The reputation of UK employers has slumped to a disturbingly low level, according to a new survey released today.
When asked if they would recommend their employer as a place to work only 21% of employees said they would, down from 30% in the same survey 12 months ago.
Now in its second year, the Employee Pride survey of over 1000 UK employees by business growth consultancy, The Caffeine Partnership and market research company Savanta, is designed to take the temperature of the UK’s workers to find out what’s motivating them and what’s getting in the way of a great employee experience.
The number one expectation of an employer is that it takes care of its people
When asked to rank specific employer behaviours that were important to them, top place was given to an ‘employer that takes care of its people’ (78%). In second and third place respectively was being a ‘diverse and inclusive employer’ and a ‘brand that is loved by its customers.’
Indicating that UK employees want to work for successful companies that work responsibly on behalf of their people and customers.
People are putting work in its place
When asked to pick where work featured in their lives, 87% of respondents ranked their family, social life, and passions ahead of work. In a further sign that employees have an increasingly passive relationship with their work, the survey found that the importance of ‘being given challenging and motivating work’ was down by 9% on last year.
Employees’ demand for flexible working sees no sign of decreasing
For many people, the priority is now security – they need to be able to pay the bills. When asked to prioritize the top three factors that mattered most at work, ‘competitive pay’ remained on top with ‘flexible working’ moving up the rankings from 4th to 2nd place, and ‘a safe working environment’ coming in 3rd.
Flexible working isn’t just more convenient, it also helps people make significant savings, from childcare to commuting expenses. In an economic climate driving social inequality, supporting employees to work flexibly is not just a perk, it could be a deal-breaker.
Employers are increasingly expected to play their part in reducing social inequality
In comparison to last year, employees have greater expectations of their employer’s contribution to broader society, with the importance of an ‘employer playing an active role in reducing social inequality’ increasing by a significant 8%.
Employees will work harder for companies who put people first
The most significant consequence of the failure of UK employers to focus on what matters most to their employees is the impact on employee advocacy.
Only 21% of employees recommended their company as a place to work. That figure becomes even more disturbing when compared to last year’s 30% score, which itself was disappointing.
When asked to assess the performance of their employer against a range of factors that influence working advocacy, less than half of respondents felt positive about any of them. Just 46% of people felt their company had ‘a clear purpose or vision that drives our actions’ , 45% felt they worked ‘for a leadership team I respect’ and only 42% saw ‘senior leaders acting in a way that is consistent with our purpose and values.
Moreover, although the majority of employees feel trusted to do a good job and manage their own time, only 38% feel they are being recognised for their contribution and achievements.
For those who were advocates and scored their organizations highly, the factors most important to them were about leaders being committed to customers and delivering to their employees. Factors such as ‘working for a leadership team that I respect’, ‘my business will go the extra mile for customers’, and ‘working for a business that delivers on its promises to employees’, ranked high for the advocates
“That only 21% of UK workers would recommend their employers as a place to work is a dismal finding and should ring alarm bells for management.” said Andy Milligan, Co-founder, The Caffeine Partnership.
“People are under such pressure and need their employers to understand the situations they are in. Their message is clear. At a minimum, ‘pay me well, keep me safe and let me work where I want’ There’s also an increasing expectation that employers should do more to help not only their workers but wider society, starting with their customers.
“The survey clearly shows the importance employees place on factors such as pay, working flexibly, being trusted to get on with the job and being recognised for it.
“But our analysis shows that if employers what to improve the likelihood of employees recommending their organisation and overall perceptions of the quality of both customer and employee experience, there needs to be a focus on improving employees’ confidence in leadership” commented Oliver Wright, Executive Vice President at Savanta.