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Are we overestimating employee loyalty?

By Victoria Brown

By Victoria Brown

The latest blog from LadybossHR discusses why 2022 will be a year of change and excitement as we embrace the new relationship between the Employer and Employee.

I chaired a national event through BIMA yesterday that brought 50 HR business leaders together to discuss the changing relationship between the Employer and Employee. The change in the way in which we now work has had a significant impact to the psychological contract.

There remains uncertainty for many around what 2022 will bring – in the office or not in the office? There is arguably now a mental health pandemic and employee retention, and recruitment seems somewhat of a headache.

In a recent article by the CIPD they reported that the majority of employers believe that staff loyalty had increased following the pandemic, when in actual fact only 50% of employees felt the same way.

Interestingly, this research found that Senior Managers were most likely to cite keeping their people happy as one of the top three business challenges, followed by increasing staff turnover and engaging with those that work from home.

During our HR event, we discussed in some depth the challenges that 2022 will present to us all;

Mental Health

We are all aware that the Mental Health crisis continues and many within the field are describing us being in a ‘Mental Health pandemic.’  Whilst working from home has had some advantages, it is also presenting new emerging concerns. Lack of social interaction, feeling of belonging and what Deloitte recently called ‘pandemic productivity.’  I must admit, it appeared an attraction to me at first working from home and saving travel time, but this just resulted in the saving of 2 hours travel being replaced with more time in front of the laptop. Experts are describing an increasing number of people suffering from burnout as a consequence.

The divide between work and homelife has become blurred and not enough time proportioned to rest/play. Personally, my business has adopted a hybrid approach to working now, with most time being in the office and 1 or 2 days at home. It seems to be working very well and my team are clear on the future plans for the business in terms of our office/home working plan for 2022.

It is the responsibility of the Leaders within a business to be clear on their future position on home/office/hybrid working and communicate this to their people.

This is no longer a temporary measure and detailed planning, and consideration needs to take place. HR policies/potentially contracts will need amending and H&S needs to be a number one priority. Interestingly, within this recent poll, employees named H&S or lack of being one of their biggest concerns for 2022.

Returning to the Office

Is the return to the office a thing of the past? I do not think so, I have said on a few occasions now that I believe those businesses that have given up their office space for complete home working will one day revert back. Embracing and retaining your business culture and trust is a tough one when you only see each other via a Teams call. There are massive advantages to embracing technology and utilising this for virtual team meetings……but who has missed eye contact and the ability to read body language? Those ‘water cooler’ moments are lost with an inability to capture innovation and share ideas.

Employee Retention and attracting young talent

For most of my clients, retention and recruitment is one of their biggest headaches at present. For several reasons, the employee loyalty has not been there and now that the UK has opened up, many employees are jumping ship.  Often flexibility being a key factor, or a re-assessment over the last 2 years of their own personal goals and priorities. I definitely believe there is a direct correlation between the usage of social media and movement.  It is so easy for a business to improve its employer brand and appear to be really ‘fun’ online, when the reality may be something quite different.

For those of us in tech, there has been on the one hand an opportunity to attract talent from a larger audience, as the removal of offices and travel time effectively means we can recruit from anywhere. Conversely, your people can also apply for jobs anywhere – so there is more competition.

There are so many benefits to recruiting young diverse talent within a business and it is arguably ‘untapped talent.’  However, the above points need to be considered, as the support and infrastructure within a business needs to be in place for this talent to thrive.

For every challenge in life there is an opportunity. 2022 will be a year of change and excitement for HR and business owners, as we embrace the new relationship between the Employer and Employee.

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