This week  Edenred published the ninth edition of its annual European study into the attitudes of employees to employment and the workplace.

The good news for UK bosses is that their employees are the second happiest in Europe.

And despite the fact that two thirds (67%) of UK workers say the demands of their jobs mean that increasingly they have to work at weekends, on holidays or outside normal  work hours, just under a third say the amount of time spent working is a concern.

After six years of austerity, gloom and wage restraint it is clear that the sunnier economic environment is having a warming effect on employee attitudes to work.

However, the barometer research also shows this happiness doesn’t necessarily translate to contentment with their current job or employer.

Nearly four in ten (39%) say they have considered leaving their job and the same number say they feel that employers are failing to manage the blurring of work-life boundaries effectively.

What does all this mean for employers?

For me, the most important point is that employers who stand still when it comes to planning how they will motivate, engage and reward their people really are at risk of losing the people they need to thrive in the years ahead.

What’s more, many may be seriously underestimating the scale of this unseen threat.

In a rising economy, with more jobs available and less risk to those who move, people are naturally going to look to see if they are going to be better off elsewhere.  Yet this time around, after a recession where employees have traded pay and benefits for job security, the size of the exodus is likely to be quite substantial.

The good news is that this something every employer can do something about.

Pay will always be an important driver for those looking for new employment but we also know that the total reward package in terms of benefits and the flexibility on offer from an employer account for a substantial weight in the decisions employees make

Organisations who get to grips with this now will be the ones who have the best chance of managing staff turnover, performance and engagement in the year ahead. Those who don’t, not only risk being left behind, but are also needlessly handing competitive advantage to others in the battle for talent.

Andy Philpott is sales and marketing director at Edenred – you can find more news and insight about reward and benefits at or follow him on twitter at @andy_philpott