How to Attract and Retain Employees in the Four-Day Working Week Era

Danni Rush, Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Experience Days and Virgin Incentives

The recent announcement of a UK pilot study to trial a four-day working week comes hot on the heels of the pandemic which has accelerated remote and flexible working among employers and their teams.

The trial has been brought into even sharper focus recently as labour shortages and record high vacancies in the UK labour market urge employers to consider increasingly drastic measures to ensure they stand out from the crowd in a fiercely competitive market.

Businesses are competing for the attention of candidates, forcing many to re-evaluate their employee wellbeing support in order to make their business as attractive as possible – offering better salaries, employee benefits and rewards and incentives, as well as more flexible working patterns.

Competing with four day working week businesses

In its recent research of over 2,000 UK workers, leading jobs and careers site, Reed.co.uk revealed how businesses will need to adapt their offering in accordance with new worker priorities shaped by the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, salary was found to be the most common motivation for jobseekers to look for a new role – cited by 39% of the workforce.

But with inflation rising – and in many cases outpacing the speed of wage growth – businesses will need to offer a more complete employee wellbeing support package.

Reed.co.uk’s research goes on to explain that flexible hours are the next biggest (31%) motivating factor for workers to remain at their current employer, with almost a fifth (19%) saying their employer is not giving enough flexibility and that they want to work remotely more.

Employers not offering a four-day working week should consider alternative flexible arrangements that they could consider instead. For example, birthday days off or birthday gifts, ‘duvet days’, a hybrid working policy, ad-hoc rewards and later starts or earlier finishes to accommodate working parents taking their kids to school. By showing an understanding of employees’ personal lives and fitting work around that – rather than the other way round – you can place your business more favourably.

And finally, Reed.co.uk’s research found that perks and benefits were the third most common motivation for jobseekers to look for a new role – according to almost three in ten (29%). In a market of inflated salaries, employers should be careful to note that simply throwing money at the problem of recruitment is unlikely to solve it completely. Workers are looking for their employer to offer more than just a salary and a comprehensive employee wellbeing package can be a key differentiator.

Rather than just offering financial incentives, which are often spent on trivial purchases such as groceries and petrol, offering team experiences such as cookery classes, can help to improve morale and team dynamic and offering personalised and flexible gift vouchers can show employees you care and value them and that you know them on a more personal level. These can also create stronger bonds within the company and increase positive sentiment from employees who will associate the gift more closely with their employer upon redemption.

Factoring in a range of approaches to attract and retain workers can help businesses remain competitive in an already challenging market. Choosing the options that work best for your business, but also crucially, for your employees, and then tailoring the benefits on an individual basis will have the best possible outcome for your retention and engagement programmes.

Author: Editorial Team

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