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Georgina Hardcastle

HR Consultant - Uckfield

20th December 2018

The question of tackling employee turnover

Employee turnover is a significant issue facing employers in the modern workplace. The 2018 Employee Engagement and Loyalty Survey found that 45% of the employees questioned had changed jobs in the preceding 12 months or planned to do so in the next year (Randstad) and 30% had left a job within the first 90 days of getting hired (Jobvite). Staying put is, it would seem, no longer the norm. Rather, regular relocations and short term stints are becoming much more commonplace.

So, as we approach the New Year, is it time for employers to consider new ways of incentivising their staff to avoid high turnover and a tumultuous start to 2019?

Do traditional methods of retaining staff pose a risk?

With employee turnover at such high levels, traditional methods of motivating and incentivising staff, many of which seek to reward longevity, are falling by the wayside and out of popularity. In addition, they also present a number of risks that employers can’t afford to overlook.

Service-related benefits or ‘long service awards’ are potentially indirectly discriminatory against younger workers, who have not had the opportunity to qualify for them and women, who are more likely to have taken career breaks. While there are exceptions under the Equality Act 2010 (EQA) permitting employers to provide benefits that reward service (so long as they are awarded on the basis of five years’ service or less), employers should always take a cautious approach to service related awards so as to avoid allegations of discrimination.

Flexible employee benefits might improve retention

Employees in the modern workplace don’t anticipate staying with the same employer for a long period of time – the 2018 Employee Engagement and Loyalty Survey showed us that much. As such, benefits tied to long service are unlikely to be terribly attractive to a workforce or to achieve the level of loyalty sought by an employer. Rather, employees in today’s workforce are more likely to want things that they can benefit from in the here and now.

Interestingly, money is not always the biggest incentive and may not always be the most effective means of retaining employees. Employers are increasingly introducing flexible incentive schemes, rather than having a one size fits all approach, thereby allowing employees to select rewards that best suit their needs, including the need to benefit now, not later. Such an approach helps to accommodate the different wants and needs of a multi-generational workforce and is often gratefully received.

Although cash payments (such as bonuses) are still widely offered, the range of alternative awards employers can now offer is expanding. Gift cards, extra holiday, electrical goods such as iPads, high-tech televisions and mobile phones, weekends away, leisure activities, tickets to major sporting events, red letter days and so on all provide the desired reward but in a much more immediate way.

The benefit of offering immediate employee benefits

As much as employers would all like their employees to remain loyal and stay put, the modern workplace, characterised by rapid turnover and workplace fluidity, is demanding a more creative approach to incentivisation. Employers need to think about demonstrating their appreciation now, not later and recognise that a new iPhone or a relaxing weekend away at a spa may well be a better way of keeping staff happy than something they won’t experience the benefit of for many years to come. So, here’s to 2019 – what innovative incentives will you be offering?

Contact our Employment Team

For advice and a discussion about your commercial objectives, contact Georgina Hardcastle, HR Consultant in Rix & Kay’s specialist Employment Team.

e. georginahardcastle@rixandkay.co.uk

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