The cost-of-living crisis is at the top of everyone’s agenda at the moment and many people are feeling the pinch. Around 65 % of workers are saying that a salary increase is a priority for them in their job.

Many businesses are struggling to recruit and match the demand for higher salaries, so they are looking at other ways to attract and retain talent. Employer Branding, reward and recognition, a positive culture, feeling valued, hybrid working, and social responsibility have become more commonplace since the pandemic.

I have spoken to several business leaders across the Yorkshire region with staff on mid-range salaries that are using food banks.  They are worried about the cost of travel and how they will be able to manage their finances moving forward, which has resulted in a focus on salary growth. However, there are a lot of other ways in which you can support and retain your staff. If you have staff using foodbanks, why not offer free breakfasts or fruit bowls to the whole team? Can your people work hybrid, or have you got a car share scheme in place? Do you offer 24-hour GP support or counselling for those that need it?

Many employers in this current climate are falling into a vicious cycle of trying to retain disengaged employees in fear of losing a member of the team without looking into the value they add as it’s difficult to recruit.

However, disengaged employees typically reduce productivity by about 20%. The wrong people in your business will have a negative effect on your team, the culture, and ultimately your cash flow so why would you want to keep them?

Instead, focus on ways to retain your engaged people as this will drive productivity up. The more engaged people in your team, the more productive your workforce will be. This will result in growth, and they will feel part of that journey with you.

You should be focussing on Employee Engagement! Speak to your employees and find out what’s important to them. Ask how you can support their current situation, is there anything you can offer that is relatively low cost to you but of high value to them? Support with mental health and well-being as well as making sure they feel part of your vision for the future.

Conducting regular one-to-ones, letting them have a voice, and feel like they are listened to will help with the culture and your team feeling valued. Create personal development plans for each member of staff so you can identify any needs and what action will be taken moving forward.

Think about what will happen if one of your team hands their notice in. I would assume that you will try to retain them with a counteroffer.

Could you use the budget that would be spent on a salary increase at this stage to increase their wages now or pay for bonuses and training? This way your team member feels valued.

1 in 5 employees will be looking for a new job in the next 12 months, so by taking a proactive approach with your team, you will get a better picture of the future and you can plan accordingly.