WFH can help with recruitment, but it won’t prevent quits, research finds – FE News

Organizations looking to stem the tide of the ‘great quit’ shouldn’t rely solely on flexible work options to retain their top talent, according to a new study, which reveals that working from home (WFH), shift schedules flexible working hours, and even four-day working weeks, will not necessarily be enough to keep employees on board.

HR software provider CIPHR conducted a investigation from over 330 UK employers last month to find out how the increasingly competitive talent market has affected their staff retention and recruitment campaigns over the past twelve months. According to the results, almost three-quarters (73%) of employers experienced an increase in the number of employees quitting voluntarily and 71% found it more difficult to recruit new employees.

Organizations with between 251 and 5,000 employees seem to have the most difficulty in terms of recruitment and retention, with 83% reporting an increase in employee quits and 77% finding it more difficult to recruit. In comparison, only half of small employers (those with between 26 and 50 employees) say the same, with 55% experiencing an increase in voluntary quits and 51% saying recruiting is more difficult.

Employers who have chosen or are able to offer their staff the option of working from home – fully remote or on a hybrid basis – have more positive news to share when it comes to recruitment. Only 51% of employers whose staff work primarily from home (60% to 100% of the workweek) say they have found recruiting more difficult than usual in the past year. By comparison, this figure rises to 71% for employers whose staff are expected to work in their office or work premises for 60% to 100% of the working week (i.e. at least three days or more for full-time workers).

Employers whose staff work 100% remotely are also three times more likely to report finding it easier than usual to hire new employees in the past year, compared to employers whose staff work 100% on site at their place of work (27% versus 8%).

When it comes to retention, however, it’s not so clear cut. More than four-fifths (82%) of employers whose employees are still working from home say they have seen an increase in quits, compared to 70% of those with a hybrid form of workforce (their employees work remotely by 20% at 80% of the time) and only 54% of employers with employees who never work from home. The latter – employers whose employees never work from home – are the most likely to report a reduction in the proportion of employees who quit voluntarily in the past year (15% of employers, compared to an average of 9% for all employers).

Notably, employers who offer various flexible working arrangements – such as flexible working hours, a flexible workplace or a four-day work week – are still strongly affected by the increase in employee quits and difficulties. recruitment. For example, 71% of employers who offer flexible working hours say it’s harder to recruit, and 70% say quits have increased. For employers who offer a four-day workweek, it’s 73% and 70% respectively.

Telecommunications, scientific and technical services, publishing, government and public administration, broadcasting and human resources are among the industries that reported significant increases in the number of employees who voluntarily resigned over the course of the year. last year.

Are the employees in charge?

The CIPHR findings support the idea that many employees and job applicants are reassessing their careers and taking more control over how and where they want to work. The massive upheaval of the pandemic has left many wondering what they want from their job – and as a result, more employees are ready to go out and get it.

As part of the survey, 250 employers were asked if they agreed that “employees and job seekers are in the driver’s seat when it comes to negotiating wages, benefits benefits and flexible working”. Two-thirds (66%) of respondents said they had.

It is perhaps unsurprising that the employers most likely to believe that employer-employee power dynamics have shifted in favor of their employees (current and future) are those who reported recruitment difficulties and say quits have increased (78% of employers vs. 50% of employers who say it has been the same or easier than usual to recruit/retain staff).

More than three quarters of employers working in hotels and restaurants, legal services and arts, entertainment or recreation (86%, 83% and 77% respectively) believe that employees and job seekers are “in the driver’s seat “. Conversely, only around half of employers working in the automotive industry, retail trade, health and social assistance, and shipping and distribution (20%, 31%, 50% and 50% respectively %) think the same thing.

Commenting on the results, Claire Williams, Director of Human Resources at CIPHR, said: “Over the past two years, there have been fundamental changes to the way we work that will remain permanent. At the height of the pandemic, many people made the cautious decision to stay in their current job and with their current employer, when under “normal” circumstances they might have considered another job.

“Now, as we emerge from the pandemic, a large number of employees have been on the move. While this may stabilize somewhat due to the uncertainties surrounding the global economy, ultimately employees are, at many ways, those navigating the direction of travel.There are still far more vacancies than available candidates in some sectors, which means employers need to be flexible in their approach and consider a wider range ways to make their organization attractive to their current workforce, as well as future talent and potential candidates.

“Most people don’t quit an organization for just one reason. They can leave for many reasons, such as career and development opportunities, management behavior, salaries and rewards, stress and work-life balance – each individual has their own list. Likewise, most job seekers do not choose their future employer for one reason alone and with the dynamism of the current job market, they are in a privileged position to be more selective, not only in the role they want. , but in the type of organizations. they want to work for. Employers need to ensure that they focus on communicating their organization’s values, purpose and culture to differentiate them from the pack, and that they engage and listen to their employees and act on their feedback, where possible, to mitigate increased turnover. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to “the big quit,” but helping your employees feel valued and happy is a good place to start. »

CIPHR conducted an online survey of 332 UK employers between 18 and 26 February 2022. Over half (51%) of respondents work for large organisations, with 49% working for SMEs (with 26-250 employees). The results of the survey can be viewed at

Over 600 organizations use CIPHR’s cloud-based HR, learning, payroll and recruiting software solutions worldwide across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, with customers including Blackpool Pleasure Beach , Bunzl UK, Cambridge Building Society, Cera Care, Chailey Heritage Foundation, Claire’s Accessories UK, Early Years Alliance, Electoral Commission, GB News, IMServ, Kido Education, Lead Forensics, Met Office, Norton Way Motors, Safestyle UK, The National Gallery , The University of Buckingham, Vision Direct, Volkswagen Group UK and William Pears Group.

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