According to research conducted by Willis Towers Watson, companies across the UK are facing challenges with recruiting and retaining staff.
The Great Resignation
Titled The Great Resignation, the survey of 160 HR leaders in October 2021 discovered that 77% were experiencing problems finding and retaining staff, leading experts to advise firms to focus on what employees need and want.
When asked if they were having no problems hiring candidates and retaining staff, only 2% could indicate that this was the case. 19% felt like they were not struggling just yet but may do shortly.
Pay appears to be the most contentious issue for staff, with 76% of leaders stating their team believes they could find a higher salary elsewhere. It is not the only motivating factor for staff to leave for greener pastures, with 64% of employers going due to their company providing poor career development opportunities and direction.
Stephanie Rudbeck, Senior Director at Willis Towers Watson, said: “Listening to the organisations which are working with us, we are hearing more and more about people’s desire to do something completely different.” She continued to say, “People are questioning what they are doing, taking stock, reflecting on their lives, and thinking about what is next.”
John Bremen, Willis Towers Watson’s Global Head of Thought Leadership and Innovation, said, “In these uncertain times, it’s important to keep listening to employees. What drove people before the pandemic may not drive them today. People’s needs have changed, as have demographics.” He advised companies to not “assume that what brought them to work before or during the pandemic will bring them to work after it.”
Jonathan Boys, CIPD’s Labour Market Economist, said, “With low unemployment and the labour market remaining tight, there are currently fewer candidates looking for available roles, which makes recruitment difficult for some.” He continued to say, “Employers need to make sure their employment offer is competitive, looking at a range of benefits beyond salary, such as flexible working options.” He predicts there will be more resignations in the future.
In reflection on the poll’s questions, 58% of HR leaders say hybrid working and increased flexibility appear to be the most attractive recruitment and retention tool. At the same time, only half felt increasing pay and benefits would help. 63% felt firms need to implement clear career opportunities to attract talented candidates.
MetLife’s Re:Me report, which surveyed 900 employees, revealed further insights into the pull and push factors motivating them to resign or remain in their current job.
71% said their employers have a social responsibility to them, while 70% said they would work harder if their company made them feel their job was secure. 63% of employees now prioritise health and well-being, while 61% say the work-life balance is crucial.
Adrian Matthews, MetLife’s Employee Benefits Director, said “The pandemic had changed the priorities and values of employees.” He says, “Employers can’t afford for their best talent to walk away, especially in cases where they could have done something to stop it.” He recommends that companies acknowledge how employees’ needs have shifted over the past year, with benefits essential to long-term loyalty and performance protection.
Pay continues to attract talent, but long-term loyalty can only be achieved by caring for employees’ mental, physical, and emotional well-being.