Tag: Flexible Working

Personality over professional and education, reveals survey

A new survey by small business lender iwoca has revealed the most sought-after skills that small business owners look for when hiring new employees and what impacts their hiring decisions.

With small business vacancies hitting record highs at 575,000 (a 72% increase from the same period last year), the survey revealed that more SME owners are looking for personal skills instead of professional ones when hiring.

The top five attributes were:

  • Honesty (44%)
  • Good personality (38%)
  • A skill set that matches the job description (37%)
  • Experience in a similar position (37%)
  • Good at verbal communication (34%)

According to the survey, the least important attribute was an undergraduate degree, with only 6% of small business owners believing that an undergraduate degree is important when recruiting.

When looking at the impact of recruitment on a business, 15% of small business owners believe that poor hires prevent future company growth and a further 11% agree that it leads to fewer sales.

Flexible working arrangements seem to be one way for new hires to meet their potential. Nearly half of the respondents who offer flexible working believed that these arrangements positively affected productivity. Only 7% said that it had a negative impact.

The survey results indicate that millennial business owners are more likely to offer flexible working arrangements, at 43%, compared to older generations, at 35%.

Seema Desai, Chief Operating Officer at iwoca, commented: “Small businesses employ over two thirds of the nation’s workforce. Some of the perceived barriers to applying for a job, such as having a degree, might not be as high as some job seekers think they are. Our research reveals the importance of strong personal skills when applying for roles, and the importance of hiring to the future growth of any business.”

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Paid sick leave tops the list

HR and payroll software provider CIPHR recently polled 1001 people about which benefits, perks, and incentives are the most important for employees. According to the new research, 67% of employees said that paid sick leave matters most to them. Next on the list were flexible working hours at 57% and pension contribution matching at 46%.

Also important was mental health and wellbeing support, at 40%. This comes as no surprise after the pandemic and the ever-rising cost of living.

The order of importance depends largely on the individual being surveyed. For example, pension contribution matching is higher on the priority list than flexible working hours for those over 45 (59% vs. 45%). However, the opposite applies to respondents under 45 (57% vs. 42%).

Gender also played a role, where female respondents valued childcare assistance over a market value salary (27% vs. 21%). On the other hand, more men placed more importance on a performance bonus over a market-value salary (45% vs. 34%).

The top 15 benefits and perks were as follows:

  • Paid sick leave (67%)
  • Flexible working hours (57%)
  • Pension contribution matching (46%)
  • Mental health and wellbeing support (40%)
  • Performance bonus (39%)
  • Four-day work week on full-time pay (37%)
  • Extra holiday allowance (32%)
  • Employee discounts scheme (30%)
  • Flexible working location (27%)
  • Market-value salary (26%)
  • Childcare assistance (23%)
  • Health insurance or cash-back plans (21%)
  • Extra paid day off for birthdays (21%)
  • Extended paid parental leave (20%)
  • Death benefits (18%)
  • Unlimited paid leave (18%)

In a separate survey of 332 UK-based businesses, CIPHR found that employers only rated six of the 24 benefits in the same order as employees.

The top 10 benefits that employers think matter most to employees are:

  • Mental health and wellbeing support
  • Flexible working hours
  • Paid sick leave
  • Flexible working location
  • Performance bonus
  • Four-day work week on full-time pay
  • Extra holiday allowance
  • Health insurance or cash-back plans
  • Childcare assistance
  • Pension contribution matching
  • Market-value salary

Matt Russell, Chief Commercial Officer at CIPHR, commented: “It is surprising to see such a disconnect between the benefits that employees value and what employers think – especially given how important good rewards and benefits packages are to attracting and retaining top talent and for supporting a great employee experience.”

“There is no one model or benefits scheme that works for every organisation. Employers need to spend time listening to their own employees to understand their needs and priorities and what benefits they want and value. For example, things like employee discounts, childcare assistance, and health or dental insurance, can go a long way to helping employees through the current cost-of-living crisis. And, what was once more important, pre-2020, has now been superseded by other benefits that reflect the growing shift to remote working and the desire for more flexibility at work.

“It won’t always be possible to deliver on every specific benefits request but organisations that can act on employee feedback, wherever possible, and provide agile and flexible benefits schemes are more likely to have a happier and engaged workforce.”

The significant differences between what employees actually value and what employers think their employees will value, indicate that organisations may be missing valuable opportunities to improve employee experience and engagement.

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Effective handling will determine future business growth

With the constant increase in cost of living and rising taxation, UK citizens are in for a very difficult time. But businesses are also impacted, and business owners may be at risk of forgetting the physical and emotional effect of this cost-of-living crisis on their workforce.

According to Sophie Wade, author of Empathy Works: The Key to Competitive Advantage in the New Era of Work, empathy is critical to assisting business leaders in understanding employees’ situations, adjusting their management styles, and providing them with appropriate support.

Wade provides the following tips for leading through this financial crisis:

  • Employers need to build a welcoming, inclusive, and supportive corporate culture where the workforce feels safe enough to share or reach out for help.
  • Leaders need to be empathetic, actively listen and show care and concern about their employees’ situations.
  • Create flexible workplace policies that help individuals improve their situations, for example, by reducing commuting costs by working from home.
  • Lead by example by embracing and demonstrating the benefits of cost-saving initiatives.
  • Provide benefits that help employees handle challenging circumstances, such as financial management talks and courses.

Sophie Wade, work futurist commented: “The pandemic catalysed significant changes in workplace environments. As leaders – whether at the senior executive level or as a team manager – we had to manage our businesses with a more human-centric orientation. Our corporate cultures have been transitioning from transactional to experiential, elevating trust and empathy as key values, as we recognize the challenges faced by the people we employ or work alongside and their greater emotional needs. While we are finally emerging from the COVID-19 crisis, the new cost of living crisis is having a significant impact on so many aspects of our lives. We are having to reconsider or limit how we light and heat our homes, commute to work and put food on the table with smaller pay checks as our contributions rise.”

“To manage this new crisis, we can learn from the last two years. As managers, we embraced empathy and practiced it with our teams to be more attuned to what they were going through. Now again, taking the same human-centric perspective, we need to listen to employees, understand their situations and needs, and nurture trust-based cultures that create a sense of belonging and community that can support them. We can recognise each person’s different points of view and circumstances as well as understand that some may be embarrassed to admit their financial and emotional struggles. The empathy that we elevated in our cultures and integrated into management practices during the pandemic should now be pervasive, ongoing, and consistent. Every employee should feel there is someone they feel comfortable to turn to, voice their concerns, and seek out the help they need.”

“I know many businesses are adapting to these new conditions. We must think about how our employees are coping as well. After the pandemic, workers are looking for stability not more strain. We must stop to consider what we can do to support our colleagues. Taking a human-centric, thoughtful, and empathetic approach, we can figure out how to improve workplace culture, benefits, and retention, and ensure the sustainable growth potential for our businesses.”

Clearly, leaders learning to empathise with their employees during this financial crisis is essential for ensuring a sustainable future for their businesses.

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75% of employees feel salaries should increase in line with inflation

A recent study by Insight Global, a staffing firm, has revealed that 66% of American workers are concerned they will need to look for a higher paying job in order to keep up with inflation.

The survey took place in March and included 1,005 US workers who are employed full time.

The rise of inflation is also prompting some workers to ask their bosses for flexibility to work from home to save on fuel costs. The survey found that 26% of workers who said they are seriously considering looking for a new job also plan to ask that they be allowed to work from home with 24% of those already working remotely planning to continue doing so most or all of the time until gas prices go down.

Overall, 75% of workers believe employers should increase pay during economic inflation.

Bert Bean, CEO at Insight Global commented: “Leaders need to get ahead of this curve before they see some of their greatest talent leave to explore other career opportunities. The simplest way to ensure your employees are content in their current roles is to ask them. Find out what they need — is it a raise, the ability to work from home or are they feeling disconnected?”

Other findings in the survey included:

  • 56% of American workers feel there are many job openings, but few job opportunities offering pay that can keep up with the rising cost of living.
  • 61% of workers who say they are seriously considering looking for a new job feel there are many job openings, but few job opportunities offering pay that can keep up with the rising cost of living.

Flexible working remains key in navigating the skills shortage crisis as employees will continue to look for roles that offer flexible and support during turbulent economic times.

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Inclusive working policies potentially adds £40 billion to GDP  

According to a new study by LinkedIn, greater workplace flexibility could help open up new employment opportunities for 1.3 million people in the UK with disabilities, caring responsibilities, and those based in rural locations. For those who may struggle to commute or work regular hours, the opportunity to work from home or work flexible hours has the potential to improve workforce inclusion while adding a potential £40 billion to GDP.

The research from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) was commissioned by LinkedIn in a bid to understand the potential for hybrid working to improve workforce inclusion. The research highlighted an “Inclusion Gap”, which revealed that employers are currently missing out on hiring people who would be able to work if working conditions were adapted to meet their needs.

Research from LinkedIn has found that for the majority (86%) of employers in the UK the pandemic has triggered a rethink of flexible and remote working, meaning that there is a real opportunity for businesses to design new policies with inclusivity at the core to make work equitable for all.

TRANSFORMING ACCESS TO THE WORKPLACE 
According to the study, flexible working could potentially unlock employment opportunities for around 600,000 people living with disabilities. This means that there is potential to add £20.7bn to the UK economy. Furthermore the next largest dividend of £10.6bn would be gained from employees from households with dependent children (around 284,000 people), followed by adult informal carers (around 306,000 people) and those based in rural locations (around 104,000 people), potentially adding £6bn and £2.9bn to the UK economy respectively.

Janine Chamberlin, UK Country Manager at LinkedIn, said: “The pandemic has instigated the greatest workplace change in a generation, prompting businesses of all types and sizes to re-evaluate how they operate.”

Nina Skero, Chief Executive at CEBR, said: “Our analysis highlights the enormous potential hybrid working arrangements hold for inclusivity in the UK labour market. The hybrid office model will, by no means, remove all the structural barriers faced by the highlighted demographic groups. Nonetheless, it does provide optimism for a more inclusive workforce. Realising this potential comes with its own challenges, however, and the onus falls on businesses to take initiative to ensure that inclusivity forms a key part of their agenda.”

LinkedIn Changemaker and disability inclusion consultant, Martyn Sibley, said: “Disabled people face many barriers in daily life. Workplace barriers are the most disabling for two reasons – because work provides us with financial independence and is also fulfilling mentally. Flexible working can help remove some of these barriers and create new employment opportunities, which is extremely positive for disabled people, employers and society as a whole. As companies consider what the future of work looks like, I’m hopeful that they will use this moment to redesign work to make it more inclusive for all.”

Steve Ingham, CEO at PageGroup, said: “Disabled individuals, which represent nearly 18% of the UK workforce, are more than capable of fulfilling many of the same jobs as able-bodied workers, yet, too often, inflexible workplace policies are a roadblock to accessing roles. The widespread move to working from home helped overcome access barriers in many cases, but companies must now challenge their hiring managers and leaders to explore options for truly flexible working. I’m proud to say that PageGroup has a dedicated team to help bridge the gap between businesses, disability charities and disabled candidates, helping to create more inclusive workplaces. We look forward to continuing to find great placements for people of all abilities – a lack of flexibility must not prevent UK businesses from employing the talent they need.”

James Taylor, Head of Strategy, Impact and Social Change, at disability equality charity, Scope, said: “For many disabled people, flexible home working is something they have been requesting for years with varying degrees of success depending on the employer. Inclusive policies such as flexible and remote working are hugely beneficial for many disabled employees, by allowing people to work in the most effective way for them and contribute their talent, skills and insight. It’s proved to be good for many employers as well, because businesses that are flexible thrive. We have seen the positive results and urge all employers to embrace this sea change and adopt flexible working practices to support more disabled people into work.”

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64% of employees will resign if forced to return to in-person work full time  

According to a recent study called “Adapt to work everywhere” by Topia, a global talent mobility company, has found that office workers overwhelmingly demand flexible work arrangements and will change jobs to get them. In the last year, remote work has evolved from a semi-temporary COVID-19 safety measure to a new normal and an expectation. While most HR professionals recognise the benefits of remote work, the data suggests that tax and immigration compliance remain a greater risk than they realise.

The Adapt study, the third annual one, aims to explore attitudes to remote work, what drives an exceptional candidate experience and how valuable mobility is.  Conducted by CITE Research on behalf of Topia, the study surveyed 1,481 full-time office workers between 22 December 2021 and 11 January 2022. All participants were employed by international firms, were evenly split between the US and the UK and included 299 HR professionals.

Its focus was on “flexible work arrangements,” with the term encompassing any work performed outside the traditional office environment. This included remote work from home, across state and country borders, and on business or leisure trips.

The key findings of 2022 Adapt study include the following:

  1. Failure to allow flexible work arrangements is driving the Great Resignation

Twenty-nine percent of respondents changed jobs in 2021, and 34% are planning to resign in 2022. Lack of flexibility is a major factor, and many employees are disappointed with their organization’s remote work policies.

  • 41% of employees say flexibility to work from home is or was a reason to change jobs. 35% also cited more flexibility to work remotely as a reason to find a new employer.
  • 64% of those forced to return to the office full-time say this makes them more likely to look for a new job.
  • Although 82% of employers have a remote work policy, 48% of employees feel that mobility policies are in place just to make remote work applications easier to reject.
  1. When choosing an employer, flexibility is a top priority

There is little interest in returning to the office full-time in both the UK and the US. Public health, originally the impetus for remote work, is no longer relevant. The freedom, technology, and autonomy to work from anywhere is central to the ideal employee experience.

  • Asked what they look for in a new employer, respondents rank flexible work arrangements as the third most important attribute—after high pay and a focus on employee wellbeing.
  • 96% of employees feel that flexibility in working arrangements is important when seeking a new job.
  • 56% of respondents say the flexibility to work in whatever location they want defines an “exceptional employee experience.”
  1. For most organizations, flexible work remains an unsolved compliance challenge

In 2021, 60% of HR professionals were confident they knew where most of their employees were located. That number fell to 46% in 2022. HR still has a blind spot in determining where employees are working and for how long. The resulting tax and immigration compliance risks are significant.

  • 40% of HR professionals discovered employees working from outside their home state or country.
  • 66% of employees admit to not reporting all the days they work outside their home state or country.
  • Nevertheless, 90% of HR professionals are confident that employees will self-report such days.

Steve Black, co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Topia commented: “It’s clear that remote work is here to stay, and our Adapt study suggests that if companies say no to flexible work arrangements, they will lose talented people and struggle to replace them. To provide an exceptional employee experience, organisations need technology that welcomes employees to explore, request and pursue remote work opportunities. The back-end compliance needs to be automated and accommodating of employees who change locations frequently.”

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Side hustles are a priority for the next generation

According to new data by business finance lender, Sonovate, flexible work culture is a key consideration for most young workers when choosing a job, with over half (53%) of 18 to 34-year-olds claiming that talented young people won’t join companies that don’t champion flexible working.

The data also suggested that portfolio careers will become increasingly popular among younger workers in the next decade with 59% of 18 to 34-year-olds agreeing and 54% of the same age demographic saying that having a portfolio career will be important to them at some stage in their career.

The majority (57%) of young respondents don’t believe they need to be in an office full time to learn what they need, and feel they are well equipped to do it all virtually. The survey indicates that young workers see the benefits of freelance work, giving them the flexibility to experiment with different career routes (57%) and to have a family or pursue their interests (50%).

Over a third (36%) of 18 to 34-year-olds have made a career change in order to work more flexibly during the pandemic and the report suggested that the pandemic prompted a shift in attitudes towards jobs among the younger working generation with 44% of 18 to 34-year-olds claiming they don’t want to work the way they did before the pandemic. This is why and over half (54%) of this demographic feel that a shift towards more freelance working is a good thing for graduates, school leavers and new entrants into the world of work.

Richard Prime, co-founder and co-CEO at Sonovate commented: “As the pandemic caused a significant proportion of the UK’s younger employees to lose jobs or go on furlough, young workers had more time than ever to consider what they want from their careers. Younger people’s preferences toward portfolio careers and multiple side-gigs are rooted in a desire for a better work/life balance and to make an income from what they are passionate about. Now, these preferences are being heard more loudly than ever, with people and companies learning to juggle accordingly.”

Lotanna Ezeike, founder and CEO at XPO, a platform that helps social media influencers get paid on time, also weighed in: “For young people today, the concept of what a ‘career’ should look like is a lot more malleable than for any past generation. A central priority for many is finding flexibility. But the idea of working on a contract or freelance basis isn’t, to them, just about being flexible to work less or hang out more. Instead, a more contract or part-time work life supports their desire for greater ownership over what they do and how they spend their working lives. Many creators and influencers want to work but it’s important to them to ‘own’ their time and retain their freedom to choose how they spend it doing things they love.”

Managing Director of TALiNT Partners, Ken Brotherston has been outspoken when it comes to the notion of the side hustle. He commented: “While the scenario of a portfolio of work holds true for a certain percentage of the working population, this isn’t so for large part of it. There is a significant portion of the workforce who aren’t influencers and need the certainty of a permanent job, as well as the need to supplement their income to pay bills. This scenario isn’t choosing a portfolio of work because it’s cool and flexible, they do it out of necessity.”

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Half of workforce looking to reskill

In the latest survey from CV-Library, it’s been revealed that ‘The Great Resignation’ is set to continue with more than two thirds of the UK professional workforce saying they’ll look for a new role in 2022.

More than half of the workforce (57.6%) is planning to reskill or retrain next year with belief that it will make them more employable.  Other factors driving the reskilling are a desire for a more meaningful career, better long-term job security and being unable to find a suitable job with their current skills.

The top five reasons for moving on in 2022, according to the CV-Library survey were:

  1. 1%: want/need a career change
  2. 3%: higher salary
  3. 7%: the uncertainty of the pandemic delayed an inevitable decision
  4. 9%: more flexible working opportunities
  5. 2%: burnout

Lee Biggins, CEO and founder of CV-Library commented: “Employers can take action to prevent increased staff turnover. Offering top salaries is the obvious choice but investing in training and upskilling, offering remote working opportunities, and building strong internal teams, look to be the smartest moves businesses can take in 2022.”

Ken Brotherston, Managing Director at TALiNT Partners doesn’t necessarily agree. He weighed in: “Whilst I might quibble about the percentage of people claiming they will look for a new job, I do agree that there are a range of underlying challenges for employers which need to be addressed and that there is no single solution.”

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69% of workers admitted to showering during work hours

New research from IvoryResearch.com has revealed the most popular work-from-home pastime – and it’s not work.

Since working from home, employees and employers have become somewhat relaxed in terms of the usual rules from the corporate environment, like dress code, longer lunch breaks and working flexible hours. But how have workers been filling the hours they’re not on video calls or sending emails?

One of the most common responses from those polled, with two thirds of respondents admitting to having sex while on the work clock! Surprisingly midday fooling around wasn’t the most unusual answer as one respondent admitted to taking a secret holiday without their employer knowing.

Other answers included setting up new businesses during work hours and creating OnlyFans content to make extra money. Many people also began online trading and investing in bitcoin, while a few even studied for a qualification for a new job.

On the tamer front, respondents admitted to visiting the hairdresser, binge watching entire Netflix series’, and some admitting to be completely hungover! Some even said they did actually work.

In contrast, some activities people admitted to meant leaving their desk for perhaps a little too long. These included; getting a bikini wax, going to football games, going to the gym and even online dating during work hours.

The top 10 most popular skiving activities include:

  1. Having sex – 76%
  2. Napping – 74%
  3. Scrolling on social media – 72%
  4. Showering – 69%
  5. Online shopping – 65%
  6. Cooking – 57%
  7. Tanning – 58%
  8. Going for a walk -55%
  9. Cleaning the house/ room -51%
  10. Hair salon/ hair cut – 48%

Maria Ovdii, research expert from Ivory Research, commented: “Our research has uncovered some very interesting truths about the UK workforce! From the subliminal to the ridiculous, people definitely didn’t hold back in these revelations. Perhaps managers need to surprise employees with a few additional meetings or calls!”

 

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17% of workers say employers are too flexible

Over a third (35%) of UK workers are willing to take a pay cut to work remotely permanently revealed research by Reed.co.uk, a UK jobs and careers site.

The researched canvassed 2,000 full or part-time employed workers and aimed to explore post-pandemic employee preferences and sentiment towards flexible working. It confirmed the strength of opinion in favour of remote working, with almost one in five workers (19%) believing their employer is not flexible enough with 17% of those surveyed saying their employer is too flexible. This implies that these respondents would prefer to be in the office more than they’re currently being offered.

The number of workers (36%) who believe their employer is not providing a fair balance between remote and office working is equal to the number of workers (37%) who say that their employer has got it “just right”. The findings indicated a clear divide between workers in their post-pandemic working preferences.

These differences are exacerbated among different demographics with 32% of workers aged between 18 and 34 wanting more office-based work, compared to less than 10% of over 45s. Results also revealed that men (21%) are more likely than women (12%) to feel that their employer is too flexible and workers 31% of workers in London wanting to work in the office compared with 9% in Yorkshire.

Flexible working is creating further tensions in the workplace when it comes to wages and career opportunities with over a quarter (26%) of respondents feeling that full-time office workers should be paid more than those working from home. Twenty-three percent of respondents said that full-time office-based workers should be prioritised for promotion over full-time remote workers, while over a third (37%) said that those working in the office should receive more perks.

Simon Wingate, Managing Director of Reed.co.uk, commented: “While flexible working can seem like an impossible challenge to get right, the key thing is to ensure employees have a certain level of choice and autonomy over how, when and where they spend their working day – keeping in mind the fact that what works for one group of people won’t necessarily work for another.

“In a competitive labour market, businesses must think creatively and listen carefully to their staff to provide a tailored approach that works on both an individual and collective level. This will help to improve their chances of attracting and retaining the best talent.”

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