A talent shortage is impacting some sectors across the UK economy, and this has only been worsened by the large number of employees who are leaving their jobs and seeking new opportunities. The reasons for these resignations are numerous, from career re-evaluations in the wake of the pandemic, to talent poaching by rapidly expanding companies, to higher salary expectations amid candidate scarcity.

The upshot of this trend is clear: if you are an employer or a line manager, you need to be thinking about how to keep your top performers. But retaining your stars will require close attention to multiple different elements of your employer value proposition (EVP)

Now, more than ever, organisations must secure their workforce with effective employee retention strategies.

So, how do you develop an EVP strategy that keeps your staff bought into your vision? We conducted a survey of 5,000 UK workers across various sectors to find the answer to these questions. Here, we share some of the key insights, as well as strategies to keep your best employees.

Retain employees with competitive salaries

In the UK, while pay growth is expected to slow, employers are still expected to give average pay rises of 5%, according to Reuters. Of course, some of these pay rises may be offset by recent cost-of-living increases – only enhancing the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ thinking, making higher salaries with new employers more appealing. In fact, our recent candidate survey revealed 50% of respondents are seeking a new role for increased pay.

Given the recent years of economic turbulence, it’s hardly surprising this trend has emerged. Employers need to take proactive steps to remain competitive, leveraging up-to-the-minute salary benchmarking to adjust compensation packages. Leaders will also need to foster trust through clear communication of progression opportunities.

Analysing the data, Doug Rode, Managing Director for UK and Ireland at Michael Page, commented:

The economic landscape is creating a challenging hiring outlook for candidates and clients. This trajectory that hiring will continue to tie in with the economic outlook is something we expect to see throughout 2024 – especially when it comes to salary. Candidates are nervous to move due to uncertainty around job security.

With nearly half (45%) of survey respondents saying a counteroffer would persuade them to stay at their current employer, leveraging extensive salary data could be key to retaining top talent. At Michael Page, we keep close track of average salaries in different sectors and regions of the country. To find out what you need to be paying your employees to remain competitive and retain your workers, check out our 2024 salary guides.

Embrace flexibility

The meaning of flexible working is evolving. It's no longer confined to just working from home or the office; it now encompasses flexible start and finish times, as well as the freedom to work from various locations worldwide. This shift marks a profound change in how we approach work, granting individuals greater autonomy and adaptability in their professional lives.

In a post-pandemic world, to offer these benefits is no longer the exception, but the rule. On this, Doug said:

Aside from salary, we’re seeing workers across the UK want to start anew this year to gain an improved work-life balance and develop new skills. As a result, businesses must look beyond the numbers and ensure they’re offering a holistic package to ensure talent – existing and new – feel safe, secure, and most of all, motivated.

Of course, ways of working differ drastically between different sectors. In technology, remote working was commonplace even before the pandemic, whereas in a sector like manufacturing, fully remote working is essentially impossible for many roles.

Nonetheless, the results of a recent Page Pulse survey pointed to a strong preference for hybrid working across many sectors, including traditionally more inflexible ones.

For example, among candidates who were looking for new roles:

  • Unsurprisingly, 60% are eager to receive flexible start and finish times.
  • Following suit, 44% would leave their current job for the opportunity to work a four-day working week.
  • And a further 40% want to move in search of better work-life balance.

Although salary continues to be the key driver of resignations and job acceptances, flexibility is still essential to attracting top talent and differentiating your organisation from the next. For this reason, employers that don’t offer flexible working will be in danger of losing their best people to competitors who are willing to make these allowances.

Evaluate the employee experience

Keeping your people engaged and happy has always been important, but never more so than in a hybrid working world. When the whole team is in the office, it is far easier to see who might be struggling or losing motivation.

But when your employees are spending a substantial amount of their time working remotely, it can be more challenging to keep track of their attitude, their contentment, and their commitment to their work.

Here are a few things that can make a big difference when it comes to employee retention and help you retain those key team members that you don’t want to lose:

  • Provide training and development opportunities, including accreditations and certifications which will help your people progress in their careers.
  • A troubling 28% of Page Pulse respondents felt a lack of progression opportunities acted as a barrier to their development, and a further 25% cited a need for clearer expectations. Make sure to offer a clear progression roadmap to motivate them, and a personal development plan to give them clear, positive actions.
  • Conduct ‘stay interviews’ with high-performing employees. These conversations offer a great opportunity to uncover what motivates employees and builds trust. Learn what employees like about their role, or what they would like to change to help them thrive.
  • Create a culture of recognition. Don’t underestimate the impact this can have. In our survey, a quarter of candidates looking for a new role said they didn’t get the recognition they deserved in their current role.

How can Page Personnel help your business?

At Page Personnel, our consultants work closely with leading businesses to help them with all their talent needs, including attraction, retention, and development in a competitive market. To arrange an introductory conversation, get in touch with us.

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