Category Archives: Money

Engaging With Your Workforce

Engaging With Your WorkforceSUMMARY: Staff turnover can prove costly and also cause difficulties in attracting new recruits. It is therefore important that employers consider how they attract and retain the best talent.

Is it all about the money?

To have strongly defined recruitment and retention strategies an organisation needs to understand what motivates its staff.

Often it is mistakenly assumed that it is all about the money. This is not usually the case. One of our clients recently reported that an employee had turned down a job with a competitor, even though the salary was higher. The employee apparently had no qualms in turning down the offer because it was not just about the money.

Financial reward will undeniably play a significant role in any recruitment and retention strategy but there are many other factors which will influence an individual’s decision to stay or indeed join another organisation.

Why identify what motivates your workforce?

An organisation successful in retaining its current workforce is likely to be meeting the needs of its staff which, in turn, means it is probably also attracting new recruits. This organisation is likely to have taken the time to consider what drives individuals – identifying their needs, expectations, and values.

Whilst not purely a legal matter, we are often asked to advise on how an organisation can identify what is important to its staff and in particular, what steps can be taken to obtain employee feedback.

Taking stock, whilst providing an invaluable insight into what motivates individuals will also add further value – there is likely to be a greater feeling of inclusion leading to increased employee engagement; reduced absence levels; lower staff turnover; becoming known as a “good employer” to work for; less workplace conflict; fewer disciplinaries and grievances; less tribunal claims; increased productivity; higher profitability rates; and surprisingly some innovative ideas to improve the business may also be identified.

How to identify what makes a “great place to work”?

There are many different ways of gaining an increased understanding of the issues that are most important to individuals. For example,

  • through the running of employee forums, focus groups and staff meetings;
  • via suggestion boxes;
  • setting up dream/vision boarding exercises;
  • exit interviews; and
  • by implementing staff engagement surveys.

Staff engagement surveys usually offer the best opportunity to facilitate real business improvement on a more formal basis. Committing to such a formal process demonstrates to staff that they are being taken seriously. In turn, staff are more likely to want to contribute.

A survey can take the form of either a number of generic questions or more importantly, where needs and values are being identified, bespoke questions tailored to address particular or unique circumstances. Fundamentally, any questions must be aligned with the organisation’s overall strategy if the results are to add value. The results will also provide invaluable data to be benchmarked for comparison purposes including looking at industry specific data, to understand how the organisation performs alongside other organisations; this may be important when reviewing any recruitment and retention strategy.

Surveys can be carried out in a variety of different ways such as over the telephone, as paper based exercises or on-line. Some survey providers are now coming up with more creative ideas to get the required results. Important in all cases is that staff are provided with anonymity and the opportunity to offer their opinions on a confidential basis.

Before engaging in any exercise there are some key considerations:

  1. How will the process be managed and communicated?
  2. How will the expectations of participants be managed in terms of deliverable outcomes including sharing the results (warts and all)?
  3. Will there be a willingness to take action?

What might the results say?

The results of any staff feedback exercise are likely to identify that staff have a variety of different values.

If the focus has been on retention then it is likely to become clear that for many individuals money is not the main motivator. Increasingly catching up, and in some instances overtaking financial reward, main motivators are flexible working arrangements, homeworking, challenging and stimulating work, structured career development prospects and recognition for going above and beyond within peer groups.

The example referred to above supports these results; the employee cited a number of reasons for staying including a supportive culture, interesting and varied work, and a flexible working arrangement which provided a good work/life balance.

For some individuals money will be of paramount importance and for others it will be a flexible package. Get it right and the workforce will be more engaged and far more likely to stay; a highly engaged workforce is also likely to attract the best talent.

Contact Details

For more details please contact:

+44 (0) 808 172 93 22

This update is for general guidance only and does not constitute definitive advice.

On the 6th Day of Christmas…

6th Day of ChristmasOn the 6th day of Christmas my employee said to me ….. “I have to leave on time to get to my evening job; I’m trying to earn some extra money for Christmas.”

Whilst the worker’s keenness to fill up the Christmas stockings of their loved ones is admirable, the fact the worker has another job should trigger warning bells.

One such warning bell is the 48 hour working week limit imposed by the Working Time Regulations 1998 (“WTRs”) – employers are responsible for ensuring workers do not work more than an average 48 hours per week, unless they have signed an agreement opting-out of this limit. In calculating the 48 hour week, any time spent working for other employers must be taken into account.

Therefore, employers presented with the information about another job, should consider asking the following questions:

  • Could the worker be working more than 48 hours per week?

First review the contract of employment to identify the contracted hours; the overtime records should also be reviewed.

The worker should also be asked to provide details of all other hours worked for other employers. The total hours worked by the worker can be identified using this information.

  • Has the worker signed an opt-out?

If it appears that the worker will work more than 48 hours per week it is necessary to have an opt-out in place. Records should be kept of opt-out agreements that are in place. It should therefore be easy to clarify whether the worker in question has signed an opt-out.

  • What if there needs to be an opt-out?

If the worker is likely to work more than 48 hours per week they should be given the choice of either:

    • Entering into an opt-out agreement. The agreement must be in writing and entered into voluntarily.  An opted out worker can cancel the opt-out on seven days’ notice unless the agreement expressly provides for a longer notice period, which cannot be longer than three months.  The worker cannot be forced to sign an opt-out and it is unlawful to dismiss or victimise a worker for refusing to sign an opt-out.
    • Reducing their combined working time to less than 48 hours per week.

It is crucial for employers to get this right otherwise they are committing an offence under the WTRs if they fail to take reasonable steps to ensure their workers do not work more than 48 hours a week unless they have opted-out. An effective way of discharging this obligation is the inclusion of secondary employment clauses in contracts of employment and/or policies which should be clearly communicated, monitored and enforced.

In addition to the 48 hour week obligations, employers must not forget that worker are still entitled to daily, and weekly rest breaks as well as annual leave.

Contact Details

For more details about the issues in this article please contact:

+44 (0) 808 172 93 22

This update is for general guidance only and does not constitute definitive advice.