The Importance of Employee Retention in a Post-Brexit World

BlogBusiness Evolution Posted: Monday 18th March 2019 by

It seems that no corner of the modern UK workforce is left untouched by Brexit. Tech, hospitality, policing, education, social care, banking and finance, manufacturing, accountancy; almost every industry across Europe is currently holding its breath.

Although today’s uncertainty may discourage those who might be looking to move into a new role, a new-found confidence (or further insecurities) could be on the cards in a post-Brexit world. That’s why now is the perfect time to implement employee retention strategies to make sure your business can hold on to it’s best and brightest.  

Employee retention doesn’t need to cost the earth

According to the CIPD, around half of employers who employ EU nationals have reported an increase in feelings of insecurity amongst their EU workforce. And, with one in ten experiencing a decrease in the recruitment of EU nationals since the referendum result, businesses must now invest more than even in building inclusive and skilled workforces.

For smaller businesses without large budgets and L&D teams, this may seem like an impossible task. Employee retention strategies, however, have moved beyond more than just cash incentives and pay rises. Smart employers now recognise the genuine needs of their workforce and implement incentives to ensure these needs are met.   

Flexible working, job security, appreciation, a toxic-free workplace, career development, and access to modern technology are among some of the things that employees want. So, to ensure your business remains top-of-mind as a post-Brexit employer of choice, it’s time to start giving your people what they need.

Cut out the toxicity and micro-management

One of the top reasons employees leave their jobs is because they have a terrible boss or they work in toxic environment. More often than not, toxic culture stems from one central source and then spreads like wildfire. Therefore, one of the most important things you can do for the future of your business and for the happiness and motivation of your entire workforce, is to cut out the thing that’s making everyone’s life a misery.

Recently, motivational businessman, Gary Vaynerchuck (aka Gary Vee) released a video explaining the importance of ‘internal feelings’ and company culture, and how human element will drive business to the next level. One of the key points Vaynerchuck makes is that for a company to compete, the CEO must focus on culture, and start caring about their people.

Of course, from a UK HR perspective, it would be irresponsible to take Vaynerchuck’s advice and fire your most toxic employee without offering a chance for improvement and following the correct protocols.    

Revisit your flexible working policies

A study by HSBC has found that nine out of ten employees consider flexible working to be the biggest workplace motivator. Flexible working tops almost every list of the things most desired by today’s workforce, more so than financial reward.

The benefits of flexible working practices on employee retention are profound. And, businesses can look beyond simply flexing start and finish times to fit in with employee lifestyles. Other areas of flexible working to consider could include:

** Part-time working

** Working remotely / working from home

** Job sharing

** Flexible contracts

** Compressed hours

Invest in your brand pride

It’s not just consumer behaviour where the western world is seeing a fundamental shift towards ethical products and services. We’re living in an age where social activism is no longer reserved for the fringes of society, generation Z is entering the workforce, and ethical sourcing/sustainability is a major focus for many of the world’s top employers.

Employees are choosing to work for socially responsible brands and companies with a conscience are winning the retention battle. To demonstrate how your company can compete, it’s important to start finding out how you can fit in:

** Set up employee volunteering programmes

** Become more involved in the local community

** Take a positive stand on issues such as diversity and quality, edicaiton, health or the environment

** Designate a charity that your company can support

Alleviate the boredom

According to a survey of 382 office workers, 28% feel unchallenged and spend over a quarter (10.5 hours) of their working week feeling bored at work. Boredom at work can lead to loss in productivity, depression and anxiety, neglection of duties, and inevitably, moving on to a company that offers something more interesting to do.

Although an element of boredom is natural in most jobs, there are things your company can do to help to ease the irritating feelings of boredom and boost morale: Look for ways to automate repetitive tasks.

** Make office and communal spaces more fun.

** Add an element of gamification and healthy competition into the workplace.

** Involve staff of all levels and from different departments in creative brainstorming sessions.

** Encourage open communication between colleagues, including the leadership team.

** Give them something to look forward to — refocus breaks, team building, work outings.

Boredom also sets in when your people are not operating at maximum capacity. This is not to say that they need to feel overloaded (that brings with it a whole new set of challenges), rather they should feel challenged in their work.

Offering opportunities for advancement and development can be hugely rewarding and help to breathe new life back into an old routine. Training courses will help to upskill and cross-skill your staff. And, fostering a culture of internal promotion, or opportunities to work in different areas of the business, will help to skyrocket employee retention and productivity.

Hire the right people, right from the start

With Brexit presenting challenges that most of us may not be prepared for, is it time for HR to become the proactive voice? HR and hiring managers must be willing to adapt and face the challenges of talent and retention head-on. And this starts with the fundamentals of recruitment. It is simply no longer acceptable for a company of any size to work from relaxed — or non-existent — recruitment practices. Getting it right, right from the very start will prevent catastrophic failures for your business and your staff in the coming months and years.

For businesses that are serious about competing in a candidate-driven market, there are several places to start.

Sort out your employer brand

According to a recent LinkedIn survey, more than 75% of candidates will research your company reputation, ethics, and employer brand before they apply for your jobs. A strong employer brand will help to set you apart from your competitors.

Pay attention to your candidate experience
The way your company handles the cradle-to-grave experience given to your candidates from the moment they learn of your vacancies right through the hiring decision, will make a difference to how they feel about joining your business. Offer an exceptional candidate experience.

Get on board with social recruiting

Around 73% of 18-34 year olds found their last job through social media. It’s time to stop thinking traditionally and start implementing social recruiting into your recruitment strategy.

Structured interviewing

While informal chats over a coffee are a great way to put prospective candidates at ease, structured interviews offer objectiveness and formalised candidate comparison. What’s more, should your company be accused of unfair or discriminatory recruitment practices, structured interviews offer legal evidence when you need it most.

However you choose to go about it, employee retention strategies are crucial if your business wants to attract and retain the best talent in a candidate-driven, technologically-savvy world with many political, cultural and economical changes on the horizon. Employee retention should be at the top of agenda for every HR manager in Britain today.

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