The UK’s job market is buoyant. Fuelled by economic recovery, a ‘positive’ election and new job creation, the UK now boasts an unemployment rate of 5.5%, the second lowest in the EU. Good news for job hunters looking for new career opportunities. Bad news for employers hoping to retain their top people.
According to new research from the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), more than a third of UK workers – 37 per cent – are hoping to leave their current job in 2015, nearly double the amount of people this time last year (19 per cent) and three times that of 2013.
“Gone are the recession years of limited voluntary employment mobility,” said Mike Swetman, MD Morpheus Executive Recruitment. “Just a few years ago there was only a small pool of opportunities available for top talent and companies didn’t have to work hard to retain their best people – indeed many welcomed some natural attrition and would then ‘stress test’ their businesses by not back filling the leaver – essentially to see if they could do without the position and save costs. Of course this lead to other employees picking up that person’s work – with the inevitable repercussions of burn out and increased stress of doing your own plus someone’s else’s job! Now we’re seeing the pressure cooker effect being released……people have choices and can leave, so they are and often without another job to go to!
ILM chief executive Charles Elvin warned employers that the “improving economy and more fruitful job market means it’s likely that they will have to work harder to keep their talented employees”.
So against this backdrop where it’s not easy to replace key staff and the war for talent is fierce; the ability to keep key employees engaged & loyal has never been more important.
We’re seeing some of our customers using innovative methods to try and retain key staff. Here’s a few:
• Laughter classes…yes seriously, we kid you not. Hewlett Packard offer their staff laughter yoga sessions – which release mood enhancing endorphins
• Giving employees a day off for their birthday
• Employee recognition – think outside the box, sometimes a duvet day or a bottle of fizz can make a big difference to the way employees think about their workplace
• Think about the culture of your workplace – some companies we work with our trying to improve their office culture and encourage more time for socialising with colleagues by introducing occasional free lunches, dress down Fridays, ‘at desk’ massages and beer o’clock on Fridays.
• A subsidised canteen may be outside of your budget but there are lower cost options out there such as office fruit baskets or introduce an office baking rota
• Nominating fellow employees for awards – encourages team work and creates a good vibe amongst colleagues. Perhaps your team can nominate an employee of the month and they are rewarded with an extra-long lunch break or the afternoon off…
• Give days off for volunteering at a local charity or not for profit organisation
• Pets allowed at work/ pet sitters – some employees get to take their pets to work every day – having pets around has proven to reduce stress levels
• Introducing health & fitness or gym/workout classes – fitter people usually means less absence!
• For companies without a gym perhaps introduce a weekly running club or an annual company sports day
• In-house laundry/dry cleaners
• Playtime! Have you room in your office for a pool table or table football – could be perceived as a bit of a distraction but you’d be amazed at the conversations and debates that can take place over a friendly game
At the end of the day employers need to take a step back and look at what’s important to their employees. If they don’t recognise what matters to their employees this can translate into job dissatisfaction, lower productivity and higher turnover. It’s critical that companies regularly take the temperature of their workplace and survey employees to identify what works as well as find opportunities to improve. Improvements don’t necessarily need to cost a fortune either, sometimes the smaller initiative’s that have required thought rather than money make the biggest difference of all.
I’d love to hear about what other companies are doing to keep their employees engaged and motivated, please share your ideas here….