2021 has been declared the ‘Great Resignation’ year, fuelled by COVID-19, rising living costs and adapting to remote working. The number of job vacancies in August to October 2021 has reached new records, meaning that there is not enough top talent to go around. And, if businesses aren’t already ahead of this curve, they might already be behind. 

Most companies, regardless of their size, get recruiting wrong as they see it as an event driven activity, in that they don’t start looking for someone until they have a vacancy. This is a fundamentally flawed strategy as it puts them constantly behind the game. And, in today’s environment where there are more vacancies than talent to fill them, it is potentially stunting growth for many organisations. 

Ashley Carr, Founder and Managing Director of Neo PR discusses how business today should be ‘always recruiting, sometimes hiring’ to have a constant and consistent drive to find talent – hiring ahead of need where possible.

On the Hunt 

Achieving successful employee retention can be challenging, so why not adopt a low-impact, long-term approach, rather than a short-term and intense search? It will take longer for you to find a good match for your vacant position if you are only looking for applicants when a position opens up. In turn, the drain on your team caused by this scenario, especially when it typically takes four to eight weeks for a new hire to join a company, could mean that you settle for second best in order to manage the extra workload.

Engaging with both technologically-savvy millennials on social media and at networking events should be an important part of staying ahead of the curve. Choosing the best candidates ahead of your competitors not only allows you to sign on the best talent, but also provides you with insight into how your business is perceived by potential candidates. 

Here are the three main benefits of having a talent acquisition (TA) strategy:


  • You’ll get the best people. Since you aren’t feeling the pressure to fill a job opening ASAP, you can take your time and truly find the most talented candidate.
  • You’ll be competitive. When it comes down to it, employees determine the success of a company. Good people will give you a competitive edge — the best talent will want to work with equally talented team members.
  • You’ll save money. Making a bad hire ends up being very costly when you need to replace them. Having a TA in place helps to prevent that from happening. It also saves on expensive and time-consuming processes such as advertising jobs, sorting through resumes and interviewing candidates.

Retaining Talent 

As organisations were forced to re-evaluate their legacy processes during the ongoing pandemic, HR processes were clearly at the forefront of change. Businesses have to figure out how they can continue to run as efficiently, as well as be more flexible, while maintaining quality. 

The growth in hybrid models of working has accelerated due to COVID-19, and companies are encouraged to rethink their values, culture, and the impact on their employees, as well as the business. It is clearly impossible to duplicate the workplace banter and the conversations around the watercooler while working from home, but employers can use technology to keep in touch with their teams and create that sense of community.

Company culture is not just about perks and benefits; reimagining culture for a virtual environment is about returning to the foundations of your company and building infrastructure to support connection to each other through the lens of your mission and vision. Building rituals that allow team members to truly get to know each other, and work with intention to ensure the team is engaging with and getting the intended result from these rituals whilst keeping employees motivated is critical.


It’s vital that businesses implement an ongoing recruitment methodology, whilst always being open and honest with candidates that there may not be an immediate position available. As long as businesses are upfront about this, they should be able to develop a strong network of contacts for the future.

Having a proactive recruitment strategy can bring great benefits to a company, yet many employers still choose to recruit reactively, waiting for someone to hand in their notice before advertising a new position. By building an ongoing pipeline of suitable candidates rather than playing catch up,  organisations are in an ideal position to fill jobs with high quality people with the skill-set and personal qualities the business needs as quickly and efficiently as possible.


By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.