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Taste for flexible working to blame for choppy waters in the talent pool

Nearly two thirds (63%) of HR leaders have seen an increase in staff churn in the past six months.

The largest single reason for employees leaving an organisation (26% of all cases) was the inability to work flexibly, according to research from performance management software company StaffCircle.

Other reasons included lack of progression opportunities (18%), employees being forced to work in the office (15%), and lack of feedback from managers (11%).

Further reading:

What’s holding back a flexible working Bill for employees?

UK faces labour shortage: what can employers do to manage?

More workers taking two full-time jobs in secret

Gael Norris, head of people and culture at task management software provider GetBusy, told HR magazine that now that people have had a taste of a better work/life balance, they don’t want to settle for less.

She said: “The ONS states that 46.6% of people in employment did some work at home in April 2020, and of those, 86% did so as a result of the pandemic. 

“This equates to around 10-12 million people who spent more time than normal at home. And for the majority, it enabled them to have a better work/life balance.”

Four in five employees (79%) said they care about being able to work remotely and flexibly. These workers, too, feel increasingly that flexible working is no longer a perk, but just part of working life.

“There are plenty of employers who offer flexible working as standard,” Norris said.

“Employees are more willing to look for another job should their current role not fit into their life. And due to the jobs market booming, the reluctance to change jobs for fear of not getting another has almost been removed.”

Sally Austin, chief people officer at logistics company Wincanton, told HR magazine that not only is a flexible or hybrid working model useful for retention, it is a great aid for finding diverse talent.

“Being able to attract the best talent from as broad and diverse a spectrum as possible is vital to any business to grow and be successful, particularly in such a vital economy, where talent comes at a premium,” she said.

“Flexible working practices are a great way to achieve this, so it’s now more important than ever that businesses take a serious look at their EVP strategies and working practices to ensure they are as inclusive as possible.”

Norris concluded that the churn will settle as international talent pools open back up.

She added: “It’s no secret that we’re in the middle of a skills shortage across a number of industries in the UK at the moment. In fact, employees are now often the ones in the driving seat as they have their pick of roles on offer.

“As we continue from the pandemic and travel becomes more open, we see this settling down as talent pools open even wider and international workers move around to gain experience living and working in a different country.”