Happy New Year to all of our followers! So now that the tinsel is (hopefully) tidied away, what does 2022 have in store for employers? Whilst none of us know for certain, particularly in such unpredictable times, here at ViewHR we have identified some issues that many employers are likely to find themselves facing. In this blog, we explore some top tips so that you can begin to prepare for the year ahead…
1.Make Staff Retention a Priority
Data shows that recruiting and retaining employees is likely to continue to be challenging for employers over the coming months. Research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has found that one in four organisations expect the number of ‘hard to fill’ vacancies to increase over the next six months, and Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows a sharp rise in job vacancies across the UK, currently standing around 1.2 million.
In this environment, efforts to retain your current employees can often be more cost-effective than trying to recruit new ones. These can include:
- Using “stay interviews” (also known as retention interviews), to gain an understanding from your current teams about what could motivate an employee to stay (or leave!);
- Try to address any employee concerns proactively, rather than hoping that they will just go away;
- Give careful consideration to requests for training and development opportunities, and use the appraisal process to ensure that employees feel able to talk openly about their future career aspirations, and feel supported in these.
2. Review Pay & Benefits
Competitive pay and benefits packages also have an important role to play in employee retention. This is especially important at the moment, because in November 2021 the ONS released the latest UK inflation data, showing a 3.8% change over the 12 months to October 2021 (by comparison, in October 2020, this figure was just 0.9%). Rising energy bills, the cost of fuel and higher prices in restaurants and hotels are all factors in this, alongside the cost of raw materials and finished goods, with Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic amongst contributing factors.
Committing to pay employees an inflation-based pay rise can be risky for an employer, as a dramatic wage in inflation could impact on a number of your business costs as well as leave you with an unaffordable pay bill (which could, in turn, affect job security for employees). However, we do recommend that employers undertake regular benchmarking and keep abreast of market data, to inform their pay policies.
The National Minimum and Living Wage rates are also set to increase in April 2022 (the latest rates are available here: https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates). As such, employers should review these to ensure that they will be compliant, and also that other pay rates within the organisation are reviewed accordingly (e.g. do you have any employees who were previously paid above the Minimum/Living Wage, but the statutory rates have now “caught up” with them?).
3. Do you have a clear policy on working from home?
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to an increase in people in suitable roles working from home, and in England, the government reintroduced guidance for those who are able to work from home to do so from Monday 13th December 2021, due to the Omicron variant. It is therefore not surprising that working from home has generated a lot of media interest over the past two years, and many employees may have questions about what arrangements will be in place going forward.
A clear working from home policy, which sets out what the “usual” rules are, and what the arrangements are in times when government guidance applies, can help employees to know where they stand, and potentially avoid future disputes or disappointment. Here at ViewHR, we have helped a number of employers to develop policies that meet their business needs whilst providing employees with an appropriate degree of autonomy (which can have a motivational effect).
4. Speaking of Covid….
At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw a raft of very quick changes in the rules for employers, with the introduction of furlough leave, changes to SSP, and more! Things may not be changing quite so dramatically at the moment, but thanks to the Omicron variant, we have still seen some sudden changes in recent weeks, including the extension to the period that employees can self-certify from seven to 28 days, and the reintroduction of the ability to claim back Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for certain Covid-related absences.
Some industries are seeing between 10% and 25% reduction of staff due to covid related absence, so employers will need to work with teams to juggle operational requirements and ensure that those in work are having the necessary support too. A very difficult situation for everyone right now!
As such, we recommend that employers follow the news carefully to ensure that they don’t miss any further changes of this nature. To help ensure that you don’t miss anything, you could also follow ViewHR on our social media channels: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram.
Here at ViewHR, we are here to support employers, whether you are planning for what is to come, or are dealing with challenges that are facing your currently. Please contact us today for an initial consultation to find out more.