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Jamie Lawrence


Insights Director

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News: employers who fail to engage will fail the UK


HR has known the importance of engagement for a long time – now there’s research out that points to just how important it is for long-term economic prosperity.

According to new research from Adecco Group, employers that do not engage, motivate and retain their best employees risk damaging the UK’s economic position, according to new research.

“The Workplace Revolution” warns employers to ensure their processes and culture appeal to a diverse range of attitudes, personalities and skills.

This is particularly key as more Generation Y workers enter the workforce, who according to the research have increasingly high expectations. Half of those aged 34 and under (47 percent) want a promotion every two years, compared to a fifth (22 percent) of UK workers as a whole. A further 16 percent want a promotion every year.

Younger people are also more likely to request flexible working, with 84 percent of Generation Y workers believing they have a right to work from home. This compares to 68 percent for over 55s.

According to the report, these new attitudes are the latest in a line of cultural shifts in the UK workplace, alongside an increasing number of women in employment, an increased number of older workers, legislation reform and more migrant workers. Employees that fail to keep pace with these shifts will inevitably suffer, with knock-on effects on the UK economy.

Peter Searle, CEO of Adecco Group, said: “Employers face a serious set of challenges and cannot risk alienating any section of their workforce. They must instead appeal to and cater for a multitude of conflicting needs across different generations. Embracing and managing the expectations of today’s younger workforce will be critical for future business success.”

The report calls for employers to:

  • Recognise the diversity of their workforce and the individual needs of each employee
  • Implement engagement processes that appeal to all workers
  • Address skills gaps before they become a problem

HR managers will inevitably be leading this change and must ensure they cover all three aspects of the people, culture and talent triad when assessing what workplace changes are needed to engage and retain employees. Breaking down the workplace into generational brackets will not suffice because individuals often have beliefs and values that are based on more personal criteria. Yet tracking employee needs is the first step to creating a more inclusive, loyal workplace.

One Response

  1. Engagement as a CEO priority

    Totally agree with this.  In fact as CEO of a 130 strong company, I increasingly take the view that doing things to improve staff engagement is the most important thing I can do.

    The challenge is that this isn’t just churning through emails or preparing documents or attending meetings or events; it’s much more subjective.  It’s about choosing how often to organise team events, how much to spend on training, how often to walk the floors, how often to blog, how to structure long and short term incentive packages and how to recruit the best people.

    Clearly the outward side of the CEO role (shareholders, major clients and industry relationships) is important, but every inch you can move forward a team in terms of engagement will take the company miles forward.

    Finally, it goes without saying that a CEO needs a really good Head of HR as a key ally.  Having hired our first full time Head of HR a year ago, we’ve just doubled the HR team!

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Jamie Lawrence

Insights Director

Read more from Jamie Lawrence

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