Recently there was a story of an American company, The Hut Group, planning to have DJs playing at a return to work celebration. Accountants PwC are offering staff a £1,000 bonus if they will come back to the office, suggesting it can be used for new work wear, commuter bikes or gym membership. Insurance company Phoenix Group is putting on “safe socialising” events for anyone who’s gotten out of practice over recent months.
Everywhere you look, employers are doing their very best to persuade staff to return to work. But what about recruitment? Are the same inducements being offered there?
Yes, is the simple answer. But despite companies becoming very inventive with recruitment packages including flexible working, reduced hours and the option of working from home, they are still struggling to recruit, with some businesses being forced to operate for shorter hours. The CBI openly stated that staff shortages may “last for two years.”
Throw in extra complications like staff re-assessing what they want from work and life following the pandemic and the inevitable loss of some staff post-Brexit and it is not surprising that some employers fear losing the “War for Talent.”
The “War for Talent” is an evocative phrase, but at the moment it appears to be being fought more fiercely than ever. Employers need to be alert to the changing preferences of potential employees. Salary and bonus packages have, post-pandemic, fallen down the list of what potential employees value most in a job. In a recent survey, 45% of respondents ranked team, people and culture as most important, followed by 39% who opted for flexible working. A significant number also favoured working for a small to medium sized company, where they were “more than just a number.”
Unsurprisingly, given the number of new businesses started in lockdown, one-in-five wanted to find a way of going freelance or becoming their own boss.
Could the “War for Talent” hamper the UK’s economic recovery? And ultimately could that impact growth, stock markets and your savings and investments? The answer to the first question is yes. If you want a very simple illustration, then it is easy to see what a shortage of lorry drivers can do to supermarket shelves.
Whether it will impact stock markets and investments is rather more tenuous, there are far more factors impacting world stock markets than an individual company’s problems with hiring. What is certain though, is that business owners and directors face challenges they have never faced before and changes in workplace practice which have been rapidly accelerated by the pandemic.
How they deal with these challenges will go a long way to determining the success of the company they own or manage. It is certainly something that we will be keeping a close eye on.