New research has found that almost one in three workers say they feel unvalued at work despite the fact that staff retention is one of the biggest challenges facing employers in 2022.

Lack of recognition at work is causing many employees to consider handing in their notice, according to new research by Adler. The findings come as the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) reports that the UK is experiencing the worst staff shortages since 1997, with a 200% increase in advertised vacancies. At the same time, staff retention has become a greater challenge as the pandemic has seen many employees reassessing their working lives, prompting fears of what has been dubbed “the great resignation”.

A lack of recognition in the workplace is cited by 25% of UK workers as a reason to look for a new job. Respondents said that lower morale also caused reduced productivity, a negative perception of management and poor mental health. At the same time, the survey results show that employees feel more undervalued as they get older, with just 18% of 16-24-year-olds saying they feel undervalued, compared with 20% of 25-34-year-olds, 28% of 35-44-year-olds, 35% of 45-54-year-olds and 43% of the over-55s.

When asked how they would prefer to be recognised, over half the employees surveyed cited pay rises & bonuses and one-third said they preferred gifts, such as chocolate and personal care.

Some of these expectations have not gone unnoticed by employers who have had to increase their financial incentives to attract staff as well as retain them. Recent research shows that over half of UK employers (67%) have increased salaries in order to compete for talent. Others are offering “golden hellos” to attract the talent they need.

Experts say a wage hike alone will not solve staff shortages. Jonathan Boys, labour market economist for the CIPD, warned: “Even though businesses anticipate making record pay awards to their employees this year, most people are set to see their real wages fall against the backdrop of high inflation.” However, he added, “what is encouraging is that more employers are looking beyond pay increases to help attract and retain staff.”

The CIPD data found that in the three months to January, nearly half (46 per cent) of employers reported having vacancies that were hard-to-fill.

Of the firms that had hard-to-fill vacancies over the last six months, 48 per cent increased wages to attract new hires, while 46 per cent advertised more jobs as being flexible.

Other popular responses to retention difficulties over the last six months included improving flexible working arrangements (48 per cent), focusing more on employee wellbeing (45 per cent) and increased investment in training and development (36 per cent). Going forward, nearly two thirds (64 per cent) of employers said they anticipate problems filling vacancies in the next six months, including 33 per cent who said they expect these problems to be ‘significant’.

Shazia Ejaz, director of campaigns at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), echoed that firms needed to try different approaches to attract staff, including offering better benefits, flexibility and training opportunities. “This data backs up the REC’s own survey findings, showing just how hot the UK labour market is right now,” she explained. She added that existing staff need to be offered the same perks used to entice new employees, otherwise firms “risk losing good staff to rival companies”.

Help is at hand!

As a direct response to the current challenges being faced by employers we are proposing to hold our next webinar in the near future where we will discuss:

  • Attraction Strategies (addressing vacancy and recruitment issues)
  • Retention Strategies (including benefit packages and flexible working)
  • Absence Management (including long Covid and mental health)

We would like your feedback on whether you would be interested in the webinar and your thoughts on anything else you feel would be useful for inclusion.

Breathe HR

For those of you who use Breathe HR software through us, we need to let you know about some small upcoming changes to Breathe’s pricing from 1st April 2022.  We are aware that value for money is incredibly important to you but we are comfortable that Breathe remains the most cost-effective solution within the UK market.  We will contact you directly with information on how this will affect your Breathe HR monthly cost.