Tag: Employee Wellbeing

42% report higher attrition since implementing those policies

According to a new study by global workplace creation company, Unispace, employers across the globe report losing key employees due to return-to-office mandates, with recruitment also being impacted by enforced returns. However, companies are failing to recognise the drivers of workers’ reluctance to return to the workplace, and likewise, the opportunities and value that the physical workplace provides. That is according to a new study by global workplace creation experts Unispace.

Returning for Good, a Unispace Global Workplace Insights report – which combined the results of a survey of 9,500 employees and 6,650 employers from 17 countries worldwide – found that, of the 72% of companies globally that say they have mandated office returns, 42% now report a higher level of employee attrition than anticipated, while almost a third (29%) are struggling to recruit altogether.

The study found that employees are less reluctant to return to the office (51%) than they were in 2021 (64%). With a current reluctance of one in two employees however, there is still much to be done to engage the workforce.

Employers indicate notably higher levels of confidence around talent attraction activities carried out in the office when compared to remote, particularly for recruitment (89% versus 73%) and training new staff (84% versus 70%).

An overwhelming majority of employers (84%) also indicated that career prospects would be limited to those who work exclusively from home.

Three in four business leaders surveyed (75%) indicated that they have increased their real estate portfolio in the last two years, with companies across APAC reporting the highest rates of growth. This expansion includes talent attraction and revenue-generating trends such as creating hospitality spaces by 44% of firms.

Employers currently failing to recognise what employees need and value most

The study also revealed that employers have not recognised the challenges that employees have with their current workplace set up. The majority (58%) of workers indicated that they struggle to carry out their core job in the office due to distractions. Meanwhile, 83% of employers say they believe that the office is set up to allow their employees to be productive.

Employers also underestimate key workplace dislikes. Employees put a premium on productivity and personal space – citing missing the privacy they can access at home (31%), the ability to be more effective in a quiet environment away from the office (27%) and feeling more productive at home (23%) as top dislikes. In comparison, employers suggested that the commute was the biggest barrier to getting workers back into the workplace.

Joanna Fagbadegun, Sales Director at Lorien commented: “The results of the Unispace study don’t come as a huge shock – the culture clash between employees and employers in relation to returning to the office has been brewing for several months now. When I talk to clients, contacts, colleagues, friends and family about work, the discussion inevitably turns to remote vs hybrid, but more importantly – choice. Choice around which days and/or how many days you work from home vs the office. As prospective candidates and employees emerge into post-pandemic life it’s not one size fits all, and I think the increased desire to see staff return to the office comes at an incredibly tricky time; in the UK we’re dealing with record interest rates, unreliable public transport due to strikes, high costs of commuting… and to top it all off, your lunchtime sandwich and drink rarely leave you with much change from a tenner anymore.

The Unispace study reflects findings from Lorien’s recent UK candidate sentiment research survey, “What Tech Candidates Want”. We discovered that no under 25s surveyed want to work in the office full time, and that 61% of 35–44-year-old candidates surveyed wanted to work remotely all of the time.

It’s hard to say which way it will go as the market shifts away from being so dominantly candidate-led. I suspect there is a mental game of ‘chicken’ being played between employers and employees in relation to the return to the office, and it’s now a case now of who will blink first!”

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Report reveals HR leaders experience dread due to job demands and mental health neglect

According to a new report from Headspace, many HR leaders are experiencing dread, with several factors contributing to this feeling. The report highlighted the biggest drivers of panic among HR professionals. Burnout from emotional caregiving for employees and feeling overwhelmed by expectations to take on more job responsibilities were two major causes of dread, according to the report. Worrying over not being able to meet expectations and the constant feeling of unpredictability at work were also factors that contributed to the negative emotions.

The survey, which had more than 400 CEOs and 4,000 employees participating, also found that 94% of HR leaders feel an “increasing responsibility to improve company culture by supporting employee mental health.” However, only 41% of them said they use mental health benefits regularly. The report also discovered that 91% of HR leaders view their mental health benefits programs favorably, but only 17% of them don’t feel dread at work.

The report attributed the low usage of mental health benefits by HR leaders to the heavy responsibilities they shoulder, leaving them with less time to focus on themselves. The report also revealed that HR leaders are the people who are least likely to use their mental health benefits, as 64% of CEOs use these benefits at work, while 73% of employees take advantage of them.

To help tackle the situation, the report recommended taking the next steps to help take care of HR leaders’ mental health. These include encouraging HR leaders to put their “own oxygen mask on first” and proactively checking in with them. Additionally, setting up dedicated time for leadership and development and creating a boundary statement were recommended.

Désirée Pascual, Headspace’s chief people officer, underscored the importance of taking care of oneself amid uncertainty and changes in the environment. She noted that “People leaders are exhausted, with many of us asking – ‘How do we sustain ourselves amidst all this uncertainty and change, while continuing to create stability for others?’ We owe it to ourselves, and our teams, to carve out time each and every day to take care of ourselves first and foremost.”

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Are HR teams going overboard on benefits to attract talent? It could backfire  

So, you want to be an understanding boss, offering attractive incentives to retain your loyal, hard-working staff – and then your employee looks you directly in the eye and asks for ‘Pawternity’ leave to care for their new Bichon Frisé puppy… what do you do?  

With skills shortages at an all-time high and young job seekers becoming more demanding, employers are having to up their game when it comes to attracting the best talent. Apart from mandatory employee benefits such as maternity, paternity, adoption, holiday pay and sick leave, there’s no legal requirement for employers to offer additional incentives like flexi-working, however, if they don’t, job seekers will choose companies who do.  

As well as offering a competitive salary and pension, additional non-wage benefits include private healthcare, counselling and gym memberships.  

Flexible working and hybrid working models are game changers for potential employees so organisations who don’t offer those as options will undoubtedly lose candidates to those organisations that do.  

A few of the other firm favourite benefits include sabbatical leave, bonuses and upskilling and the four-day work week. Considering the cost-of-living crisis, candidates are also obviously looking for higher salaries and even comprehensive retirement plans.  

In a post-pandemic workplace, young job seekers want to work somewhere that aligns with their own values – this is becoming increasingly important to Gen Z and Millennials – so a £25 gift voucher won’t do the job. Gen Z wants more – and they’re not afraid to ask it.  

The benefits of companies offering incentives can be huge, in terms of the talent the business attracts, as well as engaging and retaining current employees.  

Some employers have introduced ‘duvet days’ (not to be confused with a ‘hangover day’) to enhance productivity. But if every employee asks for their duvet day on the same day this could be financially crippling for small businesses. And what about important deadlines to be met if no one is working?  

So, as an employer trying to attract new talent, do you offer generic benefits or bespoke incentives to mirror the unique needs of the employee and where do you draw the line?  

An array of benefit offerings

As the needs of the workforce change, so do the incentives with some companies offering: 

  • Wellbeing days: Designated days to help employees focus on their wellbeing – this is separate from annual leave and sick days.  
  • Fertility treatment leave: Supporting couples going through treatments like IVF. 
  • Menstrual leave: Earlier this year, Spain became the first European country to give workers paid menstrual leave as well as passing numerous sexual and reproductive rights laws. Japan introduced menstrual leave in the labour law in 1947 – citing employers cannot ask women, who experience difficult periods, to work on those days. 
  • Pet leave – Also known as ’Pawternity’ leave – this is paid leave to help employees adjust to new pet owning duties – including adopting a rescue animal. 

Menopause is garnering a lot of attention as awareness around it increases. Women in the workforce of a certain age are struggling with changing hormones and while it’s not a specific protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, employers would do well considering offering flexibility around it. According to ACAS, if an employee is put at a disadvantage and treated less favourably because of their menopause symptoms, it could be considered discrimination if related to a protected characteristic, such as age, disability, gender reassignment and sex. 

As well as employers offering competitive salaries as a given – there’s a new phenomenon of ‘perkwashing’ – where employers are so desperate to attract new employees they are inflating what they can offer and some fall short of what they have promised. 

As the demand for talent continues, with no signs of skills shortages abating, lessons can be learned here when it comes to designing talent attraction strategies.  

 TA teams should not offer benefits that they cannot deliver. If you need your team to be at their desk, every day, between 9-5, you can’t promote flexible working. To roll out effective company benefits, the incentives have to be realistic.

Ken Brotherston, CEO at TALiNT Partners commented: “While flexible benefits programmes have been around for a long time, the wide range of benefits is increasing and it’s is making it harder for TA teams manage.”   

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85% of organisations have a wellbeing strategy
A new survey conducted by Aon has found that employee wellbeing is a top priority for businesses in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, with 49% of companies describing it as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’. This figure is slightly higher than the global average of 46%, indicating that APAC organisations are placing greater importance on employee wellbeing.

The survey also revealed that employee wellbeing is one of the top three priorities for APAC businesses’ human capital strategy, with 67% of employers saying it is more important to their company and 48% saying it has increased in priority compared to 2020. Additionally, 49% of companies in APAC reported that they have increased their investment in wellbeing initiatives compared to 43% globally.

Mental health and burnout/languishing were found to be the top two employee wellbeing issues in APAC, with burnout being the second-most cited issue. However, only 18% of companies incorporate this topic in their emotional wellbeing initiatives and 24% train their managers on managing burnout.

Despite this, the survey found that companies in APAC are taking a more strategic approach to employee wellbeing, with 85% of organisations having a wellbeing strategy in 2022 compared to 55% in 2020. Furthermore, 77% of employers reported that wellbeing is integrated into their overall business and talent strategy.

However, the APAC region rated second lowest in terms of the percentage of employers incorporating emotional wellbeing into their company’s strategy (52%). Aon also found a mismatch between the wellbeing initiatives that are offered and the issues that need to be addressed.

Overall, the global data showed that improving employee wellbeing factors can enhance company performance by at least 11% and up to 55%.

Tim Dwyer, CEO for Health Solutions, APAC at Aon, said, “Our study demonstrates the importance employers in the region place on employee wellbeing. Not only have they increased their financial investment, but more businesses are reporting integrating wellbeing with their business strategies and company culture. Understanding and addressing the diverse needs of employees through a well-designed wellbeing strategy will ensure businesses make better decisions that create a more flexible, engaged, and resilient workforce.”

Alan Oates, head of advisory and specialty for Health Solutions, APAC at Aon, added, “Organisations must therefore avoid implementing one-off individual wellbeing initiatives with no connection to a larger business plan.”

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Elon Musk to Investigate Bonus Cuts for Tesla’s Shanghai Factory Employees

Elon Musk recently commented on reports that employees at Tesla’s Shanghai factory would have their performance bonuses reduced. Musk, who was alerted to the issue over the weekend, took to Twitter to say that he is looking into the matter. The reports were sparked by a now-deleted tweet from user @AFeiywu, who urged people to pay attention to the arbitrary deduction of bonuses for frontline workers at the factory, which employs around 20,000 people. Some workers claimed online that around CNY2,000 would be cut from their quarterly bonuses. According to Reuters, two workers cited the “safety incident” that occurred at the factory on February 4, resulting in one employee’s death, as a reason for the cuts.

An investigation found weaknesses in the factory’s security measures, with the employee who died failing to lock a safety gate as required by the rules. Another employee also failed to ensure that the area was clear before turning on the equipment that caused the accident. Some workers feel that it is unfair to have their bonuses cut because of the company’s liability problems. The incident was previously reported on Pudong’s website before being removed at Tesla’s request as it contained photos of the company’s production process. This news comes as Tesla plans to build a new mega factory in Shanghai for its energy-storage product Megapack, set to start production in Q2 2024.

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Hybrid working prevalent but not preferred.

Towergate Health & Protection has conducted a significant study across various industries and company sizes in the UK, revealing the current state of hybrid working. The study found that 30% of companies have most of their employees working from home and the office, while the average company has 39% of its employees working in a hybrid manner. Large companies have the highest percentage of hybrid workers, with 47% of their employees working in this manner. Only 14% of companies do not offer hybrid working options.

Despite the prevalence of hybrid working, more than half (54%) of employers are actively encouraging their employees to return to the office. To achieve this, companies are using various tactics, such as mandatory office days, free meals and drinks, access to a gym, onsite wellbeing days, more onsite social events, subsidized transport, and access to in-person counseling.

Debra Clark, head of wellbeing at Towergate Health & Protection, noted that incentivizing employees to return to the office will require a careful mix of incentives and health and wellbeing support. Many companies have already begun offering wider health and wellbeing support based at the workplace, but with hybrid working becoming the norm, these benefits will need to work harder to encourage people to return to the office.

In addition to motivating employees to return to the office, health and wellbeing support will be essential for those who continue to work from home. Working from home can lead to various health and wellbeing concerns, including musculoskeletal issues, mental health pressures, and financial strains. To address these concerns, support may include virtual physio appointments, online counseling, and financial education, as well as access to face-to-face support.

Clark concludes that as working styles continue to evolve, employers must also widen their health and wellbeing offerings to match. This includes a range of options covering all aspects of health and wellbeing, and varied communication methods to ensure all employees can access the support they need.

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83% of tech talent want to see a 4-day week introduced

Over three quarters of tech talent in the UK are unhappy in their current jobs and actively seeking out new roles, according to a new report. 

 The What Do Tech Talent Want in 2023 report, by hackajob, Europe’s biggest technology talent hub,  surveyed over 1,000 UK technology workers from developers and engineers, to data scientists, analysts and designers. According to the report, only 11% of UK tech talent are content to stay in their current role and there is a concerning disparity between what most UK employers are positioning as benefits and perks to attract and retain talent, and what talent actually want.  

  Key report findings: 

  • 77% of tech talent are unhappy with their roles and have looked for a new job in the past six months  
  • 20% of tech talent are ready to leave their jobs as soon as possible.  
  • After compensation, candidates are most attracted to a role and organisation by the overall culture (15%) and mission (13%)  
  • 44% said what they loved most about their employer was company culture followed by flexible/remote working (13%) 
  • 61% say remote working is the aspect tech talent enjoy most about their jobs, ranking above tech stack (34%), benefits (25%) and location (21%) 
  • The biggest work-related frustrations and challenges include salary (34%), lack of learning and development (32%) and not feeling valued (32%) 

  There is a lot more employers can do to attract, engage and retain tech talent; 

  • 83% of tech talent want to see a 4-day week introduced  
  • Working on their own terms is highly important to tech talent – remote working (61%), flexible working (57%) and location (21%) are amongst some of highest aspects to why they enjoy their current roles  

  Mark Chaffey, CEO and co-founder of hackajob, says: “Thanks to a global pandemic, a shaky economy and multiple layoffs, the report reveals a marked shift in technology industry attitudes towards job satisfaction. New priorities, new ways of working and changing relationships with work are leading to a brand new set of frustrations in the workplace. Employees want to be heard, recognised and valued. 

  “With former perks such as flexible working now being seen as the norm, many companies are seemingly struggling to figure out what the new era of benefits means for their business. The gap between what companies are offering, and what tech workers want is causing unrest at a time when there’s no shortage of alternative job openings out there.” 

Read the full ‘What Do Tech Talent Want In 2023’ report here 

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36% women ponder quitting jobs for unequal opportunities.

A new report highlights the growing gender gap in technology –  especially at senior levels of leadership.   

 Skillsoft released its 2023 Women in Tech Report, exploring the top challenges and areas of opportunity for women working in the technology industry. The report cited a shortage of women in senior technology roles – despite demand for professional development and career growth. 

Widespread tech layoffs are disproportionately affecting women and high-profile departures of women tech leaders continue. 

  Key findings of the survey:  

  • 45% of women in tech are outnumbered by men in the workplace by ratios of 4:1 or greater. 
  • 15% of men with 26+ years of tech experience hold executive leadership positions, compared to 4% of women with equal levels of experience 
  • 30% of female technologists report dissatisfaction with their current growth potential  
  • 36% are considering leaving their jobs due to a lack of equity in opportunities 
  • 28% of female technologists were satisfied with their jobs compared to 44% in 2021.  

 Career growth remains a top priority for female technologists and 92% said professional development and training were an extremely important benefit. When asked how employers can best support them, their top responses were; 

  • Providing professional development and training 
  • More coaching and career counselling 
  • Equitable pay 

 Additionally, female technologists are seeking opportunities to build leadership skills and move into senior roles.  They are interested in upskilling in analytics, AI, and machine learning, project management and cybersecurity. 

 Orla Daly, Chief Information Officer of Skillsoft said: “Despite the efforts of organisations to make diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace a priority, our research shows that the gender gap remains quite wide and significant work is needed to achieve true parity at all levels.” 

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Glassdoor Study: Working from Home and the Future of Work

Glassdoor and Indeed’s Workplace Trends 2023 report provides insights into how employees across different seniority levels and occupations rate their experiences with working from home. The report shows that despite some challenges, employees are largely satisfied with working from home and that it is a highly valued benefit. Glassdoor reviews demonstrate that working from home has consistently received high ratings, with a 10% increase in the share of reviews discussing remote work at the start of the pandemic in 2020.

However, the report also highlights that entry-level workers have the lowest work from home rating compared to mid-senior, director level, and executive roles. This may be because remote work can make it difficult for entry-level workers to establish a solid footing in new organizations. The report suggests that there is still work to be done to ensure that entry-level employees receive the necessary support, resources, and opportunities to be as satisfied with remote work as their more-experienced peers.

The report also indicates that employers risk losing talent that prefers remote over in-person work if they do not offer flexible work arrangements. The research shows that companies that continue to offer working from home as a benefit in the post-pandemic era will largely be doing so by choice rather than necessity. Additionally, the report suggests that companies that offer remote work will be more attractive to workers, and retention risks are likely elevated for the roles most satisfied with working from home.

Overall, the report suggests that remote work is a highly valued benefit and that companies need to consider the preferences of their employees when making decisions about work arrangements. While remote work can bring challenges, it also offers a range of positive impacts, from more scheduling flexibility and productivity to fewer commuting hours and microaggressions in the workplace

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14% of employees are concerned about a recession

New data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that inflation, while slightly cooler compared to last month, is still running at a high pace. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all items rose 6% for the 12 months ending in February before seasonal adjustment. This is down from the 6.4% annual gain observed in January. The CPI rose 0.4% in February after increasing 0.5% in January, with shelter accounting for more than 70% of the increase. The food, recreation, and household furnishings and operations indexes also contributed to the increase.

Excluding food and energy, core inflation rose 0.5% in February after rising 0.4% in January, the BLS said. Despite the slight decrease in inflation, the data indicates that it is still extremely problematic, causing fears among consumers about unrelenting high costs and other financial pressures. Persistent inflation has taken its toll on most factors of employees’ lives, including their emergency savings, retirement contributions, and mental health.

Real average hourly earnings decreased 1.3% from February 2022 to February 2023, and the change in real average hourly earnings combined with a decrease of 0.6% in the average workweek resulted in a 1.9% decrease in real average weekly earnings over this period, the BLS reported separately on Tuesday.

In addition, other financial pressures like the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, America’s 16th largest commercial bank, on Friday, have caused fears among investors about whether a broader banking meltdown is imminent.

According to Telus Health, a Vancouver-based healthcare firm, more than one-third (36%) of employees are concerned about inflation, and 14% are concerned about a recession. The latest index surveyed 5,000 U.S. workers.

Paula Allen, Global Leader of Research and Total Wellbeing at Telus Health, a Vancouver, British Columbia-based health care firm said: “We don’t feel a sense of control over this inflation. This financial risk impacts our mental health: are we going to pay for groceries? Do we need to cut back on health expenses? It’s not a small thing. It erodes our emergency savings as well, which is a big thing—having that cushion is a big, big thing for mental wellbeing.”

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