Donald MacKinnon, director of legal services at employment law firm Law At Work, writes on an important issue for employers in the new year.
The festive period is over and people are making resolutions for the year ahead – with a ‘new year, new me’ mentality. And one of the most popular ways to make a big change, fast, is a new job.
As employees return to work there could be a sneaking dread that some are searching for a new job, as the 8th January marked the so-called ‘Massive Monday’ – reportedly the beginning of one of the busiest weeks of the year for recruitment firms up and down the UK.
In January, one in five of the UK’s workforce is actively looking for a new job and nearly half (47%) are planning to in 2018, according to a recent survey of 1,000 employees by Investors in People (IIP).
With experienced members of staff vital to company performance, not to mention the expense associated with recruitment, let’s look at what employers can do to positively influence employee retention.
Salary is one of the leading reasons cited by those seeking greener employment pastures. Whilst it may not be possible to increase wages organisation-wide, incentives such as bonus schemes or share incentive plans can be utilised to reward high-performers. Employers can also introduce ancillary benefits such as gym memberships or travel perks, which keep employees happy and healthy.
Career Progression and Support
The need for a fresh challenge, or a lack of stimulation in a current role, are often significant drivers for employees who begin job hunting. One way to alleviate this is to provide challenges and opportunities through career progression. Employers should consider introducing structured training and leadership development programmes – and this can increase loyalty amongst staff members who see an organisation investing in their future.
Although it is important to keep employees actively engaged in their work, it is also vital they have an escape from work at times; both in and out of the workplace. Taking simple-steps, such as introducing break-out areas, can improve workplace relations and increase employee happiness. Additionally, flexible working arrangements can encourage an overall work-life balance and may address issues related to hours of work or job location.
Employers shouldn’t rely on the NHS to keep staff healthy – this year they need to take proactive steps to enhance wellbeing. A business can invest a range of solutions for staff wellbeing, such as occupational health or counselling, which can be balanced with internal initiatives such as designated awareness campaigns, regular reviews, walking clubs and good policies on diet and breaks.
Part of the Bigger Picture
Finally, employees often feel happier when they feel personally invested in an organisation’s success. To motivate, employee and company performance should be cascaded to staff members regularly and, in addition to this, ownership can be enhanced via workforce committees and feedback surveys, which show employees they are being heard.
Employee happiness is a vital issue all year round. However, as the business world finds its stride in the formative stages of 2018, there is also an opportunity for employers to say, ‘new year, new me’ by investing in workforce satisfaction this year and reap the rewards of loyal, engaged employees.