HomeBusinessMoneyIs communication the key to retaining talent amongst current economic turmoil?

Is communication the key to retaining talent amongst current economic turmoil?

Waiters may be in short supply but recruitment in many higher-paid jobs remains sluggish
© Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Whilst UK employers are still struggling to attract and retain talent, the messaging accompanying the latest interest rate rise from the Bank of England is a tad more optimistic than many were expecting.

The Bank of England predicted the UK might avoid the mild recession forecast for later in the year and may see slight growth in the months ahead. That may be little comfort for families struggling with runaway inflation of 10.4 per cent as per the latest figures. In an attempt to tame the soaring cost of living, the Bank raised interest rates from 4 per cent to 4.25 per cent, the highest level in 14 years.

Still, the Bank of England indicated that it expected the cost of living “to fall sharply over the rest of the year”, due to the UK government extending the energy bill grant in the Spring Budget to June to help maintain typical household bills at £2,500 a year. In addition, wholesale gas prices have come down, which the government hopes will also help tackle inflation.

Another factor contributing to the soaring cost of living is wage growth, which is linked to the worker shortages that Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has talked about previously. The Chancellor has urged millions who have left the workforce early during the pandemic to return.

The fact that workers are unwilling to return despite the cost of living pressures should give employers and the government something to think about. New research by Alight, a cloud-based human capital services provider, suggests that one way to improve staff engagement is to improve perceptions of workplace benefits in a number of ways.

In a report published by Alight, the company surveyed 1,400 employees and 420 mid-sized to large employers across France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom to understand the differences between employers’ and employees’ priorities and needs regarding benefits.

According to the findings, more than half (57 per cent) of UK employers believe they understand what benefits their employees want, whereas only 38 per cent of employees say their benefits are actually meeting their needs.

Additionally, more than three-quarters (77 per cent) of UK employers insist their benefits go beyond local requirements, while just over a third (34 per cent) of employees believe their companies offer substantial benefits beyond those required by local legislation.

In addition to genuine room for improvement in the provision of benefits, the research suggests that simply improving communication around benefits may increase employee satisfaction on this score.

In fact, the report shows that almost three-quarters (71 per cent) of UK employees think ongoing communication will help them to understand their benefits better.

The study also found that omnichannel communication solutions, such as those using SMS, apps and shared hubs, as well as automated tools like chatbots, can be an effective way to create more transparency between the employee and employer. Additionally, 63 per cent of employees also believe that individual advice sessions, based on personal needs, is another method that could improve communication in the workplace.

Based on these findings, Jan Pieter Janssen, Vice President of Business Development at Alight, observed that employers need to take a proactive approach to ensure each employee’s unique needs are met through the provision of an “integrated, personalised and technology-driven experience”.

He went on to explain, “This will help to improve the awareness and utilisation of benefit programmes, drive greater returns on investment for employers, enhance the overall employee wellbeing, and ultimately help to attract and retain talents now and in the future.”

Research by whenworkworks.org, a blog featuring HR software reviews & HR best practices, supports the findings above. The organisation conducted a study into factors that increase staff turnover, and the finding sheds light on ten factors in particular:

  • Uneven Workloads
  • Poor Work Culture
  • Poor Management and Leadership
  • Lack of Communication
  • Lack of Recognition and Credit
  • Fewer Opportunities for Growth
  • Abuse and Discrimination
  • Lack of Balance in Work-life
  • Boredom
  • Workplace Politics

A number of the above link into the issues around inadequate communication also highlighted by Alight’s research. As such, improvement in communication is low-hanging fruit that is important for organisations to address if they are to hang on to vital talent in the challenging economic environment currently prevailing not only in the UK but worldwide.

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