Unless you’ve been sat under a rock for the past two years you would have seen the ‘great workplace shift’ from the office to home, due mainly to the Covid pandemic. Many found the isolation that comes with work from home discipline and autonomy daunting.
On the plus side, homemakers gained a fresh pair of hands to help, and suddenly there was a new playmate for the kids at home. The daily commute went from motorways and trains to the ‘bed to desk sleepy amble,’
This shift made some wonder why they went to work in the first place; was it purely for cash for their social life? Without any social events that can often take the edge of a dreary workplace, people found themselves isolated which brought different, less community-based thinking. In January 2022, it was announced that the rate of UK workers quitting their jobs was at its highest since 2009, as a record 4.5 million people resigned in November 2021 alone.
In a study conducted by The HR Director on 1000 workers, the researchers found that 29% of UK workers were considering leaving their current job, either to start another job in the same sector, to move to a new industry to retrain or to start a new business. The study found that one of the biggest reasons for leaving a job was an insufficient salary or because employers hadn’t offered enough bonuses or pay rises.
Employee Satisfaction: The key to net profits
Companies with natural leaders that developed staff and rewarded employees, not just financially, were often seen as ‘edgy’ whilst many less open-minded business owners were blind to the fact that when an employee feels valued, it is worth so much more than just a pay rise.
It is often difficult for employers to see the full picture and overall cost when losing an employee; the time spent advertising, interviewing and hiring and last, but not least, the settling-in period is months and months. This is before you get an effective, fully-trained and happy employee. We estimate that the cost of a bad hire can be up to two years of salary.
All this means that dedicating even a small budget to employee satisfaction and development is a much more cost-effective option.
The good news is that there is time to change before losing more of your workforce. Of the survey respondents who indicated that they wanted to leave, 32% have delayed resigning. The most popular reason is that they felt the job market was too unstable due to the pandemic.
It is still not too late to keep the 29% who want to leave, many are just waiting till we are post pandemic before weighing up their options. So now is a good time to start looking at employee rewards and perhaps a survey of your own to see what really motivates your team.
Multiple studies into the so-called Great Resignation have given us insight into how best to mitigate this shift and the secret is training and investment. Employees need to feel their company is forward thinking enough to take on the latest technologies, to share this with staff, and share training for their future development. This was worth so much more than a number on a wage slip.
When working on policies to retain workers and attract new members of staff, flexibility is one of the key points that workers consider. Of the workers surveyed, 28% said that they had been encouraged to stay at their current job, despite general dissatisfaction, for fear of losing their current company’s flexible working policies.
On top of this employees rated workplace flexibility to their wish list and have easier work times, rather than exploit this, studies have found workers are more productive when they can more effectively balance home and work life.
16% of respondents said that they wanted to quit their job because their employer was forcing them to go back to the office. 20% of workers said that they felt their employer preferred colleagues that chose to work in the office. For employers trying to retain staff, having a policy of flexible working is hugely important.
Flexibility for office and/or hybrid home work is also important, it is for managers to give their employees a chance to see how effective they are at home or of they prefer the office, and let them decide and prove their worth, makes for a much more enjoyable workplace.
Access to simple things such as a mental health therapist to pop by once a month, and an open line to voice concerns and offer suggestions in, anonymously (if they want), all help and I also heard from one client who almost overnight stopped long weekend Friday absenteeism by having a masseuse come in and offer free neck and head massages on Friday afternoons whilst their employees are at their desk. It doesn’t take much creativity to come up with things that bring some fun and enjoyment to the office. Some years ago we had a manicurist come in the for a day – everyone loved it, morale and team spirit were sky-high.
Many employees are stuck in a baby boomer world where the boss was a deity who must be obeyed at all costs. They wonder how the kids of today keep a job with all their demands, but the workplace has changed beyond all recognition. Your employees know via the internet what your competitors’ employees are earning and what extra benefits above and beyond a simple cash payment they are enjoying. So get with the times and let your staff know you value them in more ways than coin.
In a study conducted by Property Week, 55% of respondents said the quality of a workplace influences their job choice. Further to this study, Glassdoor surveyed over 5000 people (1000 were UK based). 77% of respondents said that they would look for information about the company’s workplace culture before applying for a job. A further 57% said they valued workplace culture over a higher salary.
Businesses need to focus on the happiness of employees to ensure that they retain staff and attract new people where necessary. The old adage “a happy worker is a hard worker” has never been truer than in today’s market.