More UK workers than ever before (59%) are looking to move jobs despite economic uncertainty, according to a survey conducted by Investors in People (IIP)
When looking to attract the best employees, small and medium businesses may find it challenging to compete with larger enterprises that may be able to offer bigger pay packages. But while salary is an important consideration for any job hunter, it is only one part of a much bigger picture. In business today, employees value so many other parts of a job; the location, the people, the technology, the culture.
Here are some of the ways you can attract - and retain - the best employees:
1. Flexible working improves satisfaction
Having the right working practices and technology has enabled businesses to allow their employees flexibility and choice in how and where they get their work done. Flexible working can mean working the hours an employee is comfortable with or from a location they prefer. Not only does this empower employees to work from wherever they want, but it could facilitate a work-life balance that can help them to be more productive in the long-term. Research shows employees consider having access to work resources wherever they want as one of the most important factors influencing their productivity and job satisfaction. And that 76% of millennials would take a pay cut of at least 3% to work for a company that offers flexible office hours.
Getting the whole environment right, including the right tools, culture, and work practices, while also embracing newer working styles and the shift from working in an office to location independence, has a direct impact on employees. Boosting agility, creativity, productivity and the speed of innovation to keep high-performing employees engaged - and ensure companies are successful.
2. Healthy snacks and breakfast to improve happiness
11% more US employees are 'extremely' or 'very' happy with their current job when they have access to free food, according to a study of 1,000 full-time office employees. This is despite just 16% of employees receiving free snacks and treats at work.
It's worth noting this can also have an impact on your business' bottom line – a study by Staples shows that coffee and snack runs account for 2.4 billion hours in lost productivity in their US stores each year.
Many businesses already offer the basic essentials – coffee, tea and cooled water – but your business can go further by providing healthy snacks like fruit and smoothies as well as breakfast options such as porridge and cereal.
Those with a bit more to spend could invest in a coffee machine, juicer, or a grill. While this may seem like a big investment to some – or of little importance to others – employees could feel more at home and happy in the office if these options are provided.
Happy workers deliver a greater productivity value too. Don’t laugh – a university research study in the UK found happiness made people around 12% more productive.
3. The right tools and technologies
There are some pieces of kit that employees require all of the time such as Wi-Fi and a laptop. However, many people these days will be more interested in knowing what else you can give them to help them do their jobs better.
A 2018 global study by Unisys of over 12,000 employees, found that workers at “technology laggard” organisations more than 500% more likely to be frustrated, and 600% more likely to consider quitting when they work with outdated technology.
The report found that outdated technology spreads negativity through the workforce, with 70% of UK workers saying they felt negativity towards their employer – compared with 58% globally – with 56% saying they’re frustrated and 14% so disengaged, because of the company's attitude towards technology, that they’re ready to leave the company.
To attract and retain employees, businesses need to employ new digital technologies and tools.
Investing in new technologies isn’t just about boosting profits and helping to improve services and customer satisfaction. It is about investing in people and is equally important for employee satisfaction, while sending a positive message about the direction of your company.
4. Training and development helps attract top performers
Recruitment specialist Michael Page states that offering developmental opportunities is ranked as one of the top four ways to attract top performers.
The most ambitious employees don’t just want to work for big companies, they want to know they can have an impact on any business. Prove to them that your business can give them this opportunity by offering them access to training, continuous learning, holding regular sessions for exchanges of knowledge, and getting in external speakers to share a different perspective.
5. Maintain your brand identity and reputation
One of the best ways to alert potential candidates that your business is one they should work for, is to give them an inside look at the company culture. That could be by sharing pictures from social events on Instagram or Twitter, engaging in relevant conversations about flexible working on LinkedIn, or using Medium to share blogs on what it's like to work at your company.
So, by prioritising career development, flexible working, and brand management, and by equipping teams with the right tools, you can compete with big brands to make your small business the go-to place for talented, ambitious candidates.
For more on how Cisco collaboration technology can help your small business visit our dedicated page for small businesses.
About the AuthorMore Content by Charlotte Sturman