Tag: employee engagement

The rise of ESG as a business imperative

Employers are currently confronting a crucial moment when it comes to focusing on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues, driven by the societal, geopolitical, and economic challenges of recent years. With workplace flexibility, equity and diversity, and the pressing climate crisis at the forefront, companies are under increasing pressure to take meaningful action. ESG has become not just a moral imperative but also a business necessity. While sustainability initiatives have dominated the ESG conversation, attention is now shifting towards the social aspect, encompassing the goals companies establish, monitor, and share.

In the year 2023 and beyond, there are three key social areas that companies should prioritize. The past couple of years have blurred the boundaries between personal and professional lives for many of the 160 million individuals in the U.S. workforce, leading to feelings of isolation and widespread burnout. Disturbingly, in 2022, 2 out of 5 workers reported that their mental health had been negatively affected by their work environment. High levels of stress among employees can result in increased absenteeism and reduced engagement, ultimately impacting a company’s bottom line.

Fortunately, by prioritizing mental health and personal development, employers can foster a positive cultural shift. Implementing initiatives like “mental health” or “no meeting” days, wellness breaks, and short-term disability coverage can significantly boost company morale. Particularly during uncertain times, building a culture of trust and flexibility has been proven to enhance employee engagement, productivity, talent retention, and overall satisfaction.

Equality, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility have long been essential targets for most companies’ social goals. It has become customary for companies to collect and disclose data on how they ensure equality across racial, cultural, generational, gender, and other dimensions, including intersectionality. Astonishingly, 76% of job seekers consider a diverse workforce when evaluating potential employers. Diverse companies experience 2.5 times higher cash flow per employee, and those that prioritize gender diversity are 15% more likely to surpass their industry’s median financial returns.

Mentorship and sponsorship are powerful tools to bolster employee morale and engagement. Recent research indicates that inclusive mentorship programs play a pivotal role in attracting and retaining diverse talent, with women and minority groups recognizing the value of mentorship and sponsorship in their career development. It comes as no surprise that companies aiming to “make a difference” will continue to play a significant role in 2023 and beyond. Employees and consumers expect the companies they support to stand for something, with 70% stating that their sense of purpose is derived from their work.

Companies must leverage employees’ sense of purpose to guide executive decisions and track the progress of their commitments. Employees need to see their leaders not only talk about these values but also act upon them. Initiatives that are easy to implement, such as volunteer days, fundraisers, donation-matching, and environmental pledges to combat the climate crisis, exemplify mutual aid and can greatly benefit a company’s workforce as well as the planet.

In many ways, the tumultuous early 2020s accelerated progress in addressing long-overdue issues. Employees, shareholders, and consumers have clearly expressed the values they prioritize, and companies must listen and respond accordingly. The companies that invest in, measure, and transparently communicate progress on their social programs will thrive. Will your company be among them?

Share this article on social media

Employees’ intent to stay at their jobs decreased by 37% in the last six months

According to The Conference Board, nearly a third of workers report decreased job engagement — the commitment and connection they feel to their work — but the shift to remote work spurred by the pandemic may not be the cause.

The survey found that work location — on-site, remote or a hybrid blend of the two — has no impact on self-reported engagement levels.

However, some people feel decreased engagement more than others. Women, millennials and individual contributors report lower engagement than men, older generations and executives.

A survey conducted by The Conference Board that polled more than 1,600 individuals — predominantly office workers — found that respondents weighed in on workplace culture, work location, compensation and benefits.

Robin Erickson, Ph.D., VP of Human Capital at The Conference Board commented: “Many workers have re-evaluated their priorities since the beginning of 2020 at the outset of COVID-19. Employees are not only demanding to retain the flexibility they gained from being required to work remotely, but they expect genuine and transparent communications to continue from their leaders as well.”

But even with lower levels of self-reported engagement, 82% say their level of effort remains the same or higher.

According to The Conference Board, more workers want to quit, but few have plans of actually doing so. Workers’ intent to stay at their jobs decreased by 37% in the last six months, but only 12% are actively planning to leave. Meanwhile, about 29% of workers are reconsidering their plans to quit due to the imminent recession.

Overall, the survey found that engagement levels decreased for all workers regardless of work location or schedule. However, most respondents report that having a caring, empathetic leader increased in importance to hybrid workers.

Rebecca Ray, Ph.D., Executive Vice President of Human Capital at The Conference Board said: “While these results show that a likely recession may slow some of the high turnovers we’ve been seeing, engagement is eroding for many of those who remain. For businesses to truly thrive, they should focus on improving employee engagement, no matter the employee’s work location or schedule.”

Share this article on social media

Spain, Italy, and France are top destinations

According to new research, more than half (57%) of workers are planning to extend their holidays this year to work abroad.

The research undertaken by flexible workspace operator, IWG, revealed that 88% of workers plan to work from anywhere – UK or away – this year. Hybrid working has opened up opportunities for employees to work from anywhere, and many companies are responding accordingly. For example, companies such as Airbnb and Spotify have introduced work-from-anywhere policies to provide employees with flexibility when they travel.

The research showed that 67% of workers believe that they can perform their job effectively abroad, and a further 71% agreed that they would only consider a new job if it gave them the flexibility to work from anywhere for at least some of the time.

In terms of the benefits of working from anywhere, the following were cited:

  • Improved work-life balance (76%)
  • Spend more time with friends and family abroad (52%)
  • Saving money by travelling off-peak (47%)
  • Being able to enjoy longer holidays (30%)

Eighty-nine percent of office workers surveyed said they’re now more likely to work from anywhere than pre-pandemic. A further 83% believe that businesses’ adopting hybrid working has made this lifestyle possible.

‘Flexcations’ are also a popular perk. Seventy-six percent of respondents said they would be more inclined to work for a company offering frequent ‘flexcations’ as a perk.

The top locations for hybrid overseas workers:

  • Spain
  • Italy
  • France
  • United States
  • Greece

According to IWG’s office usage data in popular overseas locations for the start of summer:

  • Barcelona, Spain, saw a 168% increase in usage from June to July
  • Italy saw significant rises for its shared offices in Turin (+412%), Milan (+312%), and Rome (+137%).
  • France also recorded growth in its offices in Rennes (+249%), Lille (+155%), and Reims (+147%).

While employees are keen on making the best of the summer months, employers must update policies. Forty-one percent of employees said their employers did not have an official policy in place, and this was preventing them from working from anywhere.

Mark Dixon, IWG Founder and CEO, commented: “For an increasing number of workers, the days of the daily commute are over, now that hybrid working offers the opportunity to work wherever we will be the most productive. And thanks to cloud technology, that can be anywhere in the world, provided there’s a high-quality internet connection available.

“So, it’s no wonder that more and more individuals are embracing the idea of combining work with travel, whether it’s for a few days tacked on to the end of a vacation, or a few months as a digital nomad.

“This trend is set to accelerate further, and we will continue to see more and more companies embracing WFA policies to improve employees’ work-life balance and increase their attractiveness as an employer.”

Share this article on social media

Cost of living crisis is taking hold

Research from jobs and careers site, Reed.co.uk has shown that 33% of workers have applied for or have considered applying for a new job. In addition, 65% of workers have changed job-seeking priorities in response to the cost-of-living crisis. A salary increase is becoming a common priority for 34% of workers.

The survey, which looked at the opinions of over 2,000, revealed that 22% have said they intend to look for a new job soon and 55% of workers are actively seeking or considering a new one. A further 17% admitted that the increasing cost of living made better work-from-home opportunities more of a priority.

Amongst active jobseekers, the data revealed that 30% of women are more motivated by a salary increase than men (27%). Furthermore, younger workers – between 18-34 – are more likely to consider changing jobs to secure a salary increase than other generations (45% compared to the 29% average).

Fifty percent of workers said that a salary increase is the most meaningful action an employer can take to retain employees, while 47% said that a low salary was the reason they’d want to leave their current employer. Forty percent of workers indicated that they would stay with their current employer if a better salary counter offer were made.

In terms of amounts, the survey showed that employers could retain some workers with moderate increases. For workers aged 55-64 and 65+, most (32% and 38% respectively) agreed that salary increases of less than £1,000 would be sufficient to convince them to stay. For workers aged 18-34 and 35-44, a salary increase of between £2,500 – £4,900 was required by most (33% and 30% respectively) to continue with their current employer.

James Reed, Chairman of Reed.co.uk, commented: “Due to runaway inflation currently at 9.4% and outstripping wage increases across many industries, millions will be on the move from this September onwards to secure a pay bump.

“Although the current economic landscape is challenging, amidst warnings of a looming recession from the Bank of England, UK workers should feel empowered to capitalise on the current labour market which continues to show high volumes of jobs being created.

“However, with inflation potentially rising to 13%, it could increasingly feel like workers are chasing after a galloping horse, with some workers having to take on a second or third job to keep up with the soaring cost-of-living increases. This could lead to a two-speed workforce with workers in some sectors falling behind others.

“It’s a tough situation where very few are benefiting, including employers who are facing a higher turnover of candidates than you’d typically expect in August with over 50% of workers considering a move.

“For employers, a failure to proactively ensure salary packages reflect current inflationary increases will have a significant impact on their business’s ability to attract and retain staff. Understandably, many may not feel in a financial position to deliver significant increases in pay. However, offering desired pay rises costs less than replacing workers and our research shows that the vast majority of candidates (87%) are poised to accept a counter offer from their current employer provided it meets expectations.

“During these challenging times, it’s clear that many workers – particularly those feeling the pinch from the cost-of-living crisis – deserve a pay rise. For most, the best way could be to secure a new job.”

Share this article on social media

“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.”

Share this article on social media

50% of businesses are losing customers due to staff shortages 

New research by WorkJam has revealed that almost 50% of the business leaders surveyed have been understaffed for 5-6 months, while 36% have been understaffed for 3-4 months, and 78% are currently understaffed. A further 48% have lost customers because of staff shortages.

The survey of CxOs, Directors, and VPs in industries including retail, manufacturing, consumer goods, transporting, and warehousing found that for 30% of businesses, the shortages have amounted to between 16 and 20% of their workforce in the last 12 months. An additional 26% lost 11-15% of their staff during the same period.

There is little doubt that these results seriously impact day-to-day performance while putting additional strain on the employees left behind.

The survey also found that for 64% of businesses, churn levels have stayed the same (33%) or are somewhat higher (31%) than in the previous 12 months, with little chance of imminent improvement. In addition, more than half (53%) of those surveyed did not expect changes to hiring issues over the next 12 months. Fifty percent also expected retention issues to remain the same.

Reasons for employee churn included

  • Employees feel that their hours are too long or there wasn’t enough flexibility in their position (25%)
  • Diversity and inclusion issues (16%)
  • Dissatisfaction with salary (14%)
  • Dissatisfaction with benefits (10%)

Fifty-one percent of the survey respondents want to solve retention and hiring issues by providing better employee perks or benefits. A further 30% are investing in HR or frontline technology, and 27% are investing in learning and development.

Mark Williams, Managing Director EMEA of WorkJam, commented: “We’re in the midst of a global recruitment crisis. While it’s no secret that key sectors have been struggling to find and retain talent since the start of the pandemic – if not before – the figures revealed by our survey really put the problem into context. And the difficulty is that the issue is self-sustaining. Churn puts additional pressure on existing employees, increasing the likelihood that they, in turn, will seek employment elsewhere, again heaping pressure on those left behind.”

“Executives are faced with finding solutions that will aid retention and recruitment without necessitating a price hike in the middle of the cost-of-living crisis. According to our research, a quarter of businesses have already had to raise their prices. But this carries the risk of further deterring customers. It’s a difficult balance to strike.”

Share this article on social media

Salary increases on the rise but workers feel they deserve more

Although salary increases are rising, only 33% of Australian employees are happy with their current benefits. This is according to recruitment company, Hays.

Hays believes that benefits can help bridge the salary expectation gap and aid staff attraction. According to their latest Salary Guide, 35% of employers have improved benefits and working practices to entice more staff.

The data also showed that allowing more than 20 days’ annual leave is one of the most sought-after employee benefits. This year’s data shows that the benefit is desired by 55% of job seekers, compared to 30% last year. The most desired benefit, according to Hays, is training, at 57%. Interestingly, while 87% of employers offer training as a benefit, only 23% provide more than the minimum legal requirement for leave.

Next on the list of top five benefits are:

  • ongoing learning & development (53%)
  • mental and physical health and wellbeing programs (38%)
  • formal career paths (38%)

Flexible working is not on the list of highly prized benefits, likely because although it was a top benefit pre-pandemic, it is now the expected norm.

Professionals are advised to consider the complete value exchange – even if salaries are not meeting expectations, workers should consider whether the benefits they receive enhance the complete value exchange they receive for their skills and experience.

Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand, commented: “With a salary expectation gap evident, offering the benefits employees value can help reward and retain top talent in a competitive labour market.”

“The pandemic prompted many people to prioritise their work-life balance and mental health, to care for their health and wellbeing they now want a job that offers more than customary annual leave.”

“If a person’s time is as valuable as money, additional annual leave can add significantly to their overall package.”

“For employers looking to modernise their benefits portfolio to attract, reward and retain staff, it’s important to reconcile your offering with what employees’ value, training and additional annual leave are obvious improvement points. So is the provision of formal career paths, which 38% of employees want but only 20% of employers offer.”

“For jobs that can be performed outside a central workplace, skilled professionals expect to work in a hybrid arrangement,” he said. “After more than two years of hybrid working, it’s no longer considered a benefit that can attract and engage staff but rather a minimum ordinary entitlement.”

“If your salary increase falls short of expectations, consider what else you can ask for. In particular, think of your long-term career objectives. Additional benefits such as training, formal career paths and mental and physical health and wellbeing programs, for instance, could lead to a promotion and higher compensation long-term than a small raise here and now.”

Share this article on social media

Dealing with distance in a post-pandemic workplace

Focusing on employee mental health in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, a recent survey commissioned by Cigna among US adults has shown that employers need to pay attention to feelings of loneliness among their employees.

The survey of almost 2,500 respondents conducted by Morning Consult showed that employees experiencing loneliness were less likely than their colleagues to say that they could work efficiently and perform to the best of their abilities. They were also more likely to say that they were “mentally somewhere else” while at work during the last three months.

In 2020, an analysis by Cigna showed that loneliness costs employers more than $154 billion per year in lost productivity caused by absenteeism.

Productivity isn’t the only negative result. The survey also found that employees experiencing loneliness were three times more likely to be dissatisfied with their jobs than their peers. A further 30% of lonely employees admitted feeling unwell or sick while at work in the past three months.

While the circumstances surrounding the pandemic may have led to more flexible remote working arrangements for many, isolation and loneliness were also side effects of the new working situation. Together with exhaustion due to blurred boundaries between work and home life, these feelings have added to the stress of many employees.

Cigna highlighted three areas that employers could focus on to address issues with workplace loneliness:

  • Regular activities that bring employees together, both in-person and virtually, such as town hall events, volunteer events, and employee resource group meetings.
  • Providing employee benefits that support mental and emotional well-being while remaining mindful of the barriers that may prevent employees from accessing the help they need.
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives could also go a long way to creating a safe and welcoming environment for employees.
Share this article on social media

Over 200 companies entered the survey from across the UK 

The UK’s ‘The Best Companies to Work For survey revealed earlier this month the 2022 Q1 winners ‘Best Companies to Work For’ regional, sectoral, and national league tables in a virtual event attended by representatives from the hundreds of participating companies.

St. Albans-based technology recruitment business, Understanding Recruitment was recognised in sixth position on the league table for ‘Best Small Companies to Work For’ in the UK, as well as receiving a 3-star ‘world-class’ accreditation for its commitment to workplace engagement. 

The event was hosted by TV and sports presenter, Dan Walker, and announced the Q1 rankings that highlighted the companies that scored high for employee engagement (across categories including leadership, personal growth, wellbeing and more), as voted anonymously by staff.  

In 2021, Understanding Recruitment reported a record-breaking year of commercial achievements and hiring and grew by over 30 new team members.  

With entries from over 200 companies across different regions of the UK, Understanding Recruitment ranked on all three Best Companies league tables the company qualified for (‘Small’, ‘Recruitment’ and ‘East of England’), with the following positions, all within the Top 10: 

Best Small Companies to Work For : 6th 

Best Recruitment Companies to Work For: 7th 

Best Companies to Work for – East of England: 6th 

Chris Jackson, Founding Director of Understanding Recruitment, commented: “An engaged team is something to be celebrated, and we are thrilled to see Understanding Recruitment further establish itself as a leader in tech recruitment and an employer of choice with this announcement. Ranking in all three categories is testament to the industry-leading workplace and practices we are working towards building every day here.” 

Share this article on social media