Employee engagement directly impacts a business’s attraction and retention strategy. Engaged employees are happy employees. In today’s job market employers should be doing all they can to attract and retain top talent. But what is it that makes workers happy?
- Flexibility matters
With individuals now able to work effectively from home, on the move, share jobs and work the hours that suit them, the relationship between the workplace and the employee has fundamentally changed.
Vodafone’s recent ‘Flexible: Friend or Foe?’ Report found that flexible working boosts employee productivity, company reputation and profits. In addition, a further study conducted by the CIPD and Simplyhealth linked flexible working options with a lower rate of employee absence. Indeed, the UK government estimates that flexible working will contribute £475 million to the economy within the first ten years of introducing a flexible working policy.
- Train your talent
A skills shortage has arisen due to only a small percentage of the labour pool having the necessary qualifications and experience to match business needs. In fact, new research released by the UK Government highlights that economic growth during the previous four years has been met by a noticeable shortage of talent. So much so that, since 2012, skills shortages have risen by 130 per cent.
With this in mind, our latest report, The GCS Salary Guide 2016, revealed that the majority of employees are dissatisfied with the training they receive – despite the fact that training could potentially address the issue of talent poverty. The report found that 60 per cent of staff across the nation are unhappy with the training offered by their employer. It also found that only 19 per cent received an increase in training last year, a statistic which conflicts with the calls from businesses for more qualified labour.
- Your environment is essential
The workplace has witnessed great change. The once closed off, traditional cubicle layout is a rarity in businesses today. Instead, an open-plan layout has been widely adopted with more communal areas to encourage collaboration and less ‘corner offices’.
For prospective employees, the workplace might be their first impression of the business and could sway candidates in favour of choosing one company over another. We found that 71 per cent of people believe that their work environment is more important in relation to attraction and retention of employees than a benefits package. In other words, people are in favour of sleeping pods and snooker tables over health insurance and a pension.
- Happy employees are productive employees
Our research showed a disconnect between what employers think job seekers want, and what they actually want. Employers believed career progression was the main priority for candidates, when in actual fact a high salary, followed by flexible working was more appealing to them when deciding a role – despite employers failing to keep up with the trend. As it stands, employers don’t fully understand what candidates want and what will keep them happy. Companies need to ensure they are benchmarking salaries and routinely updating their packages.
With these insights in mind, companies should look to beat the skills shortage by improving training processes, reconsidering their flexible working practices and improving the working environment for their employees in order to retain their star workers and attract new talent.