Why do UK workers feel undervalued and what can HR do?

Indecisive and lost man chooses the right path
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A recent study by the ADP Research Institute has revealed that 70% of UK employees would consider leaving their current job and are happy to do so for the smallest salary increase in Europe. In contrast, only 60% of European employees would consider this. European workers would also expect an average salary increase of 12% as opposed to just 10% in the UK.

Further evidence suggests why this is the case, with around two thirds of UK workers saying they do not feel valued at work and over half claiming they don’t feel purposeful. These alarming feelings of insecurity amongst employees seem to lead UK employees to consider moving on much quicker than their European peers, and for less money.

How should HR react to alleviate some of these issues? Ultimately it’s about investing in your people. With more years of service, employees will offer their companies more experience and skill and this should be recognised and valued, or employees can begin to lack purpose. Whether it’s a reward structure, increased non-financial benefits or even investment in training, employers should regularly ensure that their workforce feels recognised.

A dissatisfied workforce

The research also highlighted, in more ways than one, the dissatisfaction that exists in UK offices. It seems UK employees feel least connected to their immediate colleagues with only 61% saying they feel connected in comparison to a 71% average in Europe.

There is also evidence to suggest issues of misalignment between employee expectations and the realities of a job, with 45% of UK employees claiming they have walked away from a job opportunity because it turned out to be different from what they expected.

 Ensuring company culture unites people is imperative.

HR departments need to find ways to ensure employees feel emotionally connected to their peers and engaged with company culture. HR should spend time establishing what their company values are in order to encourage people to feel connected in their shared practice of work and company behaviour.

As far as aligning employee expectations with the job itself, this is simply a matter of remembering that the onboarding process doesn’t stop after the employee has worked at the company for a few months. Regular and open conversations with management should make this simpler to achieve.

A confident workforce

With the UK on track to have one of the highest employment rates in the western world, surging most recently to a record of 75.3%, it’s no surprise that the UK workforce is the most open to new work in Europe.

As the labour market tightens and competition for top talent becomes more heated, employers must address the potential talent loss that could damage their organisation.

Employers now have to work twice as hard to ensure they are retaining the best talent.

Ultimately it’s just important to remember that a strong economy, whilst bringing increased profits, also brings new challenges and employers should not bury their heads and only focus on the positive.

Employers now have to work twice as hard to ensure they are retaining the best talent. They must look internally to make sure they are doing everything within their power for their workforce to feel valued and purposeful, and in turn more likely to stay.

The current challenges for HR

These are rapidly changing times that we live in and with unique challenges; a strong economy with real wage stagnation meaning business is more complex than ever.

In the more typical ‘business as usual’ approach, HR should be sure they are always offering their employees clear signs of progression, recognition and reward in return for their loyal service. Likewise ensuring company culture unites people is imperative as is continuing the onboarding journey past the first two months of employment.

About Melanie Robinson

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