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Our Guide to Employee Retention in the UK

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Our Guide to Employee Retention in the UK

The UK job market is currently facing unprecedented challenges as the Great Resignation continues to disrupt industries and organisations across the country. This phenomenon has been fuelled by a combination of factors, including the pandemic, evolving employee expectations, and shifts in the work landscape. For employers, the task of retaining valuable staff has become more critical than ever. As a leading recruitment partner, we understand the concerns of employers in the UK and are here to provide consultative insights on how to navigate the Great Resignation and ensure your organisation remains competitive in the talent market.

Undoubtedly, the pandemic provided both the incentive and the opportunity for many to contemplate their next career move. The surge in remote and flexible work arrangements transformed the traditional office-based paradigm, prompting numerous businesses to undertake a complete overhaul of their operational strategies.

As the initial shockwaves of the pandemic settled, the profound shifts it introduced began to reverberate throughout the job market. Between April and June 2021, a noteworthy 3.2% of UK workers opted to change their employment, and by 2022, 43% of those surveyed expressed their likelihood to seek new opportunities within the year. This phenomenon, now recognised as The Great Resignation, compelled companies to revisit their work methodologies, benefits, and corporate culture in order to retain their top-performing employees.

At Thorn Baker, we keenly felt the repercussions of this transformation, as we assist clients in industries significantly affected by the shortage of skills and candidates.

As we approach 2024, and the cost-of-living crisis continues to take its toll on the UK, it's crucial for businesses to re-evaluate their operations and proactively address staff concerns while investing in the overall well-being of their workplace. This proactive approach can help mitigate the costly effects of frequent employee turnover.

With this in mind, we've assessed the key challenges facing employers in the UK and identified strategies to tackle them:

Remote/Flexible Work Preferences: While the conventional wisdom has often emphasised the importance of in-house collaboration for fostering unity and a vibrant atmosphere, many employees and candidates now prioritise roles that offer flexibility. A MIT Sloan article from January 2022 revealed that flexible working arrangements are 1.5 times more predictive of retention than salary, underlining the changing landscape of workplace preferences. Microsoft's research also revealed that over 50% of UK employees currently enjoying a hybrid work setup would contemplate leaving their jobs if the option for flexible working were eliminated.

Wellbeing and Mental Health: Employee wellbeing has taken centre stage of late. Companies that prioritise mental health and provide support to their workforce will likely have a better chance of retaining talent. A staggering 84% of working adults agree that substantial employee turnover adversely affects productivity and workplace morale. This, in turn, can significantly strain working conditions and overall organisational culture, perpetuating the challenges of The Great Resignation. Establishing a positive environment, however, fosters a healthier work-life balance, thereby preventing staff from being pushed to the brink of burnout.

Career Advancement: Employees are more willing to leave their current roles in search of better opportunities for growth. Employers should invest in training and development to keep their staff engaged, whether through work-place apprenticeships and qualifications or CPD (Continual Professional Development) to upskill in existing roles.

Benefits: Nowadays, a competitive salary alone is no longer the sole enticing factor when considering a job. In fact, alongside the growing desire for flexible work arrangements, there is a rising demand for additional annual leave, team events and employee benefits such as free healthcare, gym memberships, or subscriptions. Essentially, in this present era where expenses seem to be mounting, the allure of receiving something for free holds a special appeal.

As a recruitment agency, we recognise the importance of offering consultative services to help employers face these challenges. We work with employers to develop customised strategies that address their specific workforce needs. This includes helping employers understand the current compensation trends so they can offer competitive salaries and benefits to keep their staff satisfied.

Additionally, preparing for employee departures is a critical aspect of retention. We assist in developing recruitment plans that ensure the continuity of critical roles within the organisation. We provide a pipeline of potential candidates to help employers address potential staffing gaps. Our expertise in matching talent to the unique needs of our clients ensures a smooth transition when replacing departed employees.

To retain valuable staff in this evolving landscape, employers should focus on addressing the factors driving employee turnover. As a recruitment specialist, we are committed to offering consultative guidance tailored to the unique demands of the UK job market. By understanding the current issues and implementing the right strategies, employers can weather the storm of the Great Resignation and continue to thrive in the competitive talent market.

 If you're looking for further guidance or specific solutions, don't hesitate to contact our team of experts.