We are in the middle of a serious skills gap in the UK and it is important to look at employee retention, in order to ensure that our best performing employees aren’t tempted away to other companies. It is an employee’s job marketplace at the moment, as there are so many posts that need to be filled, so it pays to take a look at what you are offering and then evaluate your next steps. There are a number of relatively easy measures that can be taken to try to persuade existing employees that they should stay and we have included some of these below.
Ensure the Office Culture is up to Scratch
Working in an office environment where bullying is rife or where there are widespread microaggressions that target individuals on the basis of their sexuality, gender, ethnic origin or age can be really stressful to those targeted. If there are problems along these lines then compulsory diversity training should be provided at the company’s expense. This is particularly the case if you would like to retain Gen-Z employees, as they feel very strongly about discrimination.
This can help employees who fit one or more of these protected characteristic groups to feel supported and that they can come to those higher up if problems persist. It is impossible to cultivate an environment with happy staff where bullying is prevalent and it is up to management to show some real leadership and do what they can to stamp it out.
You may find that some people thrived while working from home but are now struggling, following the return to the office. Bullying can be a big part of this and if they don’t feel like they have work friends then there can seem little incentive to come in.
Offer More Flexible Working Options
Everyone appreciates more flexible working options and being able to help to tailor their working time around their chosen lifestyle can be of great benefit. Some people aren’t at their most alert in the morning and find they work better in the evenings so, if that is the case, allowing them to work the evening instead will have positive benefits for both the employee and the company.
It is also great to be able to build a better work life balance if you have children, as being able to schedule work around the school run helps the children to feel safe and secure in their home life routines with you, while still you manage to get work done.
Some companies allow their employees to compress their full-time hours into four days rather than five. This gives the employee an extra day to spend with their family or on their own leisure time and for many this can be a preferable option.
This option has become more popular since more people could work from home. They realised they had been wasting a couple of hours per day on a commute and reasoned that if they worked those hours from home instead, they could free up an extra day per week, for no extra time lost.
There are many workers who are feeling pressured to give up their remote or hybrid work in favour of returning to the office, and this is an aspect of flexible working that many would actually move jobs over to be able to keep. If you pressurise your workers too hard on this point, they may leave your company for another which is willing to let them do this for a longer period of time, or indeed permanently.
It is important to note the disparity in how companies feel about remote work, vs how employees feel about remote work. According to the BBC, 72% of managers would like their teams fully back in the office whereas one poll said 54% of employees would consider quitting their job if they were forced to abandon remote working entirely.
Talk About Career Progression
Talk to your employees about potential opportunities to climb the career ladder at the company and the chances for career progression. Explain in simple terms the requirements that they would need to hit to be considered for a more senior role. Where they are lacking in the necessary skills, offer them upskilling opportunities and training to enable them to reach the next level in their career.
Being shown that an employer cares about their progression and is actively looking at succession plans for more senior staff will help to convince talented and ambitious staff that they have a future at your company.
If employees want to talk to you about negotiating a pay rise, hear them out and take them seriously. It may be that they have been shouldering the burden of several people during staff shortages because of the skills gap. Try to find common ground with them if you can, or where it just isn’t feasible, consider if they can be given another type of perk instead, as a stop gap.
Offer Perks to Your Workers
This is one of the ways that you can offset a lack of money for pay rises. It isn’t ideal when there is out of control inflation and costs are going up for everyone but it may make the difference between employees staying and leaving for work with a competitor.
Perks can be things like corporate health and wellbeing gifts such as reduced price gym memberships for somewhere local or they can extend to allowing your employees to take a couple of Workations per year. A Workation is a cross between work and a vacation. The employee still works while they are away but can do it from anywhere. As long as they structure their day well, they can get their work done in between dips in the pool etc. This means that they won’t use their holiday days for this, as they are still working while they are away.
If you really wanted to suggest an unusual perk to your workers, we would suggest the Remote Year programme, which allows them to be based in 12 different cities globally, for a month at a time, with likeminded people. It requires flexibility and thinking outside the box but offering the chance to do something so radical may both broaden their horizons and allow you to retain valued staff for longer.