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HR Priorities in 2024

With 2023 quickly coming to a close, People Managers are laser focused on refining their priorities for 2024. So what are those priorities and commonalities? Read on to find out.

Image of four people in an office smiling and laughing whilst standing at a desk around a laptop

Who Should Oversee Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace?

Health and Wellbeing is becoming an increasingly significant issue within the workplace. Employers are placing greater emphasis and investment on supporting employees with various challenges, whether they’re mental, physical, financial or social. This is fantastic news! A frequently asked question however, is who should oversee health and wellbeing in the workplace? Whose responsibility is it?

Some believe the answer is determined by the overall purpose of your health and wellbeing programme. Was it set up to help with high levels of sickness absence? To attract and retain the best talent? Was it set up to address mental health support? Or to educate employees about better nutrition?

While there is merit in this perspective and whatever the core reason for your health and wellbeing programme, we believe consideration needs to be given to the bigger picture.

Traditionally, ‘people issues’ fell to HR. Today, organisations’ are taking a more comprehensive and blended approach to supporting their employees. Health and wellbeing means different things to different people and has many facets, requiring input from different parts of an organisation. For example, HR undoubtedly still has a role to play, but so too do Occupational Health, Facilities Management, Recruitment, Employee Benefits, the C-Suite and so on.

Health and wellbeing is better managed as a cross-organisational initiative with the relevant people and departments feeding into the development, implementation and coordination of the services being offered as a whole. This is arguably one of the main reasons we’ve seen the creation of teams and departments with broader titles like Employee Experience, People Engagement and The Future of Work - they’re focusing on an overarching organisational concept, rather than one specific business function. Health and wellbeing is a cultural workplace movement.

Such a collaborative, blended approach to health and wellbeing means that the coordination of resources and the use of metrics become key in monitoring the services provided, their uptake, the level of investment and the return on that investment. Without metrics, any health and wellbeing programme will fall flat.

Ryan Hopkins, Future of Wellbeing Lead at Deloitte stated that ‘what gets measured gets incentivised and that gets investment. Wellbeing is a science and not an art. Attach a financial value to these measurements to make the C-suite understand and engage. Health and wellbeing has to grow outside HR. It must be a cross-functional approach, an employee experience, addressing issues like wellbeing, inclusion, purpose and satisfaction for it to be effective’

Metrics can be used over time to measure specified key performance indicators, to spot trends and correlations and to further enhance health and wellbeing in the workplace.

Health and wellbeing is slowly, yet increasingly being seen as an initiative that falls to many, rather than just one department. Potentially, this means that health and wellbeing programmes will be more comprehensive and robust, with more employees using the services on offer. Draw and coordinate the resources available to you across your organisation, use metrics to benchmark, monitor and ultimately, secure investment - your employees and your organisation will thank you.

If you’d like to explore how Body Mechanics Health and Wellbeing Programmes can help your business please get in touch: enquiries@bodymechanics.co.uk

Image of a laptop with a hand pointing to the text Business Trends and business related icons floating around it.

Business Trends 2023

With the first quarter of 2023 almost done, HR professionals and industry in general, now have a better understanding of employee and business trends going forward. In this article, we give you a summary round-up of these understandings and observations so far.

Unum have collated the following stats about the cost of living crisis and how it will impact individuals and businesses alike:

  • 19% of employees expect to have to look for a new job with better benefits or a higher salary in 2023 — the equivalent of 5.4 million workers
  • 16% (4.5 million) are considering taking a second job next year to make ends meet
  • 29% of employees state mental health concerns as one of their biggest worries in 2023
  • 35%, or almost 10 million workers, say their employer has not provided them with any cost-of-living support so far this year.

So how can employers help ease the challenges faced by their employees and what are the best approaches?
 

  • Increase in People Analytics - making better use of people data from various sources within the business to inform business decisions and strategy is key. Using people analytics to inform your business’ direction can be incredibly insightful and powerful - correlations can be discovered, solutions can be found and actions can be taken, all of which will be evidence based. Unlock the potential of both your people and your business through establishing insight and context.
    • Employee Feedback - Giving employees a stronger voice, makes them feel empowered and can lead to increased employee engagement. Having a feedback point accessible at all times, such as a designated chat channel or specific feedback system, as well as intermittent surveys, polls, allows their comments to be heard and valued - employers get a greater insight into what employees think, want, and need. Subsequently, this feedback can be used to manage employee expectations and for employers to incorporate employee feedback into future business decisions and strategy. In short, employee feedback can increase loyalty, engagement, productivity, and profitability, whilst also allowing businesses to track their return on investment.
      • Implementation of Menopause Policies - so many women struggle with menopause and like any other health issue, it deserves due recognition. Despite the Government rejecting the call for Menopause to be recognised as a protected characteristic and to trial Menopause leave, it has however encouraged employers to give increased attention to supporting women experiencing Menopause symptoms in the workplace, by implementing Menopause policies.
        • Continuation of Hybrid and Flexi-Working - during the pandemic work patterns changed significantly, as did people’s priorities. Convenience, flexibility, work life integration, and family time are now given far more importance than they previously were. In addition to this, since December 2022, legislation allowing employees to request flexible working hours from the start of their employment has come into effect. A key factor for businesses around the recruitment and the retention of employee talent.
          • Recruitment and Retention - in a report published by Octopus, they state that ‘Post-COVID, many people are searching for a job that better aligns with their values or lifestyle. Others are not just quitting their jobs - but changing professions entirely - to pursue work that feels more meaningful to them….
             
            This poses a real challenge for employers because Britain is currently facing its tightest labour market in years. They are having difficulty finding and retaining employees as the great resignation takes its toll’

            Having issues around attracting and retaining talent and filling potential skills gaps, is forcing businesses to look at ways to make their organisations, job roles and employment packages more attractive and realistic for the world today - financial security, tangible benefits, flexibility and convenience, meaningful work and career progression, all being key. A comprehensive employment package will also reduce recruitment costs long term and will increase employee loyalty.

            • Employee Benefits and Rewards will receive greater investment - to better engage, motivate and reward employees for the work they do, their overall contribution to the business, as well as supporting them with the everyday challenges they face.

               
              David Pye, Director At Leading Independent Consultancy Broadstone says ‘Businesses need to take a more proactive approach to both recruitment and retention, ensuring that their workers have access to what matters to them and that their employee value proposition is targeted and relevant. Good pay in the current inflationary environment is obviously important, but so are many ancillary benefit offerings such as employee wellbeing propositions and it appears key sectors have failed in many of these areas that could lead them to fail over the medium term’

              Octopus found that employees are crying out for more benefits which offer tangible financial support. In fact, 73% of employees want cash saving benefits, particularly now during the cost of living crisis. Support around childcare, food, travel, health and wellbeing and work life integration are where employers should focus their benefit package offerings.

              In the everyday work environment, initiatives such as clear career progression and development, spot bonuses, length of service rewards and acknowledgement for work well done all help to make employees feel valued and loyal to your business.

            By bringing the above highlighted elements into your employee benefits package and your business management strategy, you’ll be able to fulfil the needs of both your people and your business. You’ll be able to support and reward your employees, to increase employee retention and engagement, to improve the levels of stability, productivity and of course, overall profitability to your business. People are a key asset to your business, invest in them wisely.

            References

            Danni Rush: Hr Trends For The Year Ahead
            Posted by Amelia Brand on Mar 1, 2023 for HR Review
            https://www.hrreview.co.uk/analysis/danni-rush-hr-trends-for-the-year-ahead/151326

            Cost-of-living crisis expected to spark the Great Resignation of 2023
            Unum 12th December 2022
            https://www.unum.com/about/newsroom/2022/December/Cost-of-living-crisis-expected-to-spark-the-Great-Resignation-of-2023

            3 In 10 Businesses Facing Recruitment Difficulties
            Posted by Amelia Brand on Mar 1, 2023 for HR Review
            https://www.hrreview.co.uk/hr-news/recruitment/3-in-10-businesses-facing-recruitment-difficulties/151288

            The Sustainable Workforce Report
            Octopus

            How to Create a Strategic Employee Wellbeing Plan that embeds Mental Health Care
            Webinar 28 Mar 2023
            Hosted by Dr Angel Enrique and coordinated by Claire Farrow

             

            If you have any questions or feedback about this article, please send them to enquiries@bodymechanics.co.uk

            Quiet Quitting – How To Reignite Engagement

            Quiet quitting is a term which has recently come to the forefront of workplace discussions. It's considered by some to have become more prominent due to the change in work patterns attributed to Covid lockdowns.

            What is Quiet Quitting

            Quiet quitting refers to individuals doing the bare minimum to fulfil their job role requirements. Very little else is carried out outside of their job description and their level of engagement drops. Quiet quitting highlights an issue around the employer/employee relationship, more specifically, a lack of trust around expectations of an acceptable workload and remuneration for that work and effort.

            During a highly stressful time, Covid being a good example, quiet quitting is seen as a way to navigate change, to avoid any additional stress leading to burnout, as well as a way to maintain work/life balance. Quiet quitting gives individuals a way to take back control without having to have formal discussions with their Managers.

            This change in individual behaviour is considered to have a wider impact on the workplace community and on team morale. By individuals taking a step back from their work and becoming disengaged, it can present a number of challenges for team peers, managers, and ultimately the organisation as a whole. In this article, we take a look at the signs of quiet quitting and how to potentially reduce it.

            Signs of Quiet Quitting

            Quiet quitting tends to be an issue that builds up over time with behaviours changing gradually. Things to look out for are:

            • Maintaining definite and sometimes inflexible boundaries around work hours, tasks, and workload by pushing back more frequently and/or strongly
            • Resisting anything seen as new or in addition to existing job responsibilities such as new projects, volunteering, or supporting co-workers
            • A drop in communication, participation, and productivity
            • A lack of interest in any social interactions or activities outside of work through avoidance and distance
            • A noticeable reduction in job satisfaction and a decline in overall wellbeing on both an individual and team level

            How to Prevent Quiet Quitting

            Quiet quitting can be avoided through better communication and a clear and agreed alignment between employer and employee expectations:

            • Listen to your employees and let them know they have a voice
            • Keep your employees in the loop. Tell them in advance of any upcoming changes or challenges
            • Keep any increase in workload to a minimum and ensure the employee knows that this is a temporary situation
            • Understand your employees' work/life boundaries and career ambitions. Work with them as much as possible.
            • Reward your employees appropriately whether that’s financially, time in lieu, or a focus on their general wellbeing
            • Work on building rapport with your employees and respecting them as individuals
            • Hold regular reviews or feedback sessions to stay current with employee opinion

            How to Deal with Quiet Quitting

            Quiet Quitting can be reversed through honest communication and a willingness to rebuild trust on both sides:

            • Get things out in the open. Offer open two-way communication and initiate that communication in a non-confrontational, approachable manner
            • Identify the specific areas of contention as seen by the employee and ask for examples
            • Give context to these issues from your perspective and how they relate to the individual, the team, and the wider organisation
            • Reach a solution that genuinely works for both parties by re-establishing agreed expectations and associated rewards
            • Give your employee time to adjust and re-engage with their work through regular agreed review periods
            • Demonstrate your commitment to your employee by sticking to agreed actions in order to rebuild the relationship
            • Should these steps prove unsuccessful, conduct an exit interview

            Summary

            Quiet Quitting is a disconnect or a lack of alignment between an employer and an employee, with potentially negative consequences for both parties. It's essential to maintain open, reciprocal communication with employees, to let them voice their concerns and to mutually agree on any solutions going forward. Quiet quitting can be resolved by reestablishing clear boundaries and a balance around workload, workplace responsibilities, remuneration and reward. Treating employees as individuals and making a genuine effort to understand their feelings and frustrations can help rebuild a trusting relationship.

            References

            Why is Quiet Quitting A Rising Problem for Early Talent Cohort?
            https://www.thehrdirector.com/quiet-quitting-rising-problem-early-talent-cohort/
            By Charlotte Burton-Barker

            Quiet quitting: The workplace trend taking over TikTok
            https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-62638908
            31st August 2022
            By Perisha Kudhail

            Quiet Quitting: How to Prevent & Combat it at Work
            https://teambuilding.com/blog/quiet-quitting
            30th October 2022
            By Angela Robinson

            10 Creative Ways to Show Recognition that are Outside the Box
            https://www.rewardgateway.com/uk/blog/10-creative-ways-to-show-recognition
            By Alexandra Powell

            Conflict Management: a shift in direction
            https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/relations/disputes/conflict-management-report
            CIPD

            If you have any questions or feedback about this article, please send them to enquiries@bodymechanics.co.uk

            Employee Retention – key considerations

            The world of work has changed considerably. Covid made us all adapt and rethink how we could continue to work, which soon led to us thinking about how we want to work. People’s priorities have changed and in turn employers are now looking at how to get the balance correct between hybrid, flexi and hybrid working, whilst still being productive, profitable and true to their employer brands. New phenomena and terms like the ‘mass resignation’ and ‘quiet quitting’ are frequent topics of discussion, shining a light on how it is best to retain employees and to attract new ones.

            We take a look at a summary round up below:

            Pay

            Payment in line with responsibilities, experience, and performance is common practice. However, pay rise increases inline with cost of living is becoming a pressing concern. There are a growing number of people who work, however, their take home pay is no longer covering their day-to-day expenses, meaning they’re working in deficit, and ‘the working poor’ have been created. Whether employers can assist their employees to bridge this gap again is another budgetary and ethical dilemma being called into question. Where does the responsibility lie - the employer, the Government, or both?

            In their latest collaboration, CIPD and Omni have published their Resourcing and Talent Planning Report 2022, to give practical recommendations on how employers can encourage employees to join and stay at an organisation, when pay increases become ‘exhausted as an option’. Three significant areas were identified - 1) flexible, hybrid and remote working 2) upskilling existing employees 3) increasing diversity by advertising through more varied sources

            Zofia Bojorek a Senior Research Fellow at The Institute of Employment Studies emphasises that employers need to ‘ensure that work has meaning for employees’ and that our historic preoccupation with pay, simply isn’t enough. Valerie Beaulieu-James, Chief of Sales and Marketing at Adecco, reiterates this point by advising employers to avoid engaging in ‘blunt tool’ pay rises purely to retain staff and that more attention should be given to Line Manager Support

            Line Manager Support

            In order to retain good talent, Line Managers need to meet the requirements of both the organisation and the individual employees. Particular attention must be given to ensuring work loads, work patterns, and the work itself are fair and fulfilling, alongside good career progression, and the individual welfare of employees. Employees want to feel valued and heard by their employers, with fair performance recognition and pay. By achieving these things, employees are increasingly likely to feel engaged and loyal to the organisation they work for. Employee surveys and exit interviews have highlighted that a poor relationship between an employee and a Line Manager can result in the employee leaving their job, even if they found that job itself fulfilling.

            Flexibility

            Flexible working has become increasingly popular. Part-time, compressed or flexi- hours, reduced days, remote working, job shares, working from home, hybrid working, term-time working, career breaks/sabbaticals, and commissioned outcomes are all ways in which work patterns have evolved.

            According to the CIPD, more action is needed to increase the uptake of flexible working where possible by employers’, as it’s believed ‘to increase inclusive, diverse and productive workplaces that suit both the needs of organisations and individuals’

            Flexible working brings other benefits such as reduced overheads in terms of office space, better use of technology and potentially being able to operate more efficiently in line with customer requirements. From an employee perspective, flexible working promotes better work-life balance, job satisfaction, and overall wellbeing.

            Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

            In an interview with Employee Benefits, Asif Sadiq MBE, Senior VP, and Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, highlighted the importance of creating a sense of belonging when it comes to employee retention ‘ creating a sense of belonging helps to achieve goals and retain staff. It's not hard to create this, we just need to focus on what matters. It’s the morally right thing to do to have diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies in place, and often businesses with more diverse workforce generate more income. It can be a critical element to drive success’ Sadiq goes on to say that in doing so ‘psychological safety’ can be achieved in the workplace and any privileges should be acknowledged and used to support those not in the room for conversations, not for apologies.

            Benefits

            Creating a positive work environment outside of pay is an increasingly important aspect in employee retention. Giving employees tangible benefits which will enhance their lives has the potential to lead to a more stable workforce in terms of retention and attrition. Areas to consider are:

            • Holidays and Time Off - greater recognition of life events such as bereavement, miscarriage, adoption, maternity, and paternity for example
            • Flexible Working Practices
            • Pensions
            • Health and Wellbeing Services - eye care vouchers, private health care, physical, mental and financial health
            • Travel - Company car or allowance, cycle to work schemes, subsidised rail fares

            Company USP

            According to Gemma Bullivant, HR Coach and Consultant ‘promoting your organisation’s USP’ is vital for employee retention. ‘What makes you stand out as an organisation, why people choose to join and stay, what you are doing and how you can leverage that to be even stronger’ is an extremely powerful way to communicate what you can offer your employees. It also demonstrates a business with a clear vision and identity.

            Adapting work practices to fit with societal change is essential. Continued reviews and open, collaborative discussions between employers and employees can lead to positive working relationships which are beneficial for all. It’s clear that pay is no longer the only factor that employees consider when looking to join or stay at an organisation; balance, progression, welfare, and satisfaction are all central to their decision making. Employee retention helps contribute towards an organisation’s stability and performance. Holding onto and nurturing skilled workers, developing them further, and supporting their overall wellbeing, will only lead to a productive and profitable business.

            Sources

            CIPD
            Attracting and Keeping Talent: When Pay is Not Enough
            Kristian Adams
            28th September 2022

            Employee Benefits FactSheet 

            People Management
            Majority of Workers Consider Quitting When Colleagues Resign, Research Finds
            Yoana Cholteeva
            3rd October 2022

            Salary Alone Not Enough To Attract Talent, CIPD Report Finds
            Mahalia Mayne
            27th September 2022

            Employee Benefits
            Exclusive: Warner Bros Discover Urges Employers To Create A Sense Of Belonging To Retain Staff

            Zoe Wickens
            5 Oct 2022

            If you have any questions or feedback about this article, please send them to enquiries@bodymechanics.co.uk