The return to work after the festive period can leave many employees struggling to get motivated. The excitement of Christmas is over, New Year celebrations seem a distant memory and many are left contemplating what the year ahead may hold. Not surprisingly, data has shown that the hunt for a new job ramps up at the start of the year, with nearly half (46%) of the UK’s working population likely to re-evaluate their career in mid-January, according to research by Arden.
The findings revealed several drivers behind employees’ desire to look elsewhere, with salary as one of the top reasons to change jobs (34%). But while offering a fair, competitive salary may rank highly, there are other important factors at play too. Over a quarter (26%) cited a lack of recognition and nearly a third (30%) said the level of stress in their current job made them want to leave. The results also found 27% felt unsupported by their current employer while 22% bemoaned a lack of flexible working opportunities.
A business’ most prized asset is its workforce, but finding talented individuals is only half the equation; retaining your workforce is crucial. At a time when so many employees may be feeling deflated, businesses need to get the year off to positive start by putting in place strategies that will keep staff motivated, engaged and made to feel valued.
Make benefits count
With the offer of a new job often comes the chance to negotiate a better benefits package. A 2017 employee benefits guide by Glassdoor found as many as 57% of candidates reported that perks and benefits were among their top considerations when accepting a new job, so it’s important that employers ensure their own benefits package is competitive.
Businesses should evaluate what’s currently on offer and also ask their staff for feedback on what works for them and if there’s anything missing. Employee needs and demands evolve over time, so what may once have appealed to staff may no longer hold the same attraction. Plus, benefits need to appeal to all generations.
By listening to staff and understanding their individual needs, companies will be in a much better position to build a benefits package that really works for them and helps keep employees feeling positive about their job and the wider company.[ms-protect-content id=”9932″]
Understand career paths
If staff feel like they’re not making any progress, or their skills and talents are not identified, it can make work feel monotonous and uninspiring. Regularly checking in with employees and talking to them about which aspects of their job they enjoy, what they would change if they could, and where they see themselves headed will show that the company is invested in their future and will help employees thrive.
However, it’s worth remembering that while employees may want to expand or increase their skillset and responsibilities, they may have little interest in becoming a manager. It’s important that companies offer flexible career paths where people are given the option of future development without having to take the traditional route.
Ultimately, the goal should be to develop a plan for all employees that will allow them to visualise their career path and fulfil their goals at their current company, rather than look elsewhere.
Research by Totaljobs found that as many as two in three workers left their job due to a lack of learning and development opportunities – and as many as nine out of 10 workers want their employer to make more training courses available.
These figures speak volumes about the desire among employees to upskill. A structured L&D programme can therefore go a long way in keeping staff motivated and engaged, as it demonstrates to employees that the company truly values their personal development and progress.
Businesses with a strong learning culture boast employee engagement and retention rates that are 30-50% higher than those that don’t, but the key is to make sure that the training on offer is engaging and appealing to the modern worker.
With employees often juggling various tasks, it may not always be convenient for them to attend classroom-based away days. Giving employees the chance to shadow senior co-workers or spend time working with other teams to master new skills can also be a great way of helping them develop.
Prepare for industry 4.0
Technology is moving at a rapid pace and businesses simply can’t afford to be left behind. Most companies don’t currently have enough staff with the right skills to understand and work with technologies like AI and machine learning, with a lot of this knowledge limited to the IT department.
However, businesses need to be fully prepared for these changes before they really take hold – and that means training staff. By choosing to upskill current employees, rather than looking to source new candidates with specialised skills, companies can retain their own workforce while creating new and exciting learning opportunities for them.
By choosing to invest in their own staff, employers are making a statement that they value their employees’ contribution and see them as an important part of the company’s future growth.
Encourage work-life balance
The desire to change jobs isn’t always about work. The start of the New Year often comes with a raft of New Year’s resolutions, and the daily grind of their current job may make these new commitments even harder or less appealing.
Employers should therefore be mindful of external demands that employees may be dealing with and looking at ways to support them. Arden’s survey showed that employees who were not on the look-out for new opportunities ranked work-life balance as the number one factor that kept them in their current job.
Encouraging employee happiness and reducing stress could include a range of options – from offering workplace yoga and wellness programmes to providing more flexible working practices. Research published by Mercer found that 51% of employees wished their company offered more flexible working options, and this can be particularly important for parents who are trying to balance work with childcare commitments.
In a nutshell, the New Year doesn’t have to be a time of employee turnover; businesses should make it their New Year’s resolution to create a more positive work environment by putting strategies in place that will keep staff excited and motivated for the next 12 months and beyond.[/ms-protect-content]
About the Author
Aliya started her HR career in 1996 and co-founded JourneyHR in 2010. Aliya has predominantly worked in the communications industry reporting in at board level at Aegis Media, Naked Communications, Media Planning Group and lastminute.com. She applies commercial focus and business psychology to HR and continues to influence business owners in the marketing and communications industry on innovative people practices.