Employers intend to invest in their teams

Two separate surveys highlight employers’ plans to invest in their teams; regardless of their economic expectations…

Survey 1: employers set to invest in new employees

Source: REC

Our first survey actually comes from our accrediting body, the REC. Confidence in the UK economy appears ‘negative’ for its fourth consecutive month. In figure terms, this equates to a survey score of -14.

However, despite this, hiring and investment plans remain positive and have even increased by a percentage point over the past month. Taking this particular score to +16.

  • 48% of businesses looking to hire permanent employees are worried that there will not be enough candidates available (+6%).
  • Likewise, 53% of those hoping to grow their temporary headcount are concerned about sourcing enough skilled staff.
  • The marketing, media and creative sectors are among the most affected by the skills shortage.
  • Overall, the number of companies planning to recruit agency staff within a short-term time frame has increased by 3% since October (to a total score of +19).

Neil Carberry of the REC suggests Brits are displaying their ‘pragmatic best’ in spite of their wider economic concerns – and are set to ‘invest in their own businesses to meet demand’.

These attitudes clearly reflect those of other sources, as recently discussed.

Survey 2: employers will continue to invest in staff benefits

Source: The CIPD via People Management

Looking to the next two years, most businesses (97%) additionally intend to either maintain or increase their employee benefits schemes.

  • 81% plan to spend the same amount.
  • 16% intend to increase their spend in this area.
  • Businesses predominantly wish to focus on professional development benefits (43%), including mentoring and secondments.
  • This is followed by health and wellbeing incentives, such as sick pay (29%).
  • 25% will mainly focus on financial schemes, including pensions and debt-related advice.

Once again, these figures are deemed promising when considering external economic factors.

Charles Cotton from the REC praises businesses for their efforts. He says ‘spending in these areas can help improve employee performance, and ultimately corporate performance.’

The two news items are extremely closely related, with benefits packages also providing valuable staff attraction tools.

Benefits also appeared in our last post, as we explored which Christmas gifts employees most hope to receive.

Looking to recruit permanent or temporary staff? Call the office on 01225 313130. Candidates can apply for new jobs via the website, or upload a CV as a general applicant



Most-wanted staff Christmas gifts

Only 39% of full-time employees receive Christmas gifts or rewards from their employers each year. This is according to a new survey conducted by Motivates; as reported by HR News.

Those that never receive rewards formed the largest respondent group (50%). While 11% of people ‘sometimes’ get them.

With less than a month to go until Christmas, managers and employers may start to ponder the available budgets for festive rewards and activities. For anyone wondering, these are currently the…

…5 most-wanted staff Christmas gifts!

  1. An individual cash bonus (64%)
  2. Personal gift vouchers (52%)
  3. Team cash bonuses (42%)
  4. A company-paid team meal or social night (34%)
  5. The manager’s verbal thanks (25%)

Items voted 6-10 can also be found here. As for the percentages stated, each respondent could select as many items as they wished from the rewards list.

73% of employees would prefer a choice of gift, if possible. This could be an interesting way to amplify the buzz of the rewards and invite your team to be a part of the celebratory process.

What to do when there’s not enough budget for staff Christmas gifts:

Several items on the list don’t cost a penny, as per item 5 above. It’s possible to make these rewards even more personal. For instance, speaking to team members individually and taking the time to thank them for specific aspects of their work.

There are also plenty of ideas to be gathered from the realistic staff rewards post – featuring the most sought-after non-monetary gestures. Companies could increase flexible working opportunities or provide additional half days/early finishes for staff to do their Christmas shopping. Even providing an office picnic lunch can make for a lovely affordable gesture.

Employees could also organise their own Secret Santa celebrations, festive bake-offs and post-work drinks to add a spot of festive cheer. Managers would be wise to encourage this; especially if their teams fall into the 50% of workers who won’t receive Christmas gifts.

Longing for some extra hands to make everything happen this Christmas?

Hiring one or more Christmas temps can prove to be a gift for busy bosses! Whether it’s helping with the season’s admin, covering the phone for your festive events, or offering some additional skills for a special project.

Call the office on 01225 313130 to discuss your Christmas temp needs.



Training as an incentive

Why we all need to see training as an incentive at work…

Currently, HR Review reports that only 25% of HR professionals believe their employers provide a ‘learning culture’ for their staff. The remaining three quarters say:

  • They’re still working towards creating a learning environment (59%:).
  • Such a culture is completely absent (11%).
  • This isn’t considered a business priority (5%).

Yet these businesses may want to rethink things. After all…

Employees see training as an incentive to stay in their roles!

In fact, in an HR News post, we hear that 90% of UK employees consider training as ‘vital to furthering their career’.

  • 42% go as far as to say they ‘strongly agree’ with its importance.
  • 95% of respondents aged 55 and over deem this to be ‘crucial’.
  • Alongside this, 86% of people think that continued training will reduce staff turnover levels.

Time is the main barrier for team members choosing whether or not to attend a course. Many employees express worry about having to be away from their desks for too long.

Which takes us onto the question of training strategies…

It seems that out of those who actually offer staff training, many businesses are predominantly focusing their attention on:

  • Trainee level programmes (38%).
  • Coaching style training (35%).

Conversely, the following training types are considered to be ‘low priority’:

  • Online training courses (32%).
  • Onboarding initiatives (27%).
  • ‘Knowledge sharing’ (29%).

But are these businesses making a mistake? The article would suggest so. Referencing the continued focus on the ‘skills economy’ (and the fact 2/3 of employees have resigned due to the absence of training opportunities!), it calls for companies to prioritise ‘modern training practices’.

It’s not only the digital courses that are promoted within this, yet also the need to encourage knowledge sharing so that vital information isn’t lost when employees move on to other roles.

You may also see training as an incentive to attract new staff members in the first place. We can help you shout about the learning and development benefits offered to employees. For further support, please call the office on 01225 313130.

Related reading:



Too tired and stressed for work

Are we a nation of tired and stressed employees? Recent reports should come as a warning sign to professionals of every job level…

We learned that almost half of UK working adults fail to do anything to cope with their work-related stress. What’s more, professional services employees are the least likely to do anything to help themselves.

HR Review reports that a lack of time is the primary barrier for the majority of people (65%). Perhaps no surprises there!

Other barriers are said to include financial constraints and the fact few employers incorporate stress relief into their employee benefits.

How are other people reducing their stress?

  • Physical activity tops the list of popular activities for 44% of those surveyed.
  • In second place comes hobbies/personal interests (39%).
  • While others prefer to relax with family and friends (35%).

Another urgent health issue:

There’s another workplace wellness issue that’s affecting almost as many employees (46%)…and it’s fatigue. Fatigue enters the realms of ‘extreme tiredness’ which may have a physical and/or mental cause.

HR Magazine reveals that employees feeling too tired to work are:

  • Experiencing forgetfulness (37%).
  • Becoming ‘short-tempered with colleagues (30%).
  • And even falling asleep during the working day (22%). Most worryingly of all, 13% of workers have fallen asleep while driving.

Yet, despite the severity of the potential consequences, 86% of people do not feel their colleagues or management team will understand this issue. Furthermore, fewer than 10% would feel able to call in sick due to fatigue.

Drawing a connection…

While these could be two distinct issues, they may also be highly interlinked. After all, mental stress can lead to fatigue. Naturally, if workers are unable to do anything to relieve their stress, the problem can become more severe – and even create a culture of chronically tired and stressed employees.

How to help the tired and stressed!

We all need to do what we can to prioritise our stress management. We have a proactive guide, including support links, here (for employees of every working level).

Let’s not forget that employers and managers are also prone to becoming tired and stressed! While it can feel ‘professional’ to keep plugging away, there are two primary business costs. Productivity and financial. There’s a great piece about these over on Forbes.

Employers are additionally reminded of their duty to undertake work-related stress risk assessments (information can also be found here).

Whether it’s hiring some extra hands, opening up the conversation about fatigue, reducing the working day, increasing holiday allowance and/or banning work activity outside of office hours, there’s plenty that can be done to benefit all.



Generation Z makes the recruitment news…

Generation Z has made it into the recruitment and HR news no less than 3 times within a week. And these are only the articles that we’ve spotted. So why are they hitting the headlines right now?

Who is Generation Z?

Millennials, Baby Boomers, and now Generation Z. It can all get somewhat confusing! While specific birth date ranges can vary by source, ‘Generation Z’ (also known as ‘Gen Z’ or ‘post-millennials’) refers to those born somewhere between the mid-90s and early-2000s.

Now let’s look at the news stories in question…

1. The workplace benefits Gen Z is hoping for!

Source: HR News

This first post discusses research conducted by Perkbox, which finds some significant group differences…

  • Over 1/3 of Generation Z consider staff benefits to be ‘one of the most important deciding factors’ when it comes to their career decisions. Possibly making all the difference in whether or not to accept a job offer.
  • They are the most likely to prefer small, frequent, year-round perks in lieu of one large annual offering. Again, this accounts for more than 1/3 of those surveyed.

Simple employee benefits prove most desirable, including: 

  • 86%: enjoying birthdays as annual leave
  • 85%: a ready supply of free hot drinks
  • 83%: flexible working hours (do you remember, this was also the top-rated benefit for Millennials?)

2. How SMEs can attract Generation Z talent

Source: HR Review

Employers are encouraged to use this time to attract the best post-millennial talent or ‘risk missing out’. After all, over 1/3 of this generation intends to commence a new job role or career path within the year.

Additionally, it’s this very month that is singled out as the time that many of the latest graduates will use to start their search.

There are 3 core categories discussed as attraction and retention tools:

  1. Money saving tips: this isn’t something we’ve seen discussed anywhere else in recruitment and HR news, so we read it with interest. The feature explores how Gen Z has been faced with a unique set of financial circumstances, which have created an increasingly budget-conscious generation. To this end, SMEs are encouraged to find ways to promote money-saving offerings such as employee discounts or schemes. They additionally explore the idea of helping new and existing colleagues stay financially aware through reminders, such as using the benefits on offer, as they get closer to Christmas.
  2. Tapping into tech: this generation is incredibly tech-savvy and will connect well with ‘clear and punchy online portals’ as well as mobile-optimised platforms. The idea of motivational staff contests around active wearables (possibly even combined with a rewards scheme) is also discussed.
  3. Health-aware. Gen Z is considered a health-conscious group, with a deeper interest in the foods they consume than ever before. SMEs are encouraged to appeal to these interests by arranging expert speakers on nutrition and wellness, creating company sports days, and even offering workplace health checks. Mental health offerings should also be considered.

3. Generation Z may be missing out…

Source: HR News

In our third and final Gen Z piece, we return to HR News. This article also refers to Millennials, with new data suggesting…

  • 1/3 of these groups wish to work for an SME.
  • Only 18% hope to join a micro-business.
  • Currently, over 1/2 of these groups plan to join a large business or the public sector, with just under 1/2 hoping to work for a ‘global multinational’.

This contradicts previous research on Millennials, raising the question: is Generation Z accounting for a large proportion of these findings, or have perceptions shifted among Millennials?

Why are younger people wanting to work for big businesses?

  • 56% believe SMEs offer reduced job security.
  • 46% perceive they will receive a lower salary level from a smaller business.
  • 33% expect fewer career progression opportunities within SMEs.

And how might Generation Z and the Millennials actually miss out?

As the article states, the greatest majority of UK businesses are in fact SMEs. This is also reflected by the strength of our local business community. What’s more, 70% of UK SMEs are actively searching for new employees to fill ‘entry-level roles’.

All in all, these news items make for thought-provoking reading. We’d be fascinated to hear the insights of Generation Z employees and job-seekers themselves. Do you feel this data applies to you? Let us know via TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn!



Only for the money?

Do you only go to work for the money? UK workers are more motivated by pay rates than any other European country surveyed. What does this tell us about our culture of work; how could this affect your search for the perfect job or employee?

For the money: the research reveals…

  • For 62% of UK employees, pay is the primary driver to work.
  • This is the highest rate in Europe, where the average is just 49%.
  • UK workers are also the least likely to say they work because ‘they love what they do.’ (Accounting for 13%. This is half the number of respondents that proclaimed this in the Netherlands).
  • Additionally, UK employees remain the most likely to ‘feel like quitting’ their job, with almost 10% of those surveyed considering this ‘most days!’

What does this tell us about the UK work culture?

According to today’s source, HR Magazine, these stats reflect a low level of national employee engagement. Those most motivated by non-financial rewards consistently revealed greater ongoing engagement and job satisfaction.

Conversely, those driven to work for the ability to cover the costs of those things they want/need are actually likelier to experience frustration or disappointment on receipt of their pay.

There are some really interesting comments in the HR Magazine piece. It certainly provides food for thought, whether you’re a job-seeker or employer…

1) How this might affect your job search

If you truly want to find job satisfaction, it might be time to think beyond the money mindset. This is by no means to suggest you work for less than you deserve. Rather, you can really consider the ‘full package’ of a role.

What would it take for you to wake up and actually look forward to a Monday? What would inspire you to say ‘I love what I do’ and to get through a working week without considering moving on?!

This is such an individual consideration. It might include…

  • Entering a certain industry
  • Progressing to or taking on a particular role
  • Achieving your ideal work-life balance
  • Working with like-minded people
  • Being a part of a particular work culture/environment
  • Contributing to a greater purpose or joining a company with a shared ethos
  • Even just joining a business of a particular size or working closer to home

Naturally, these are just thinking points. You need to work out what really matters to you. Consider these factors as you peruse the latest vacancies and chat with your recruitment consultant.

To begin your job search, check out our current jobs listings and/or register your CV. We also have some excellent job hunting tips here.

2) How this might affect your search for a new employee

The savviest businesses can benefit from these insights. Firstly, understanding how many UK employees work for the money alone is an excellent driver to ensure you have a competitive salary offering. Perhaps you may also consider other financial incentives such as reward/bonus schemes.

However, you also want to be thinking beyond the money mindset! How can you communicate the additional benefits of working for your business?

Is there additional groundwork to do to ensure your team is actually on-board with a shared mission, that you have an enjoyable working environment, and that you demonstrate how much you value your staff?

Do you ask your team for (anonymous!) feedback on why they choose to work, what their experience of your company is, and what else would improve their workplace engagement, job satisfaction and similar?

Further reading:

For expert advice on attracting and recruiting the right team members for your needs, please call the office on 01225 313130.



Staff rewards: realistic ways to show thanks

You may remember that an increased focus on staff rewards appeared in our 2018 recruitment predictions – and it’s made the national news multiple times since!

We’ve already discussed how important it is for businesses to promote their work perk offering. The UK skills shortage certainly makes it all the more vital for employers to hone their staff attraction strategies.

In addition, we’ve compared the most sought-after (non-monetary!) benefits against those that employees are currently receiving.

Realistic staff rewards…

Well, today we’ll consider a number of realistic employee benefits that businesses might be overlooking. The rewards in question come from an HR Review article, featuring LondonOffices.com.

1) Increased annual leave

The article references the growing trend towards unlimited holiday offerings. (When we say growing, HR News recently reported on this and state that 9% of global businesses are using such an incentive. So, it’s right at the emerging sense of the word).

However, as they suggest, few SMEs will feel able to factor this into their benefits package. Yet they are far more likely to be able to offer an additional day or two of leave. Whether that’s as thanks for another year’s service, a well done for hitting a particular target, or appreciation of efforts made.

Let’s not forget that this perk also came number one on the most desired of all non-monetary benefits.

2) Healthcare packages

Private healthcare is a reassuring bonus for single workers and those with families alike. It is also said to benefit businesses, by helping to minimise absenteeism.

3) Fitness incentives

Our city’s offices aren’t all set up for on-site gyms (however lovely they may sound!), yet budgets can often extend to a monthly gym membership or similar. CIPHR has an excellent article on why this is so worthwhile for employers.

4) Free food!

This suggestion often crops up in the news, as we all appreciate the easy availability of some fresh food and drinks on a busy working day. There are a variety of companies that offer fresh fruit and snack boxes throughout the area… Google ‘Office fruit bowls Bath’ and you’ll soon see!

5) Flexible working opportunities

When we said increased annual leave came top of the work perk wish-list, the number one spot was also shared by sabbaticals and flexible working hours.

This is an element that is widely considered to enhance staff attraction and retention while increasing employee happiness.

6) Home working opportunities

The HR Review piece suggests this can help ‘break the monotony of the working week and increase levels of productivity‘. It can be healthy to get a change of scenery from time to time. Plus, this is about as realistic as staff rewards come, as it shouldn’t cost the company anything if work is still being completed.

7) Letting the weekend start early

Research suggests Friday afternoons are the least productive time of the working week, so it’s surely the best day to allow employees to finish work an hour or so sooner. If this wouldn’t work for all staff on a weekly basis, you could experiment with a fortnightly or monthly incentive. Or perhaps a rota for early finishes in micro businesses.

8) Team outings

Featured suggestions include regular staff drinks or meals or even trips further afield. Simply offering employees the chance to let their hair down and interact outside of the standard business setting.

9) Staff training 

We know ongoing training is imperative for the success of businesses as we look to the future world of work. Offering individual training budgets is also an excellent way to show appreciation for your staff – and express a continued interest in their personal development and future with your company. Tailoring training to individual needs takes this a big step further.



Recruitment Predictions for 2018…

Sharing 2018 recruitment predictions from leading industry commentators… 

Each year brings a fresh wave of business estimations and predictions. None more so than as we enter our penultimate year as a European member state. So, how could employment and recruitment change this year?

1) Through legal & policy updates

SOURCE: Recruiting Times

Recruiting Times discusses a host of potential legislative changes and discussions, including:

  • The implementation of the Taylor review. This is an independent review of modern working practices, which explores today’s employer responsibilities and workers’ rights.
  • Increased (and more public) penalties in cases of ‘unfair employment’.
  • Greater support/recognition of Transgender equality rights.
  • The possibility that caste may also be covered under racial discrimination policy in certain circumstances.
  • Further discussion of disability rights. Partially in light of two major ongoing cases.
  • More governmental guidance on workplace dress code policies.

2) Continued high job-seeking levels

SOURCE: HR Magazine

  • Just under half of all UK employees are set to look for a new job this year, says HR Magazine. This is a reduction on 2017’s figures (59%). However, such a stat represents continued low job satisfaction levels.
  • Management issues are the biggest driver for a job change (49%). Alongside this, other workers are motivated by earning potential (43%) and a desire for greater skills recognition (29%).

3) Fluidity & flexibility

SOURCE: HR Grapevine

The magazine highlights 8 distinct trends, which include:

  • Increased ‘fluidity’, suggesting that changing jobs more frequently will become socially ‘acceptable’.
  • Greater value placed on employee perks. This is something we only recently discussed!
  • Further focus on closing the gender pay gap.
  • An increase in ‘returnships’.
  • More flexible working policies.
  • A better work-life balance.
  • More attention paid to workplace leadership in relation to staff morale.
  • Diversity to be celebrated and ‘taken more seriously’ by employers.

4) Reduced employer confidence

SOURCE: Recruiting Times

  • We hear that 51% of businesses expect 2018 to be ‘more challenging than 2017’.
  • The remaining companies surveyed suggested this year will be no better. Meaning that not one of the employers surveyed expected 2018 to be easier!
  • Low employer confidence primarily centres around concerns regarding the economy and post-Brexit trade potential.
  • However, despite poor confidence levels, 51% of businesses intend to expand their workforces this year. Promising news for job-seekers!

5) Through a clearer understanding

SOURCE: REC

Recruitment’s leading governing body has drawn its own predictions –or ‘things to look out for’– this year:

  • The organisation agrees that hiring and employment rates will continue, although perhaps at a slower growth rate versus recent (record-beating!) years.
  • They remain ‘hopeful’ that we will garner a clearer understanding of the post-Brexit trade and employment potential.
  • Further discussions on automation and its effect on the jobs market. This will include an upcoming TedX talk by Kevin Green, the REC’s Chief Executive.
  • Ongoing campaigns to keep the UK labour market as ‘dynamic, flexible and agile’ as can be.

As you can see, 2018 looks set to be another fascinating year in recruitment. We’ll be sure to keep all of our job-seekers and employers posted on the developments as they unfold – so do keep a close eye on our News!

We’re also interested to hear from you. Which changes or issues concern you most or would you like to hear more about? Share your thoughts via Twitter, LinkedIn and email.



Share your staff benefits!

Why employers need to be clearer about their staff benefits. Plus one major perk you want to weave into your 2018 employee retention plans…

So, what’s on offer?

If you’re looking to recruit this year, make sure staff benefits are at the centre of your advertising approach. 85% of employees are more attracted to organisations who do so. A figure that rises to 94% among 25 to 34-year-olds (according to Canda Life & HR Magazine).

Presently only 37% of businesses ensure this information is readily available. So imagine the difference this could make if you’re recruiting at the same time as one of your competitors.

This tool isn’t only for staff attraction. In fact, staff retention can be significantly bolstered through reminders as to what’s on offer.

Tip: if you’re yet to see our piece on staff retention, pop it to the top of your reading list! It also contains further advice as to how to build a happier workforce. 

Talking of staff benefits…

No 2018 staff attraction plan should be without a discussion of work-life balance. Thought this was just another marketing buzzword that would fast disappear? It’s far more than this! Work-life balance forms the focus of international research and could make all the difference to your business success.

The UK is currently lagging behind many European employers, so there’s certainly a lot more that can be done in this area.

Top benefits include…

Again, we urge you to revisit our recent staff retention post for a list of features that employees want to hear more about. Alongside these, you’ll want to consider:

  • Promotion opportunities
  • Competitive pay structures
  • Voluntary schemes
  • Ongoing rewards/performance incentives
  • Healthcare & fitness plans
  • Training opportunities
  • Maternity & paternity support
  • Holiday allowances
  • Mentoring schemes
  • Flexible working
  • Childcare arrangements
  • Other internal perks, such as on-site facilities, retreats/outings and similar.

Naturally, what you can offer will vary by your organisation’s age, size and structure. Yet there’s always something you can do to make your business more appealing to prospective employees!

Want to do more to attract employees in Bath & nearby?

We are proud to have entered our 19th year as one of the top independent Recruitment Agencies in Bath! We’d welcome the opportunity to discuss your recruitment plans. You can find out more about what makes us special with (Recruitment Manager) Karen Everett in the latest Bath Life  – please see page 131.