Over the last 12 months recruitment has consistently been viewed as the biggest headache faced by employers across our region. The latest employment stats suggest the employment rate in the UK is around 75%. This means recruitment is likely to remain a problem for the foreseeable future.
However, with a continuously rising percentage of people now in employment, and with increased economic uncertainty, the importance of retaining good talent is just as important as good recruitment. At Howes Percival we have focussed our strategy around our people. We strive to be a place where people want to work and enjoy working as retention of talent is integral to enabling us to achieve our strategic goals. In this article we share some of the options an employer may wish to explore when looking at retention (and recruitment) of employees.
Invest in training
Make sure your employees are receiving regular, structured and continuous training. This will help them expand and improve their knowledge, experience and expertise and should be seen as fundamental to any successful business. Encouraging employees to develop will help build a reliable and engaged workforce and demonstrates to employees they are valued members of the team. It also provides employees with confidence you are prepared to invest in and support their growth, which in turn can lead to promotions and new opportunities for them (and for you).
At Howes Percival, we value our employee’s development and ensure they have the right support and resource to ensure they can reach their potential. We believe investing in our people is one of the main reasons we have such a strong, knowledgeable and talented workforce. Properly investing in training always helps improve the likelihood of long-term commitment and loyalty to the business.
There has been a seismic shift in the number of people now working from home, or spending some of their time at home and some time in work (hybrid working). Whilst many employers would probably now prefer employees to return to their workplace, many employees (and potential candidates, too) want to know their employer will support more flexible working arrangements. This is something that is increasingly becoming linked to the cost-of-living crisis, as some employees are keen to adopt hybrid working as a way of reducing the cost of commuting to work (or the opposite may be true; they want to reduce their energy bills by coming to work).
The important factor here is, where possible, to give consideration to each person’s individual needs or circumstances – this may mean allowing an individual to work from home more regularly, or perhaps changing an individual’s hours of work to accommodate their personal circumstances. However, if you want to ‘encourage’ people to spend more time at work, you may need to make it worth their while. At Howes Percival we achieve this by focussing on some of the more social aspects of work – this includes an increased number of social events, clubs, activities and initiatives; and also involving our teams in a wide variety of CSR and community-led activities. Investing a little more in the workspace and working environment to ensure a pleasant and enjoyable experience in the workplace also goes a long way to attracting people back to work.
Be financially competitive and creative
Show me the money! A key factor for candidates when considering a job is the salary and package on offer. However, dramatic inflation and the increased cost of living has put additional pressure on employers to try and ‘keep up’ with the competition. So, what can you do about it? It’s difficult, as the obvious answer is to offer salary increases to employees in line with inflation (or above). Another possibility is to offer a one-off bonus to assist employees who are under increasing financial pressure. But, with the cost-of-living crisis also impacting upon most businesses, ‘throwing money at the problem’ isn’t an option for many. So, it’s worth reviewing your benefits package to see what else is out there and to see what else you can do for your employees. For example, salary sacrifice schemes offering benefits in exchange for salary (such as discounts in high street stores, childcare assistance, or the ability to buy or sell holiday days) might be attractive to some.
For many employers, it is important to ensure that financial literacy and education become part of your benefits package and wider wellbeing strategy. This could simply involve signposting employees to an Employee Assistance Programme, counselling services, or any interactive sessions relating to personal finance and budgeting. Provision of financial wellbeing resources (such as a charity-backed financial wellbeing app) may also provide tangible benefits, particularly in low paid sectors.
Put your people and culture first
Whilst there are a range of steps a business can take to recruit and retain their employees, it is clear from recent studies that money certainly isn’t everything. In fact, research shows employees are far more likely to leave if they do not trust their employer or their manager. It is, therefore, vitally important to ensure they feel valued and respected and have a voice within the organisation. With these foundations in place, your employees are far more likely to stay with the business for longer.
This means ensuring your strategy and core values are placed front and centre of everything you do. Communicating this to employees consistently and regularly (whilst striving to take their views into account) will ensure they understand and buy into your culture and vision.
At Howes Percival our people and our culture are at the heart of everything we do. We provide people with the freedom and support to constantly improve themselves. In turn, this helps us provide a consistently high level of service to our clients which then enables us to grow our business further.