are likely to see due to IR35, SoW is a good opportunity for recruitment agencies to offer premium services to their current client base.

 

However, it’s important to understand what an actual SoW is – a truly contracted out service for which IR34 rules do not apply. SoW provides an avenue for additional income but it also means extra responsibilities, surrounding compliance issues, time and admin.

 

This blog was provided by TRN Gold Partner Vincere. To find out more about Vincere then please click here.

The Recruitment Network partners with REC to help recruiters prosper.

The Recruitment Network partners with REC to help recruiters prosper. Leading service supplier The Recruitment Network have launched a new business partnership with industry body the Recruitment and Employment Confederation. By working together TRN and the REC aim to improve and expand the level of support and advice available to recruiters across the UK.

The innovative partnership will ensure that REC members benefit from discounts on access to TRN services, including market-leading peer-to-peer networking and business leadership support. Firms working with The Recruitment Network who join up with the REC will benefit from a waived joining fee and access to the legal advice, insurance, training, compliance and business growth support that comes with membership of the UK’s biggest recruitment body.

Neil Carberry, CEO of the REC said:

“Supporting recruiters as they build their business is at the heart of the REC mission. By working with The Recruitment Network, we can deepen the range of advice REC members get and offer more to TRN subscribers too. In 2020 recruiters can still expect the high-quality advice, guidance, training and advocacy they want from the REC – but this partnership enables us to do more for Britain’s world-leading recruitment and staffing industry.”

James Osborne, Chairman of The Recruitment Network (TRN) said:

“This is a fascinating time for recruitment and staffing businesses, and the opportunities for the industry today are unparalleled, in my experience. However, growing any organisation will always come with its challenges, twists and turns to navigate. This partnership with the REC creates a comprehensive and unique service offering that will ensure both REC and TRN members will be able to capitalise on the opportunities that lay ahead”

The REC and TRN have been working together behind the scenes on the partnership for a number of months leading up this launch which includes the introduction of a brand new technology platform, TRNWorld (2.0), which will be made free to all REC members at the end of January and a new REC website later in the spring.

For more information, contact the REC Press Office on 020 7009 2157, 020 7009 2192 or pressoffice@rec.uk.com.

About the REC

The REC is the voice of the recruitment industry, speaking up for great recruiters. We drive standards and empower recruitment businesses to build better futures for their candidates and themselves. We are champions of an industry which is fundamental to the strength of the UK economy.

Find out more about the Recruitment & Employment Confederation at www.rec.uk.com

About TRN

The Recruitment Network is the ultimate support club for recruitment business leaders – a unique environment where every component of your recruitment business is challenged and benchmarked against industry best practice, where you can enjoy unlimited support from some of the recruitment industry’s most successful thought leaders and where recruitment business leaders work collaboratively to help each other improve performance, increase efficiencies and significantly grow profitability.

To find out more about TRN visit the TRN website

These communication tips can double your recruitment agency client base

In the busy world of recruitment, agencies are often so fixated on the daily complexities of their jobs that they may miss out on the benefits of an effective communications strategy. Here’s just a few of the most effective communications tricks to double your recruitment agency’s client base:

Communications tips to double your client base

Blogs

Blogs are a fantastic medium for recruitment firms to demonstrate expertise, drive website traffic and generate leads. By consistently publishing quality content, firms can provide more value for leads and customers, which can in turn lead to improved conversions, higher sales, and better customer retention.

If you can publish a mixture of evergreen content – posts that stay relevant all year around – and topical material, you’re more likely keep potential clients and customers engaged.

Video

Alternatively, if you or your consultants aren’t great at writing, have you considered video blogging? When done well, videos can often attract more attention than regular text content.

There are many studies to show that a video on your landing page will increase your sales, while videos on blog posts will improve email opt-in rates. A survey by Usurv found that users are 39% more likely to share and 36% more likely to comment on an online video compared to a text article.

Social

In today’s digitally driven world, social media is a vital component for businesses looking to double their client base, with recruitment agencies no exception. However, a good social media strategy needs a lot more than luck for it to be a success. It takes thought, structure and tactics to produce content that raises awareness, generates meaningful engagement and creates leads.

No matter what you post, it must provide value to candidates and clients. Before you share anything ask yourself ‘why are we sharing this?’ and ‘what is the value for our target audience?’

Press coverage

Press coverage, or earned media, is an unparalleled way for recruitment firms to raise awareness and gain exposure – and something that can set you well on the way to doubling your client base. While the benefits of this probably warrant their own blog post – here are just a few of the advantages of earned media.

Builds awareness – Press coverages allows you to reach out to your wider target audience, opening you up to far more candidates or clients.

Heightens credibility – By producing thought leadership articles for relevant publications, you demonstrate your industry knowledge and build credibility.

Increases trust – Trust in advertising has been declining for a number of years. However, 92% of consumers trust ‘earned’ media, meaning that a continued presence in the press will boost your employer brand.

Boosts your SEO – Winning press coverage on industry-relevant sites that have good domain authority scores helps you rise up Google’s rankings.

SEO

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of affecting the online visibility of a website on search engine ranking. While many see it as complicated, there are a number of simple ways that SEO can help you attract leads and drive website traffic.

To start rising up the rankings, it’s important to research your keywords. The easiest way to do this is by creating a keyword list using Google’s autocomplete function. Simply Google search the topic or theme of your website or content and you will see a selection of the most frequently used search queries pop up.

You can also boost your site’s rankings by republishing old blog posts. Agencies often have a wealth of useful content that has become out of date, particularly in fast moving sectors. Refreshing and republishing these posts will keep your content fresh and will have a positive impact on your search ranking.

The tip of the iceberg

Ultimately, these are just some of the communications strategies that can help your recruitment agency double its client base. To find out more about how marketing, PR and communications can help your firm, feel free to check out our other blogs on the topic.

This blog was provided by The Recruitment Network Gold Partners Blue Sky PR

BlueSky PR help professional recruitment consultancies and in-house departments engage with and source from the very best pools of talent. Helping RPOs and consultancies build their profile and credibility with senior HR decision makers. And they hold the attention of business leaders on all aspects of the human agenda.

“2020: The Era of the Agency Apocalypse!! Cool your jets, we’ve been here before…”

How many times has the recruitment agency apocalypse been predicted at this stage? Three? Four? The internet, job boards, LinkedIn & more recently, AI bots were all supposed to kill off the agency recruiter by making us humans redundant. But I don’t care how complex your algorithms are, people know people, and people buy from people. So here we are, alive and kicking.

Did these recent technological advances force us to adapt our way of working? Absolutely, but it didn’t kill our industry. In fact, more recently technology has assisted recruiters in certain areas, breaking down geographical boundaries to candidates, automating menial tasks and aiding a more streamlined approach to market penetration.

The global employment industry is currently worth a massive €491 billion and this is expected to grow well into 2020 because that’s the beauty of the recruitment industry! It’s being constantly threatened by the emergence of new technology but, in reality we evolve, adapt and overcome these threats utilising technology to its full potential.

Or at least most of us do.

The standard tech stack of a trainee recruitment consultant joining Sthree in 2002 consisted of a desktop computer with one system (EasyAccess), a desk phone and a folder of org charts (if you were lucky). Dare to imagine hiring for your business today and offering that as your starter pack? The trainee would have left by the time the internet dialled up!

Looking at the standard tech stack of a trainee recruiter today is more like looking at a spy kit with systems to organise, track, source, find and screen the ideal candidate. A mobile as standard, laptop, tablet, CRM and a host of software of which the list is practically never ending and yet, still growing!

With an ever-changing technology landscape and demands from clients increasing, it can be hard to know where to start.  But here’s a word of warning, if you’re still stuck at the “where to start” phase, just start! Because you’re almost too late.

The rate that technology is coming onto the scene is unparalleled to anything we have seen before but, what’s even more alarming is the rate in which we are adopting technology. The radio took 38 years to reach a market audience of 50 million. The television took 13 years and the iPod only took 3 years to reach a market audience of 50 million.

“How does that tie into recruitment?” I hear you ask. Well it’s simple really. Your competitors are embedding and utilising technology that is speeding up their workforce while you’re sat over there tuning in FM 104 to make sure you catch the job ads section.

So, where do you start. How do you navigate your way through this unknown technology jungle and how do you assess what technology is actually important for your business?

Ultimately that’s dictated by you and your business needs which sounds simple, but a lot of people get caught up in the next tech trend without considering “why” it’s going to be of benefit.

There are a couple of things to consider when looking at improving your tech stack; a checklist if you will.

  1. What am I trying to improve?

Whether it be a workflow or removing those administrative heavy tasks from your biggest biller, make sure you address this question keep the answer at the forefront.

  1. By embedding “X”, what improvements do I expect to see?

Set your own expectations. If you’re taking the time, money and effort to embed a new piece of technology into your business have a clear picture of what you want the objectives to be. Nobody likes taking on a cool, sexy piece of tech which nobody sees the benefit in. It’s futile.

  1. Will “X” make me more money or save me money?

These two lines are often crossed but there is a clear difference. Some pieces of tech can help you save money i.e. Accounting Software removing some payroll admin negating the need for an extra support staff member. Other pieces of tech can make you money i.e. Hinterview allowing your recruiters to offer a premium service (wink, wink!). Both saving and making money are positives when looking at your business, but it is important to know which one you are trying to achieve with each piece of tech you’re implementing into your business.

Don’t believe us? Lucky for you we control tested it with the youngest members of the Hinterview team. The control being anyone over the age of 25 while the “babies” of the group made for a much

 

My best advice is to audit your business and be harsh on yourself. A business rarely improves by looking at all the things you do great and congratulating yourself on them (though there is a time and a place for that!). Actively look for inefficiencies, gaps in process, sweet spots of inadequacy and then apply the checklist to each of the areas you identify as weak. If a piece of tech can satisfy them, then it’s time to start signing contracts.

 Author: Jessica Kilkenny Roddy – Head of Marketing & Operations Hinterview

Bio: Jess is the Head of Marketing & Operations at Hinterview, a leading video engagement platform working with recruitment agencies to enhance their market engagement with both client and candidates. Before joining Hinterview, Jess spent several years in recruitment specialising within the Governance market across the Financial Services industry. Her experience spans across both enterprise and SME recruitment business’, giving her an appreciation of the challenges faced by both. Jess joined Hinterview because of a common belief in the need to bring human interaction to the forefront of recruitment technology.

Hinterview are a TRN Gold Partner to find out more about Hinterview Click Here

What recruiters need to know about IR35 in the run-up to April 2020

If you are a recruiter that engages with contractors, the upcoming changes to IR35 in the private sector present one of the biggest challenges in recent years. Whilst these changes have been looming for several years, following a trial run in the public sector, recruiters must start readying themselves for the new rules coming into effect in April 2020.

The proposed changes require businesses that engage the services of contractors operating through their own limited company to consider the employment status of that contract. This is done by assessing the contract that is in place, as well as the contractor’s working practices, in order to conclude whether the individual is acting as a “disguised employee” and is therefore deemed inside of IR35.

In order to satisfy HMRC guidelines, “reasonable care” must be taken to ensure that the employment status decision is accurate. Once a decision has been made as to whether the individual is inside or outside of IR35, this outcome then needs to be presented to the worker, and any intermediary supplying the worker, prior to 5th April 2020.

You may be reading this and thinking that all the preparation for the legislation change sits with end hirers and not recruitment agencies. And whilst this is correct that the responsibility will sit with them moving forward, there are still steps you can take to educate yourself and most importantly, the contractors you work with.

SO, WHAT CAN YOU AS A RECRUITMENT AGENCY BE DOING TO PREPARE YOURSELF AND YOUR CONTRACTORS?

  1. Understand the ins and out of IR35 – Educate yourself on IR35. Make sure you understand the legislative changes and the effect this will have on contractors post April 2020. The majority of contractors will have only read about the IR35 Legislation change online or heard about it from other contractors, so being able to support and advise them will put you in good stead and help you gain an advantage over your competitors.
  2. Communication – Most contractors are unsure about the steps they need to take for them to be reassessed. Even though this is down to the end hirer to progress, it is good to communicate this to them and reiterate that it’s ok for them to get in touch with their end hirer and ask for further clarity and updates on how this is going. The sooner they have been assessed, the sooner you as a recruiter can advise them how they can operate going forward.
  3. Supportive process – The effect IR35 will have will be different for each contractor, but the actions they take prior to being assessed will be the same. Make sure your agency scopes an IR35 process, explaining how IR35 is going to affect contracts after April 2020 and how contractors should approach IR35 with their hirer. Ensure this process is rolled out to all other recruiters at your agency so the advice you offer is consistent.
  4. Contractor working options – If captured inside IR35, contractors are going to need to understand the working options available to them if they are no longer able to operate via their limited company. You need to make sure your business can explain the other way for them to work / be paid and provide an overview of the service and how this differs from working through a limited company.
  5. Specialist advice – There is a lot to consider when it comes to IR35, which is why partnering with a specialist can be of benefit. Brookson can support with all aspects of IR35, not only as a specialist contract accountant, who offers multiple working options for contractors, but as an SRA regulated law firm and specialist in IR35. Brookson are able to ensure your agency and contractors understand IR35 and get support both prior and post April 2020.

With the above steps in mind, it is critical that recruiters understand IR35 and how they can continue supporting their flexible workforce.

With only a few months left to prepare, speak to the experts for a FREE IR35 education session.

01925 694 521 | agencies@brookson.co.uk | brooksonone.co.uk/recruiters

What does your Recruitment Consultant look like heading in 2020?

With 2020 only a few weeks away, what are some of the skills that recruiters are going to need to have and improve moving into 2020 and beyond to stay ahead of the curve?

 

They’re always open to change.

 Recruitment is no longer a stopgap job or a way to make some quick cash. It’s a professional career that consultants are looking at as a long-term venture.  They take their time to upskill, learn and develop themselves, whether this is through learning new industry-specific skills, improving their sales techniques or becoming better sourcerers using new tech platforms and tools. developing their leadership skills. Recruiters in 2020 shouldn’t be one dimensional, and instead, they should look for progression, learning new skills and being able to provide a stand-out service to their clients and candidates.

 They’re keen to create a personal brand.

 Recruiters in 2020 understand how important branding is and how it can distinguish them from the crowd. They’ll be building their presence on social media platforms, engaging at events, speaking, and offering all the value and insights they can to their wider network. They’ll also understand the importance for their clients of employer branding and propositioning and how they can make their client’s companies more appealing, in turn attracting more talent and making growth easier.

 They’re creators (and consumers) of content.

 Recruiters in 2020 have grown up consuming content, whether it be vlogs, blogs, YouTube tutorial, podcasts or any of the other variations of content. This knowledge means they know the importance of providing REAL value to their audience, whether it be potential clients or candidates. They can create their own content in specific mediums, and understand how to repurpose this content for different platforms, audiences and requirements.

 They’re tech-savvy.

 Whilst 2020 recruiters won’t all be developers, they do have a keen interest in tech, whether that be ai and how it can help by automating much of the recruitment process and in turn free up a lot of their time for the more personal sides of recruitment.  They are using tech to become more agile. Similarly, they are learning how to use new social platforms, learning how to use the algorithms to their advantage and get their content out in front of their ideal clients and candidates.

 They understand the importance of good marketing.

 The marketing and recruitment cycles are very similar and this is something 2020 recruiters will understand. Instead of hitting call times and cold calling every business in their specific niche, they’ll make sure they’re creating creative campaigns that actively engage a higher percentage of candidates and clients as well as using social touchpoints, email marketing and social media campaigns to get the right message out to the right people.

 Here at The Recruitment Network, we are working with recruitment business leaders and their people to grow both their skills and confidence to become true 2020 recruiters, fit for purpose in the evolving landscape we work in.

We are here to bring clarity and opportunity to what is a slightly complex and uncertain time for many. 

We are here to enable you to become the best you can be in 2020 and beyond.

What do IR35 changes mean for recruitment agencies?

The government announced in 2018’s Budget that private sector businesses will become responsible for assessing the employment status of the off-payroll (commonly known as IR35) workers they engage.

From 6 April 2020, medium and large private sector businesses will need to decide whether individuals who work through their own company fall inside or outside of IR35.

Where the worker is inside IR35, the business, agency, or third party paying the worker’s company will need to deduct income tax and employee National Insurance (NI) and pay employer NI.

This article highlights what a recruiter needs to know about existing IR35 legislation and what the proposed changes mean for the private sector.

What is IR35?

The off-payroll working rules – commonly known as IR35 – is designed to combat tax avoidance by workers supplying their services to clients via an intermediary, such as a limited company, but who would be an employee if the intermediary was not used.

HMRC refers to such workers as ‘disguised employees’ as the worker doesn’t meet HMRC’s definition of self-employment, therefore, the correct tax and NI isn’t paid correctly.

The rules to counter alleged tax avoidance via the use of ‘personal service companies’ became law in 2000, and remain in place today.

Note: ‘worker(s)’ = freelancer / contractor

IR35 and the Public Sector

In April 2017, the responsibility for determining whether a PSC worker is inside or outside of scope of IR35 legislation was shifted to the hiring organisation. This included liability for tax and national insurance contributions.

Public authorities impacted include:

  • Government departments and their executive agencies
  • companies owned or controlled by the public sector
  • schools and universities
  • local authorities
  • NHS

What was the impact?

Released in 2018, HMRC’s Off-Payroll Reform in the Public Sector report found:

  • 58% of central bodies and 70% of sites said that there was no change in the ability to fill contract vacancies post April 6 2017.
  • Most public bodies reported that their ability to fill contract vacancies had not changed.
  • Most central bodies and sites had not found it any more difficult to recruit off payroll contractors with the appropriate skills or knowledge (central bodies: 68%, sites: 76%) or find off-payroll contractors willing to work for them (central bodies: 62%, sites: 67%).
  • 38% of public bodies used HMRC’s CEST / ESS tool as a source of information for determining IR35 status. Of these, 22% said that the tool was either “not very helpful” or “not at all helpful”.
  • 60% of central bodies reported that their staff spend more time on administration since the changes.

Proposed changes to IR35 in the Private Sector, April 2020

The Government’s objective is to increase compliance in the private sector with rules that have been in place since 2000, to make sure that they operate as intended.

The proposed changes to IR35 will impact businesses in the recruitment sector who supply workers operating through intermediaries, such as PSCs, as well as medium and end user clients who use the services of ‘off-payroll’ workers.

Why?

  • To increase compliance with the existing off-payroll working rules in the private sector
  • HMRC estimates that only 10% of people working in this way apply the rules properly
  • The cost of non-compliance in the private sector is growing and is estimated to reach £1.2bn a year by 2022

Who is impacted by the change:

  • Recruitment agencies who supply workers operating through intermediaries, such as PSCs
  • Medium to large businesses who are using the services of ‘off payroll’ workers.
  • The worker

Key areas of the proposed changes

  1. From 6 April, 2020, the responsibility for assessing whether IR35 applies will shift from the individual to the end client. (If the role is determined to be ‘inside’ IR35, whoever the fee payer is will be responsible for deducting the relevant Tax and NI contributions at source, before paying the Limited Company the Net amount.)
  2. The new rules will only apply to ‘medium and large businesses’. The criteria is expected to be similar to the definition in the Companies Act 2006 which stipulates “the qualifying conditions are met by a company in a year in which it satisfies two or more of the following requirements:”
    • Turnover not more than £10.2 million;
    • Balance sheet not more than £5.1 million; and
    • No more than 50 employees

      Note: The Companies Act definition doesn’t apply to unincorporated businesses. HMRC suggests two options – to apply the reform to “unincorporated entities with 50 or more employees and to entities with turnover exceeding £10.2 million” or “to apply the reform only to unincorporated entities that have both 50 or more employees and turnover in excess of £10.2 million.” While it falls on clients to know whether they’re a small organisation, questions have been raised around when workers should be told they’re working for one.
  3. The government has announced that small organisations will be exempt from the changes proposed for April 2020. Meaning that workers engaged in contracts with ‘small businesses’ will remain responsible for determining IR35 and not the client. HMRC confirmed in their March 2019 consultation that this will remain the case even if the worker is hired via a recruitment agency.
  4. For workers whose assignments will fall inside IR35, PAYE and NI contributions will need to be deducted at source from their income by the ‘fee payer’ (agency or end client).
  5. The end client is advised to communicate to the worker the IR35 status of their assignment.
  6. Provided that everyone in the supply chain fulfils their responsibilities, the ‘fee payer’ will carry the liability.

IR35 tax simplified

  • Inside = contractors should be paying employed levels of tax.

If continuing to use a Limited Company, the Fee Payer will have to deduct Tax & NI before paying the Limited Company the Net amount or the contractor will need to use an Umbrella.

If providing services via an Umbrella, the contractor will be setup on PAYE and employed by the umbrella, so therefore these changes won’t apply.

  • Outside = contractors can pay themselves a combination of salary and dividends which can be more tax efficient.

In this scenario, the fee payer can continue to pay the Limited Company the Gross payment as before with no changes to taxation.

Determining IR35 status

IR35 decisions are based on but not limited to:

HMRC has developed the Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) service to help businesses determine whether the off-payroll working rules apply.

 

‘Inside’ or ‘outside’ IR35 at a glance

IR35 - Inside or Outside at a glance

 

Client responsibility

Clients will have to make the IR35 determination on any flexible worker that they engage from April 2020 or any contracts that are in place before and have an end date beyond 2020.

Reasonable care

Post changes to IR35 in the Public Sector, in April 2017, many public sector bodies applied blanket ‘inside’ decisions. This step was deemed to be unnecessary by HMRC, who quickly introduced ‘reasonable care’.

HMRC defines reasonable care as “doing everything you can to make sure the … documents you send to HMRC are accurate”. It also states that it will take “individual circumstances into account when considering whether you’ve taken reasonable care”.

It’s advisable for clients to have a standardised approach to defining inside or outside IR35.

Umbrella Company Contractors

Anyone supplying services using an Umbrella does not fall into the legislation because they are employed by the Umbrella Company and the relevant Income Tax and NI contributions are paid in the same ways as any traditional employee.

Summary of proposed changes to IR35 in the Private Sector

  • New rules apply to private sector from April 2020
  • End client is responsible for determining IR35 status
  • Small clients are excluded from the new rules
  • End clients have a duty of ‘reasonable care’ when making determination
  • End client to supply a Status Determination Statement citing reasons for decision
  • Client Led Status Disagreement process in place, whereby contractor can challenge status. The client has 45 days to respond
  • If the contractor is inside IR35 then the Fee Payer must deduct Tax and NI payments
  • Debt liabilities can pass back up the supply chain

What recruitment agencies should do in preparation for 2020 proposed changes to IR35 in the private sector

  1. Assess current arrangements for each client, identifying the number of workers supplied who operate via ‘off-payroll’ status – e.g. PSCs.
  2. Determine if the off-payroll rules apply for any contracts that will extend beyond April 2020.
  3. Start talking to your contractors about whether the off-payroll rules apply to their role.
  4. Put processes in place to determine if the off-payroll rules apply to future engagements. These might include who in your organisation should make a determination and how payments will be made to contractors within the off-payroll rules.
  5. Assess arrangements involving complex labour supply chains to identify if your position post April 6 2020 will increase your payment risk.
  6. Identify how many clients are outside the new rules through not meeting the criteria to be classified as a ‘medium and large business’.
  7. Develop a training and communications strategy to ensure your team can explain changes to IR35 to workers who are ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ the legislation.
  8. Assess the direct / indirect financial impact of IR35.
  9. Review internal systems, such as payroll software, process maps, HR and onboarding policies to see if they need to make any changes

What’s next?

A summary of responses will be published later this year by HMRC. The consultation will inform the draft Finance Bill legislation, which is expected to be published in Summer 2019. The reform will come into force from 6 April 2020.

Recommended reading

Specialist advice can be sought from a variety of tax, legislation and employment experts including:

Sonovate are creating a support structure that gives businesses and individuals the security and flexibility they need to thrive. To find out more about Sonovate click here.

3 Tips to make your video voicemails stand out

Does anyone look forward to making cold calls? Some days are easier than others, but it’s never been the most inspiring part of sales for me. Using video to introduce yourself and leave a “Video voicemail” in someone’s inbox, mixes things up and gives you an opportunity to stand out. To make sure your videos look and sound as good as possible, there a few small changes you can make which will have a huge effect.

1 – Lighting
How you light your video has a huge effect on the quality of your video.

If you only make one adjustment, make sure the main light source of the room is in front of you.

If you have a lot of light behind you, your face is going to be super shaded and you’ll look like a silhouette against the bright background.

In an ideal world, you want to reduce the shadows across your face and having the light directly in front of you will help.

2 – Sound
Relying on just the built-in microphone on your device means that you’re likely to pick up a tonne of background noise.

We’re not looking for flawless sound.

All we’re trying to do here is make sure people can hear you clearly over the background noise.

If you haven’t got a quiet space that you can easily jump in and record, we recommend that you use a dedicated headset or microphone.

That way, you can record video while sat at your desk. The point of a video voicemail is to make it quick and part of your routine.

3 – Camera & Background

Camera angles can make a big difference too.

At least bad angles can ruin otherwise great content!

We do recommend framing yourself in the middle of the screen and looking directly into the camera.

This comes across more engaging and feels like you’re talking to the viewer.

We don’t recommend having the camera at a really steep angle (up or down), it doesn’t look great.

You don’t need a professional camera, a HD webcam is good enough.

And to be honest, people don’t mind if you have a busy office in the background, it comes across more natural.

Here at Hinterview, we use video voicemails (Hintros) for both business development and headhunting candidates.

Visit www.Hinterview.com for more information.

How and why should I improve my healthcare recruitment website?

The recruitment industry has always been one step ahead of the curve when it comes to technological advancement. From the early adoption of Blockchain stepping up cyber security around candidate data, right up to developments like Tengai, a robot job interviewer that does so without judgement.

Despite this, one question keeps popping up within legacy recruitment agencies – why should I bother jumping on board the digital transformation train when I’ve gained success without embracing technology that enterprise technology companies push? It’s safe to say, it’s a legitimate question; as the saying goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

At Volcanic, we understand that throughout our vast client-base, every customer’s needs and wants are different and unique to them. Every client has different strengths and most likely a pile of evidence to back that up. However, who’s to say that embracing change means leaving old tricks behind?

With close to 40,000 recruitment agencies in the UK, with the majority of these agencies adopting new technology such as a data-driven recruitment website, it’s easier than ever to get lost in the crowd with such fierce competition. Now it’s fair to say that your recruitment agency is niche – there aren’t 40,000 recruitment agencies specialising within healthcare, but how many of those do you think represent a combination of both healthcare and generalist agencies? A fair few we’d wager.

By creating or updating your website, you are being given the tools to sift through the crowd and show off your agency to potential clients and candidates. Through the use of our unparalleled SEO toolkit, boasting an array of technical tweaks to help conversion, alongside social media pages and email campaigns, your audience just got a whole lot bigger than the old ringbinder could contain.

With a modern, adaptable and vibrant healthcare recruitment website, you step into the same league as all of your competitors, no matter how large they may be – and with the right jobs from your clients, the competition could be knocked out of the park when it comes to a candidate converting on your website. Let’s face it, most candidates don’t care how high of a turnover an agency has, they care about getting the right job for them. All you need is the ability to be visible and stand out.

So, we’ve covered the why – now to turn to the how. How can you manage this? Sure, many of the larger companies spend hundreds or thousands on paid advertising and unless you’re really in the big leagues, that’s not always an option. Don’t fret, Google For Jobs paired with Access Recruitment’s website technology by Volcanic has you covered.

Giving your website the care it needs for not only how pretty your website looks, but also how seamlessly it works alongside some of the largest tech providers in the recruitment industry. With the SEO capabilities of a Volcanic website, you have everything you need to get to the front page of a Google search plus everything you need to optimise your website to rank on Google For Jobs.

See how you should build your healthcare recruitment website now or better yet, make the beginning of the recruitment process easier than ever by getting on board – see how we can help you today.

Why guest blogging needs to be part of your recruitment marketing plan.

Why guest blogging needs to be part of your recruitment marketing plan

 

One of the overall aims of recruitment marketing is to increase brand awareness so that:

  1. You are the recruitment agency employers call when they are looking to recruit
  2. You are the agency top quality candidates register with when they are looking for a job
  3. You are the agency big billers want to work for

 

So how does guest blogging help you to achieve these goals?

 

1.    Guest blogging extends your reach beyond the readership of your own blog

 

Target relevant industry specific blogs that your clients read and you can tap into an audience who may otherwise never have visited your website.  Obviously it depends on the search phrases your site is optimised for but the majority of visitors to recruitment websites are likely to be active job seekers.  There are all sorts of stats out there on why passive job seekers are more attractive hires and why you should be using your content to target them instead but I’m not here to advise on whether or not that is the case.

 

What I will tell you is this, candidates become clients when they are impressed by their candidate experience and that should definitely be part of your recruitment marketing strategy but it takes time and depends on their seniority.  Getting in front of hiring managers and demonstrating your expertise is a quicker win.

 

2.    Being published on a third-party site gives you extra credibility

 

It’s not just you and your recruitment agency that thinks what you have to say is useful and interesting.  Someone else has agreed to publish it on their site.  That means something.  That holds sway with readers.

 

For example, we at BlueSky PR may be sent a number of requests from recruiters and recruitment industry suppliers to publish their content on our blog but we have a strict set of criteria that any content has to meet before we will agree to post it.  This has to be original and must be relevant to the recruitment, HR and talent management sectors.  Every blog you approach will have a slightly different set of criteria but those two are pretty standard.

 

3.    They’re great for inbound recruitment marketing

 

As marketers we are all looking to increase our website traffic and, even more so, our conversion rate.  At the end of the day, we want a tangible result that we can measure to demonstrate the effectiveness of our marketing activities.

 

A blog is much more likely to let you include a link to your own website than say an article mentioning you in the FT (not that we don’t all want that as well, but that’s a different story for another post).  If you’re lucky they may even let you include a link to a piece of gated content on your site.

 

Use a trackable URL and you’ll be able to see directly how much traffic your post generated and how many of those visitors went on to convert to clients or candidates.

 

4.    It gives you material you can use in your business development

 

This goes for media coverage, whitepapers, reports etc. as well.  But media coverage and guest posts in particular, because of the additional third-party credibility I discussed above, are great conversation starters.  You can subtly bring them up in conversation at a conference, or on the phone, or you can include a link when you’re emailing a warm lead to help seal the deal.

 

It’s no coincidence that I’m writing a guest post for TRN promoting guest blogging.  Guest blogging and PR are a big part of our marketing plan here at BlueSky PR.  Why?  Because they get us in front of a wider audience (hello it’s nice to meet you for the first time).  Because they add third party credibility to our insights and advice. And because we like to practice what we preach.

 

Interested in writing a guest post for our blog

 Need help with your recruitment marketing strategy or with ghost writing your blog content?  Get in touch.

Author: Jennifer Wright, Head of Group Marketing at BlueSky PR – experts in recruitment PR, marketing and communications