Work/life balance a key attraction in employee retention

recruitment Robert Half remuneration hiring employment

24 May 2024
| By Laura Dew |
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A salary bump is not the only incentive for employee retention, according to two recruiters, as staff say they are also attracted to a greater work/life balance.

Research by Robert Half of 500 hiring managers and 1,000 employees found 59 per cent of workers would like a bonus or more flexibility around their working hours, and 58 per cent wanted more annual leaves when it came to accepting a promotion.

This was particularly the case for younger workers in the Gen Z and Millennial demographics who both said flexible working hours was their preferred option.

Some 26 per cent of employees and 25 per cent of employers said they believe lack of flexibility is a reason it is difficult to attract top talent currently.

Nicole Gorton, director at Robert Half, said: “While financial reward still tops the list, at a time when more employers expect their employees to work in the office more often, flexibility is seen as a bargaining chip that may be just as highly valued by employees as financial rewards. Being able to work from home may also provide a financial benefit to workers by reducing costs such as commuting expenses.”

Recruitment firm People2People added possible flexible options could include remote working, flexible hours, compressed workweeks and job sharing. As well as helping to boost employee retention, flexibility also has the benefit of improving mental health and fostering an engaged workforce.

“By embracing flexibility, employers can attract top talent, enhance employee satisfaction, and cultivate an inclusive and supportive workplace culture,” it said.

“By permitting employees to set their own schedules or condense their work hours into fewer days, employers can meet individual needs while preserving operational efficiency. This flexibility proves especially beneficial for parents, caregivers, and those with commitments outside of traditional work hours.”

When it comes to what employers say they will consider offering though, 57 per cent cited further training and development in lieu of a salary increase. However, around half of all demographics indicated they are disinterested in this option at the expense of pay or flexible working, rising to 51 per cent of those senior workers in the Baby Boomer generation who may feel they have no need for training.

“When an employer is unable or unwilling to offer a financial incentive, open communication becomes crucial to avoid the employee becoming disgruntled with the organisation, negating the intent of a promotion. 

“By engaging in transparent discussions about alternative rewards, employers can demonstrate their commitment to employees’ long-term success and job satisfaction, reducing the risk of losing talented individuals over compensation concerns.”

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