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:
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.
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.
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
- 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
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.
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