What is earned wage access and does it pay?

If you’re looking for workable solutions to boost financial wellness in your employees, then earned wage access (EWA) could be the answer. Yet despite its soaring popularity, many employers are still asking, what is earned wage access and does it pay? Let’s find out. 

What is earned wage access?

Let’s break down what earned wage access is. Earned wage access gives employees access to the money they’ve already earned, but haven’t yet been paid. It essentially means they don’t have to wait for a rigid pay date. 

You may have heard it referred to as on-demand pay, salary advance, or flexible pay. Regardless of the name, it’s fast becoming the new must-have employee benefit. Here at Openwage, we call it on-demand pay. 

Earned wage access has hidden benefits for organisations 

With 94% of UK employees plagued by money worries while at work, earned wage access in the UK is gaining in popularity. The reasons are two-fold; 

Employees want to be paid more flexibly

There’s an appetite from employees to have flexibility with their pay. 80% of individuals surveyed by Ernst Young indicated they would use a form of on-demand pay (Ernst Young, On-demand Pay: Payroll that works for all).

We have so many on-demand services these days, so why not earnings? 

The business agenda is driving more holistic wellbeing strategies

There’s growing interest among organisations to bolster their existing wellness programmes with a financial element. That’s because there’s clear evidence that financial wellness affects business outcomes. 

A research report commissioned by HM Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority showed that 90% of employers agreed that financial concerns impact workplace performance.

How much does earned wage access cost?

On-demand pay from Openwage doesn’t cost you anything as an organisation. This makes it a highly accessible route to providing a financial wellbeing benefit to employees. 

There are no fees for rolling out the service to employees. Importantly, Openwage provides the funds for pay advances, so there’s no impact on the organisation’s cash flow. 

There’s no cost to employers to provide earned wage access

There is a low, transparent fee charged to the employee each time they access their earnings. But with fees as low as £1 per transfer, on-demand pay from Openwage offers a safe, viable alternative to predatory high street loan providers.

Since there are several earned wage access providers out there, the specifics of each service can vary.  

What percentage of salary is earned wage access? 

Employees can access up to 50% of their (gross) earned pay. Employers can choose to lower this percentage if they wish.

There’s no impact on the company payroll. On-demand pay doesn’t replace your existing payroll processes. Employees will still receive their salary on their normal payday, minus any earnings already transferred during the month.

How does earned wage access benefit companies?

Answering the question, what is earned wage access wouldn’t be complete without looking at how it benefits employers. Below we outline four ways it pays to adopt on-demand pay as part of your employee benefits and rewards package.

1. Earned wage access promotes financial wellbeing (and that’s good for your business)

Financial stress is when someone feels anxious or stressed about their financial situation. Employees who are in a state of stress may not be able to forget about these anxieties when they’re at work. According to research by YouGov and Yulife, 80% of UK workers admit that financial stress negatively affects their performance at work.

A report by Willis Tower Watson found that highly stressed employees took 1.75 absence days to every one day taken by low-stress employees.

Giving employees the freedom to pay themselves when they need to can promote financial wellbeing. In a recent research study, 63% of workers who don’t currently have access to on-demand pay indicated that they would feel less stressed financially if given access to it.

On-demand pay can reduce the financial stress that employees are experiencing. This, in turn, can have a positive effect on employee performance and reduce absenteeism.

2. Distracted by money issues? Your employees are too.

When we’re stressed because of money issues, it’s distracting and can negatively affect our mood. As a result, productivity levels in employees experiencing financial stress can decrease. 

Research by the University of Warwick shows that happier people are 13% more productive. Happy employees typically equate to higher levels of productivity, helping your business to thrive.

3. EWA is a perk that can get your company noticed

Research by Deloitte shows that what really matters to Gen Z and millennials is working for forward-thinking, ethical companies who care about employee wellbeing. 

These generations are the workforce of the future and adopting a financial wellness program is one way employers can show they care. This can have a positive impact on your company’s reputation and your employer brand. 

4. Attract and retain quality talent more easily with EWA

The perks and benefits that a company offers are important to candidates. 3-in-4 workers (78%) say access to on-demand pay would affect their decision to choose an employer. Adding earned wage access to your list of benefits on job adverts is a great way to ensure candidates know what they stand to gain. 

EWA can also encourage employees to stay at your company. More than 8-in-10 workers (82%) would be less likely to look for a new job if their current employer began offering more financial wellness tools, including on-demand pay. With the cost of recruitment so high, it makes sense to invest in perks that can boost your retention rates. 

How earned wage access benefits employees

Now you know what earned wage access is, let’s outline three ways it benefits employees:

1. Earned wage access can help employees avoid expensive loans

As the cost-of-living crisis deepens, many individuals are being driven to borrow at high rates of interest to cover essentials and unexpected bills. For example, payday loans are still hugely popular. This is mainly because they’re a fast way to get cash. The trouble is, the interest rates and fees are extortionate. 

Instead of resorting to payday loans with high interest rates, workers can draw on salary that they’ve already earned through EWA. Access to earnings gives employees a safer and more cost-effective alternative to payday loans. 

There are no repayments because they’re not borrowing money. They’re simply gaining access to their earnings sooner. 

2. More liquidity can help banish short-term money worries 

Financial stress is a big contributor to mental health and wellbeing. Putting workers in control of their financial lives, including how and when they get paid, significantly reduces anxiety.

Nobody likes to have their money tied up. With EWA, employees can access their earnings if a financial situation arises. But there’s no obligation or cost if employees don’t use it. Many employees simply enjoy the feeling of knowing they can access their earnings if they need it. 

3. On-demand pay from Openwage won’t affect employees’ credit scores 

EWA isn’t a loan, so it doesn’t affect an individual’s credit score. There are no credit checks to set up an Openwage account, and no credit checks to draw down earnings. 

Importantly, using on-demand pay won’t show up on an individual’s credit file, so it won’t affect their ability to access financial products in the future.

Join a growing number of forward-thinking UK employers

Some of the biggest names in healthcare and hospitality are already offering EWA. Companies like Bupa, Virgin Care, and Adecco Group are enjoying the benefits of offering it as part of a comprehensive financial wellbeing policy to build financial resilience.

Discover Openwage

Openwage is on a mission to revitalise the financial health of working people and make access to earnings as fair as possible. We also pride ourselves on being the most ethical, responsible, earned wage access provider around.

If you’d like to find out how we can help you improve the financial health of your employees, then please get in touch today or request a demo

Exploring the link between office design and mental health

Since the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, one third of workers report that returning to the office has affected their mental health. We’ll explore how office design and mental health go hand in hand, and the steps that you can take to promote mental wellbeing in your workplace.

Employers are more aware of their employees’ mental wellbeing than they ever have been before. That being said, not all employers will have stopped to consider the link between office design and mental health. We’re going to explore some common office design issues affecting employee mental health and then consider how to resolve these. 

How office design can impact mental health

When considering mental wellbeing at work, your office design can have a major impact on your employees. A poorly designed office space can lead to lower levels of mental wellbeing and can even result in stress and, eventually, burnout

Here are some of the common issues that employees experience in the workplace:

  1. Low light levels within the office
  2. Overcrowding
  3. Sustained working without breaks
  4. Isolation of employees 
  5. Unpredictability 

Reassessing workplace design to promote mental health

Are you using design to promote employee mental health? Or is your current setup only adding to the issues?

Busy schedules, staffing issues, and priorities and targets can all keep us from the important task of ensuring our working environment provides a positive experience for employees. Few organisations understand the importance of the working environment on employee mental health. 

There are often simple and cost-effective ways to resolve office design issues in a way that has a positive impact on employee mental wellbeing. Let’s look at each one:

1. Low light levels

The lighting in your workspace can have a significant impact on the way employees feel. An airy and light working space has a much more positive impact on how employees feel. There is also the possibility that low light levels will have a more serious impact.

Reduced exposure to sunlight can lead to a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD affects around 3% of the population and leads to feelings of persistent low-mood, lack of energy, and finding it hard to concentrate. 

Sometimes called winter depression, SAD can have a major impact on someone’s mental wellbeing. It can, in severe cases, make it more likely that an employee is absent from work. 

A light workspace signals positivity  

So how can you overcome low levels of light in your workspace? 

  • Use mirrors to reflect light around the whole space.
  • Consider using glass partitions instead of solid walls (that block light).
  • Explore options for bringing light in from the roof of the building e.g. skylights. 
  • Take advantage of any outdoor space with natural light and encourage employees to use it. 

2. Overcrowding stifles our senses

Office design and mental health have been on the radar more this year than ever before. That’s because we’re in a strange limbo of hybrid working, where some employees work from the office and others are still working from home. 

The downside to this way of working is that employers need more time to assess the number of desks and workstations they need to. Renting or owning too large a space is costly, and if it’s not being used by employees, it becomes a waste of valuable resources. 

In contrast, not providing enough workspace for employees creates overcrowding. This can lead to employees feeling trapped or hemmed in, creating a distraction from their work. Furthermore, overcrowding can inhibit creativity and ideas among employees.

Create more space (or if you can’t, a feeling of more space)

  • If appropriate, survey your employees to gauge how often they want to work from the office and base your space requirements on that. 
  • Use a hot-desk approach combined with a relaxed attendance policy where not every employee has to work from the office every day. 
  • Consider changing the layout of your office to maximise the space available.
  • Explore where you can reduce under-used office furniture to free up more space.

3. Sustained working without breaks

Roles and responsibilities vary so wildly in professions, but some require employees to stay in one position for a prolonged period. This can be worse when organisations are under-resourced because it can result in employees being overworked. 

Aside from this, an employee who sits in one position without taking breaks is more likely to suffer from health problems like back pain. It can also result in lower levels of productivity, as fatigue creeps in when you don’t take a break to refresh your energy. Sitting too much can also affect heart health and circulation

Short, regular breaks boost energy levels and fight fatigue

On an organisational level, it’s important to encourage employees to take regular breaks. This will have a positive effect on physical health, too. It’s a good idea to ensure that there are areas where employees can enjoy their break with facilities such as hot drinks, food, and water.

As well as looking at creating relaxed spaces for employees to take their break in, you can also encourage your employees to keep moving while at their desks. Sit-stand desks and under-desk cycles are both interesting options to explore, if resources allow. 

4. Employee isolation 

While as humans we need our own space, too much of that can lead to employees feeling isolated. Employees who work in separate rooms away from others can feel alone and unsupported. When faced with a challenge that creates feelings of stress, employees can easily feel that they have no one to turn to.

Getting your head down doesn’t have to mean being alone

An open plan office can help to create feelings of togetherness among employees. Open spaces bring people together and encourage collaboration. Using glass partitions can create divides for quiet space while still ensuring employees don’t feel alone. 

Be sure to consider communication tools too. Slack is a hugely popular communication platform that helps employees get what they need done collaboratively, whether employees are office or remote. It’s also a great space for informal chats that can help employees bond. 

5. Unpredictability 

The uptick in using hot desks is an enormous benefit for flexibility and it can spark creativity and greater collaboration. But while many employees love varying their work station, others crave certainty. For example, some neurodiverse people could feel anxious at the prospect of not knowing where they’ll be working each day.

This lack of certainty can be a common theme on an organisational level too. Lack of transparency and poor communication from management teams can leave employees feeling insecure in their jobs and nudge them towards looking for another job. 

Listen to your employees and their individual needs

It’s important to acknowledge that everyone is different and what one person needs can be starkly different from the next person. The same goes for your employees. But how can you know this?

The best way to understand the issues affecting your employees is to ask them! Get them involved in designing your workspace if that’s appropriate. Consider employee surveys to gauge interests and needs. Using this information, it’s possible to create a space where employees feel comfortable and therefore are able to perform at their best. 

Mental, physical and financial health are linked

Supporting employee mental health is good for your organisation and good for employees themselves. When you have a workforce that is mentally well, you tend to find that their general wellbeing also increases. 

It’s important not to overlook financial health too. Financial wellbeing relates to how we feel about money and having enough to be comfortable in life. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of financial wellbeing and increasing numbers of organisations are striving towards holistic wellbeing

Discover Openwage – the employee financial wellbeing benefit

Openwage is an employee financial wellbeing benefit that enables employees to access a portion of their earnings at any time in the month. There’s no cost to your organisation and no impact on your payroll. 

Find out more about Openwage on our employer page or by contacting us today. 

How can organisations overcome the skills shortage?

A high-quality workforce is the lifeblood of an organisation. Yet businesses across the UK are currently experiencing a talent crisis. If your company is having difficulty recruiting staff, what can you do to overcome the skills shortage? Here we share some ideas.

What’s the skills shortage problem?

According to the Office for National Statistics the number of job vacancies in the UK rose to a record 1,300,000 in February to January 2022. That’s an increase of 20,000 compared to the previous three months. 

In January to March 2022, for the first time, the number of vacancies was greater than the number of people looking for jobs. Over this period, there was a ratio of one person for every vacancy advertised.

Why is there a labour shortage in the UK?

There are a few reasons for the labour shortage, including Brexit. In 2020, around 146,000 EU nationals left the country. This led to labour shortages, such as the HGV driver crisis and vacancies in the healthcare sector.

The pandemic also saw a significant increase in people retiring early. This may have been for health reasons or simply a reassessment of priorities.

On top of this, there is an expanding chasm. This chasm lies between the skills required by employers to fill new jobs and the number of people with the skills to fill them. For example, The Digital Economy and Society Index found that 4 in 10 adults don’t have basic digital skills. 

Why do organisations need to overcome the skills gap?

The skills gap is costing the UK at least £4.4 billion. This is because of the high cost of recruiting and training new staff. Then there are the wages for temporary staff employed to fill gaps, plus the higher salaries needed to compete for talent.

According to the Open University Business Barometer, 70% of business leaders say that recruitment is taking longer and costing 33% more. The report also found that the long process of recruiting new employees is costing UK businesses £1.6 billion.

The Learning and Work Institute has predicted that the talent shortage will cost the UK economy £120 billion by 2030. This is because there will be a shortage of 2.5 million highly skilled workers.

In summary, the skills shortage is a huge drain on financial resources. So overcoming this skills shortage is a real must for organisations from a financial perspective. 

Not having the skills needed restricts business growth 

When an organisation can’t secure talent, there’s a negative impact on productivity and business growth slows. Existing employees may experience intolerable levels of stress because they’re doing the work of several people. 

In a high-stress environment, mistakes happen. Systems become inefficient and staff take days off sick or leave the business altogether, so the situation gets worse. 

The skills shortage also makes it harder for UK companies to compete with international firms. This is especially true for companies lacking sector-specific skills. Sectors suffering the greatest impact of the talent shortage include construction, engineering, healthcare, hospitality, IT, leisure, and science. 

Four ways to overcome the skills shortage 

Every organisation needs to build a resilient workforce with the skills to adapt to new situations, generate innovative ideas, and drive the business forward. 

If your current recruitment strategies aren’t attracting enough of the right people, then it’s worth trying a fresh approach. Here are some possibilities to explore:

1. Investing in your existing employees has a two-fold benefit

Training employees can be a successful means to overcome the skills shortage in your organisation. Training can be external, but it can also be in-house through a mentoring scheme, for instance.

It’s likely to be more cost-effective to nurture the potential of existing employees than to recruit new staff. For small businesses, finding the time and money to train staff can be tricky. But sourcing funding for training can be a brilliant investment of time and potentially highly worthwhile in the long term. 

According to Totaljobs, 8 out of 10 employers found their employees’ output improved after training. As well as this, investing in continuous professional development boosts employee morale and engagement. 

Providing training to employees can also be helpful for retention. Two in three employees in the UK have left their jobs due to lack of investment in their professional development. 

So, upskilling employees and instilling a learning culture supports employee retention. This has a positive impact on productivity.

2. Fill your talent pipeline by offering T Level placements 

T Levels were introduced in 2020 and they have equal status to A Levels. They’re an industry-specific vocational qualification designed to fill the skills gaps in certain industries. 

As part of the T Level qualification, students spend a year working in the relevant industry where they gain real-world experience. This hands-on experience is invaluable for employers. Our guide to T Levels for employers goes into more detail about the benefits of engaging with T Level students. 

Your business could also consider taking on apprentices. Apprenticeships are a cost-effective way to train young talent with the skills a particular business needs. At the same time, apprenticeships are an investment in the future workforce of your industry. The Government offers financial help to companies that employ apprentices.

3. Think creatively to increase your talent pool 

Flexible working has really become a priority for people since the pandemic. A survey by Perkbox of 1,532 employees revealed that 40% wanted flexible working hours.

If your organisation offers over and beyond the normal level of flexibility, you can tap into talent that you might not otherwise have access to. This can be a smart way to overcome the skills shortage.

Entice people into your organisation by offering greater flexibility

You might consider options such as offering a job on a part-time or job-share basis. You could think about offering annualised hours (hours aren’t calculated on a daily or weekly basis but over a year). This gives employees the opportunity to organise their work around their private life. 

You don’t need to employ people to get the skills you need

More than a million people over retirement age are currently working part time or as consultants. This slice of the workforce has many years of valuable experience to bring to the workplace and can be a great way to overcome the skills shortage in an organisation. 

Gig economy workers can also provide much-needed skills and they’re sometimes brought in by companies to train employees. Research by Totaljobs found that most businesses believe contractors are more productive than permanent staff. 

4. Reflect on the rewards and benefits you offer

The cost-of-living crisis means that employees’ financial wellbeing has never been at greater risk. Consequently, organisations should consider employee benefits that promote financial wellness among its workforce. 

By offering the best possible benefits package, you can use this to attract the talent you need. The right package can also improve employee retention, too. 

According to a study by Metlife, 69% of employees say they’d feel more loyal to an employer offering a greater choice of benefits. This makes sense because people live very different lives. A young person living in a shared house wouldn’t be interested in childcare vouchers, yet an experienced employee might be more interested in health benefits.

If you offer a great package of benefits, make sure candidates and prospective employees know about them. Mentioning key benefits in your job adverts can be a great way to increase the number of applicants. 

Discover on-demand pay from Openwage

On-demand pay from Openwage allows employees to instantly access their earnings at any time in the month, 24/7. Simply being able to tap into wages when employees need to can significantly reduce financial worries. This allows them to be more present and productive at work.

Offered as part of your benefits package, on-demand pay can help you overcome the skills shortage by attracting more talent to your organisation. What’s more, Openwage is completely free for employers. 

To find out more about Openwage on-demand pay, head over to our Employers’ page.

How can HR teams help build an intentional culture?

Building an intentional culture enables a business to attract and retain the best talent and the clients it needs to grow and thrive. But how can HR teams help build the culture that delivers results? Dive in for tips on building an intentional culture.

What is workplace culture?

Workplace culture is the personality of a business. It’s the attitudes, values and practices shared by employees across an organisation. These attitudes, values and practices are reflected in their interactions with each other and with the company’s clients.   

A healthy culture increases employee engagement and morale which drives business success. In fact, businesses that prioritise culture continually outperform competitors.

How can HR teams build an intentional culture?

When a business starts up, culture develops organically through the personalities of the leaders. But then the company grows and more people join the organisation. 

This results in different attitudes, values and perspectives entering the mix. This means that the original culture can become watered-down or confused. This is when it’s important to create a positive workplace culture intentionally.

If you’re building culture when scaling up, Forbes suggests:

  1. Identifying the true culture of the business.
  2. Ensuring leaders buy into the culture.
  3. Making sure beliefs and behaviour align.

But what does this mean for organisations and HR teams in practice? Let’s take a look at each of them. 

Identifying the true culture

To understand how to improve workplace culture it’s important to get as near to the truth as possible. This may not be as simple as you think. That’s because how business leaders view company culture can be very different to how employees see it.

It’s best to start by listening to employees through informal conversations. These can take the form of:

  • Organic feedback (for instance, when someone raises an issue or asks a question).
  • Annual reviews.
  • Interviews employee engagement surveys to gather employee feedback. 

Ask your employees, can they identify the company values? Can they see evidence of these values on a day-to-day basis?

Don’t forget to consider how you recruit new employees. Are they recruited based on skills alone or because their personalities and values are a good fit for the business? When a new person joins, what does the onboarding process look like? Do they understand workplace culture from the outset? 

You might also want to think about how business values are promoted day-to-day. For example through general interactions, annual reviews, and training programmes. Is that business value encouraged, recognised and rewarded? 

Ensuring business leaders buy into building an intentional culture

The key to creating a positive culture is through business leaders. That’s because business leaders can contribute to a healthy culture at work or they can hinder it. 

However, business leaders may not always understand the importance of living the values that make up the company’s culture.

A study by HBS Professor James Heskett shows a link between healthy workplace culture and strong financial returns. This evidence is an ideal business case for investing in a great company culture.

Leaders need to understand the company values and demonstrate them in their behaviour to reinforce them to others. For instance, they way that leaders manage challenges and communicate with others heavily contributes to the company culture.  

Making sure beliefs and behaviour align

It’s vital that leaders treat employees in a way that’s align to the company’s core values. According to this Forbes article,

When employees ‘feel engaged in a dynamic and caring work culture, their performance, pride and loyalty skyrocket the company and its clients to success.’

A healthy culture at work actively promotes employee wellbeing in many different ways:

A respectful environment

A healthy culture generally places greater importance on tracking performance than time spent at a desk. This approach means that employees’ efforts are recognised. Similarly, a healthy culture also encourages collaboration rather than internal competitiveness.

When employees feel micromanaged or criticised, this can lead to a toxic workplace culture. This typically increases the number of sick days taken, raises employee turnover rates, and reduces productivity.

Open communication

Being transparent and having open discussions with employees empowers them to share their experiences. The upside of doing this is that it can help business leaders to understand whether employees feel connected to the company’s values.

A lack of openness can lead employees to feel vulnerable and insecure. By actively involving employees in decision-making, they feel trusted and valued. 

Wellbeing initiatives

Wellbeing initiatives are a key way to build your company culture intentionally because the initiatives you choose demonstrate what’s important to the organisation. For instance, employers can offer enhanced pension contributions, private health care, dental care, free eye tests, clothing allowances and so much more. 

Typically, financial wellbeing is an area of employee wellbeing that’s most often neglected. But at a time when most people are feeling the financial pinch, it’s never been more important. Earned wage access is a great way to boost employee financial wellbeing.

Using the Openwage app, employees can access their earnings at any time. This means they don’t need to take out expensive payday loans or dip into an overdraft if they have an unexpected bill to pay. For instance, employees can use Openwage to pay for a parking fine, car repair, or household emergency. 

Work/life balance

Everybody’s life is different. People may live on their own, with others in a shared house, or with their family. 

Each person’s lifestyle and individual circumstances places different demands on them. So it makes sense for businesses to offer a degree of flexibility so employees can achieve a healthy work/life balance. There’s a benefit to the organisation too, as it can help their employees be more productive. This is because employees are less likely to experience burnout.

That’s not all. That’s because a healthy work/life balance for employees can also help boost retention.

Building an intentional culture in remote organisations 

With people gradually returning to offices, many companies have a hybrid mix. Some employees are working from home and others from the office. The danger is that two separate cultures can emerge. 

Those working remotely may feel isolated and left out of discussions as those in the office begin to collaborate in person. To counter this, it’s important that leaders value in-person and remote workers equally.

To prevent a potential two-tier system, business leaders could ask remote workers what would help them to stay in touch with co-workers. Mechanisms could include instant messaging apps, more regular recognition of their contributions by managers, or a peer monitoring system. 

Positive workplace culture examples

SC Johnson and Lindt are ranked as number four and number five respectively in the Best Workplaces 2021 list of large companies. This is in recognition of their positive workplace cultures.

How had Lindt built an intentional culture?

Lindt has embedded a ‘people first’ philosophy into their company culture. 

Their core principle is its foundation of ‘people at their best’. For instance, Lindt run a ‘Being at our best’ induction programme for new employees to promote this value. In the programme, they ask employees what they need and aim to be as flexible as possible to meet those needs. 

During the pandemic, Lindt discovered that greater use of video calls and technology made their business more inclusive and flexible. Consequently, the positive feedback they received from employees has resulted in permanent changes that have benefited the business.

How has SC Johnson built an intentional culture?

Leadership teams at SC Johnson listened to what their employees needed during the pandemic and took a flexible approach. They recognised that everyone had their individual challenges during this time. Because of this, they didn’t impose rigid rules.

SC Johnson embraced technology and used it to foster a culture of trust, allowing employees to manage their own time. As a direct result of this approach, levels of collaboration improved and they received positive feedback from employees.

Final thoughts on building an intentional culture

For a growing business, building an intentional culture is essential to ensure a business’s core values are clear to everyone. Research has proved that businesses that invest time into creating a positive culture out-perform other businesses. 

A healthy culture engages employees and gives them a clear purpose. In turn, this drives productivity and leads to enhanced customer service. This benefits a business’s bottom line. With this in mind, what are you waiting for?

LGBTQ+ inclusion at work

Gen z is one of the most diverse generations ever. They’re also the workforce of the future. If business is to remain competitive and attract future talent, then robust inclusion strategies are essential. Read on to find out why LGBTQ+ inclusion at work matters and how to make your workplace more LGBTQ+ inclusive.  

Five reasons why an LGBTQ+ friendly workplace makes ethical and business sense

The past few years have put a spotlight on social justice, equality, and diversity around the world. Our working lives have changed to reflect this. Now there’s even greater focus on wellbeing and inclusion and making this a priority for employees and employers.

The ethical case for diversity, and being an ally to vulnerable groups and communities, is clear. But inclusive policies are good for business as well. 

Not convinced? This study from the US, ‘LGBT Diversity, Show Me The Business Case‘ could change your mind. 

But you don’t have to read the whole report. Instead, we’ve summarised the business case for LGBTQ+ inclusion at work in five simple points below:

1. Become more attractive to top talent

When considering employment opportunities, 67% of millennial and gen Z employees value diversity and inclusion. This means that fostering an inclusive workplace (including for neurodiverse people) is essential for organisations that want to attract the next generation of talented professionals.

2. Get access to a wider talent pool

In an inclusive workplace, HR can focus on finding the candidate with the correct skill set as opposed to whether they will fit in with the rest of the team. 

A diverse workforce not only brings different experiences to the table but is also an asset when dealing with a wider customer base.

3. Improve business performance with better decision making

A recent study found that diverse teams make better decisions 87% of the time. This in turn positively impacts productivity. Another report found that decision making effectiveness was 95% correlated with financial performance. So your organisation’s bottom line could benefit too. 

4. Happier employees are more productive

More than a third of LGBT staff (35%) have hidden that their identity at work for fear of discrimination. Building an inclusive workplace for LGBTQ+ and improving DEI at work has a positive effect all round. It fosters an environment of belonging, compassion and inclusivity that benefits everyone.

5. Gain a competitive edge

Research has found that inclusive companies are 60% more likely to outperform their peers. In addition, a study in the US found that the economy could save $9 billion annually with more robust inclusion strategies.

Five practical ways to make your workplace more LGBTQ+ friendly

In the UK, more people than ever before are identifying as LGBTQ+. However, a shocking 43% of trans people admit to leaving a job because of an unwelcome environment. 

Follow our actionable tips below to build a more inclusive workplace for our LGBTQ+ employees and colleagues.

1. Review your DEI policies

Review these policies and make sure that LGBTQ+ inclusion at work is a core component. Even better, consider creating a separate policy on LGBTQ+ inclusion. This makes your commitment to target discrimination in this area even clearer.

2. Consider offering LGBTQ+ training to employees

Discussing LGBTQ+ matters in a sensitive and respectful way is essential. Knowing the correct terminology is vital so check out Stonewall for resources like a useful glossary of terms. The UK charity also offers training resources and helps organisations take positive steps forward.

Training ensures that your DEI policies are heard and understood across the organisation. Make sure everyone is on board. One way to do this is to put forward the business case, as well as the moral case, for inclusion policies. 

3. Make your allyship visible

According to a TotalJobs survey, two thirds (65%) of people said they had to hide their trans status at work. 

To create a more welcoming and inclusive culture, companies like YouGov and Accenture have made their allyship publicly visible. Accenture provides employees with rainbow-coloured security lanyards, and both companies offer desk stickers and openly support LGBTQ+ rights on their websites.

4. Be inclusive with your language

It’s not just policies that need to be written carefully. The language used in recruitment adverts and benefits publicity should also be considered. Here are a few ways you can make your language more inclusive: 

  • Use gender-neutral language (for example use partner instead of husband or wife).
  • Add pronouns to your email signatures (she/her for example).

5. Create a network support group at work

Another tip for LGBTQ+ inclusion at work is to set up a network, forum or group. Stonewall suggests a dedicated network can make a big difference to the lives of LGBTQ+ employees. It can have many benefits including:

  • Offering a safe space where members can feel supported and heard. 
  • Support for employees including specific support when coming out at work. 
  • Helping to raise awareness of the cisgender and heterosexual communities.

6. Make your rewards and benefits packages LGBTQ+ inclusive 

Benefits such as adoption leave and same sex partner health care are especially important to LGBTQIA+ employees. Ensure that their needs are met in the same way as your other employees. 

Foster an LGBTQ+ friendly workplace by celebrating together

One way of building an inclusive workplace is by celebrating LBGTQ+ history and events. Why not host a LGBTQ+ focused event with speakers and training opportunities? 

By opening up the conversation about LGBTQ+ matters, you’ll be signalling that your organisation is inclusive and help bring greater awareness to your wider employees. 

Focus on LGBTQ+ inclusion at work every day of the year

June is pride month but remember that the challenges faced by the LBGTQ+ community happen every day of the year. It should be a top business priority to build safe, inclusive workspaces for all, where every employee can thrive and bring their best, productive self to the work.

Creating an LGBTQ+ inclusive workplace is a process

As with everything, there is a learning curve. That’s why education and asking questions is important. There are many great organisations such as Stonewall that organisations can partner with to become a more inclusive workplace. 

Yes, you’ll hit roadblocks and will probably need to tweak your approach. But getting started is vital if we’re to make significant progress in protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ people. 

Key takeaways:

  • Workplaces are becoming more diverse so in response HR teams must increase efforts to be more inclusive. 
  • Employees of the future care about inclusion and diversity – so make your efforts count!
  • The benefits of inclusivity go beyond the LGBTQ+ community and create a more inclusive environment for all employees.
  • Inclusivity is ethical AND good for business.

What makes employees stay with a company?

What makes employees stay with a company? It’s a question that has become even more pressing since the so-called Great Resignation. With the lasting impact of the pandemic, companies are losing employees at an alarming rate. We delve into what drives employee loyalty in today’s organisations. 

Driving company loyalty has never been harder

There has never been a good time to lose valued employees. Companies have always been exploring employee retention strategies in the hope that they don’t lose a top performer to a competitor. 

However, the landscape today is totally different. As a result, the need to understand what makes employees happy, and therefore the reasons why employees stay, is greater than ever.

The fallout of the Great Resignation rumbles on

You couldn’t have avoided the countless headlines referring to the so-called Great Resignation. For the last year, or perhaps more, we’ve been told that employees are leaving jobs in their droves. 

This mass exodus is leaving companies struggling to operate with reduced staff. At the same time, they’re desperately trying to discover what makes employees satisfied at work, and more likely to stay there.

Employee burnout is a dangerous new edge to company turnover

The Great Resignation shows no sign of stopping. Recent figures suggest that as many as 85% of businesses have been affected. A third of these reports that the impact has been negative with 31% stating that reduced staffing is leading to employee burnout

With these kinds of figures, it really never has been more important to understand what makes employees stay with a company. As you keep reading, we have some great employee retention tips to share that can help you to improve retention rates. 

What are the benefits of reducing employee turnover? 

When exploring the various ways of managing employee retention, it’s worth bearing in mind the end game benefits. Of course, change will be focusing on what makes employees happy but this needs to bring benefits to the business too. 

Let’s dive into the three key benefits that you can expect by improving retention rates at your organisation:

1. Loyal employees means reduced recruitment costs 

There’s no escaping the fact that recruitment is an expensive process. Taking on a new employee brings a host of costs well beyond the salary. As well as training costs there are the expenses relating to advertising the position and maybe even the use of a recruitment agency. 

One study suggests that, by taking on an employee with an annual salary of around £27,000, you are more likely to spend close to £50,000 in the first year. 

2. Employees who stay contribute to higher levels of productivity 

When you understand what makes employees stay with a company, you benefit from an increase in productivity. 

For one, you have a workforce that’s happy and satisfied with their jobs. Secondly, you’re not having to take time out of someone’s schedule to train and onboard a new employee. This is a great time-saver when existing employees may already been overrun with work. 

3. Lower turnover generates a better ROI

The bottom line is that, when you reduce employee turnover, you improve your overall business’ return on investment (ROI). A stable workforce typically works more effectively, helping to keep costs down. All of this leads to an increased ROI. 

This article shows you how you can calculate the ROI of improving employee retention. The figures speak for themselves. Although it uses US dollars in the example, it’s still impressive.  

What makes employees stay with a company?

While the benefits of being able to improve retention rates are clear, how do you actually go about driving employee loyalty? Here are our top ten tips for increasing employee retention:

1. Salaries that aren’t competitive can drive employees away 

Finding a company that offers a better salary, for doing the same work, is a major driving force when it comes to employees leaving. Can you blame someone for moving to a competitor, doing exactly the same job, but being paid more? Be sure that the salary you offer is competitive. 

2. Mentorship opportunities keep employees engaged

Admittedly, not everyone is looking for progression and to move up the ladder. But for those who are, you need to offer the right support. 

Offering employees a mentor can signal that you’re taking their career aspirations seriously by supporting their personal and professional development.

3. Keep roles challenging so employees don’t feel they’re stagnating  

When roles become easy, mundane, and repetitive, they become boring. According to this article, boredom is a job killer and a bored worker is an unhappy one.

Give employees an opportunity to feedback about their role and any concerns they may have. Picking up on boredom early can be a game-changer for keeping that employee in your organisation. 

4. Promote employees who excel

If you have an employee who’s performing well in their role, it may be time to consider them for a promotion. Employees crave recognition because this helps them understand that their work is valued. 

Giving zero feedback to employees can be discouraging for them because they don’t know where they stand. Instead, consider your approach to ensure managers give regular feedback. This can help keep an employee motivated in their role and encourage them to stay. 

5. Use inclusive ways of working

Your workplace needs to be inclusive if you want to keep employees happy. This means acknowledging the differences that everyone has but ensuring that every employee feels valued and accepted for who they are. 

Employees who feel like they don’t fit in can begin to feel isolated, and their attention could be drawn to the endless list of vacancies on LinkedIn. Creating a sense of belonging is vital to combating this. 

6. Show your employees that they’re appreciated 

Yes, the salary that you’re paying your employees matters, but it isn’t the be-all and end-all. Your employees want to feel appreciated and you can demonstrate this in other ways. 

HR teams at the most successful organisations are constantly reviewing and refreshing their benefits packages for employees. The likes of Perkbox and Ben are growing in popularity because they allow employees to choose their own benefits. 

7. Value your employees as people, not just units of work

While you need your employees to work effectively and productively, it’s important to remember that they’re people and not robots! Take time to get to know your employees. Show that you care about their personal lives as well as what they’re doing during their working hours.

8. Give them a mission to strive for

If you look at what makes employees happy, having a purpose at work often comes high up. A lack of purpose can leave employees languishing and make them more likely to look elsewhere. 

Setting targets that are challenging, yet achievable, can be a great way to motivate and engage employees in your company’s mission. 

9. Empower employees with the tools and resources they want

If you want your employees to perform, a huge frustration for them is not having the tools and resources that they need. Take steps to understand what employees need to achieve their outcomes and do your utmost to make these available.

10. Trust – the greatest gift you can give your employees

It’s important that managers demonstrate their trust in their employees. Trust is incredibly important to individuals, and without it, the organisation’s growth can be threatened. 

Employees who trust their employers and know their employer trusts them are more likely to offer ideas and pitch in when things get serious. It also drives their engagement levels which are essential when it comes to employee retention. 

Focusing on financial wellbeing gives your organisation an edge

Money worries can have a huge impact on the happiness of your employees when they’re at work. Financial stress isn’t conducive to productivity, and now employers are taking this seriously. In today’s challenging economic times, financial wellness is a must-have employee benefit

At Openwage, employee wellbeing is at the heart of our earned wage access solution. We empower employees to access up to 50% of their gross earned salary whenever they choose. It’s free for employers and offers employees a safer, more cost-effective alternative to predatory payday loans.

Are your employees craving flexible pay?

Offering employees on-demand pay is typically highly valued as an employee benefit. That’s because employees can use it if they need it, but there’s no obligation or cost if they don’t. 

Including on-demand pay in your benefits package is a great addition to efforts that focus on mental and physical wellbeing. 

Financial wellbeing is often neglected by organisations when it comes to their benefits. That’s good news for employers who proactively include benefits to promote financial wellness because it offers them the chance to get ahead of competitors. 

If you want to know more about how Openwage could benefit your workforce and your organisation, head over to our Employers page. Alternatively, you can get in touch with us. 

T Levels: A guide to the benefits for employers and recruiters

There’s a new initiative that could help solve the skills gap crisis. 78% of the largest employers say their business is negatively impacted by a shortage of skilled workers. In this guide to T levels for employers, we’ll show how this new qualification could create an abundance of skilled talent for the future.

Where will tomorrow’s talent come from?

From upskilling current employees to focusing on employing global talent, there are many ways organisations are trying to close the skills gap. However, these tactics don’t solve the issue entirely.  

A recent report from the Harvey Nash Group found that 67% of global digital leaders are falling behind with the pace of change because of the shortage of talent.

Add to this the fact that by 2030 nearly 20% of workers in the UK could lacks the skills needed for their jobs.

The manufacturing, construction and engineering sectors are suffering

The skills gap is affecting nearly all industries. However it’s been extra tough on the manufacturing, engineering, construction, retail, and digital sectors.

There are many recruitment methods to help organisations stand out from the rest. Plus, it’s good practice to create a learning culture in your organisation to help fuel the talent pipeline.

But it can still be extremely hard to find workers with the skills that organisations crave.

There needs to be a solution to provide people with the right skills in these industries. On the job training can be expensive and means lower levels of productivity until the worker is fully trained. 

T Levels offer hope to struggling industries

So what if students could gain a qualification combined with practical experience direct steered by employers? 

The unique nature of T Level qualifications makes this possible. We’ve created this quick guide to T Levels for employers so you can discover what T Levels are and how your business could benefit from those with this qualification.

How do T Levels work in industry?

The T stands for technical. One T level is equivalent to three A levels, meaning that universities will offer places to those holding one of these qualifications.

However, T Level qualifications are not the same as A Levels. T Levels are a mix of classroom study and practical (and highly sought-after) skills acquisition. Meanwhile A Levels are purely academic.

What industries have helped shape T Levels? 

Students can choose to study a T Levels in the following industries:

  • Digital production, design, and development
  • Education and childcare
  • Building services engineering for construction
  • Digital business services
  • Health
  • Science

From September 2022, schools and colleges will offer even more subjects including those relating to engineering, manufacturing, and finance. Check out the full list on the official T Levels website.

Six benefits of T Levels for employers

You might be asking what makes the T Level so special. Here’s why.

In a nutshell, it’s the industry placement. This placement is key in teaching students the practical skills needed to make them more employable later on.

Let’s take a look at six reasons why your organisation could benefit from T Level placements:

1. Designed in partnership with employers

The fact that industry placements are designed in collaboration with employers means that employers can guide students to learn the skills their businesses are crying out for. 

Consequently, those who complete T Levels will be well-placed to fill entry level positions. T Levels should be able to create a generation of job seekers who correspond to what employers need.

2. Hosting organisation can help guide training

The business hosting the placement will collaborate directly with the college or sixth form and have a direct role in training and moulding that student’s technical skills.

3. Faster onboarding of new employees 

The industry placement is longer and more in-depth than work shadowing or work experience. Comprehensive work experience allows T Level students to hit the ground running.

The placement makes up 20% of the course and lasts 45-50 days. It’s key in providing T Level holders with the basic skills necessary to enter the job market and hit the ground running.

4. Be ahead of the curve

The latest developments and industry trends are often developed and researched in the classroom. When it comes to T Levels, students will bring the latest classroom-based knowledge to their employer or placement host. They will bring a fresh new perspective whilst learning practical skills.

T Levels should ensure that the next generation of job seekers hit the workplace prepared and ready to provide employers with the skills they desperately need. Industry placements will enable employers and recruiters to tap into the emerging talent pipeline, while supporting the skilled workforce of the future.

5. Cost-effective recruitment

T Levels offer a cost-effective recruitment source and can improve the recruitment pipeline to your business. By hosting a student on an industry placement, employers have the opportunity to see what the young person can offer. 

Organisations don’t have to employ the student afterwards, although many do. That’s because they have the skills they need.

In addition, the T Level student isn’t entitled to receive a salary during the placement since it’s a requirement of the student’s study program.

Financial incentives: T Level guide for employers

A guide to T Levels for employers wouldn’t be complete without drawing attention to the potential financial benefits.  

The Government has introduced a financial incentive to employers. As of May 2022, employers can claim £1,000 per T Level student they offer an industry placement to.

Employers can claim for up to 20 placements. There are no stipulations about how this money is used.

As demand for these T Level placements is increasing, the process might change. You can check the Government website for up to date information.

T Levels could become important for talent retention too

A talent pool ravaged by COVID-19, Brexit and a skills gap worsened by the fast pace of technology has left HR teams with a recruitment headache. We know struggling to recruit is detrimental to business.

A Korn Therry study in the U.S. has outlined the potential financial impact of the skills gap. The study suggests that unless decisive action is taken, the talent shortage could result in about $8.5 trillion in unrealised annual revenues.  

To prevent this downward spiral, employers will need to use every tool in the book to prevent the skills gap from impacting their business. The T Level may well be one more tool worth considering.

T Level guide for employers: Key takeaways

  • The T Level qualification is a government-backed initiative designed to tackle the skills gap.
  • Employers can claim a financial incentive for developing future talent.
  • The industry placement is key in giving employers a say in what skills potential future talent needs.
  • Employers will have cost-effective access to untapped, up and coming talent sources.

How we can help

When it comes to reducing turnover rates, offering your employees on-demand pay can be a win-win solution.

On-demand pay allows employees to access a portion of their earnings when they want to cover unexpected costs. This financial buffer helps to reduce financial stress which can distract employees and lead to increased rates of absenteeism.

If you would like to find out more about how on-demand pay could help your employees with zero cost to your business, please contact us.

Six steps to reduce your carbon footprint at work

There’s an ever-increasing corporate focus on climate change. That’s because we all have a responsibility for protecting the environment. Understanding what your organisation can do to make a real and achievable reduction in carbon footprint can be tricky. That’s why we’ve outlined six actionable steps to help reduce your carbon footprint at work. 

All companies (but especially SMEs) can make a real difference

The UK business sector is responsible for around a 18% of all greenhouse emissions produced by the UK. While 18% may seem like a small contribution, remember that the UK is the fifth largest contributor to climate change globally. So that 18% really counts.

We might think that only large companies can achieve a real difference when it comes to carbon footprint reductions. And to a certain extent that’s true. 

A 2017 report found that just 100 companies are responsible for more than 70% of the world’s emissions.

However, according to new research by the British Business Bank, smaller businesses account for between 43% to 53% of all greenhouse gas emissions produced by UK businesses.

Given that over 99% of all UK businesses are SMEs, this highlights the collective impact of those businesses and their employees. This means that every company can and should make a positive contribution to carbon footprint reduction. 

Corporate impact on the environment is far-reaching

Some aspects of business operations, like logistics, are easily linked to their carbon footprint print. But other aspects are less obvious.

1. Increased consumption of non-renewable resources

Non-renewable resources not only increase greenhouse emissions, they also release toxic pollutants into the soil and atmosphere. Many buildings are made from non-renewable sources such as concrete, bricks and clay.

2. Higher levels of pollution

Heating and air conditioning units pump gas emissions into the air. The burning of fossil fuels contributes to about 89% of greenhouse emissions and is the main contributor to climate change.

3. Waste

Offices produce vast amounts of paper. Even if much of it is recycled, still more winds up in landfill or is incinerated. Incineration releases vast amounts of C02 into the atmosphere.

4. Loss of natural habitats

Clearing our greenspaces and pushing human activity ever outwards from cities is affecting the natural environment. As a result, we’re seeing a reduction in wildlife numbers. The endangered bumble bee is a poignant example of this.

5. Harmful chemicals

Non-recyclable waste such as computers and photocopiers typically end up in landfills. They don’t break down and can leach harmful chemicals into the ground and water.

6. Transport

Transport and the commute to work contribute 27% to the UK’s total emissions of greenhouse gases. This makes transport one of the key contributors that we should be working hard to reduce.  

Are net zero aspirations realistic (or even beneficial)?  

Action to mitigate the impacts of climate change is at a tipping point. It’s crucial for smaller business owners (as well as individual employees) to feel empowered, informed and supported in reducing the carbon footprint of their business.

Some fear that the actions required to reach net zero could have a negative impact on business. However, a report by Mckinsey suggests this isn’t true. 

In fact, as the global economy transforms, businesses would see numerous benefits by switching to zero carbon. Among these benefits are:

  1. Lower energy costs;
  2. Operational costs savings;
  3. Increased resilience; and 
  4. An improved reputation among customer bases.

The Race to Zero can feel overwhelming

To bring businesses on board to the net zero way, the UN launched the Race to Zero campaign in June 2020. The campaign aims to ensure that businesses and investors worldwide work together to reach a zero-carbon future that also creates jobs and maintains sustainable growth.

However, according you a YouGov survey, only 29% of UK businesses have joined the campaign. In addition, 50% of UK senior business decision makers say they have no net zero strategy

42% of those surveyed say they’re overwhelmed by the steps they need to take to reach the net zero goal. We get it. It can seem overwhelming, so let’s break it down.

Actionable steps to help reduce your carbon footprint at work 

1. Reduce waste

Wrapping sandwiches in cling film? Think again. In 2021 it was estimated that UK households use 1.2 billion metres of clingfilm a year. That’s a lot of single-use plastic waste. 

So what alternatives are there?

  • Beeswax food wrapping, which is reusable. 
  • Paper snack and sandwich bags (some of which are also compostable). 
  • Silicone food lids which are useful for covering food stored in the office fridge.

2. Reduce power usage

Many offices leave their computers and photocopiers on standby overnight or over the weekend. This only increases electricity bills but also consider that the more power your office uses, the higher your carbon footprint. 

How can you reduce your power usage?

  • Turn off lights when not in use or consider installing sensors. 
  • Turn off printers and other machines at the end of each day.
  • Consider having photocopier-free or no-print days. 

3. The commute

It’s tempting to drive, especially when the weather is unpleasant. But commuting is responsible for vast quantities of carbon emissions, and we really need to take decisive action. Here are some suggestions to consider: 

  • Opt for sustainable transportation.
  • If your company allows it, work from home or opt for hybrid working.
  • Consider car-pooling with colleagues once a week.
  • Use public transport. 
  • Invest in a bike. Biking to work will mean you can skip the gym too!

4. Recycling

Waste from offices can be huge, when you consider aspects like printing and packaging from take-out lunches. But another big area of waste is IT equipment – much of which can’t be recycled. 

These forms of waste can be a significant contributor to your carbon footprint. Here are some positive steps you can take:

  • Have a recycling bin in the office. There is very little that can’t be recycled today.
  • When computers and electronics reach end of life, consider contacting local charities that might be able to use them. 
  • There are companies that specialise in recycling computers and other IT equipment.

5. Water bottles

Bringing drinks bottles made from single use plastic into work can soon add up. Many companies provide bottles of water in meeting rooms, when really there’s no need. So what could you do instead?

  • Consider buying a reusable water bottle and ditching the plastic one (in the recycle bin or course!) 
  • For an employer-led initiative, consider giving employees a branded company water bottle.
  • Use jugs and glasses for meetings that can be washed and used over and over again.

6. Green days: A chance to bond and help the environment

Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is by off-setting your current activities. This has become quite popular with carbon-offset flights. But it’s possible to do something on a corporate level too:

  • Why not support team building by hosting a team tree planting event. Trees help combat global warming by absorbing CO2.
  • Join the Plastic Pledge and challenge the office to go for a month without using plastic utensils.
  • Clean up your local area with a litter pick. 
  • Plant flower boxes that attract bees and generate more wildlife habitats.

Green and environmental events organised by outside companies are also a simple but fun way of incorporating team building and boosting your green credentials. Boosting these credentials was the second biggest driver (60%) for UK companies joining the race to net zero campaign.

Find out more about the Net Zero campaign and how your company can join.

Key takeaways

  • Corporations, SMEs, employers, and employees all have a role to play.
  • Achieving net zero can create more jobs and lead to sustainable growth.
  • Simple actions have far reaching consequences and can make a big difference.

Recruitment tips for 2022: Tips to stand out from the masses

Against the backdrop of a nationwide recruitment crisis affecting most industries, finding and hiring the right talent can seem like an ongoing battle for recruiters. Want to fill your roles faster? Follow these recruitment tips for 2022 and help your business flourish.  

What’s causing the UK’s recruitment crisis?

As you ponder how to find candidates to fill your vacancies, you’re no doubt experiencing some challenges. You’re certainly not alone. 

In September 2021, a record 1.2 million job vacancies were recorded in the UK. Figures show that between February 2021 and February 2022, the number of professionals applying for vacancies fell by 37% while vacancies themselves spiked by 52%.

COVID-19 and Brexit: Tearing up the recruitment rulebook 

Of course, the impact of COVID-19 is a contributing factor and tore up much of the old recruitment rulebook. Hiring in a post-COVID world just isn’t the same as it used to be. 

However, other factors come into play too, including the impact of Brexit. The end of free movement led to a wave of EU nationals returning to their home countries and leaving job vacancies behind. Coupled with the skills shortage and suddenly the outlook is less than positive.

Organisations are struggling to attract candidates during what is probably one of the most challenging times in recruitment history. That makes now the ideal time to steer a new direction for your recruitment strategy to give your organisation the best chance of securing the right employees for your vacant roles. 

Stay agile to recruit more effectively 

Adjusting to the new normal means recruitment tips for 2022 are a far cry from those of the past. Changing trends combined with a profoundly new workforce outlook means organisations need to stay agile with their recruitment strategies. 

Let’s take a look at some strategic steps your HR team can take to elevate your company above the rest. 

1. Tell your company’s story 

Standing out from other companies isn’t always easy. So take some time to really consider what makes you different. 

Focus on your organisation’s uniqueness, its character, and its foundations. Did the idea for your company start in an interesting place or situation? Be sure to tell your company story in an engaging way that makes others want to be part of it. 

Bonus tip:

If you don’t know your company’s history, try speaking informally to the founders, owners, or CEO. It’s the small, unique details that can have the greatest impact. 

2. Showcase job security and employee flexibility 

When it comes to recruiting, a good salary certainly helps. But it’s definitely not the driving factor for all candidates. Research from a YouGov survey reveals that:

  • 51% of people rate job security as being most important to them. 
  • 40% of people state that flexibility is what matters most to them.
  • Only 32% state that pay is their primary concern. 

What does this mean for your organisation during this recruitment crisis? Well, it shows that candidate attraction strategies need to focus on job security and clearly show other benefits that denote employee flexibility. Some of these benefits could include:

  • Flexible working hours.
  • Mix of office and working from home.
  • Flexible pay via access to earned wages or on-demand pay.
  • Generous holiday allowance.
  • Plenty of opportunities to upskill and progress. 

Bonus tip:

On-demand pay from Openwage gives employees the flexibility to choose when they get paid. As on-demand pay is still relatively new, it’s a great perk that can help your company stand out from competitors.  

3. Be human

With the pressure to fill multiple vacancies and an increased reliance on HR technology, there’s a danger that the recruitment process may come across as being a little robotic. 

While there’s no doubt that HR tech can help drive recruitment success, showing your human side during the recruitment process can be a deal-breaker for candidates. 

From your job advert, to the very first point of contact and throughout the interview phase, you have plenty of chances to allow the human side of your organisation to shine. But how can you truly engage with candidates?

  • Avoid overly corporate language in your job adverts. You’re appealing to humans, so speak like one!
  • Show genuine interest in your applicants. Yes you’re assessing their professional skills, but take the time to get to know and understand them on a more personal level. They’ll remember you for it.
  • Don’t leave candidates hanging. Ignoring their emails or messages will only drive them away. Nobody likes to feel ignored. 

Bonus tip:

Put yourself in your candidates’ shoes. How would you like to be treated if you were them?

4. Get social 

We all understand the power of social media. But most companies aren’t aware of the immense benefits it can offer when it comes to talent attraction strategies. One of the best recruitment tips for 2022 is to leverage social media to recruit. 

Using social media to tell your story and show what life is like at your company can be an eye-opening experience. Showcasing your company or employer brand helps candidates understand the way you work and whether they’re a good fit for you. 

Knowledge is key here. Find out where your desired audience hangs out online and target that platform. Here’s a snapshot of several social platforms and the typical age range of users:

  • Facebook’s largest user group are those aged 25 to 35.
  • Instagram is similar to Facebook, however 18 to 24-year-olds come a close second on Instagram.
  • On TikTok, it’s 10 to 19-year-olds whom dominate this platform.
  • Twitter users are mainly in the 18 to 29-year-old bracket.
  • LinkedIn’s largest group is made up of 25 to 34-year-olds.

To get the best out of recruiting via social media, be human, be regular, and be honest to build trust and engage prospective candidates. Spend time creating content that’s engaging and gives a real insight into your company.

Bonus tip:

To get more eyes on your content, you may need to invest in paid ads (also called ‘boosted’ or ‘sponsored’ posts).

5. Promote your values

We’ve already seen the evidence that shows that candidates aren’t only interested in the pay that you offer. So when looking at how to attract candidates, you need to be loud and proud about your company values. 

Younger generations are more focused on finding an organisation that aligns to their own values than any other time in history. Yes, the top talent is seeking great opportunities. But they’re also striving to find a place they feel they belong

Typically, many organisations keep their values as internal mechanisms and don’t think about communicating them externally. Many overlook them when it comes to recruitment strategies when actually they can be a useful tool. 

Bonus tip:

Make sure your values are easily visible on your website, on your social media profiles, press releases, and anywhere else where you’re painting a picture of your organisation. 

6. Think beyond the job offer

So you’ve worked hard to attract multiple applicants and assess them. You’ve found your dream candidate, offered them the position and (hooray!) they’ve accepted the job. But then what? 

The thrill of the chase means that recruiting employees often takes precedence over retaining them. But a balance is needed.

If your focus is all on recruiting then you may be more likely to find yourself repeating the process sooner than you wanted. That’s because without an effective retention strategy, employee turnover will rise. 

Consequently, your organisation needs to put as much focus on retention as recruitment to attain those highly-sought after low-levels of staff attrition. 

Bonus tip:

Check out these ten things that employees want but rarely ask for to help boost your retention rates.

Final thoughts 

Thinking differently about how you attract candidates using these recruitment tips for 2022 will edge you closer to your target of filling vacant roles faster. 

By improving the image you project of your company, you’ll establish a positive employer brand. This will mean you’re more likely to attract engaged, suitable candidates even before the job advert gets posted. 

To find out more about on-demand pay from Openwage, that allows your employees to access their earned pay before payday, head over to our Employers page.

Warning signs of a toxic culture: 5 red flags to recognise

21% of UK employees resigned from their jobs in 2020 due to toxic work culture. This cost the economy a staggering £15 billion. Given the huge financial consequences, it’s vital to be able to spot the warning signs of a toxic work culture early on so that deep organisational change can happen. 

What is a toxic culture?

A toxic culture is when negative behaviour in the workplace impacts employees’ mental health. There are countless examples of behaviours that contribute towards a harmful culture, including:

  • Criticism or comments that undermine others or their work.
  • Management that favours one person over another.
  • Malicious gossiping targeting certain individuals.
  • Cliquey groups that isolate others.
  • Bullying and harassment.

Unfortunately, toxic workplace cultures are common in the UK. A survey carried out last year found that 64% of employees had experienced behaviour at work that damaged their mental health.

What are the warning signs of a toxic culture?

Here are some signs to look out for:

Toxic work culture warning sign 1: High employee turnover and absenteeism

People leave their jobs for lots of different reasons, but a high employee turnover rate is a definite red flag. The average employee turnover rate in the UK is 15%. A percentage greater than this could certainly indicate a toxic work environment.

A report by MIT Sloan Management found that a toxic culture (and not pay) is the primary cause of people quitting. When employees don’t feel included or respected, or they feel that the behaviour in their workplace is unethical, then they’re far more likely to leave. 

On top of this, over 30% of employees in the UK have said they’ve taken time off work due to a toxic workplace culture, costing the economy billions. 

Toxic culture warning sign 2: Lack of transparency across the organisation

An unsupportive manager who gives minimal feedback to their reportees can make employees anxious about whether their performance is up to standard. 

When employees are not privy to certain information about their organisation, or they think something untoward is going on because they’ve heard a rumour, this can cause considerable stress. 

Transparent communication between managers and colleagues builds trust and signals mutual respect. Employees need to know how they’re performing and what’s happening in the workplace to feel secure. 

With this in mind, it’s worth considering how your organisation communicates with its employees. Organisations that focus on top-down communication without providing channels for employee feedback can leave all besides management feeling undervalued and unappreciated. 

Toxic culture warning sign 3: Employees are terrified of failing

The fear of failure can paralyse productivity. If someone is so afraid that their work will be ‘wrong’ they won’t be able to produce their best work. Fear of failure can be a result of bullying or criticism. 

When an employee is afraid of failing, their work may be below standard because their thoughts are entirely consumed by what they might do wrong. They feel unsafe at work and under constant stress. Work performance can take a serious turn for the worse. 

Toxic culture warning sign 4: Employees don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing

When people don’t understand their role or responsibilities it causes confusion, giving rise to anger and disagreements. This can happen because communication is poor, somebody hasn’t listened, or communication between colleagues or managers is contradictory or ambiguous.

It’s important to clearly define roles and responsibilities both verbally and in writing, and to check that people understand what’s expected of them. Employees must clearly understand their roles and responsibilities to be able to meet their goals and be productive at work.

Toxic culture warning sign 5: Nobody knows what the organisation is striving for

To share and promote an organisation’s aims, vision, and core values, employees need to understand each of these highly important aspects of an organisation. In a healthy working environment, everyone should understand the ‘bigger picture’. 

In a toxic working environment, people don’t know what they’re working towards and why, so they lack direction and motivation. To communicate a business’s aims, vision, and core values to employees, business leaders must have a clear understanding themselves. Leaders must also be able to articulate them in a way that all employees understand. 

What impact does a toxic culture have on an organisation?

Having identified the warning signs of a toxic work culture, let’s now delve into the damage it can cause to the organisations:

Toxic cultures drive employees away

According to Forbes, employees are ten times more likely to leave a company where there is a toxic work environment.

When a business loses employees and don’t replace them, it puts additional pressure and strain on the remaining staff. This typically damages morale and causes stress, reducing productivity among employees. 

High staff turnover can also make it difficult for a company to attract new talent as it’s a serious red flag that something is wrong. In addition to this, continually recruiting and training new employees is expensive and time-consuming, which again impacts productivity.

Struggling to engage employees? Your toxic culture might be the cause 

Engaged employees feel a connection with a company’s vision and goals. Consequently, they’re more likely to go above and beyond expectations because they’re more driven to support the organisation. However, according to Gallup only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged at work.

That’s a staggering statistic. It makes sense then that a study was undertaken to investigate the impact of toxic work culture on employee engagement. The study’s authors found that a toxic workplace environment negatively impacted employee engagement because it caused employees to feel stressed, depressed and ultimately to burn out.

In addition, the study revealed that when a business recognises a toxic workplace and takes steps to support employee wellbeing, this makes a significant and positive difference. 

Fearful employees stunt business growth

Companies that focus solely on achieving financial growth sometimes forget about smaller, but equally important, goals. 

When organisations don’t set clear, individual goals for employees, those employee can feel lost or that their talents are going to waste. This is counter-productive and will eventually stunt business growth because demoralised employees are not productive in the long-term. 

Toxic cultures mean employees don’t perform at their best

A toxic work culture affects employees’ performance because it builds psychological barriers that prevent them from being able to work effectively and contribute to a team. 

Creating a feeling of belonging and collaboration are key to solving problems and achieving business outcomes and ultimately business success. Employees who don’t feel that their contributions are valued due to loss of self-esteem, or that their contributions aren’t valued by others, won’t participate. This means the company loses a vital resource.

Final thoughts on spotting the warning signs of a toxic culture

A toxic work culture is more than just a poor working environment. It’s a deep disharmony between colleagues that permeates every aspect of company life. It raises levels of fear, anxiety and distrust among employees to a damaging extent. 

Consequently, employees can’t be themselves at work because there’s no psychological safety. And when we can’t be ourselves, we retreat and disengage.

Creating and sustaining a healthy, positive culture takes time and energy. Driving culture in an intentional way is crucial, especially when organisations expand rapidly. Tune into your organisational culture. Listen to your employees. And take decisive, positive action.