The Resourcing team at NFU Mutual have been on quite a journey over the last few years, growing rapidly to meet the needs of the business. As the economy starts to find its feet again after the Covid pandemic, they’re dealing with a very different recruitment marketplace. We asked some of the team to tell us about the challenges they’re facing and how they’re addressing them.

What are the biggest challenges you're facing in today's recruitment market?
“The market’s swung fully towards candidates being in charge wherever you look,” says Greg Statham. And Kirstie Patterson adds that, on top of this, the number of vacancies at NFU Mutual keeps rising. “Just when you think it’s going to end, it doesn’t – it keeps on going.” And, for Esther Tysall, this means the team needs to move faster. “It’s the pace of the market at the moment,” she says.

So, how are you addressing these challenges?
“Part of it is about being a mutual,” says Esther. “We’re committed to doing the right thing by providing a fair and inclusive candidate experience. The people who share our values appreciate the way we operate.”

Susanna Manise agrees: “Our commitment to do the right thing gives us an advantage. A lot of big recruitment teams are just there to get ‘bums on seats,’ so delivering a better candidate experience is challenging for them. But we’re driven by our core values to do the right thing for both the business and the candidate. So, we do what most good recruitment teams do, and follow the right processes. That means we can live up to what we say about being a ‘great place to work,’ whether that’s internal development, promotions, or engaging talent. With word-of-mouth through social media and reviews on sites such as Indeed and Glassdoor, that’s important.”

Does diversity and inclusion come into this?
“This is one of the biggest areas we’ve been looking at,” says Susanna. “NFU Mutual has always been an open and welcoming place and as a mutual, we’re guided to do the right thing, so we’ve never overtly called it a diversity and inclusion policy, even though we’ve always been a diverse and inclusive business, with transparency at our heart. But this year, the senior leaders have agreed to implement a D&I strategy across the business, so we can call it that. So, it’s an exciting time for us - it’s like the start of the official D&I journey in the business. We’ve invested in recruiting a D&I specialist, and this will be their sole focus. So, it’s going to be a major role going forward.”

What other new initiatives have you introduced?
“One of the areas we’ve been looking at is our employer value proposition (EVP),” says Esther. “It’s more important than ever that our external face is right. We’ve been working on presenting ourselves as an employer of choice, so candidates will come to us rather than us having to chase them. As part of this external face, we’ve also been looking at improving recruitment processes. One of the areas I’ve been involved in is our online assessments – for example, are they right for the roles we apply them to? And are they inclusive? It’s all about improving the whole recruitment journey for everyone.”

Esther goes on: “Another project we’ve been working on is a new system to support hiring managers. At the moment, they rely on the recruiters for things like sharing shortlists of candidates. We’re introducing a Manager Self-Service system that allows managers to share vacancies, view CVs, and share feedback and interview availability. By empowering hiring managers, we’re helping to provide a more reactive service for our candidates.”

Kirstie adds: “We’ve also introduced an HR Excellence project, which has a lot of different work streams, such as Data or Onboarding. Every work stream has an HR Representative on it, so people in the HR teams are invited to be a part of these.” “This all feeds into how we can improve areas like our onboarding experience,” says Greg. “And there are lots of other projects happening – for example, supporting hiring managers on best practice in areas of recruitment such as interviewing, so we can make the whole recruitment process quicker. Speed is essential when hiring good people, so we’ve stressed the need for them to work at pace. Most of them understand the demand in the market, so they listen to our advice and it’s already reducing our time to offer in a lot of areas. It’s all about making those incremental improvements, so we can make the recruitment process better.”

Join us on our journey
As we continue to invest in our Resourcing strategy, processes and people, new opportunities are arising all the time. Take a look at our latest vacancies or sign up for job alerts by email.