The National Rural Conference 2024

The Rural Services Network (RSN) is thrilled to announce the National Rural Conference 2024, taking place from 16th to 19th September. This virtual event, accessible via Zoom, is the premier gathering for senior officers, members, policymakers, and rural service professionals.
Further information and booking details can be found here

Toolkit Supports Rural Businesses to Recruit and Retain Staff

A toolkit has been produced to help businesses and organisations in rural areas recruit and retain staff and become employers of choice.

Developed from research in the Derbyshire Peak District funded by the National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise (NICRE), it sets out key actions with checklists to enable organisations to use the natural capital in the area to attract workers to apply for jobs.

Place, Sector And Identity

Based on the underpinning principles of a place-based approach, the sector as a place to work and the meaning of work, it introduces three tools:

  1. To help employers create content for a new, place-based advert or improve an existing advert.
  2. To enable employers to collaborate to promote a positive sector image to attract candidates.
  3. To help employers learn how to recognise the different meaning staff attach to work and reflect this in recruitment content and wider HR policies and practices.

The study Exploring identity, place and worker attraction and retention in rural businesses, supported by Business Peak District, found that rural businesses are facing significant challenges in recruiting and retaining staff due to a combination of global and national influences, and place-specific factors.

It was led by Carley Foster, Professor of Services Marketing and Head of the Centre for Business Improvement at the University of Derby, working with Dr Susan Kirk, Reader in International Human Resource Management at Newcastle University Business School.

Prof Foster said:

“Our toolkit is designed to help employers appeal to a wide range of applicants by offering a better understanding of the variety of meanings people attach to work and how this varies over their life course. This will enable employers to tailor their employment package to meet their workers’ changing needs.”

Dr Kirk said: “Employers tend to overlook the advantages of where they are located when seeking to attract and train staff which is particularly relevant to rural employers which can emphasise the natural capital of the area. This may help to offset the challenges associated with living and working in rural areas.”

The toolkit follows the researchers making a number of key recommendations for changes to policy that need to take place to support rural businesses in the region and encourage people

Download the Toolkit and the Report HERE.


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