By Helen Law
According to data, the employment rate for people aged 16-64 was down to 75.7% in the last quarter. As employment levels dip, it is important to keep in mind what is needed to keep your staff happy and in their jobs.
Helen Law, Senior Client Service Director at Jumar, says:
“You need to be bringing people together in your business to see any success. Your business likely runs on the people you employ, so making sure they’re happy means considering not only their professional but also their personal lives.
“Unhappy employees can lead to sudden spikes in turnover, inconsistency across the business, and a lack of communication and productivity. By investing in your employees and their skills, you can foster a better working environment.”
Skill gap hires
Talent acquisition is crucial to secure the correct members of your team. You want to ensure that you’re hiring the right people for the right jobs so that your current employees benefit from the new hire.
If you have a current skills gap, focusing on this as an area of recruitment can help strengthen your teams, bringing fresh knowledge into the company and ensuring you have the right people, resources, and skills to achieve your goals in the coming year.
Helen says: “If you knowingly have a skills gap in your business, you could be putting additional stress on existing team members and ultimately losing valuable income. Ensuring you’re hiring the best people for the positions means your team can be more productive, but additionally can bring skills and growth opportunities to your wider workforce.”
Hiring to fill your skill gap doesn’t only ensure you’ve got the right skills on your team, but it can also provide more opportunities for other staff to be trained in a new skill area.
Invest in development
Today, employees are often seeking more than simply doing their day-to-day tasks at work. Instead, they’re looking to enhance their skills and advance professionally. In fact, 70% of employees surveyed wanted to upskill last year. With such an appetite for growth, it is essential for you to proactively invest in your employees’ development by providing training and upskilling opportunities, which in turn can foster both individual and organisational growth.
Whether you’re hiring consultant-level workers into your business to nurture the growing skills of your teams or you’re investing in spending time training new staff on your processes, ensuring everyone across the business has access to growth opportunities can lead to a happier workforce.
Helen Continues: “If you have the right skills in the company, training your staff and encouraging growth opportunities becomes a much easier process. Whether it is upskilling in the specific business area or making sure you have the resources to allow your staff time to train in other areas, supporting professional development at all levels is key.”
According to data, 51% of long-term sick leave is due to stress, depression, and anxiety – with the effects of burnout causing staff to take time off to recover. Burnout can represent itself in many ways, but some of the common themes include helplessness, cynicism, and a loss of motivation. Employers should be able to recognise these symptoms and act quickly to help understand how to improve the situation for their employees.
Confidence is important when it comes to reducing stress and burnout. It is important to make sure your staff are well equipped and trained to perform any tasks they are given. Open communication and transparency can help address worries quickly, as well as keep your employees well-informed if their job roles require new tasks.
Helen says: “A well-informed workforce is going to work better than one with poor communication. Keeping your team updated can ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal. By cutting down on unnecessary stress, you can help your staff manage their workload better and provide a more comfortable work environment.”
Embrace workplace wellbeing
In the UK, it is estimated that 1.8 million employees are suffering from work-related illnesses, including mental health problems. Whether this is a physical injury brought on by repetitive strain or stress-related anxiety, focusing on your employee wellbeing can ensure a happier, healthier workforce.
Helen highlights: “An unhealthy workforce can make for a difficult time for everyone. No one wants to find themselves struggling with work, while sick days can cause extra strain on the remaining team members.
Having wellbeing spaces in your workplace can give your employees a break area during the day. These should be work-free zones which encourage social interaction. Incentives such as discounted healthcare or gym memberships can also encourage workers to maintain their mental and physical wellbeing.
Take quitters seriously
“Employees who have handed their notice in can be a great source of information when it comes to how to improve your business. If you’re looking to improve your staff retention, talk to those who are leaving the business.
“Knowing why people are quitting can help you identify areas for improvement within the organisation – whether you need to hire more skilled staff to help with the workload or it is a shift in policy your company needs, past employees could have the answer.”
Not only should you be putting in place measures to ensure future employees don’t leave for the same reasons, but you should also be taking quitters seriously by managing the workload they leave behind.
As discussed earlier, burnout can be a substantial factor in employees considering resignation. Ensuring you have steps in place to handle the extra workload can prevent your teams from burning out quickly.
With what has been termed the “Great Resignation” and younger workforces preferring to choose unemployment over unhappiness in the workplace, it is more vital than ever that employers look into what staff actually want from their jobs. Whether you’re improving growth opportunities or managing burnout, keeping your staff happy is the only way to maintain staff retention.
For more career advice including how to manage a team, click here.