Tackling UK Staff Shortages with Employee Benefits, Not Visas
Following the announcement that the UK government will not be extending temporary visas outside the HGV transportation and poultry sectors, David McCormack, CEO of HIVE360, considers alternatives for employers experiencing recruitment shortages.
For employers in the retail sector the way to tackle the skills shortage is to make some simple changes to how they approach what they offer workers and how, which won’t impact costs or operational resources.
The UK retail sector is suffering the same challenges around staff and labour as the HGV driver shortage. Despite the devastating news businesses are not to be given the chance of employing workers from overseas given temporary work visas to fill the skills gap, a change in thinking around how they attract and reward workers will work, because adding relevant benefits to their earnings will improve staff retention and attraction.
Last week (30 September 2021), the BBC revealed it had been told the Home Office and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are not discussing the possibility of visas for other sectors, with one UK government source saying businesses should ‘move to a high-wage, high-skilled economy’ by investing in their workforce and improving pay and conditions.
Talent attraction tactics vary from business to business, but often include employer branding, recruitment marketing, workplace culture – and benefits, with work-life balance now named as the main driver for candidates deciding whether to take a job, and stay in it.
Employers should take advantage of mobile tech tools that are focused on employee engagement, benefits and rewards,” he says, “particularly with support of their physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Times are hard, so they should also add value to pay by helping workers’ money go further with savings discounts on everyday spending, which are a powerful way to help take-home pay go further, and boost the perceived value of hourly pay rates.
At HIVE360 we have published a free ‘Attract: Engage: Retain: your complete guide to getting your people strategy right’ eBook which offers tips and advice on how to kickstart a people strategy, re-engage workers, and give workforces a better employee experience, drawing on our extensive experience as a GLAA (Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority).
Demand for workers is the highest since 1997, and with an estimated 1.3 million people leaving the UK since the pandemic began, the jobs market is as competitive and tight as it’s ever been, with 69 per cent of UK companies reporting talent shortages and difficulty hiring.