• Bill Palmer

5 key insights into retaining and supporting employees in this tough job market

A till displaying a 'For Hire' sign

Employers now realise that it is not enough just to pay lip-service to the wellbeing of their employees; there’s also a real recognition that their duty to their people and to their mental and physical health does not stop at the end of the working day, or shift.

We live in a very different world now compared to how things were when we first launched Houndation a couple of years ago. Certainly for the first time in my lifetime, we are looking at an economic landscape in which there are more jobs than people, which has a massive impact on the staffing dynamic for enterprises large and small.

So, we have been looking not only at how our customers are using our Employee Wellbeing Pack on the Houndation platform and what for, but also at what’s going on in the UK and around the world.

This is what we are seeing:

1. Democratisation of information and the access to it is not a luxury it is a necessity. People expect to be kept properly informed by their employers in a timely manner not just told “it’s on the intranet” – especially those that are “digitally disadvantaged”, without corporate laptops, phones or even an email login.

2. Making people actually feel wanted is becoming paramount in job retention: it’s not just about the money, more and more it is about the how, the where and the why. Look, for example, at how HGV drivers are treated in France compared to the UK: Relais Routiers, a nationwide network of more than 1,200 restaurants that offer affordable three-course meals, decent shower facilities and decent parking, versus a Layby on the A30 with a burger van if you’re lucky.

We can’t build a thousand humane truck stops in the UK overnight but we can make people feel less isolated, more part of the team and more wanted. The corollary is obvious…

3. If you don’t demonstrate to your employees that you think of them as people, someone else will. This is a no-brainer surely; how many marriages have ended because an otherwise faithful husband or wife has been seduced away simply by someone who makes them feel listened to, cared about and wanted? The job market is now no different, and that leads us to…

4. Do you want to spend your money on making your people feel valued or on replacing them when they leave – if you can? Gone are the days of cheap, flexible labour; at all levels throughout the economy, it is becoming an employees’ market. There are more jobs than people, and that makes it even more important than ever to make the most of the people you have by making them feel valued. Cost of retention pales into insignificance beside cost of acquisition, let alone the issues associated with a mis-hire – and that assumes you will get respondents to your job markets in such a febrile market.

5 It’s not a quick fix: Finally, our customers and our prospects are telling us that they are not looking for a quick-fix “wellbeing solution” – something they spend money on in this financial year, report triumphantly that it has been implemented in the annual report, then find that nobody is using because it is irrelevant, inaccessible, hard to use or simply out of date. They want more than just a tick in the box.

My favourite part of my job is talking to our customer base and finding out what they are using our Employee Wellbeing and Engagement Pack for, and how. The pack itself is of course very flexible – that’s one of its main benefits. You can have as many or as few content sections as you want, plus your own choice of directories, news tickers, corporate branding and colours, images, video, etc.

You can also use the notifications functionality as much – or as little – as you like, to keep your people informed about things they really need to know. Best of all is that you can manage most of it yourself – no need to call us – or your IT people – to make updates.

Our most recent enhancements, to Houndation Analytics and reporting capabilities, makes it so much easier for our customers to see and to understand just what content really resonates with and helps their people and to tailor their Pack content accordingly.

This makes our Employee Wellbeing and Engagement Pack a dynamic contribution to employee mental health, not just a “fire and forget” EAP programme posted on the intranet and largely ignored – or distrusted.

Houndation and its Packs – Employee Wellbeing and Engagement and the others – are designed from the ground up to be both flexible and easily tailored to the needs of our customers so that they in turn can create and manage a steady flow of relevant content that is easily tailored by themselves to the needs of their people.

So what are you waiting for? The world has changed – is changing – constantly around us. If you do not transform the way you look after your people now – making changes in a controlled manner – then the change that happens, happens to you, leaving you behind.

And you know what happened to the dinosaurs, don’t you? And Blockbuster. And Kodak. And…


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