At Real Ideas, we are great at doing things that make a difference in the world. Sometimes, we aim to impact the planet. Sometimes, we aim to impact people. Our work on the Plymouth’s Covid Recovery Plan is a piece of work aiming to do both.

Currently, UK businesses are facing huge challenges in recruiting and retaining staff, and Plymouth is no different. Traditional talent pools are hard to reach, and the perceived skills shortage is making it hard to bring the best people for your business. Furthermore, the emerging labour market has different expectations compared to what we have seen in the past. The desire to work a 40-hour week in one job for the rest of your life is not the ambition of those who are entering or returning to the world of paid employment. Even without looking through a post-Covid lens, it is plain to see employers are facing a rapidly changing landscape.

If you are in business, what are you doing in the face of a rapidly changing labour market? Have you increased your salary and wage offer? Have you looked further afield for candidates? Have you re-designed job specifications? These are options, but maybe you do not have the resources to cover the costs of such an approach. Or maybe the role you need doing has certain minimum expectations or qualifications?

The maxim is true, that if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got. So how can you expect to solve your recruitment challenges using the same methods? No matter which sector you operate in, how specific your requirements may be, if you recognise this issue, it makes sense to consider the possibility that a new approach is necessary.

So what do you do when you need to make a change? Who can you turn to? Who can help?

Plymouth has many businesses who already recognise this dilemma and work has begun to explore, review, challenge and change existing models. And with that, a community is being created. Over 200 businesses have already signed the Charter, committing to, amongst other things a more inclusive approach to recruitment under the Employ theme. Plymouth City Council have enlisted us to help them deliver the Employ theme of the charter, with the intention of encouraging businesses in the city to challenge their recruitment processes to be more effective.

Real Ideas experience in supporting businesses at all stages of development and our focus on supporting under-represented communities, means we are uniquely placed within the city to help. That is why, as part of our commitment to the Charter we are hosting a series of working lunches at Market Hall in Devonport. These sessions are to create a space for people to get involved in the conversation and take their first steps to addressing this problem. They will be an open forum for business leaders and HR specialists to speak to each other about the challenges they face, solutions they have tried and the outcomes they have seen.

You can expect to take away practical advice from experienced people and you will have tapped into a community that recognises the need to challenge the standard operating model.

So often we speak to people in business who are frustrated that no-one understands their situation or can do anything about this issue. These sessions are where you can listen, learn, share and more importantly, start to do something about your recruitment challenges.

If this is something that has been concerning you, contact Andy Stuart or Ed Hart to find our more. Better yet, make time to come to Market Hall in Devonport on Wednesday, May 11th at 12pm, and take the first step towards solving the problem.