With disenchantment in the workplace hitting “crisis” levels, it is incumbent on HR professionals to find new ways to engage staff and compensate for below-inflation wage increases that are continuing to squeeze household incomes.
According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Developmen
t’s Labour Market Outlook survey of more than 1,000 employers, some 51% were unable to predict whether they would be able to increase staff salaries this year, saying that the decision would rest on the organisation’s performance at the time.
A further 21% said that they had already decided to postpone pay decisions until later in the year.
Among those organisations that did expect to offer pay rises, however, the average award was below April’s 3% inflation rate at 2.6%. The main reasons cited for giving the pay rise were affordability (62%), inflation (55%) and employee productivity and performance (52%).
Charles Cotton, the CIPD’s rewards adviser, said that, while a lot of employers were keen to raise salaries in line with inflation, many were struggling to close the gap because inflation remained stubbornly high.
As a result, “line managers and HR professionals need to look at how they can continue to keep employees engaged and performing well in the absence of substantial pay rises, while at the same time limiting the impact of financial distress on employees by offering financial education, debt counselling and voluntary benefits packages”, he added.
But a worrying survey of 1,000 UK workers undertaken by YouGov
on behalf of performance improvement agency, River Marketing
, also found that only one in five believed that their employer cared about its staff, while only 18% felt optimistic about their future with them.
About 37% likewise indicated that they never or only rarely received appropriate or sufficient recognition at work, while 35% were dissatisfied with the communication that they received from senior managers.
River Marketing’s managing director, Phil Dunk, warned that the findings represented a “looming crisis”. “With the unemployment level at 2.65 million and many good candidates for every role, some companies may believe that they have the luxury of being able to neglect the needs of their people,” he said.
But the chickens would come home to roost when the job market recovered, “by which time it may be too late to hold on to dedicated, talented people who are hungry for a new challenge”, Dunk added.