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The employer and employee relationship has evolved and is unrecognisable even from five years ago. Candidates increasingly scrutinise employers based on the culture that they offer, whilst employers increasingly face recruitment and retention difficulties.

Our recent UK Reward Management Survey highlighted the war on talent, with two thirds of employers anticipating recruitment issues in the year ahead. We outline the top tips for employers to engage their prospective and existing employees and build a trusted relationship that maximises the benefits on both sides.

1. Fair pay

Take pay off of the table by ensuring that candidates and existing employees know that they are paid competitively within the market. As Dan Pink outlined in ‘Drive’, whilst pay is not a primary driver in itself, unfair levels of pay can be a demotivator when it comes to employee engagement. We often advise that pay should be seen as a tick box exercise that organisations should satisfy to unlock greater employee engagement through the purpose, autonomy and mastery that they offer each individual in their role within the organisation.

Pay benchmarking ensures that you take an informed approach to pay increases. Whilst it is important to meet the market rate for pay levels, internal parity of pay also has a critical effect on employee engagement. Objective frameworks such as job evaluation assess roles within organisations to ensure that people are being paid relative to their role and responsibilities, not just their job title. Operating a system that strives for fair outcomes can maintain momentum behind engagement.

2. Total Reward Statements

40 per cent of employers are considering offering total reward statements in the year ahead according to our spring 2019 edition of our UK Reward Management Survey. Demonstrating the value organisations are offering to employees through this internal communications device is a key retention tool.

Total Reward Statements are designed to highlight everything that the employee has benefited from – both financially and non-financially – as part of their overall reward package. It draws employees’ attention to the wider benefits they could take advantage of, in addition to the current value they derive from their employer. Ensuring employees feel appropriately valued for their work can make them more productive, more engaged and less likely to leave for a competitor’s better remuneration package.

3. Employee Opinion Surveys

Employee opinion surveys offer crucial insights into the key motivators behind your workforce. 76 per cent of respondents in our UK Reward Management Survey identified employee opinion surveys as a top agenda item for the year ahead. A well-designed employee survey can capture feedback on leadership practices, fairness of pay, workplace relationships, team spirit and personal development opportunities.

Finding out whether you are offering the right benefits, such as flexible working arrangements, or providing adequate opportunities to promote diversity across the business can also be investigated through these surveys, ensuring that you are receiving valuable feedback about the kind of culture that you are creating. Measuring these cultural aspects of the business can identify root causes of underperformance and what change needs to be initiated.

4. Communication plans

Equipping managers with vital communication tools is essential. This also relates to the effectiveness of initiatives such as employee opinion surveys, where more cynical employees may dismiss these as exercises from which no concrete outcomes emerge. Committing to measure employee opinions is a commitment to act on the results. Communicating the lessons HR learns from these and steps that you will take to address the specific issues facing employees is the best way of making these worth everyone’s time and effort.

Line managers are the key to unlocking employee engagement, responsible for bolstering morale across organisations when a strong sense of trust is fostered within teams. Managers must be equipped to make their case for key decisions affecting their employees. A framework that is consistently delivered organisation-wide can underpin key conversations regarding performance, but they should be placed in the context of the manager understanding their team as individuals. HR teams are pursuing entry interviews alongside exit interviews to gather insights into what drives employees, which can support managers’ understanding and better equip them for conversations around progression and pay.

5. Defined salary scales

Improving clarity for each individual around how to move up the salary range for a role or gain a promotion is crucial in motivating and retaining employees. Supporting internal development and progression with clear frameworks can drive each individual’s understanding of the role they play within the business, explain how they contribute to the wider vision of the business and give them the drive to improve and succeed.

Clear career paths can also achieve parity of pay throughout the organisation, where job roles are clearly mapped out and paid equally. This framework can support the fair treatment of employees who have access to equal opportunities. Read more about our recent work in this area.

Get in touch

In summary, taking pay off the table with pay benchmarking, total reward statements, employee opinion surveys, giving managers vital communication tools and promoting progression with salary scales can all be interwoven into your reward and design approach to bolster your recruitment and retention.

Talk to us today about the best approach for your business and how you can drive engagement.

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