Over the past few decades, lifestyles have become more flexible and people are able to differentiate in their choices about practically everything. This isn’t just a consumer trend: businesses have also become wise to the fact that their employees all have different needs that need to be catered for through flexible benefits.
This has resulted in organisations taking a more individualistic approach to benefit provision.
In this blog, we explore what flexible benefits are, why they’re a popular choice and how your business can implement and get the most from them.
What Are Flexible Benefits?
All organisations provide employee benefits which are usually determined by grade. In most instances, the more senior the role, the more valuable the benefits package. Depending on seniority, core employee benefit packages, where the benefits are paid for by the employer, typically include items like:
- company car
- private medical insurance
- critical illness cover
- long-term health cover
- health checks
In addition, employers also often voluntary benefits like think discounted gym memberships, dental insurance and household or holiday insurance. Employees can choose to take up these products voluntarily, paying for the benefits themselves, usually out of their pay.
This approach is fine if the core benefits on offer meet every employee’s needs. But what if your employer provides a company car but you don’t drive? Or you’re already covered on your partner’s private medical insurance so you don’t gain any advantage from this benefit? Or you don’t have any dependents but your employer insists on providing life cover any way?
When benefits aren’t suitable for employees, companies are paying for benefits that aren’t used or they’re providing an unappetising benefit offering to their staff that fails to engage.
Flexible benefit programmes provide a solution to this problem. Instead of offering standard benefit packages in the usual way, flexible benefit packages enable employees to vary their pay and benefits to meet their personal requirements.
In most schemes, staff can retain their existing salary while selecting the right mix of benefits for them. Or they can adjust their salary up or down by taking fewer or more benefits.
Let’s look at some examples to explore how this works:
- A single employee rejects the family private medical insurance cover they’re entitled to due to their grade and opts for single cover only – they receive the cost difference in cash
- Someone who doesn’t take all their holidays each year chooses to sell five days holiday and uses the saving to take up family private medical cover with the rest taken as cash
- An individual who doesn’t drive forgoes the company car benefit and takes the cash instead – they use it to buy more holiday and take up dental insurance and gym membership
These are just a few examples of the sorts of flexibility flexible benefit schemes can offer. However, not all programmes will be this flexible; some employers decide that their staff must take a certain level of benefits (usually items like life cover or other insurances) as a minimum. And there are other considerations, like minimum pension auto-enrolment contributions, that need to be worked into the scheme.
How Many Companies Use Flexible Schemes?
According to Aon, just 12% of employers operate flexible benefit schemes. Which is surprising given research from Willis Towers Watson which shows that:
- 66% of employees who are offered choice in their benefits report their benefits meet their needs
- 30% of employees who are not offered choice in their benefits report their benefits meet their needs
However, the answer could lie in the perceived challenges associated with setting up and running a flexible benefit scheme.
What to Consider When Setting Up a Flexible Benefits Programme
There’s a lot to think about if you want to set up a flexible benefits scheme in your organisation:
- Online or paper – this might work for smaller businesses or those where staff don’t have access to computers. Otherwise online options, although more expensive, tend to offer ease of use and greater flexibility.
- Choosing benefit options – it’s easiest to transition your existing benefits to a flex scheme before expanding the options available. You’ll need to decide which benefits must be selected or whether you want to allow a more flexible approach.
- Keeping schemes up to date – every change in your benefits, tax and legislation must be reflected in your scheme which involves additional work in terms of configuring scheme rules, calculations and systems (if online).
Although each of these sounds fairly straight forward, flexible benefit schemes can quickly become complex and require technical decision making which requires HR specialist knowledge.
However, the pay off could well be worth the effort as flexible benefits help organisations stand out in the recruitment marketplace. And they can also be a powerful tool for retention as your benefit package will meet the needs of every segment of your workforce, regardless of life stage.
There’s a lot to think about if you want to set up a successful flexible benefits scheme, so consider working with a seasoned HR consultant to ensure you deliver legally and secure a great return on your investment.
For flexible support with all your HR projects, get in touch with Crosse HR on 0330 555 1139 or at email@example.com.
This is the time of year the rows start – the annual leave booking season. Wall calendars and online calendars are pored over and leave is booked, most of it around the same time, there will be rows between parents and non parents about who should take priority and why and on we go.
So it makes sense to have a few set of rules to try and take the tension out of the whole thing.
Firstly be clear about how much leave can be blocked in one go i.e. one, two week blocks (financial services now insist on this), if there is a cap i.e. two weeks maximum etc.
Secondly, be clear how much advance notice must be given, a month’s notice is usually acceptable if you want to book a week, 2 days is not acceptable if you want to book anything at all and if leave needs to be approved by a manager or some such.
Thirdly, be clear leave can be refused, obviously as a last resort and with good reason but it’s good to get the story straight.
Fourthly, be very clear about how many employees can be out at the same time. It never ceases to amaze me, no matter how often you say it and set the limits, they will give it a go anyway and all book the same time off and fight about it for weeks afterwards.
Fifthly, be very clear what precedents you want to set i.e. if you had the first two weeks off in July last year, you might not get it this year, same goes for half terms, school holidays and Christmas.
Sixthly, what the rules are if you are sick on holidays (holiday can be claimed back if proven), if your flight is delayed (usually unpaid, get proof) and you don’t get back when you are supposed to, the rules around social media and mixing the professional with personal, working on holiday, using the work mobile on holiday etc.
And as an aside, it’s amazing how many of my clients who are schools that have set holidays agreed years in advance, encounter the same problems with leave! So if you are a school struggling with leave requests outside of school holidays, call me 0330 555 1139.
Finally, when it comes to annual leave, be fair, consistent and apply the rules to all staff, no exceptions.
If in doubt contact CrosseHR, we’ll draft a policy for you to be proud of.
Monitoring employees’ emails or not to monitor? That is the question! Nobody wants to be accused of being Big Brother, but monitoring employees’ emails is perfectly legal if you go about it in the right way.
“Always eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or bed – no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres in your skull.”
― George Orwell, 1984
Data Protection and Employee Rights
As a business owner, you need to make sure your employees are carrying out their work effectively. You also have a responsibility to ensure they’re not using work email to do things they shouldn’t. Like sending offensive emails or sharing unprotected data. At the same time, you don’t want to encroach on your employees’ privacy or demonstrate a lack of trust.
Before we consider whether you should monitor employees emails, let’s take a look at whether you can.
The Information Commissioner’s Office states that, in general, it is considered intrusive to monitor your employees’ emails.
That’s because employees have a right to respect for a private and family life under article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights. This means people can send personal emails from a work computer and email address and expect them not to be monitored or read by employers.
But what about work email?
It’s perfectly legal for employers to monitor employees’ emails as long as certain criteria are fulfilled. This includes being:
- clear about the reasons for the monitoring
- satisfied that the monitoring arrangement is justified by real benefits
- clear with employees for the reasons, extent and nature of any monitoring that’s in place
If you decide to monitor, you’ll need to warn employees that emails sent from a work computer may be observed. A good way to do this is to include suitable wording in your contract of employment.
Before implementing a monitoring policy, employers must carry out an assessment of the proposed activity to establish
- the reasons for monitoring staff and the benefits that this will bring
- any negative effects the monitoring may have on staff
- whether the monitoring can be achieved through any less intrusive means
- whether the monitoring is justified, taking into account all of the above
Think you might have sufficient reason to monitor? Then the next thing to consider is proportion.
In-depth or Light-touch?
Depending on your business and sector there may be highly valid reasons for monitoring staff email. For example, financial services organisations often monitor communications to ensure sensitive data is not being shared, accidentally or otherwise.
However, all businesses considering email monitoring should act proportionately and fairly to achieve the right balance between organisational needs and employee privacy.
In most cases assessing the date, time and recipient or sender of an email will help you determine whether it relates to work or not. Reading private emails, particularly those that contain confidential information is likely to breach an employees’ privacy.
Automated email monitoring can analyse huge amounts of email traffic, spot inappropriate content and deliver reports for managers. This distances managers from the emails themselves and raises a red flag indicating that further investigation is required.
Before jumping straight into an in-depth review of an employee’s inbox, it can often be a good idea to hold a meeting. By discussing how the individual has been using email and the kinds of information they’ve sent you can decide on a proportionate response.
The Potential Impact of Monitoring Employees’ Emails
Monitoring employees’ emails can create an atmosphere of distrust if implemented and acted on incorrectly.
In some sectors, like those with significant data protection requirements, employees are likely to be more understanding of the need for monitoring employees’ emails. However, organisations where data is less sensitive may not find employees so tolerant.
Should any breach in policy be identified, managers’ next steps are key to how your monitoring policy is perceived. Managers using the information inappropriately will bring the policy intro disrepute. However, used effectively – to curtail inappropriate behaviour or prevent action being taken against the business – employees will likely support the policy.
Coupled with well-handled conversations and a genuine respect for employees’ privacy, email monitoring can be helpful for businesses. However, history has shown most people don’t appreciate their emails being monitored so introducing this policy requires careful handling.
If you do decide to go down this route ensure you’re acting legally, in line with your policy and for the good of your employees as well as the health of your business.
For help navigating email monitoring and other employment contract issues, contact Crosse HR on 0330 555 1139 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Researching undervalued employees like this makes employee recognition a critical element of business success. But it can be easy to let appreciation slip, resulting in low morale and high turnover.
“More companies are finding that recognition, appreciation, and human workplace practices improve overall employee experience and fuel business performance.” Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey, 2018
What are the tell-tale signs that your organisation has undervalued employees? What is the impact on your business? And what steps can you take to boost appreciation? Read on to find out.
How to Tell Whether Your Business Appreciates its Employees
There’s so much to do when you’re running a business: finances, marketing, HR; and then there’s the day job. Which can leave little time for the nice fluffy stuff like appreciating your team.
Except recognising people’s effort isn’t just a nice-to-have. It’s an essential aspect of engaging employees, driving performance and delivering your business goals.
Failing to appreciate your staff is a behaviour that can easily fly under the radar. So, here are five behaviours to look out for that mean your leaders don’t value your staff:
- You haven’t got their back – when a customer or colleague points the finger, employees want to know their manager will be there to support them. Leaders who immediately look for fault and seek to apportion blame lose trust from their teams. Making them less likely to go the extra mile for their boss and the business in the future.
- Employees’ strengths aren’t played to – people often have unique talents beyond the job description, like strong organisational skills or an ability to speak a foreign language. Managers who fail to comprehend the full potential of their team are doing the business a disservice by missing out on opportunities. This short-sightedness also leaves employees frustrated because they know they aren’t adding best value.
- Nobody asks for employees’ opinions – do senior people interrupt colleagues during meetings? Are less senior staff even consulted about decisions? Failing to get fresh insight from team members is a missed chance to grow and expand your knowledge. Neglect this and employees will feel ignored and disrespected, which isn’t good for engagement.
- Feedback is unheard of – employees want feedback so they can grow and improve. Leaders who withhold this lose out on an opportunity to build trust and show they value the relationship and their employees’ career. Deliver on this front and you’ll gain loyalty from your staff. Fail to do so and their heads will be turned by your competitors.
- You don’t trust them to manage their work – micromanaging employees signals that you don’t have confidence in their ability to perform. Employees either become extremely frustrated or they begin to doubt themselves leading to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Either way, engagement and performance dips and employees’ chances to develop or grow are stifled.
If these behaviours are allowed to continue for any period of time, frustration and disengagement will soon turn people’s head and they’ll begin to look for new jobs. Leading to two other major challenges for your business too:
Losing your best people isn’t a smart move in a highly competitive recruitment market. With unemployment at 4.1% – the lowest in 18 years – retention is currently a major issue for businesses.
Empty seats mean more recruitment which means more time and more money. And with the advent of online platforms like Glassdoor, you could be facing employer branding problems too as employees publicly advertise their reasons for leaving. Which will give your business a bad reputation and make it even harder to hire the right people.
How to Not Have Undervalued Employees
Showing your appreciation is simple and it doesn’t need to cost a penny. Start by identifying when people have gone above and beyond and thank them for their efforts. Or congratulate your team at the end of a busy week or for delivering a project successfully.
Many firms operate formal recognition schemes where employees can provide peer-to-peer recognition and managers can give rewards or gifts.
Other firms choose to get to know each member of their team via company-paid socials so they can build relationships and appreciate the potential each person has to offer.
The long and short of this article is that if you fail to value your employees, you’re failing to value your organisation. If any of this rings true for your business, it’s time to start identifying and celebrating success. It will pay dividends all round.
If you want practical HR support to prevent you having undervalued employees or train your managers in employee appreciation, contact Crosse HR on 0330 555 1139 or at email@example.com.
Almost half of all working days lost during 2016 to 2017 were due to personal stress. As the highest reported figure in almost a decade, it’s clear that there’s a growing problem.
Almost every piece of research into the causes of personal stress lists work as the primary factor. The government makes provision for this via health and safety legislation which states that employers have a responsibility to manage workplace stress.
But what about causes of personal stress outside the workplace? As an employer, are you responsible for helping employees counteract the effects of these stressors?
We take a look at why you should be concerned about non-work stress and the steps you can take to mitigate it.
What Are the Biggest Stressors Outside Work?
Research from the physiological society established that in 2017, the most stressful events that could take place in an individual’s life were:
- the death of their partner, a relative or friend
- fire or flood damage to an individual’s home
- serious illness
- being fired
- separation or divorce
- identity theft
- unexpected money problems
- starting a new job
- planning a wedding
The research also showed that different problems impact different generations differently. Take the loss of a smartphone. This is rated as the 14th most stressful life event overall. However, when you look at the data by age group, it’s considered far more stressful by younger people than for seniors.
In contrast, serious illness is more concerning the older people get.
While there’s no requirement for employers to take steps to minimise personal stress, there are plenty of compelling business reasons to do so. The International Labour Organization notes that stress – and subsequent productivity loss – costs Europe around €617 billion each year.
Aside from the economic impact, stress often presents in employees as:
- an inability to sleep
- disrupted concentration
Concerningly for business owners, personal stress leads to almost one third of staff being less productive at work while 22% report feeling disengaged from their work. And more than one in ten say stress causes them to take days off sick.
Which means many things for employers:
- Business risk – lack of sleep has been one of the major causes of industrial accidents including the Chernobyl disaster and the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
- Additional cost – unexpected sick days disrupt work and can be costly for businesses.
- More recruitment – longer term sickness absence means recruiting additional temporary headcount. Alternatively, firms can ask other team members to pick up more work although this can ratchet up their stress levels too.
- Under-delivery – disengagement and poor performance also has a direct impact on the effectiveness of your business.
This means that choosing to only manage workplace stress is short-sighted.
Without legal requirements in place, the extent to which you support employees to live healthy lives outside of work is entirely up to you. But the more you can do for your people, the more they’ll be able to do for your business.
There are plenty of ways to support employee well-being. Here are just a few examples.
Employee Assistance Programmes
This cost-effective benefit provides employees with over-the-phone or online assistance for a range of problems including legal issues, parenting and health. Many providers also give employers the option to add face-to-face counselling sessions for employees.
The costs tend to be fairly low; about £14 per employee for a comprehensive plan and £2-3 for telephone-based support only. When an employee is in dire straits, having this service on-hand is of enormous benefit.
In some cases simply having someone to talk to can prevent an employee going off sick. Or, if they do need some time away, the counselling or advice services can bring them back to work more quickly.
Financial pressures impact every age group. However, they are particularly pressing for millennials who are combating high levels of student and personal debt along with inflated rent and low income. All without the life experience to help counteract these pressures.
Other employee groups may also have financial concerns, particularly if they’re saving to buy a house, starting a family or approaching retirement.
Many businesses now offer financial education programmes that help employees find ways to manage their money better. This puts people in control and reduces their stress levels.
Depending how far you want to go, you may decide to provide flexible benefits packages that can be used to direct money to where individual’s most need it.
For example, instead of automatically sending any additional pension contribution (on top of the auto-enrolment minimum) direct to pension schemes, you could:
- give employees the option to direct this money to a savings pot
- send it off to pay off a student loan
- or add it to salary to increase income while saving ahead of the birth of a child for example
This kind of flexibility will provide options that will help all employees address their financial concerns.
Once upon-a-time, flexible working was a standout employee benefit. But today it’s a must-have for modern businesses. Consider how you could find ways to enable staff to fit work around their lives. This could include offering flexitime or giving people the option (and technology) to work from home
Ever woken up and felt like you needed to stay in bed all day? That’s exactly why duvet days exist. This benefit allows employees to call in, or book ahead, to take a day off in addition to their holiday allowance.
This permits employees to rest mind and body while you get a refreshed employee back at work with their head in the right place.
You can have the most supportive policies in the world but if employees don’t feel able to use them they won’t benefit anyone. Ensuring your business operates a caring culture that places employee well-being ahead of the business will ensure your business succeeds.
A Final Word From Mary Queen of Shops on Personal Stress
Mary Portas, business expert and agency founder, says that to be successful:
“Businesses have to be kinder … Tomorrow’s businesses will be built on collaboration and understanding, and people will bring their whole selves to work, and not aim for profit at all costs.”
This means that trying to ignore your employees wider lives – and the stresses within them – will have negative implications for your organisation.
So, take a long hard look at your personal stress management practices and see what else you could do to completely support your employees.
For HR support that will help you take care of your staff and support organisational performance, contact Crosse HR on 0330 555 1139 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Staff turnover and letters of resignation mean only one thing: more work for you. Managing the notice period and the paperwork, ensuring a proper handover, updating the job description, advertising, interviewing, hiring, training. It’s a lot to do and it’s all on top of your day job.
But your time and effort is just the tip of the iceberg. We set out the full cost of staff turnover to your business.
Time Equals Money
When you’re recruiting you’re not earning. Which is why many businesses decide to outsource their recruitment activities to an HR specialist. But how much does it cost to hire a new employee?
Economic modelling experts Oxford Economics ran the figures and found that replacing an employee who earns £25,000 a year will cost your business, on average, a total of £30,500. This figure varies dependent on sector ranging from £20,113 for retailers to £39,887 for legal firms.
How did they get to these figures? By considering the two main costs involved in recruitment:
a. Management time spent recruiting, inducting and administering
b. Paying for advertisements
c. Running assessment centres
d. Overtime or temporary employees to cover the work
Depending on the role and the employee’s wage, the logistical costs vary. Replacing someone who earned £25,000 per year would cost on average £5,433; those on higher salaries would cost more.
a. Inducting a new hire into the organisation
b. Training the new employee
c. Loss of productivity as the new hire gets up to speed
In the retail sector, the lost productivity while a new workers gets up to speed is £25,000 whereas in the legal sector (where the individual’s knowledge is the product) the cost is £35,300.
These numbers are eye-watering. So what can you do to reduce them?
How to Stem the Flow
If you seem to be recruiting more often than you’d like it’s worth assessing your turnover figures and comparing them to industry averages. HR Magazine reported a new high for UK turnover rates of 15.5% in 2016. If yours is above that it could be time for concern.
Before you can take any steps to address your staff turnover you need to understand why people are leaving. Asking them face-to-face may not elicit the most truthful responses; instead set up an anonymous online exit questionnaire to find out what people really think.
Once you know why people are leaving, you can pull together a plan of action to put things right.
The risk of people leaving is not small. While the Independent reports that happiness in work is at an all-time high, almost half of UK workers plan to look for a new job in 2018. What were the most common reasons for leaving?
● poor management – 49%
● low pay – 40%
● feeling undervalued – 49%
● lack of career progression – 30%
The good news is that all of these issues can be resolved by working with a specialist HR consultant.
Not All Staff Turnover is Bad
It’s worth pointing out that in some cases turnover is a good thing.
If you keep losing poor performers, you may have no cause for concern. Under-performance costs your business in terms of low productivity, high absence and additional management time.
Their departure means you have the opportunity to replace them with someone brilliant. Studies have shown that the top one percent of performers generate ten times the average output of their co-workers and the top five percent more than four times the average.
Of course, this relies on getting your recruitment, on-boarding and training spot on which is why it’s worth investing in a specialist recruiter to do the job right first time.
Three Pronged Attack for Staff Turnover
There are three main steps to address staff turnover and limit the cost to your business:
1. Understand why people are leaving and find ways to resolve these challenges.
2. Invest in your recruitment strategy to employ someone who will hit the ground running; this will reduce the £25,000 of lost productivity that accompanies the average new hire.
3. Hire someone who will fit well with your culture; the longer they stay and the more they produce the quicker they offset your hiring costs and start contributing to the bottom line.
Get these three steps right and you’ll stabilise your team and save a lot of money into the bargain.
If you’d like the support of an experienced HR consultant to reduce your turnover and manage your recruitment, contact Crosse HR on 0330 555 1139 or email at email@example.com.
There’s a new HR term in town: employee experience. But what does it mean and how does it differ to employee engagement?
Engagement. Experience. What’s the Difference?
By now, we should all be familiar with the concept of employee engagement. But just in case, here’s a refresher.
Kevin Kruse, CEO of online learning platform LEADx, defines it as:
“the emotional commitment the employee has to the organisation and its goals.”
The theory is that employees who have good jobs and are well managed will be happier, healthier and more fulfilled. Which means they’re more likely to drive productivity, perform better and be more innovative.
While employee engagement may sound highly positive for all involved, it actually has little to do with employee happiness or satisfaction. Someone could love their job but they may not be productive and therefore they would not be classed as engaged.
At its core, employee engagement is about employees being willing to do more for their pay cheque.
In practical terms this means engaged workers do the extra hours required without being asked. They might pick up rubbish from the shop floor because they take pride in their workplace. Or they could go above and beyond to service a particularly tricky customer problem.
Research has shown that engaged employees make a positive impact on the bottom line:
Despite there being clear reasons like these for its popularity, employee engagement has come under fire. Critics claim it’s too business focussed at the expense of employees enjoyment of their work and wider needs.
This has resulted in the emergence of employee experience as a new way of perceiving the employment relationship.
Employee Experience – More Than Engagement
Is this a case of semantics? Do the two concepts really mean the same thing? DecisionWise thinks not, defining employee experience as a much broader concept than engagement:
“The employee experience is the sum of the various perceptions employees have about their interactions with the organization in which they work.”
This includes everything from employees’ preferred technology to providing meaningful work and a fair, flexible and inclusive working environment.
By taking an employee perspective, organisations shift the focus from what they can do to get more from their people to understanding the real experiences of their employees. Once they have gained that insight, they can then find ways to meet their needs.
Unlike employee engagement, this isn’t a once-a-year survey that’s carried out and then forgotten. Employee experience is a strategic approach to how a business considers its people, placing their views at the heart of everything it does.
Treating Employee Like Customers
When a business decides to change the way it operates, it will always consider the impact on its customers’ experience. Businesses that value their employees’ experience do the same.
From a practical perspective this means employers think about changes from their employees’ viewpoint asking questions like “how will our people perceive this?”
By identifying every touchpoint an employee has with the organisation across the entire employee lifecycle (from hiring to retiring or firing), employers consider how their people, see, hear, believe and feel about every aspect of their job.
Deloitte’s comprehensive framework highlights the following elements as important to employee experience.
By understanding what employees want, organisations can involve them in shaping the experience on offer. Blending employees’ expectations, wants and needs with those of the organisation, enterprises can rebuild the way they operate.
What’s in it for businesses? Here we come full circle as employee experience can be seen as a means of delivering employee engagement with all the benefits it entails.
It’s obvious that improving employees’ experience will naturally improve their involvement too. And when engagement levels are high, so are business profits.
If you want to implement employee experience and engagement in your organisation but don’t know where to start, get in touch with Crosse HR on 0330 555 1139 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Running a business requires a firm focus on delivery and an even firmer control over costs. Which puts training programmes a long way down many employers’ lists. But no employee is perfect which means not training your employees also comes with a price tag. We explore four of 2018’s learning trends and look at how they can be implemented.
Training Distributed Teams
International social media management company, Buffer, employs a global workforce with each team member working from a different location in countries around the world. Learning trends have been carefully considered and are structured around three approaches as described in the image below.
When your team is located all around the world, traditional classroom learning is out. Which has pushed Buffer to introduce some novel approaches to develop their staff:
- Each new employee receives a free Kindle and free Kindle books to help them expand their knowledge and grow.
- 12-week learning sabbaticals are available on 50% pay.
- The Helpboard gives employees an online place to let colleagues know that they need help learning a specific skill. Teammates check the board and where they can jump in and help out.
- Learning groups bring together individuals who want to learn a new skill with someone in the business who can teach it to them.
- Professional Development Fridays allow people to pursue personal development once they have finished their work on a Friday afternoon.
- Employees are provided with $20 per month to pursue their own personal development.
Buffer’s research shows that their people often use their budget to pay for courses on low-cost online sites like Udemy. Learning Trends are left in the hands of the individual and they are trusted to identify their own learning needs and fill the gap.
Whether this approach would work for your business depends on your culture and the level of trust invested in your employees. However, if you’re looking for low-cost ways to help employees help themselves these strategies could pay dividends.
Niche Learning Trends
As job roles become increasingly specialised, so the learning these individuals require becomes narrower and deeper. In a word, niche.
Booming industries as wide-ranging as the craft beer and cybersecurity sectors find that traditional training programmes simply don’t cut it. And firms are seeking niche training to ensure their people have the relevant skills to thrive in their roles helping the business prosper too.
As with anything specialist, niche learning comes with a hefty price tag that requires careful thought before investing.
Start by identifying a small number of specialist roles that add real value to your business and understand exactly where their field of expertise is headed. Then match training requirements with the learning outcomes of the course to future proof your team and business.
Ultra High Tech Virtual Reality (VR) Learning Trends
Imagine being able to give your employees real-world training experience without any of the risk. That’s exactly what big business is doing by using cutting-edge VR technology.
By training in virtual simulations of real-life scenarios, employees are able to participate in experiential learning without the prospect of making a costly mistake. That could include dealing with a sensitive customer complaint, carrying out a hazardous chemical disposal or learning to fly a plane.
The potential for this kind of technology to help employees address gaps in experience – not just learning – is huge. However, the tech is not quite there just yet and will need developing before it becomes mainstream.
The other main stumbling block is the eye-watering price. While this technology may be out of reach for many businesses, it’s certainly one to keep an eye on for the future.
65% of HR Professionals believe the skills needed to ensure the success of their organisation is changing. Leadership, commercial awareness and digital skills are all marked as areas businesses need to invest in.
Skills gaps exist for a wide range of reasons including the loss of skilled workers from the workforce, insufficient levels of education and a divide between what schools and colleges teach and the requirements of businesses.
Whatever the reasons, employers are often left to pick up the pieces and upskill those already in the workforce.
This has resulted in businesses implementing apprenticeships, college partnerships and on-the-job training programmes to bring existing employees up to speed. Designing an effective programme for your business requires an understanding of:
- the skills your business needs both now and in the future
- the skills your existing employees have
- where your business is heading
This information will help you tailor the development of your people with the requirements of your business and anticipate the skills required as roles evolve. Not only this but you’ll reduce your reliance on the external labour market and minimise associated recruitment costs too.
Without an in-house Learning and Development resource, this feels like a mammoth task that often falls to the bottom of the list. Working with an experienced HR Consultant offers a cost-effective way forward that will boost your business both now and for the future.
If your business could benefit from employee training, contact Crosse HR on 0330 555 1139 or email at email@example.com.