Britain’s employers have got talent

August 17, 2011

In order to make businesses appeal to talent, companies have recognised that financial reward alone is no longer sufficient

London, 8 August 2011 - Attracting and retaining the best talent are two of the most crucial tasks for HR directors. In today’s competitive world, the best candidates can choose between a huge variety of different employers.  Our latest survey of 180 UK HR Directors suggests that in order to make their employer brand appeal to talent, companies have recognised that financial reward alone is no longer sufficient; now other “hygiene factors”, as renowned workplace motivator Frederick Herzberg would have said, are just as important.

Our research showed that 84% of companies surveyed have already implemented at least one measure to help improve the workplace environment and over half will be taking further steps over the next 12 months. When asked what their company plans to do to improve the working environment, increased remuneration was the sixth most popular response, cited by only 11% of HR directors.

Employees’ personal comfort is essential

One of the most popular measures that organisations are introducing to improve their employer brand is flexible working. This perhaps reflects the increased demands on today’s worker and the growing importance of work life balance.  With many dual income households, companies are recognising that in order to attract and retain parents, they need to be able to offer flexibility and support.  

A third of the interviewees have also already introduced remote working and telecommuting, and in the next 12 months an additional 14% will implement initiatives in this area. These initiatives will again appeal to employees looking for flexibility as well as those struggling to cope with rising fuel prices and high housing costs particularly in inner city areas.

Employees value their company’s values

Companies used to be driven by profits only; now that they are global and increasingly influential there are greater pressures on business to help support civil society. NGOs, customers, and now shareholders, are asking them to embrace responsibility regarding their input on the environment, on local communities and for each of their stakeholders.  Evidence from the survey suggests that employees increasingly want to work for an organisation that matches their concerns and that contributes to our society’s stability, strength and harmony.

Fifty-four per cent of companies have already implemented environmental policies and initiatives and 11% are planning to do so in the next year, highlighting the value organisations are placing on this area for their employer brand.

Of course, financial reward maintains a key motivator and for many candidates it will continue to be the primary motivator; however, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that companies are recognising the value of softer factors in developing and growing the value of their employer brand.  With a growing population, the number of households with dual incomes is on the rise and in addition to escalating fuel and housing costs - these factors look set to only rise up the agenda for candidates.

About the survey

The survey, developed by OfficeTeam, a leading provider of specialised recruitment services, was conducted by an independent research firm. More than 180 HR directors were interviewed across the UK; companies from all segments were represented and the sample was stratified by geographic region and numbers of employees.