Over the last few years, we have seen many prevalent changes in the UK economy. Productivity across the UK is now no higher than it was in 2008* and proves to be one of the biggest challenges businesses are currently facing. Ensuring businesses have engaged and motivated employees will be key to driving operational efficiency.
The UK labour force has changed considerably, the marketplace is not only made up of professionals from Generations X and Y but now, more than ever, millennials and they are expected to make up 50% of the entire workforce by 2020. As they are reshaping the standards for the modern workplace and employers, businesses have been required to be both agile and innovative to attract and retain employees. People are key to the growth and success of any business, and so, attracting and retaining talent is fundamental.
A recent study conducted by PageGroup found that millennials expect flexible working to be offered as a standard and not as an additional benefit. When we asked which benefits they wanted to see offered in the next five years, flexi-time was the most popular answer (67%), followed by ‘flexi-place’ (57%), and compressed work weeks (54%). In addition to this, time in lieu (49%) and career breaks (41%) were high on their list too.
Flexibility in the workplace is defined differently by everyone, what works for one person may not work for another. The key to success is to ensure that it is tailored to the individuals in the workforce and that they have the option to choose what is important to them. As an experienced recruiter, when working with individuals who are considering their options in the external market, flexible and dynamic working arrangements are becoming increasingly important alongside remuneration and development opportunities. This goes above and beyond the initial onboarding of an individual, but also being able to adapt to the changing motivations of employees to drive forward retention in later years. As we are in a candidate short market, it is important good people are retained. Personal development plans are key to ensure your top talent remains motivated and focused. The lifestyles of your employees will often change and it is essential to keep up with these shifting needs of your staff. People are more inclined to adapt if you provide the flexibility of dynamic working as it delegates them more accountability for their work.
Many businesses have adopted or are now in the process of adopting flexible benefits packages that allow employees to determine the benefits that best suit their needs and lifestyle. For example, operating flexible working hours or the option to buy and sell holidays. This is now becoming the norm rather than the exception in both large and small businesses across the UK.
Furthermore, with the continued development of technology in the world economy, businesses have better infrastructures to support technological advances and these, in turn, encourage further flexibility. In finance, we can expect to see increased access to more complex information which will be readily available through the aid of technology and will facilitate the increased demand for flexible working. This could include remote working, 'hot-desking' or working from another location. Although there may be some challenges when initially implementing these, the benefits far outweigh any teething problems that businesses may experience, and will further support an engaged and productive workforce.
If you would like any more information, or to discuss how we can help with your recruitment processes, get in touch for a confidential conversation.
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