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Happy Employees are Productive Employees

Employee engagement directly impacts a business’s attraction and retention strategy. Engaged employees are happy employees. In today’s job market employers should be doing all they can to attract and retain top talent. But what is it that makes workers happy?

Flexibility matters

With individuals now able to work effectively from home, on the move, share jobs and work the hours that suit them, the relationship between the workplace and the employee has fundamentally changed.

The UK government estimates that flexible working will contribute £475 million to the economy within the first ten years of introducing a flexible working policy.

Our own research from our Market Insights 2017 Report, based off a survey of over 2,000 employers and employees, highlights how important flexible working is for jobseekers – 10% report that it is the most important factor when considering a new role. However, the report also suggests that employers are listening to employee demands, as 59% of companies report increasing flexible working this year compared to 48% in the previous year.

Train your talent

A skills shortage has arisen due to the fact that only a small percentage of the labour pool have the necessary qualifications and experience to match business needs. In fact, research released by the UK Government highlights that economic growth during the previous four years has been met by a noticeable shortage of talent. So much so that, since 2012, skills shortages rose by 130 per cent.

With this in mind, our Market Insights 2017 Report revealed that the majority of employees are dissatisfied with the training they receive – despite the fact that training could potentially address the issue of talent poverty. The report found that 67 per cent of staff across the nation are unhappy with the training offered by their employer. It also found that 3 per cent of employees received no training at all, and 17% had to request training themselves, statistics which conflict with the calls from businesses for more qualified labour.

Your environment is essential

The workplace has witnessed great change. The once closed off, traditional cubicle layout is a rarity in businesses today. Instead, an open-plan layout has been widely adopted with more communal areas to encourage collaboration and less ‘corner offices’.

For prospective employees, the workplace might be their first impression of the business and could sway candidates in favour of choosing one company over another. We found that 64 per cent of people believe that their work environment is more important than a benefits package. In other words, people are in favour of sleeping pods and snooker tables over health insurance and a pension.

Happy employees are productive employees

2017 has seen an increase in the value placed on the working environment and company culture, while benefits packages lose steam once again. Our research shows that just 5% of employees say their benefits package has the most impact on their satisfaction, while 30% say company culture, and 27% the working environment. As expected, pay & rewards tops the list once again at 38% of responses - something employers should keep in mind, as 42% of employers believe the remuneration package they offer employees is average or below average.

The overwhelming minority vote for the benefits package highlights how stagnant employers are towards maintaining a modern and attractive benefits package. As it stands, employers don’t fully understand what candidates want and what will keep them happy. Companies need to ensure they are benchmarking salaries and routinely updating their packages.

With these insights in mind, companies should look to beat the skills shortage by improving training processes, reconsidering their flexible working practices and improving the working environment for their employees in order to retain their star workers and attract new talent.