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10th January 2024
Let’s start this off with a bit of a downer… did you know that one of the top 5 regrets of the dying is working too hard? Yes, spending too much time out of the house and in the workplace is up there with many things that a lot of people wish they’d done differently. After all, you only get only life.
Since the breakout of Covid-19 4 years ago, life has never been the same. With the country in multiple lockdowns and a significant chunk of the population placed on furlough or otherwise deemed ‘non-essential’ and needing to stay at home, a part of the UK’s workforce has been MIA for almost two years.
When restrictions were lifted, however, some employers found that not everyone was that keen to get back to work. Why could that be?
Well, at Headway, we suggest that those who were otherwise forced to spend more time at home may have simply got used to it. Remembered what life could have been if it weren’t for that pesky job that they hated going to in the first place!
We think the impact of months at home has got many people thinking, ‘Why should I go back?’ or ‘If I do go back, what do I get out of it?’
This change has caused many to reassess how they spend their time, what work means to them, and how they are valued. As a result, millions of workers are quitting their jobs and choosing not to recommit to clocking in at all.
Some choose part-time work, adjusting spending habits to cope with reduced income, reflecting challenges in UK workplaces. They may cut expenses, quit smoking, or explore budgeting, showing resilience in response to UK workplace issues.
We just read a great article on what really makes a job worthwhile and what drives people depending on what they prioritise for themselves, and it got us thinking…
What is now being termed as the Great Resignation has left employers thinking about how they can retain their existing staff and attract new talent. Going back to work has to be worth it, so here are a few things that you can do to attract new employees and retain existing staff.
Some people want to feel like they are making a difference when they’re coming into work, while others are in it solely for the money, but either way, working has to bring something of value to the person doing the work.
Identify your candidates’ motivation to come to you for a job – is it money, is it the job itself? It’s probably the money. After all, making a difference is nice, but it doesn’t always pay the bills.
Companies like Glassdoor help current and ex-employees shed light on the truth of working for millions of companies worldwide, and low salary is often the biggest complaint. If you want to hang onto workers, you’ll need to pay them well. Offer them competitive salaries and better benefits.
Minimum wage is about to go up again. If your business is doing well, try and pay well above the minimum wage – this will help employees to feel valued. Similarly, you should include your salary ranges on job adverts – be upfront about how much you pay instead of describing your salary as ‘competitive’.
Lastly, pay overtime. It’s practically a dying practice these days, but it would say a lot about your company and your values, and would give your business a great reputation in hiring circles.
One of the reasons workers are quitting their jobs in droves is the poor treatment they receive from employers. A great salary and a fancy title mean nothing if you don’t recognise your employees as people.
To avoid treating your employees like robots, create a relationship with them, acknowledge their contributions, and provide opportunities for them to develop or advance their talents.
The work environment impacts employees’ drive, performance, and mental health. Therefore, creating a positive work environment motivates your employees, leading to higher job satisfaction and better employee retention. While the business itself plays a huge role in creating a comfortable workplace, what really matters is the company culture. So, emphasise employee wellness, foster social connections, and encourage positivity by showing gratitude, as a bare minimum.
Splash out a bit on comfortable seats for your team, and a nice cosy break out area with free snacks and drinks – hungry employees with bad backs are typically neither as happy nor as efficient as they could be! Dot plants around the room – they produce oxygen and may even improve productivity.
Keep the building clean with a professional coming in regularly to make sure that everything is up to standard, hygiene-wise, and give staff access to hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes all throughout the building.
If anything has changed in the average UK office over the last couple of years, it’s been the way we view working from home. Once viewed as the realm of skivers (!) or the very, very lucky only, remote working has really entered the mainstream.
Working from home really opened up a whole realm of possibilities for employees – now they were no longer tied to the office, they could work during any time of the day, flexibly as their needs changed or their living requirements dictated, and reduced the time spent commuting back and forth from work. Remote work options are now a priority for many workers, so the less commute, the better.
If the job was ever done remotely during lockdown, rest assured it can be done remotely still. Where possible, allow your team members a hybrid pattern of days in and days at home. Ideally, allow those who want to work remotely full time to do so. Keep in mind many candidates may now be browsing job adverts with the ability to work from home as their main priority – this may even be of higher importance than salary to some potential employees.
Avoid real-time monitoring like mouse tracking or constant webcam use, as it harms morale, making employees feel spied on.
Similarly, don’t conflate hours logged with quality of work. As the old adage goes, ‘work smart, not hard!’ Home workers often take fewer breaks and sick days, and consequently perform more efficiently.
Workers don’t just expect wages for doing a job – every job comes with a side of benefits, too. What those benefits are are down to you, the employer, but we have a few recommendations of our own here at Headway…
Providing appealing benefits such as health insurance and gym memberships can increase your chances of retaining and attracting employees.
But be careful of what you list as a ‘benefit’ on your job adverts. Astute candidates will recognise that abstract fringe benefits such as ‘networking opportunities’ and ‘chance to prove yourself’ are not genuine job benefits – those are simply side effects of working in a busy environment.
Similarly, maternity leave and paid holidays are not ‘benefits’. They are legal obligations. They certainly should not be framed as anything over than a basic requirement of running a business and employing workers.
Real benefits are tangible – birthdays off, Christmas bonuses, double time on the weekends, and so on.
Remember: If your employees don’t brag about it to their friends, it’s not a benefit!
Finally, there are those almost-mythical reports we hear of bosses trying outlandish things that no one else had ever considered. Want to be attractive to potential employees? Try doing what no other company is doing.
How about a total Summer shutdown? They aren’t just for cleaning and maintenance purposes – they can be great for mental health, too. No one else does it – but so what? You could be a pioneer in your industry!
Monday mornings or Friday afternoons completely off – why not? Rotate the schedule within your workforce, so business continues uninterrupted in the meantime.
What about a four-day week? There have been whispers of the idea here and there over the past few years. A couple of countries have tried it to great success. You don’t have to wait for it to become official in the UK before trying it yourself. Be ahead of the curve!
Personalised employee discounts? Paid commute? Performance bonuses? The list goes on and on. When you want to incentivise your workers into coming to work the sky is the limit!
The power is really with the employee more than ever these days. Of course, more and more people are feeling comfortable enough to say ‘no’ to jobs that aren’t fulfilling them. So keep the standards high and be proud of what you can give your potential team members.