We’re operating in a candidate’s market like never before. Meaning Irish SMEs are having to make rapid changes to accommodate them. Fortunately, there is one thing uniting all workers right now. And that’s the principle of flexibility.
This doesn’t just refer to where employees place their desk – they want flexible hours, working locations, equity options, and learning and development programs. In the same way that retail has seen a growing desire for personalisation, workers too, are looking for ways to customise their jobs.
The last two years have taught us the world can change almost overnight. Candidates are seeking perks and benefits that reflect an unpredictable world. The four trends we’re about to share will help you acquire and retain talent in 2022. But keep the concept of flexibility in mind. Because we might be the HR experts, but you know your team best.
Employees will want to take their remote working one step further and experiment with exciting new locations. After sacrificing so much time during the pandemic, workers are looking for ways to merge their desire to travel with their professional lives.
SMEs can facilitate this remote-first transition by adopting a location independent business model, so that employees can work their contracted hours at any time of the day. This won’t be possible in every industry, but even just providing a small adjustment to working hours shows that you respect your employees’ personal lives, too.
Where, when, and the length of time people spend on the job is all up for debate in the new world of work. Four-day work weeks are no longer a trendy benefit for buzzy start-ups. But it’s not just a perk for employees. Businesses can expect increased productivity when they adopt a four-day work week. Just look at the data from Microsoft’s trial back in 2019. They achieved an astronomical 40% increase in productivity.
Employees no longer wish to be chained to a set number of hours, on a set number of days. Businesses should look at ways they can implement a results-based system, so that performance is measured on achievement and not time spent at the desk. This investment should also apply to digital infrastructure. Commit to providing the most effective tools and programs for your employees and involve them in the selection process. This investment will resonate most with younger generations who want tech autonomy.
Give your employees some skin in the game through an employee stocks and shares scheme. While you might not be able to compete with the big players on salary, this is one way you can boost employees’ earnings while remaining within your salary budget.
There are a whole host of apps and experts that can help you design and adopt a shares scheme to reward your employees. The biggest mistake employers can make when implementing an employee stocks and shares scheme is not providing clear guidance for employees. Make sure you have legal support, and access to financial expertise so that employees can make an informed decision.
Here’s something that might surprise you: 94% of employees are likely to stay with a company for longer if they provide learning and development opportunities. For SMEs without a sufficient program, that means they could be at risk of losing the majority of their staff, long before they should be.
As we explored in our recent employee experience white paper, L&D are motivated by opportunities to progress – which gives a welcome boost to engagement and productivity levels too.
Keep your options open, and invite your staff to suggest their favourite perks. But whatever you do, don’t hesitate – the future of work is already here.
Adam Coleman is CEO at HRLocker, Ireland’s all-in-one HR software solution for Small and Medium Businesses.
This article appears on Page 20 of bISME issue 16 here: https://www.isme.ie/publication/the-bisme-16/