Tag: Employee

95% of UK employees say their company doesn’t offer wellbeing support

The Employee Mental Health and Remote Working report conducted by virtual events and in-person team building company Wildgoose has revealed that one in six UK employees feel worried that raising mental health concerns with their company could put them at risk of losing their job. The report on mental health and remote working surveyed employees from 129 different companies on whether their mental health at work had improved or become worse during the last year. It also asked if those surveyed felt comfortable raising any mental health concerns with their employers and what they believed would happen if they did.

Results showed that 86% believed that their workplace is not a safe space for employees to be open about mental health.

According to the report, over the last 12 months, two in three employees have experienced worse mental health at work, compared to the previous year. As remote and hybrid working environments continue to be adopted by more UK businesses, evidence suggested that companies have struggled to adapt their mental health support processes, with the report revealing that one in three employees feel less able to raise mental health concerns during remote meetings, which has caused issues to go unnoticed.

The results also showed that just over one in eight companies in the UK don’t have a process in place for remote workers to report mental health concerns with the highest prevalence in SMEs, where this figure nearly doubled to one in five not having a process in place.

What employees want from their employers

Worsening employee mental health continues to be a growing concern and the researched showed that the change most desired by employees is for companies to offer more regular in-person meetings (36%) and for managers to receive better training on identifying signs of poor mental health (36%).

Just under a third of respondents (32%) stated they would like to see a process policy of reporting mental health concerns, which is not currently broadly offered, followed by assurances of job security after reporting.

Wildgoose Managing Director Jonny Edser commented: “As remote and hybrid working practices become more widespread, companies need to start doing more to ensure that employees are still receiving the same levels of mental health support. It’s essential that employers communicate with their staff, finding out how they would like to be supported. Perhaps they’d appreciate more regular workload reviews, weekly face-to-face meetings, or even the creation of better mental health policies. The most important aspect is that employees feel comfortable and safe to discuss any concerns.

Kristen Keen, founder and owner of Cluer HR, also commented on the report: “Unfortunately, there is still a stigma that surrounds mental health issues and a lack of education on the subject. To help improve employee wellbeing at work, both managers and the entire workforce should receive training, so that everyone can recognise and understand mental health issues. Plus, having 1:1 meetings with employees is a great way to encourage people to safely discuss any problems they are having.”

Full report available here: https://www.wearewildgoose.com/uk/news/employee-mental-health-and-remote-working-report/

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68% admitted that they are concerned it will have a negative impact on their career 

According to new research from people analytics company Visier, more than three quarters (76%) of Brits have admitted they’ve been ghosted by an employer or prospective employer in the past 18 months, despite over half (59%) having ghosted themselves.

The study asked 1,000 UK employees who have looked for work during in the past 18 months about their experiences with ghosting, using Psychology Today’s definition of the term as ‘abruptly ending communication with someone without explanation’ in association with the workplace from recruitment through to starting a new role.

The survey’s findings indicated that ghosting has become an accepted phenomenon in the workplace, with 37% of Brits admitting to ghosting an employer in the last 18 months, 30% ghosting a potential employer and 10% to both. This is despite more than a third of Brits stating that they’d be angrier if an employer or prospective employer ghosted them, than they would be if they were stood up by a date.

Hypocritical Britain 

Study results insinuate that employees are perpetuating the poor behaviours they hate from their prospective employer counterparts because when it comes to these behaviours, job seekers’ willingness to ghost increased steadily with job level seniority, which, the study suggests means that the more senior the worker, the more comfortable they are with ghosting their current or prospective employer.

According to results, the highest levels reported that they had ghosted a current or prospective employer within the last 18 months: C-Suite (95%), mid-level management (84%), first-level management (67%), entry-level (48%).

Professional ‘Ghosters’ 

The research also served as a stark reminder that ghosting is no new fad. It’s been around for some time and it’s a trend that is likely to pertain, especially as an increasingly buoyant labour market and skills shortages across almost every industry place more power into the hands of employees. In fact, some 61% of job seekers say they feel perfectly comfortable with ghosting an employer or prospective employer.

And, with more job opportunities available because of the hybrid working model (46%), a less personal recruitment process (45%) and the fact that ghosting is so common (37%), job seekers admitted in the survey that the pandemic has made them more likely to partake in ghosting.

The challenge for employers in the current candidate-driven market is that the right position, right salary and good company culture are not enough. The interview itself must be a top-notch experience to attract prospective candidates to a company. A negative first impression (25%) was cited as the number one reason job seekers have ghosted their employer or prospective employer, followed closely by the job role being inaccurate (24%) and a lower salary than expected (24%).

In spite of Brits’ willingness to engage in ghosting, the survey revealed that an overwhelming 68% admitted that they are concerned about the negative impact it may have on them and their career. It’s clear that a level of cognitive dissonance is at play. Despite understanding the potential negative impacts of doing this, job seekers at all levels are willing to do it anyway.

Daniel Mason, VP EMEA of Visier commented: “As recruitment teams continue to rethink their hiring strategies in line with the ‘Great Resignation’ now is the time to also implement measures that can reduce the fallout of job seeker ghosting. Embedding people data into every stage of the recruitment and employee engagement process is one way that recruitment teams can interest potential candidates and retain them. For example, by using data to highlight at which stage a job seeker is most likely to leave the recruitment process, more emphasis can be placed on improving the overall experience based on what the data is telling us prospective employers expect”.

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Emails are most monitored form of communication
A recent study by Instant Offices revealed that there are a number of different employee monitoring trends happening in the new hybrid workplace.

According to the study, new hybrid working models have led to an increased need for employee surveillance software, with demand for the software skyrocketing in 2020 by almost 60%.

Similarly, according to Google Trends, worldwide searches for ‘employee monitoring software’ increased by 35% in 2020 compared with the year before. Key findings from the survey revealed that 78% of companies have reported using employee monitoring software to track worker performance and online activity; 73% say they have stored the recording of calls, emails and messages and these have affected team members’ performance reviews. Frightening findings have revealed that over 50% of employers have implemented non-traditional monitoring techniques and 94% of employers track emails.

The business areas using surveillance tools include financial, legal, retail, technology, healthcare, manufacturing, energy and government sectors.

Common surveillance methods and practices include:

Keylogger software on company equipment (alerts supervisors when workers use devices for personal activities); webcams to track biometric data; screen monitoring and screenshots to gauge productivity and stress levels and employer-provided smartphones equipped with geolocation software to track employees’ whereabouts.

The only way to successfully implement these tools is through complete transparency. More than half of workers feel anxious about their companies surveillant communications. Still, when the employer explains the reasons for the monitoring, over 50% of employees say they are more at ease with it.

 Mark Turner, Chief Technology Officer at the Instant Group commented: “The rise in remote working and an influx of new technology means monitoring has ramped up. When used strategically, this tracking benefits all– businesses can identify resourcing issues, streamline processes and identify gaps, while employees can use the data to prioritize, manage workloads and track productivity. The key to using monitoring tools successfully is transparency and communication. If you can show your teams that using a piece of tracking technology not only benefits the business, but them too, then you’re on the right track.

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Covid outbreaks seem to be deterring jobseekers from applying for new roles, with new data showing employers are having to offer higher salaries to attract applicants in areas where cases of the Delta variant are rising sharply.

According to job board CV-Library, there is a “clear pattern” of pay increases in areas where infection levels are high, such as the North West and the Midlands.

Liverpool topped the table for increases in the average pay offered in June compared with the same period last month, with salaries up 10.3%. Wolverhampton, Derby, Coventry and Nottingham also featured in the top 10, with increases of 4.7%, 4.7%, 4.6% and 2.6%, respectively.

Portsmouth, where Delta variant cases increased sevenfold between June 2 and June 9, recorded the second highest salary increase at 7.5%.

Lee Biggins, CEO and founder of CV-Library, said: “Businesses are fighting harder than ever to make it to the end of lockdown restrictions. Recruitment is the cornerstone of both survival and longevity and it’s clear to see that, in the most competitive areas, businesses are rising to the challenge and stepping up their efforts.

“With news that restrictions will continue for an additional four weeks, offering enhanced salaries and the most competitive packages will do much to entice the many jobseekers that remain hesitant in these uncertain times and give businesses the chance to hit the ground running on 19th July.”

Other factors at play
However, it’s clear that while Covid is one issue leading employers to have to work harder to attract new talent, it’s not the only one.

According to Alex Fourlis, Managing Director at job boards network Broadbean Technology, there are a number of factors at play.

“We’re experiencing a talent drought at the moment that is being impacted by multiple issues. An ongoing reluctance to leave the security of current roles is certainly one factor that’s hitting application numbers, but for industries like retail where job losses were reported during the height of the pandemic, the reality is many people have left for other, more secure, sectors.

“What we’re also seeing is the impact of Brexit really playing out across those industries that have historically relied on international talent. The decline in applications for logistics, for example, will no doubt have been exacerbated by the UK’s exit from the Bloc.”

Broadbean reported a further fall in application numbers in May, despite an increase in job vacancies during the same month. The retail and logistics sectors were especially impacted by  mismatches between supply and demand.

According to the Broadbean data, vacancies across retail increased by 55% in the three months to May, but over the same period the number of applications per vacancy fell by 52%.

The number of openings across logistics, distribution and supply chain were up 79% in May compared to pre-pandemic levels in January 2020, but the number of people applying for these roles fell 76% over the same time frame.

Broadbean said that this reflected a consistent trend seen in 2021 so far, with vacancy numbers more than doubling (up 133%) since January this year, but the number of applicants falling further each month since then.

Young the key to filling ‘vacancies vacuum’?
One solution offered up to alleviate the skills shortages in industries such as logistics and also hospitality – where the dearth of workers has been widely reported in recent months – is to bring more young people into the workforce.

That was the suggestion of West Midlands-based recruitment specialist Pertemps last week, which called on the government to take action to encourage young people into the jobs market.

Carmen Watson, Chair at Pertemps, said there had been a rise in both permanent and contingent vacancies, especially in sectors such as hospitality, food manufacturing and logistics.

However, she added there had been a “sea change in candidates’ career choices as a result of the pandemic” and that a change in strategy was needed.

“An ongoing concern is the economic inactivity rate of young people and we would urge employers to consider greater use of apprenticeships and traineeships to grow our future talent. This will undoubtedly need support from central government if we are going to fill this vacancies vacuum.”

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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Employees now legally entitled to carry up to 20 days leave to the next two financial years

Changes to working time regulations to help employers and their staff adapt to the coronavirus pandemic have been designed to remove the “use it or lose it” rush to take annual leave before the end of the relevant year. Many workers have delayed taking time off because of limited holiday options, being on furlough, fear of redundancy, working in front line roles or covering sick or absent colleagues – so they have accrued most of their annual leave.

Kate Jones, an employment lawyer and associate at Midlands firm mfg Solicitors, said: “The working time regulations have been relaxed due to Covid-19 and if an employee didn’t manage to take all their leave within the employer’s holiday year, they can now carry over up to 20 days to use over the next two years. This is a big change because, until recently, that annual leave would have been lost at the start of a new holiday year, unless there was a specific reason, such as sickness or maternity leave.

“With summer holidays abroad still uncertain for many people, it’s worth remembering you have the right to carry over your leave and don’t have to spend it at home doing nothing just to use it up, unless of course you want to.”

Ms Jones urged employers to actively manage the change in regulations to ensure it works for both them and their staff. “For bosses, this means they won’t have to deal with lots of their employees all trying to book the same few weeks off at the end of their holiday year the way they might have been had they all been due to lose it.”

Employers are still obliged to do everything they reasonably can to allow a worker to take as much leave as possible in the current holiday year and must not unreasonably block a worker from doing so. Ms Jones added that employers must also allow an employee to use their carried over leave at the earliest opportunity, but can also give notice to an employee to take leave to ensure it fits in with the needs of the business.

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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UK businesses are sleepwalking into a costly large-scale employee exodus if the results of two separate pieces of research are to be believed.

According to a survey of 1,000 office workers by software company Beamery, almost half (48%) of all UK employees are either leaving their job or hoping to do so this year.

Its findings were echoed by research for HR software solution Personio, which polled 500 HR decision makers and 2,002 workers across the UK and Ireland and found 38% of employees wanted to change jobs in the next six to 12 months.

The cost to businesses, according to Personio, could be as high as £16.9 billion, with SMEs alone facing estimated costs of up to £5.8 billion.

Drivers of dissatisfaction

According to the Beamery Talent Index, it was bad leadership, poor employee support and stagnant growth opportunities during the pandemic that had led to the potential enormous employee churn facing workplaces.

Of those wanting to move on from their employer, 63% said this was due to poor leadership and a lack of support during the pandemic.

More specifically, it was perceived ‘career regression’ that was an issue for employees. More than half (53%) said working from home had had a significantly negative impact on their development and progression at work.

Nearly four in 10 (39%) felt their skills had grown stale and that they were going backwards from a career perspective, with 48% reporting their employer had not offered any opportunities to learn new skills during the pandemic.

Many felt the issue was going largely unnoticed, with 82% saying their employer needed to address career progression better.

One in 10 said they only had the opportunity to discuss promotion and progression once a year, while 43% said a lack of 1:1 engagement with managers had affected their progression opportunities.

“Now more than ever, if you want to ensure you attract and retain the best talent in your industry, employee communication is key,” said Abakar Saidov, Co-founder and CEO at Beamery.

“Workers want a clear, objective way of understanding the skills they need to learn to progress in their career, and employers must provide the right training and mentorship opportunities to help them improve.”

‘Worrying disconnect’

While the Personio research also reported that lack of career progression was a key driver for employees to look elsewhere, it found there was a “worrying disconnect” between workers and their employers on this point.

While 29% of those looking to move on put progression as a big factor in them wanting to leave, of the HR decision makers polled, only 17% thought this was a significant reason for employees to move on.  Similarly, almost twice as many employees as HR decision makers said a toxic workplace culture was a significant factor (21% employees vs. 12% HR decision makers).

Employees and employers also did not seem to be on the same page when it came to how workers had been supported during the crisis.

HR decision makers were twice as likely as employees to rate their career development support as ‘good’ (64% versus 30%), and they were also out of synch when it came to thinking the work-life balance (70% HR vs. 53% employees) and mental/physical wellbeing (68% vs. 44%) support they provided was good.

Hanno Renner, Co-founder and CEO of Personio, said: “Falling out of touch with the workforce’s problems and priorities means that not only could people be more frustrated and ready to resign, but employers will be poorly prepared to prevent people leaving – resulting in lost talent and productivity, and damaged employer brand.”

Worryingly, the Personio research suggested employers weren’t doing enough to prevent lost talent. While nearly half (45%) said they were concerned staff would leave once the job market improved, only a quarter (26%) said talent retention was a priority for the next 12 months.

Young most unhappy

The Personio research found that those in the 18-34 year-old demographic were most likely to be looking for new opportunities, with 55% wanting to leave their job in the next six to 12 months.

The Beamery research had similar findings, with dissatisfaction about working from home seeming to be a key issue for younger workers.

Of those 18-34 year-olds surveyed for its report, 48% reported feeling isolated or undervalued by working from home, while 74% said it had hindered their personal development and progression at work.

Only 13% enjoyed working from home, with a large majority (84%) stating they wanted to return to the office.

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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