Tag: employee development

1.3m UK SMEs have lost talent in 2022 because employees feel undervalued.

Twenty-four percent of UK SMEs have lost undervalued talent in the past 4-6 months, according to research commissioned by digital gifting company Prezzee.

The research also revealed that in organisations of more than 250 staff, 4 in 10 HR Directors have changed or are looking at different ways to reward staff – regardless of where their staff work.

Even with the Great Resignation, 35% of SMEs admitted that employees get the same rewards, regardless of location, job title, or other contributing factors. This, despite differing hobbies and passions. Furthermore, the budget for rewarding staff isn’t used to its full potential as 66% said their team didn’t attend events or rewards weren’t received how they would like.

When looking at why so many employees don’t engage with reward schemes and events, the research showed that 80% of HR Directors don’t understand their employees’ interests well enough.

The data also showed that there is too much pressure solely on the shoulders of HR Directors to get this right. For example, only 16% of SMEs have created teams of employees at multiple levels to decide the rewards and incentive strategy to increase happiness and staff retention.

James Malia, UK MD of Prezzee, said: “When times are tough, as they undoubtedly have been over the past two years, reward and incentive strategies are more important than ever. They’re a clear way to showcase how highly a company values its staff and as our data reveals, when not done well it directly results in people leaving for greener pastures.

“It’s therefore important that businesses are doing everything they can to support employees during the cost of living crisis. It doesn’t need to be a huge change in strategy either, the trick is to offer personalised rewards and incentives regularly – rather than making people wait a year for bonuses. It’s then that people will realise quite how highly businesses value them, especially when these incentives come at a time when money is tight, as it is for many during the current cost of living crisis.

“Times of financial difficulties can be hard to open-up about, especially within the place of work, so HR and line managers need to be one step ahead of their employees.

Indeed, the future of loyalty incentives should revolve around personalised, thoughtful rewards that highlight how much businesses care about their employees. Those companies which change their ways now will find themselves in a much stronger position come 2023.”

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“Do you get paid for training?” is top result

In an analysis of Google search data by LMS provider Digits, the most searched for employee training-related questions in the UK over the past 12 months were revealed.

Digits’ study showed that some of the most frequent queries about employee training stem from uncertainty around who is responsible for paying for the training and whether people will be paid while they are in training.

According to the research, the most Googled questions about employee training during the last 12 months in the UK are:

  • Do you get paid for training at work? – 480 average monthly searches
  • What is training and development? – 480
  • What employee training is required by law UK? – 210
  • What is off-the-job training? – 210
  • What is on-the-job training? – 210
  • Do I get paid for mandatory training UK? – 170
  • How often do day staff require fire training? – 140
  • What is staff training? – 140
  • Why is staff training important? – 140
  • How often do night staff require fire training? – 110
  • Should I be paid for mandatory online training UK? – 110

Thirty percent of the top 10 most frequently asked questions about workplace training and development mentioned the word ‘paid’. A further 22% of the top 108 questions contained the words’ pay’, ‘paid’, or ‘charge’.

While it isn’t possible to identify who is asking the questions, the wording can sometimes reveal whether the searchers are employers or employees. For example, people using the words’ employee(s)’ or ‘staff’ (which appeared in 34%of the top 108 training-related queries) are more likely to pose ‘how’ or ‘what’ questions. These are likely on behalf of their company or as part of their job to enhance their broader knowledge of planning and improving workplace training.

On the other hand, people using the words ‘I’, ‘my’, or ‘you’ (appearing in 24% of the top 108 training-related queries) are likely to be employees looking for answers to questions that affect them personally. These people ask ‘do’, ‘can’, or ‘should’ questions to find more ‘definitive’ answers.

Bradley Burgoyne, head of talent at Digits, commented: “Digits’ latest research sheds light on the types of questions that UK workers and their leaders want answers to and the information that they are lacking about staff training. What it highlights to me is that people do want to understand more about what training and development involves and how to make it work for them, which is great because training should benefit employees and organisations equally.

“It also shows that HR and L&D teams have a real opportunity to spearhead knowledge sharing within their organisation. Thanks to this new research, we know the most popular training questions that employees are asking. So, it’s up to employers to be more proactive in communicating the answers to these questions to their workforce.”

“If you were employed after 6 April 2020 your written terms must set out the training that you have to complete, including training your employer does not pay for. If you started before that date, you need to request clarification from your employer. It is, however, standard and best practice that employers pay for your time to complete this (eg your training is completed during your usual paid working hours, or you receive additional pay for the hours in which you complete this outside of your usual work pattern).

“If you’ve been asked by your employer to undertake some training that’s going to develop your skills and help you do your job better and more efficiently – then, again, it is best practice to be paid for the time that you spend on that training (in addition to your employer funding the cost for the training) as it’s also going to benefit the organisation that you work for. To ensure that you are paid for that time, the training should, ideally, happen within your usual working hours.

“It can be slightly more nuanced for employees that are enrolled on long programmes of training, such as degrees or MBAs. These types of training usually require a bit of give and take from both parties, and employees would typically be expected to use a certain amount of their personal time (unpaid) alongside any paid study time.

“It is common and healthy for employees to approach their employers with requests to undertake training, attend a course, or get a qualification in something that may or may not be relevant to their role. It’s then for both parties to work together to agree who will fund the training and what aspects of the training time will be paid or unpaid. Separately, it’s worth noting, that you do have a legal right to request time off from work to undertake study or training under Section 40 of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009, which employers have a duty to consider.

“In most instances, it’s important that both you and your employer get all the details and conditions set out in a learning agreement. This agreement should detail who is funding the training and what time off will be paid or unpaid, plus things like if travel expenses to attend the training and associated learning materials are covered. It should also include a clause about when an employee may have to repay the costs of their training if they leave the organisation within a certain timeframe before or after completing their course, which can also act as an effective retention method for employers.”

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Risk of employee burnout on the rise

A new survey revealed that 60% of employees feel that their employers have actively discouraged them from taking annual leave. One in 10 workers also feels unable to ask for mental health leave.

In reaction, HR experts urge employers to prioritise annual leave and promote healthy working habits to avoid burnout.

The Annual Leave Allowances survey from Just Eat for Business shows how office workers use their annual leave allowance, how their employer promotes holiday entitlement, and how time off and flexible working impacts work-life balance.

The survey also found that 1 in 5 office workers cannot take time off work due to staff shortages and reduced resources.

With 44% of workers reporting feeling very burnt out and a third finding that maintaining a healthy work-life balance is the most stressful aspect of work, these leave challenges are concerning.

Will Foster, Professor of Leadership at Keele University, commented: “It’s essential that if the ‘espoused’ values of the organisation include employee wellbeing and restorative breaks, then leaders need to allow that to happen and do more than pay lip service. Management must do the hard work of ensuring the structures, roles, responsibilities and staffing levels align so employees can take a ‘true rest’ when needed.”

Anni Townend, Leadership Partner, said: “Annual leave is an important part of a much bigger picture of looking after our life-work balance and of creating a positive work culture.

“Increasingly people are realising that there’s huge value in taking micro-breaks during the day as part of managing employee wellbeing, as well as longer macro-breaks like annual leave. The danger of not doing so is that we lose our ability to switch-off and to disconnect from work. This can impact our sleep patterns and our ability to concentrate, as well as cause extreme mood swings and a weakened immune system.”

Claire Lassier, Senior HR Consultant at Pure Human Resources, weighed in: “Annual leave should never be seen as a perk. Everyone needs a break to maintain their health and wellbeing, and ultimately to maintain their performance levels at work. Some organisations mandate that a set amount of annual leave is taken within each quarter of the year to ensure that employees use leave on a regular basis: others need to limit how much can be taken during their peak periods.

Restricting the amount of discretionary carry over at the end of the leave year and reminding employees on a regular basis to plan ahead and book time off can help ensure that people take time out throughout the year – for the benefit of the individual and the business alike.”

Rosie Hyam, People Partner at Just Eat, also commented: “Given the emphasis on employee well being and work-life balance over the last few years, it’s essential that employers are receptive to flexible working arrangements, and that they allow employees to take time away from work when needed.

“And it doesn’t have to be a big break – organisations may want to carve out some time to ensure that employees can take a break and socialise with colleagues during the working week. This can be done through in-office lunches, socials or team bonding activities.”

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Is a collaborative approach with employees the answer to labour issues?

With public unionization movements taking place at various Big Tech companies, Microsoft wasn’t to be left out. The tech giant announced last week that it planned to follow an “open and constructive approach” to union organization from its employees.

In their announcement on June 2, 2002, they emphasized that while it wasn’t a requirement for employees to form a union to engage with company leadership, employees have the legal right to create a union.

The company outlined four principles to guide their open attitude to unionization. Among these were that they were “committed to creative and collaborative approaches with unions when employees wish to exercise their rights and Microsoft is presented with a specific unionization proposal.”

Microsoft is currently acquiring Activision Blizzard in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion. This announcement comes on the back of a vote taken at the end of May by an Activision Blizzard subsidiary to form a union.

Right now, the tech industry seems to be lit up by unionization efforts, with Amazon in a heated battle against unionization at some of its facilities, including in New York and Alabama.

In this post-pandemic world, worker power appears to be on the rise in companies across the US, with unions seeing increased activity in numerous sectors. The retail industry is just one example, with Starbucks and REI, where a number of strikes broke out late in 2021.

In what is known as #striketober, workers made demands for improved benefits, including better pay, flexible hours and more time off.

When it comes to unhappy staff, prevention is better than cure. One solution to staving off strike action would be listening to and acting on employee feedback. A Perceptyx survey released in April revealed that employers who did this were 11 times for likely to retain staff than those who didn’t.

Interestingly, fewer employers in the healthcare and retail industries were “listening to employees” than in other industries. These industries have also faced strike and unionization activities, high staff turnover and labour shortages.

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72% of senior staff admit to lack of training and development  
Learning and development programmes need urgent attention according to CoachHub’s 2021 Global HR Survey.

To meet the demands of today’s workforce, companies need to adapt to the needs of individual employees and research has revealed that only two in five companies do this. Almost half (45%) of businesses only provide standardised offerings to all workers and employees aren’t happy with their current training programmes; with 72% of those in senior training and development roles admitting that their staff feel there is a lack of training and development initiatives.

Almost all (92%) respondents believe that training and development budgets will increase in the year ahead, which is creates great opportunities to grow and develop organisations.

Juliane Sterzl, Senior Vice president for EMEA at CoachHub said: “Currently, organisations do not appreciate the full potential of training and development programmes that are out there. While minor adjustments following widespread remote working were implemented, many solutions were simply digitally-adapted rather than being digital first by design. Today, workers need more sophisticated, personalised approach.”

Almost all leaders (97%) believe that it is important to adapt their employee training and development programme to the current business climate with 77% of respondents agreeing that there is a great need to invest in employee training and development post pandemic and remote working.

The survey results show that 70% of decision makers identify that their employees are interested in a return to face-to-face learning and training following a switch to digital during the pandemic. “The large proportion of people longing for face-to-face contact actually signals that we’re craving more human interaction and collaboration than some of the digital tools allow. It’s not about ditching digital development completely, but instead better marrying the convenience and increased accessibility that digital platforms provide, with the real interactions that we once associated with physically meeting with people,” commented Sterzl.

 

 

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Collaboration and communication are key skills  

According to new research from LinkedIn, 87% of UK business leaders stated that young workers have been plagued by a “developmental dip” because of long periods of time working from home during the pandemic.  

250 C-level executives in the UK (from companies with 1,000 employees and more and with an annual turnover of £250+ million) who were surveyed for the study, found that almost 30% of business leaders feel that onboarding from home has been a challenge for young employees. A further 42% of leaders believe that young people’s ability to build meaningful relationships with colleagues while working remotely has been difficult. 

Out of practice  

A complementary survey of young professionals showed that they agree. 69% of young people (aged 16 – 34) believe their professional learning experience has been impacted by the pandemic. More than half of those asked to return to offices feel their ability to make conversation at work has suffered, and 71% say they’ve forgotten how to conduct themselves in an office environment. 84% of young workers ultimately feel “out of practice” when it comes to office life, especially when it comes to giving presentations (29%) and speaking to customers and/ or clients (34%).  

Missing out 

Business leaders say the key development experiences that young people have missed out on during the pandemic include learning by “osmosis” from being around more experienced colleagues (36%), developing their essential soft skills (36%), and building professional networks (37%).  

Skills to succeed 

Business leaders believe that for hybrid working to be a success, collaboration (59%) and communication (57%) are the two most important skills employees need. Nearly half (49%) of leaders say working closely with experienced team members is the best way for young people to catch up and build these soft skills.  

Janine Chamberlin, UK Country Manager at LinkedIn, said:  It’s positive to see leaders recognise the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on young people as they consider their future workplace policies. To help young people develop the skills they need to succeed, companies must understand where the skills gaps are, introduce mentoring schemes and bolster learning experiences that cater for a hybrid workforce to help younger workers get back on track.”

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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