The world of work, and in particular people’s attitudes towards their working life, have changed dramatically over recent years. The immeasurable impact of the Covid pandemic, ‘the great resignation’, and the massively increasing trend towards remote working are just some of the tectonic shifts that have happened in recent years. The current market is a candidate-drive one – with so many opportunities available, all providing different packages, candidates are in the position to be much more selective with their career choices and the environment in which they will work. In a candidate-driven market it is vital that employers critically evaluate their workforce, especially in regards to aspects such as staff morale and turnover, to ensure they can attract and retain the top talent.
Employees have individual needs which must be met within the workplace, meaning that organisations should prioritise flexibility and work on an individual basis to maintain a positive and motivated workforce. When employees are happy, they will work harder and be more productive, ultimately benefiting their employer. Although adapting their business environment and operations is expensive, this massively outweighs the opportunity cost of time, effort and resources which are required to recruit and train new staff members.
Research into this topic, as well as our own experience as recruiters, suggest that employees look for flexibility within their work hours and location. This is particularly true in the massive increase of employees looking for working from home flexibility. This is greatly attractive to workers because it allows them to create a positive work-life balance, reduces the chances of burnout and ensures that they are maximising their productivity.
Professionals in 2022, especially in a candidate-driven market, are much more likely to leave a job quickly – research suggests that 9 out of 10 of employees are willing to quit within their first month if the job/organisation isn’t as expected, and around 30% of new employees leave within their first 90 days. Obviously this high level of early turnover could be indicative or numerous issues within the organisation (poor management, misleading information during recruitment stage, toxic working environment etc). It should a top priority for employers to get to the bottom of why new employees may be leaving, however it’s also vitally important that employers provide a comprehensive and supportive onboarding process to help reduce this early exodus and overall staff turnover. Even the most senior appointments need support when starting a new job – which could be in the form of a structured induction programme, regular meetings with line managers to recognise and address issues, ‘ice-breaking’ activities with other members of the team/organisation etc. This may be particularly challenging with remote workers yet it’s still just as important to ensure employee retention, especially through those risky early months in the new job.
A common reason we hear for employees quitting their job is the lack of professional development and career growth opportunities in their role. The best employees aren’t ones for being stuck in dead end jobs, and unless the opportunities are provided in their own workplace, they will moist certainly look elsewhere. It’s vital that employers create clear career paths through their organisation, and provide ample opportunities for employees within the company to progress. Bear in mind that for top talent, career progress isn’t all about the salary. They look for opportunities to develop their knowledge, skills and experience – not just a bit more money. Look into ways employees can upskill and develop, put them through industry-accredited qualifications, give them responsibilities outside of their comfort zone if they’re open to it. Basically try not to let your best employees stagnate.
Although not the only factor when it comes to career decisions, as highlighted in our most recent Salary Survey, salary levels are still probably the most influential ones. From an employers perspective, handing out more money is never a comfortable idea, but when you factor in the potential costs of losing a great member of staff, taking a more pro-active approach to pay rises is much more economical in the long run. There’s no quicker way to win the loyalty of your employee than to offer them a pay rise before they ask for one – just think of the positive psychological impact this can have on their morale, their motivation and productivity, not to mention their feelings towards you as an employer!
Obviously offering pay rises before they are demanded is an enviable position that not many organisations find themselves in, so at the very least employers should foster a culture of openness and honesty when it comes to salary negotiation, it shouldn’t be some taboo subject that employees feel awkward about discussing, as they have that discussion elsewhere.
4 day work week (if you can)
If you could achieve the holy grail of a 4 day work week you will see the candidates absolutely flock to you! But just how feasible is a 4 day work week? A study by Stanford University showed a decrease in stress levels by 45 – 38% when operating in a 4 day working week. As previously mentioned, stress does employers no favours for a productive workforce and so by incorporating this, productivity is maximised. This shorter work week also cuts energy costs within the offices for an entire day, cutting the costs of the organisation. Not only does this benefit the employees, it also benefits the planet; decreasing carbon footprint of a company. With an entire workforce not commuting to work, this results in millions fewer people travelling around the planet. This is likely to boost local economies, having a 3 day weekend enables more tourism and an increase in the spending amongst smaller businesses.
The implications of working from home during the energy crisis For most of us, the recent sharp rise in energy prices has certainly been a
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