With the UK unemployment rate at its lowest since 1975, the UK job market continues to be very much candidate-led.
With so many open opportunities on the job market, attracting and retaining talent is more important than ever. While a straightforward salary increase will appeal to some prospective and existing employees, for many it won’t be enough.
So what can you do to avoid missing out, or losing out? Luckily, there’s plenty.
Introduce flexible working
Work-life balance is dead, long live work-life blend. With 75% of employees claiming flexible working would make a job more appealing1, consider introducing a scheme that allows employees to blend their professional and personal lives so that they support each other, instead of restricting them. The ability to start early and finish early, or work from home, means employees can cut down a commute, accommodate childcare, or just design their working hours to suit personal admin.
Encourage learning opportunities
Not all career development needs to be expensive. There are plenty of free online learning resources, or digital libraries that can be used by multiple members of a team for a small fee. What is most important is that your culture encourages an ethos of learning, leaving employees comfortable and enthusiastic about taking control of their career progression within the working day. This also demonstrates your consideration of their future, regardless of whether it’s within your company or not.
Promote career progression
No employee worth their salt will be attracted to a company where their role stagnates. Therefore, providing clear progression opportunities – even if it is sideways – shows that your business is somewhere they can grow and develop their career. The more your company gives people the opportunity to improve themselves, the more likely it is they will stay to find out how. This can also be self-perpetuating – as their career progresses, the more involved an employee’s decision-making becomes, heightening their emotional investment in the business.
While most people wouldn’t like to admit their failings to a room full of colleagues, it’s essential that you remain transparent in your internal communication. Your employees simply won’t appreciate feeling excluded from decisions that can directly affect them. Clearly communicate your successes, business performance and any news, ensuring there is no need to guess or assume. It’s also worth re-evaluating your reporting system; do your employees feel comfortable having a 1:1 with their line manager, or discussing any concerns with HR? Encouraging communications shows your company is willing to listen, while making changes off the back of the feedback increases the chance of buy-in from your teams.
Review engagement practices
When was the last time you reviewed your employee engagement practices? Amongst employee engagement experts, it is commonly agreed that it’s not the ping pong tables and free coffee that will keep staff around, but the connection to your brand, managers and team. What’s more, the concept of employee engagement has now expanded to the employee experience, requiring a revaluation of what you’re currently offering and where you could do better. For example, is your benefits package static? The nature of our multi-generational and diverse workforce means companies should now be looking to benefits packages that can be adapted to an individual’s needs.
Provide a sense of purpose
Creating a strong employee experience, particularly when it comes to an employee’s sense of purpose, can go a long way with your retention efforts. In fact, there’s a direct correlation – a study of Fortune 1000 CEOs and C-Suite executives revealed that 7 out of 10 believe their employees’ desire for purpose was impacting HR’s ability to recruit and retain talent, while 68% believed their employees would be more engaged at work and perform better if they had opportunities to work on purpose projects. Consider implementing volunteering days, or making a discussion about job purpose part of 1:1 meetings.
Say thank you
Often, it’s the littlest things that can make the biggest difference. Every employee wants to feel like what they are doing is being noticed and appreciated, so it’s essential managers communicate this. Whether it’s a simple ‘thank you’, or an internal communications scheme that includes an employee appreciation section, small changes can show your employees where they are adding value to the business.
About the author
David Morel is the CEO/Founder of Tiger Recruitment, London’s leading recruitment agency for business, private and virtual support recruitment. David founded Tiger in 2001 and has written extensively in the press and wider media advising both employers and job seekers on best recruitment practice.
020 7917 1801 / [email protected]