Category: Employers

Can employers help by scrapping outdated payday cycles?

According to a recent survey over 2,000 British people, one in four people are skipping meals over their rising cost of living worries.

With inflation at record highs, and increasing financial pressure, especially on ‘lower income’ workers, employers are urged to scrap outdated payday cycles which exacerbate stress.

Steve Tonks, SVP EMEA at WorkForce Software commented: “48% of the UK population frequently feel monetary stress, with financial anxiety being a leading cause of poor mental health for three fifths (60%) of employees – with the rising cost of living soaring it is no surprise that the fear of food poverty is growing. With grocery price inflation reaching 5.9 per cent, the highest level since December 2011, it is inevitable that the most affected by these hikes will be low-wage, hourly workers – many of whom are frontline.”

“For these employees, lunar pay cycles can be a particular pressure point– as there can be up to eight weeks of elapsed time between when hours were worked and when payment is received. As a result, many workers are forced into high-interest payday loans to make it through the month- an issue that is only being exacerbated by rising inflation.”

“Earned Wage Access (EWA) is a simple yet highly effective way to improve the employee experience, while helping workers to better manage their finances both in the short and long term.”

“Employers have a responsibility to help break outdated pay cycles, now more than ever. But, EWA shouldn’t just be a ‘nice-to-have’ during times of economic upheaval. Instead, it should be viewed as a long-term CSR goal for organisations, supported by ongoing education and advice on money management.”

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London has the highest hiring demand despite increased cost of living

The latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey has found that employers in the UK plan to increase headcount massively in the third quarter of this year. Based on responses from 2,030 UK employers, the survey looks at intentions for increasing, maintaining, or reducing workforce numbers in the next quarter.

Despite aggressively recruiting in the months post-pandemic, businesses are still struggling to fill vacancies.

According to the survey, UK’s employment outlook has tripled in the last 12 months. The Q3 outlook has reached a new high of +35%. This is a 22%-point increase from the third quarter of 2021.

The survey found that:

  • Banking, finance, insurance, and property are at the top of the list, increasing by 14% since the last quarter to +49%
  • London employers are also the most optimistic, increasing 10% in hiring confidence, moving up to +41%
  • The IT and technology industries are similarly committed to recruitment, increasing by 7% to +49% in the next three months
  • Manufacturing employers are also high on the list – the hiring intent is up by 27% to +38%
  • The hospitality sector was down by 9% to +25%.

Chris Gray, UK Director at ManpowerGroup, says: “These record hiring plans demonstrate the continuation of an employment trend, which sees businesses keeping their feet firmly on the gas, despite the familiar challenges with the UK labour market. Despite a shrinking workforce and with a large proportion of inactive workers, employers are still keen to recruit fresh talent to help them deliver their services, and to surf the wave of growth for as long as possible.

“We are seeing an active labour force confident enough to switch employers in the search for higher salaries, across both permanent and temporary categories. This is being driven by the rising cost of living and the need to chase higher wages to combat a dwindling disposable income. Demand for staff still outstrips supply, so the choice for candidates remains plentiful.

“On the other hand, we are seeing businesses work hard to bring in new talent but struggling to retain existing employees. Companies find themselves caught between a rock and hard place, in an effort to strike a balance between hiring new talent and being mindful of the needs and pressures felt by their existing employees.”

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Verbal communication and teamwork also top of list

A new study on skills in the workplace, commissioned by LMS provider Digits, has revealed the most important skills that workers expect from their managers. Of the 2,048 working-age adults polled, 51% of men and 45% of women agreed that leadership skills were the most important skills for managers.

Next on the list was verbal communication and teamwork, at 35%, followed by empathy at 30% and problem-solving at 29%. Written communication was at the bottom of the list at only 8%.

Just 10% of the respondents did not have any specific skill requirements for a manager.

Ranked by popularity, the most important skills needed by managers are:

  • Leadership skills (48%)
  • Verbal communication skills (35%)
  • Teamwork skills (35%)
  • Empathy (30%)
  • Problem-solving skills (29%)
  • A strong work ethic (21%)
  • Good time management (18%)
  • Conflict resolution (15%)
  • Written communication skills (8%)

Leadership skills include a variety of skills, hard and soft, and the term can mean different things to different people.

Bradley Burgoyne, Head of Talent at Digits, believes that the core leadership skills of a manager include:

  • Vision setting
  • Empathy and listening
  • Inclusive leadership
  • Coaching skills
  • Self-awareness
  • Collaboration skills

When analysed by age, the survey results revealed that opinions on managerial attributes differed depending on where people were in their careers, with 56% of people over 55 believing that leadership skills were the most important, compared to only 28% of 16 to 24-year-olds.

Other important attributes across the age groups were:

  • A strong work ethic is important to 25% of 16 to 24 year-olds
  • Verbal communication skills are preferred by 36% of 24 to 34 year-olds and 44% of over-55s
  • Teamwork skills are very important to 36% of those aged 35 to 54 years old

Burgoyne commented: “We’ve got more generations in the workforce today than we’ve ever had. And, each group of workers prefers slightly different managerial styles and leadership qualities.

“Every individual has their own expectations about how they want their managers to lead them, coach them, support them, relate to them, and empower them. Those skills don’t just happen, even the best managers need to receive regular training and development from their employers.”

“The challenge for HR and L&D teams is to ensure that their training strategy is broad enough to cater to all levels of employees in the organisation because, I think, everyone benefits from leadership or management development.

“It’s important that employers actively listen to their workforce and find out where the skills gaps are – what training do employees think they need? What training do employees think their managers need and what leadership qualities do they respond best to? They can then utilise the data to create training courses or a series of engaging development activities in their learning management system, that are really relevant to the people within the organisation rather than something that could, potentially, be seen as just a tick-box exercise.”

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Businesses called on to look at maternity pay policies and working models

The 2022 Parental Leave Study, conducted by Fertility Family, has found that one in five women are delaying having children due to work. The new study also revealed that half of new mothers need flexible working hours compared to less than two in five fathers. The belief is that flexible working hours would combat the increasing cost of childcare.

The study demonstrated that mothers struggle to balance work and family life after maternity leave. Twenty-four percent agree that maternity leave should last longer. And

As inflation hits new highs of 6.2%, 27% of women believe that maternity pay should be higher. In comparison, 15% of men want higher paternity pay.

The survey of employees at 116 UK companies also found that only 11% of mothers are happy with the parental leave policies at their companies and their company’s support of new parents.

The study also revealed that 21% of women would appreciate longer paid paternity leave for fathers. Fifteen percent of men feel the same. When asked whether working from home was a policy that new parents would appreciate, 46% of men and 44% of women agreed that it would.

With flexible working hours (45%) and remote working (45%) being the most popular wishes from both males and females, companies are called on to embrace employee-focused working models and increased maternity and paternity pay rates.

Gill McAteer, Director of Employment Law at Citation, commented: “Those who feel supported by their employers, and are clear about what their entitlements are, will feel much more comfortable making plans to start a family. Employees who are unsure of their workplace’s policy can often feel disengaged and stressed, which may lead to them putting off plans to have children as they feel like they are not ready.”

“Parental leave policies should be clear on employee entitlements and be available to everyone, with the aim of creating a supportive working environment. For employers looking to enhance their policies, they may consider adopting a family-friendly approach, with flexible or hybrid working, which would be well received by many of those who have families or are planning to do so.”

Lucinda Quigley, Head of Working Parents at Talking Talent, says: “The pandemic has led many people to re-examine their careers, futures and the way they want to work. Any companies not offering the right support and company culture could find their high-talent individuals eschew them in favour of more forward-thinking firms – which will be disastrous for long-term company success.”

“Now is the time for bold and honest conversations. Businesses must be ready to listen and create real change, especially given that the pandemic has transformed people’s thinking about the companies they work for, whilst also shifting family priorities.”

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Identify fraud poses major security risks for businesses

The US government has reported that North Koreans are hiding their identities in order to get contract jobs in the global technology sector and subsequently warned that such workers pose major security risks to businesses.

The US Department of State, the US Department of the Treasury, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued the advisory for the international community, the private sector, and the public to warn of attempts by Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, a.k.a. North Korea) IT workers to obtain employment while posing as non-North Korean nationals. It’s said that there are reputational risks and the potential for legal consequences, including sanctions designation under US and United Nations authorities, for individuals and entities engaged in or supporting DPRK IT worker-related activity and processing related financial transactions, the advisory stated.

The Government stated: “The DPRK dispatches thousands of highly skilled IT workers around the world to generate revenue that contributes to its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs, in violation of US and UN sanctions. These IT workers take advantage of existing demands for specific IT skills, such as software and mobile application development, to obtain freelance employment contracts from clients around the world, including in North America, Europe, and East Asia.”

In many cases, DPRK IT workers represent themselves as US-based and/or non-North Korean teleworkers. The workers may further obfuscate their identities and/or location by sub-contracting work to non-North Koreans. Although DPRK IT workers normally engage in IT work distinct from malicious cyber activity, they have used the privileged access gained as contractors to enable the DPRK’s malicious cyber intrusions. Additionally, there are likely instances where workers are subjected to forced labor.”

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Economic activity decreases again

According to the latest Labour Force Survey (LFS) from the ONS, its estimated that for the period of January to March 2022 there was a decrease in the unemployment rate, while the employment and inactivity rates increased.

Even though the market is contracting, the employment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points on the quarter to 75.7%, however this is still below pre-pandemic levels. According to figures, the increase in the employment rate was driven by the movement of people aged 16 to 64 years from unemployment to employment. However, there was also a record-high movement of people from economic inactivity into employment with total job-to-job moves also increasing to a record high of 994,000, driven by resignations rather than dismissals, during the January to March 2022 period – the Great Resignation continues…

The estimated number of payrolled employees for April 2022 shows a monthly increase, up 121,000 on the revised March 2022, to a record 29.5 million.

The unemployment rate for January to March 2022 decreased by 0.3 percentage points on the quarter to 3.7% and for the first time since records began, there are fewer unemployed people than job vacancies.

Tania Bowers, Global Public Policy Director at APSCo commented on the skills shortages: “The skills shortages in the UK are reaching concerning levels and this latest data shows the scale of the pressure on employers and the staffing sector as demand continues to outstrip supply. We’ve seen some encouraging signs from the Government, including the highly skilled immigration visa which was announced by the Chancellor earlier this year.

“However, we are concerned that the absence of the Employment Bill in the Queen’s Speech is an indication that the immediate skills crisis has slipped off the priority list for the Government. At a time when the job market is growing at unprecedented rates and competition is rife, more appropriate regulation is needed for the modern labour market.”

Economic activity 

The economic inactivity rate increased by 0.1 percentage points to 21.4% in January to March 2022 and this recent inactivity is believed to be driven by those aged 50 to 64 years.

The number of job vacancies in February to April 2022 rose to a new record of 1,295,000. However, the rate of growth in vacancies continued to slow down.

Kate Meadowcroft, Employment Partner at legal business, DWF, commented on the UK Labour Market figures regarding increased pay: “Undoubtedly the cost-of-living crisis and soaring inflation will have a knock on effect on the labour market.  ONS figures have previously shown that although wages have risen, once you consider inflation pay is actually falling. Employees will be seeking out the most attractive rewards packages in order to combat the financial repercussions of the turbulent economy.

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Delays due to difficulties in finding quality candidates

According to 58% of HR managers, delays in hiring are negatively affecting business performance.

In Talent Work’s survey of 400 HR leaders, it was found that recruitment is taking double the time to hire talent when compared to 2019. Twenty-one percent of respondents agree that it is taking three times as long.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents agree that the delays are due to difficulties in finding quality candidates.

When looking at 2022 priorities, employer branding was noted as the key priority for HR in 2022. Thirty-one percent plan to relaunch or develop their employer brand, while a further 20% have already done this. Only 12% of respondents said they didn’t have time to focus on their employer brand.

Other priorities were employee retention at 21% and changing processes to allow speedy hire at 20%.

Twenty-nine percent of respondents believe that brand awareness impacts their hiring ability, and 42% don’t believe they have a strong awareness as an employer or don’t measure their brand awareness.

Neil Purcell, CEO, and founder of Talent Works, said: “These statistics clearly show that 2019 thinking isn’t going to work in the 2022 employment market, which is the most competitive we’ve ever seen. Companies need to get strategic about how they can speed up hiring to accelerate business performance, and as the research indicates, effective Employer Branding is the most widely recognised way of doing this. It’s great to see that companies are beginning to think differently in such an oversubscribed market, but over one in ten companies surveyed were still unaware of the Employer Brand concept, which shows that there is still work to do.”

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Companies need to build wellness culture into business

There is no doubt that the thought of returning to work-life after COVID-19 is filling many employees with dread. More than two years of pandemic related uncertainty and stress have taken their toll on employees’ mental health.

Lockdowns sent us into survival mode, and it is only now, as life starts to get back to normal, that we begin to process the reality of what we’ve been through. There may still be safety concerns. Cognitively, employees may feel safe, but they may not feel emotionally safe. In addition, new habits have had two years to develop, and they may be a challenge to break.

But there are practical reasons too. A recent survey of 1,000 workers conducted by messaging app Slack suggests that almost two in five workers are stressed or anxious about going back to the office after more than two years at home. Concerns about work-life balance, the cost of travel and food were among the reasons for their stress.

The study revealed that 75% of workers had experienced burnout, and one-third had put in extra hours.

The study also found that only two in five respondents think their employers value their mental health, indicating how essential it is for businesses to provide more help.

Employers need to recognise and empathise with the different reasons that workers may be reluctant or anxious to return to the office.

Seventy percent of respondents agreed that a four-day workweek would help their mental health and wellbeing. Almost 50% believe that a hybrid work situation is the best approach for mental health, yet only 25% can choose whether or not they will work in the office.

Chris Mills, of Slack, said: “An employee who is cared for and supported will be inspired to do their best work.”

“It’s positive to see UK workers highlighting that hybrid work and technology has an important part to play in their wellbeing.”

“To ensure technology continues to be an enabler of healthier workplaces, leaders can also set a good example. Building best practices, for instance on how to use features like ‘do not disturb’ and scheduled messages to avoid out of office messaging, can be a great place to start.”

Charlène Gisèle, High Performance Coach and Burnout Advisor: “It is more important than ever for employers to integrate and incorporate a wellness culture embedded within the company. Offering wellness solutions goes beyond a gym membership – instead fostering a wellness culture is what a company ought to aim for.

Instead of focusing on concerns employees can focus on the positive aspects of being back in the office: camaraderie, being able to see colleagues again, and having social work life back on the horizon are all great for mental health as opposed to social/work isolation which many employees have faced during lockdown.”

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A framework that solves talent access challenges with an outcome-first approach

Allegis Global Solutions (AGS), a provider of global workforce solutions, announced the publication of a new book for business, human resources (HR) and procurement leaders that takes them on a journey to harmonised workforce strategy and management.

“The Universal Workforce Model™: An Outcome-First Guide to Getting Work Done” talks about the three transformational yet complementary concepts – the Workforce Business Partner, Task-Based Workforce Design and the Intelligent Workforce Platform. The book lays out why organisations must challenge current models for acquiring and accessing talent now and what steps they can take to create an agile business fit to thrive in the new world of work.

Authored by AGS’ Vice President of EMEA Simon Bradberry and Global Head of Strategy Bruce Morton, with contributors John Boudreau (senior research scientist and professor emeritus at the University of Southern California), Ewan Greig (AGS senior manager of workforce solutions), Jessi Guenther (AGS vice president of client delivery) and Sarah Wong (AGS vice president of APAC), the book refocuses on the work itself before jumping to talk about workers, roles and vacancies, offering readers an alternative way to rethink work through outcome-based workforce acquisition.

Bruce Morton, Global Head of Strategy commented: “Current models for acquiring and accessing talent are outdated and flawed. Companies compete for talent they may never fully use, overspend or underspend on contractors based on limited data, and may forfeit budget and quality as a result. This is why the Universal Workforce Model starts with the outcome first, applying a workforce planning model that breaks down siloed resource channels, so organisations can secure the right resource every time, and work most efficiently and effectively.”

The Universal Workforce Model is structured as a journey to harmonised workforce management and has three defining features based on common areas of business transformation – process, people and technology.

Simon Bradberry AGS’ Vice President of EMEA commented: “Advances in AI and services-enabled architecture have given rise to technologies that bring all workforce options into view, making the journey to the Universal Workforce Model possible now. While changing the fundamentals of workforce engagement is not an easy move, the journey should not be a sacrifice to the business. Innovations in work design, evolving strategic relationships between companies and solutions partners and developing expertise to reconfigure work illuminate and make the path forward possible.”

Ken Brotherston, Chief Executive of TALiNT Partners made exclusive comment on the launch of the book: “Companies face immense pressures as they adjust to the ever-changing workforce. What’s important moving forward is that they treat workforce challenges as a priority across the entire business. The concept of the Workforce Business Partner doesn’t replace the work that HR, hiring managers, recruiters, and staffing and talent solutions partners do, but it provides the impetus that enables them to work smarter and with more agility on the journey to a Universal Workforce Model.”

Arkadev Basak, Partner, Everest Group also made comment on the release: “For years, Procurement, HR and business leaders have been forced to struggle with an incredibly complex set of talent acquisition and workforce challenges. Applying a different mode of thought and a new model to rethink, reimagine, and redesign today’s workforce has the potential to bring the focus back on the work itself.”

 

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Good management key to staff retention following the Great Resignation

New research from people analytics company, Visier, has revealed that 43% of UK employees admit to having quit their jobs due to bad management. A further 53% are currently seeking new roles due to their current manager.

In the study of 2,100 workers, 85% agree that good management is key to their happiness at work. Four in ten said they stayed in jobs longer than they planned because they had good relationships with their managers.

The majority of employees surveyed believe that flexible working is beneficial for both workers (74%) and businesses (69%). But while staff enjoy flexible hours and remote work,  it is clear that lack of face-time has been damaging for employee-manager relationships. The main contributors to this are:

  • Lack of face-to-face meetings (51%)
  • Increased working from home (44%)
  • An over-reliance on emails (44%)

Only 48% of workers are comfortable discussing their personal lives with their managers, indicating that leaders are struggling to build strong relationships with their teams.

Daniel Mason, VP EMEA of Visier, commented: “The old cliché – people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers – rings true, and the pandemic has made it harder for leaders to develop personal relationships with employees.”

“This isn’t a case of leaders becoming bad managers overnight, but instead, they are making difficult decisions with less information available to them.”

“The move to remote and hybrid working has starved managers of the opportunity to observe and meet with team members. Face-to-face interactions and other natural moments to develop a rapport are fewer, so managers should look to enhance their toolkit with data and insights to better understand and anticipate employee needs.”

When asked to identify the most valuable traits of a good manager, the most popular responses were as follows:

  • Treating people well (47%)
  • Listening to workers (47%)
  • Showing respect to all members of staff (47%)

On the other hand, the attributes of a bad manager were:

  • Failure to listen (49%)
  • Being unapproachable (47%)
  • Treating other members of staff differently (43%)
  • Shouting at the team (42%)

The most important factors for happiness in the workplace were:

  • Enjoying their work (45%)
  • Good pay (39%)
  • Good colleagues (35%)

Further data revealed that:

Sixty-two percent of the respondents felt that they currently had a good manager, and 45% believed that they could do the job better themselves. This group was questioned as to how they would improve, and their responses were:

  • 53% said they understood the concerns of other employees
  • 46% would treat all members of staff with equal respect
  • 36% would make an effort to get to know the people they manage better

Mason continues: “Businesses have spent the past few decades using data and other innovations to improve customer relationships and increase revenues. Many organisations are yet to harness these methods to better understand their most important asset – employees.”

“Every organisation already has a wealth of people data scattered throughout. Modern tools and analytics can find and organise this data to generate people insights to help you better understand and manage talent. When these insights are combined with other types of data from across the organisation, the result can drive more impactful business outcomes and unlock the next wave of growth and success.”

With employers struggling to fill vacancies and retain key talent following the Great Resignation, it’s clear that good management is essential to staff retention.

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