January 14

The Great Resignation….how do you retain your staff in 2022?

In August 2021 the number of open job positions in the UK exceeded an unprecedented 1 million for the first time in the UK’s history. ‘The Great Resignation’ is making it harder for companies to recruit people and many existing employees are considering changing jobs and moving employers. Data from Microsoft published earlier in the year suggests that an estimated 40% of the global workforce is considering changing jobs in 2021-2022.

Why are so many people leaving?

Many workers are thought to be making the decision to leave based on how their employers treated them – or didn’t treat them ¬– during the pandemic. The pandemic has changed the way people work and how they view work. Reversing the tide is going to require managers who care, who engage and who give workers a sense of purpose. In other words, people are looking for roles with more progressive, supportive cultures than they may have experienced to date. There is now a greater emphasis on wellbeing and flexible working, among others.

The importance of ‘people first’ company cultures

The importance of company culture really can’t be overstated in the battle for recruitment and retention. If people are leaving an organisation because they are feeling unsupported or poorly treated, word will get round very quickly and a business will suffer reputationally, along with its ability to attract candidates and retain existing team members.

How to build a great company culture

There are plenty ways to build a great company culture as the business grows:

1. Establish your culture by defining your values

Your values will steer the way your people behave, treat one another and go about their day-to-day work. When a company is in its infancy, the culture that develops will be that of the founders. It’s often one that values a ‘can-do’ attitude. Your culture is a consequence of your values. So before you do anything else, you must establish your company values:

• what is the business’ purpose?
• what do I want the business to be known for?
• which characteristics do we value in our employees?

2. Communicate your values

Once you have agreed your values, you must communicate them to your employees. Only when this is done can they start to translate into company culture. Get your staff together for an afternoon and communicate your values in an engaging and inspiring way. Invite them to participate – this way they’ll be more likely to engage with your vision and contribute towards building your new culture.

Going forward, ensure projects and initiatives are underpinned by these culture-relevant values. And be certain to communicate them at every employee induction.

3. Hire for cultural “add” rather than culture “fit”

Hiring the right people is an important way of building a strong company culture. Which makes hiring for culture fit seem like a great idea. You ask candidates what they value in a company and gauge if they align with your culture or not.

But hiring on the basis of cultural fit can quickly create an environment where everyone thinks the same. Further, it also limits employee diversity which is bad news for company culture and business results.

Instead, hire for culture add. Ask what candidates can bring to your business that will move your culture in the right direction.

4. How does your culture define success?

The way a business defines, measures and rewards success says a lot about its culture. You will need to agree how you will measure company and individual performance. Think also about the way your definition of success reinforces your culture. Will you reward employees for hitting targets, or award them bonuses for passing certain levels of turnover? What about customer satisfaction or cost-reduction? Each type of measurement sends a message of its own and affects the way your culture develops.

5. Be transparent

Transparency helps improve trust and satisfaction for your employees. It’s also an important component of a strong culture. This also applies to communicating how employees’ work will help the organisation towards its mission and objectives (which can often get lost in day-to-day work.)

Don’t try to hide the low points – celebrate the highs and analyse the lows, consulting with staff about where things have gone wrong and what can be done to improve them in the future. Be transparent about your successes too; be sure to share any upturns in revenue, exciting achievements and business-growth.

6. Culture leads from the top

Leaders need to acknowledge that – like it or not – they set the cultural agenda and are responsible for curating how it builds in a company. It then needs to exist independently of the leaders. It’s also important for leaders to connect with their people emotionally. Gone are the days when managers keep their distance and focus on the metrics. People need to know that their leaders care about them and that they take rational decisions based on sound ethical principles.

7. Do what you say you’re going to do

Building a strong company culture is about practicing what you preach. Company values are only worth something when you put them into practice. If you say you’re a ‘people-first’ company, demonstrate this by investing in your people. Failing to deliver on your promises creates a distrustful and disloyal culture. Live up to your promises and you’ll be rewarded with a strong culture and a happy, engaged and motivated team.

Flexible working and recruitment

Allowing people to work from home and balance duties of care with their work lives means employers can recruit from a wider and more diverse pool of people than they did before the pandemic took hold. The result is that more employers are recruiting outside of their geographic area, with more people using technology to communicate and collaborate from wherever they live.

Obtaining feedback – and acting on it

It is important to obtain feedback regularly to understand how employees are feeling about their roles and employers and to use this as the basis for a framework of changes and improvements that are needed. Asking employees for their thoughts on either an informal or more formal basis will suffice – if you don’t ask you will never know. The final step is to ensure that employers act on the feedback from these surveys and make the changes.

Exit interview, meet ‘stay interview’

A stay interview is essentially a conversation between an employer and employee about the latter’s experience of the company and views on their working lives. It provides insight which an employer can use to highlight areas for improvement which may otherwise be ground for an employee choosing to work elsewhere.

‘Stay’ interviews are obviously preferable to exit interviews and should be prioritised, especially for high performing employees whose departure would be the most damaging to a business.

In summary….

Following two difficult years, confidence is returning to various sectors yet many business leaders’ plans for recovery will be thwarted if their most talented people look elsewhere.

Employers must work harder than ever to attract the best candidates and retain existing talent. Focusing on building a strong culture can help businesses compete with larger competitors who may be able to offer larger salaries and a reputation for genuinely putting people first will also go a long way in the battle for recruitment and retention.

For assistance in conducting stay and exit interviews please get in touch: nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk or call +44(0)7917 878384.

January 6

Are all employees entitled to the extra bank holiday in June 2022 to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee….?

What is changing?

The Spring Bank Holiday (normally due to take place on the last Monday in May) will be moved to Thursday 2 June. The additional Bank Holiday will then take place on Friday 3 June. We shall have two bank holidays back to back in 2022.

Are employees automatically entitled to the additional bank holiday?

This will depend on the wording of the employee’s contract of employment. It is important to note that employees do not have an automatic right to paid time off on a bank holiday. Employers are advised to check the wording of their employment contracts and communicate with employees about whether or not they will be required to work on the additional bank holiday in line with the terms of the contract.

Below are the most commonly used phrases relating to bank holidays that are seen in employment contracts and what they mean in terms of the employee’s right to have paid time off work on 3 June 2022.

“20 days holiday per annum plus bank holidays”

Yes – employees will have a contractual entitlement to take paid time off on the additional bank holiday as the wording on holiday entitlement in the contract is unlimited. Therefore, there is a contractual entitlement to paid time off on all bank holidays – including extra ones.

“28 days holiday per annum”

Potentially – where the contract is silent on bank holidays, the employee has the ability to book using their 28-day holiday allowance any of the bank holidays, including the additional bank holiday. However, there is no increase in holiday entitlement as a result of the additional bank holiday and so they have no contractual entitlement to the 9 bank holidays in 2022.

“20 days holiday per annum plus 8 bank/public holidays”

Potentially – similar to above, the contract is silent on which bank holidays are included within the employee’s holiday entitlement and therefore an employee has the ability to book the additional bank holiday as paid time off in June 2022. This will, however, mean that the employee will not be entitled to one of the later bank holidays in the year. We would recommend this is clarified to the employee at the time of booking annual leave.

“20 days holiday per annum plus New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Early May Bank Holiday, Spring Bank Holiday, Summer Bank Holiday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day”

No – where there is a list of bank holidays contained within the contract, the employee will only be entitled to receive paid time off on those bank holidays listed. Employees with such wording in their contract will be entitled to paid time off on 2 June 2022 as this is the date the bank holiday referred to as the “Spring Bank Holiday” has been moved too but not on 3 June 2022.

“20 days holiday per annum plus the usual bank/public holidays observed in England and Wales”

No – as the additional bank holiday is not usually observed in England and Wales, employees would not be entitled to take paid time off on the additional bank holiday.

“20 days holiday per annum plus the 8 bank/public holidays usually observed in England and Wales”

No – as above, the bank holidays which are included within holiday entitlement are listed and therefore there is no entitlement to the additional bank holiday.

Even where there is no contractual entitlement to take the additional bank holiday as paid time off, many employers, as a gesture of goodwill, will decide to allow their employees to take the additional bank holiday or if that is not possible for business reasons, to provide time off in lieu.

Previous approach to time off for additional bank holidays

We previously enjoyed an additional bank holiday in 2011 (to mark the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) and 2012 (for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee). Therefore, when considering whether to allow employees paid time off for the additional bank holiday in 2022 we would recommend considering what has been done previously. To the extent employees have previously been offered paid time-off or time-off in lieu to mark an additional bank holiday, to adopt a different approach in respect of the 2022 additional bank holiday may cause a negative reaction from employees (in particular those with long enough service to have been working when this happened previously).

The importance of planning….

It is important as we kick off 2022 that you alert all of your staff to this extra bank holiday, let them know whether they are going to benefit from it as part of their entitlement, or not, and adjust your holiday planners to take account of the fact that in 2022 there are 9 bank holidays instead of the ‘usual’ 8 days…