Major employers have highlighted the need for organisations to ‘personalise’ jobs and ensure they offer purposeful work to retain talent, especially where inflation-busting pay rises are not possible.
In a panel discussion closing the first day of the CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition (ACE) in Manchester, senior HR and D&I professionals from Direct Line Group, Wincanton, ITV and Leeds City Council revealed how they were attempting to retain employees as living costs surge.
Responding to a question about whether there was a silver bullet that would get people to stay with an organisation, the panellists emphasised the importance of customising jobs and articulating organisational purpose.
Vicky Wallis, chief people officer at Direct Line Group said: “One-size-fits-all doesn’t work anymore and we have to really personalise [jobs] to our colleagues and listen to what they say.”
She said that responding to individual needs would lead to higher retention, as employees would realise they were getting “something really bespoke” by remaining with the organisation.
Sally Austin, group HR director at Wincanton, said the logistics firm has focused on offering flexible working opportunities in order to stand out from its competitors.
“We’ve created opportunities for people to work three or four hours a day,” she said, noting that the logistics workforce can be transient and people will often move for an additional £1 per hour.
Ade Rawcliffe, group director of diversity and inclusion at ITV, highlighted the importance of articulating purpose in order to retain staff, noting that the company has emphasised its role in entertaining millions of people in order to spark excitement among employees.
Although the panellists recognised the importance of competitive pay package as living costs rise, Leeds City Council’s chief HR officer Andy Dodman noted that offering this was easier said than done in local government.
“In the public sector you can never really win the pay or pension argument, so you really need to focus on the job personalisation piece,” he said.
“We’re trying to customise jobs more frequently and trying to shape jobs around people, rather than getting people to contort themselves around jobs.”
All of the organisations had taken action to calm employees’ concerns about rising living costs. ITV is set to award two lump sum payments to all staff below a salary threshold, one before Christmas and one in early 2023; Wincanton has brought forward pay reviews and has awarded higher salary increases to people on lower pay grades; Direct Line has brought forward its annual salary review from April to January, at which point it will implement a 5% salary increase; and Leeds City Council – which has to pay staff the rates agreed by national pay review bodies – has put more targeted interventions in place, including an increase to the base mileage rate for employees who use their car for work.