If you are an employer or business owner, 2022 has been another busy and a challenging year. Here are some of the things our clients have been speaking to us about this year.
One - Hiring remained tough in 2022
There isn’t a lot of good news out there these days but here is one piece!
Statistics Jersey has revealed that ‘the number of unemployed people in Jersey appears to have fallen to pre-pandemic levels’. In fact, as of April 2022 ‘Jersey has recorded its lowest rate of unemployment since records began in 2011’.
Although this may be good news on one hand, businesses are having a challenging time finding people to fill their vacant roles. Companies will need to continue to work hard to attract and retain talent. Overlooked workers including remote workers, recent retirees and less-abled workers will need to be considered. Of course, Diversity and Inclusion is a big part of this as well which is our number two.
Two - Employers prioritising Diversity and Inclusion
With 72 percent of UK job seekers and employers considering a diverse workforce to be a key factor when evaluating companies and job offers, companies will need to step up when it comes to their actions around diversity and inclusion (D&I).
The business case is stronger than ever that D&I improves business performance, including improved financial performance and increased employee retention rates.
Rebel Ideas by Matthew Syed, examines the power of 'cognitive diversity – ‘the ability to think differently about the world around us.’ It is a great read on how D&I harness’ innovative ideas, different perspectives, and views which all contribute to improved employee engagement.
Is Diversity and Inclusion a priority in your workplace, do your employees know about your D&I policies and do you as a business owner understand your minimum statutory obligations?
Three – Employee retention
Nearly all our clients have noticed how ‘hot’ the jobs market is this year. There are several factors driving this, including Brexit, immigration, living costs, and the pandemic. Our advice to clients falls into two categories, which to use the American Football terms we will call defence and offence.
Defence. It has been said that employees ‘join businesses and leave bosses.’ Many people who start to look around for another job are not primarily driven to get a slightly higher salary. Their first impulse is to leave a situation that is not satisfying them. So, look out for the early signs that people might be vulnerable to leave.
Offence. Many employers lose great candidates between advertising and induction, just through being careless about the way they treat candidates in the recruitment process. Look at your candidate experience. It says more about you than you imagine.
Four – The ‘New Normal’
The new restrictions that were imposed on businesses due to COVID-19 are over, but many companies have introduced a hybrid form of working. How companies organise this hybrid work differs considerably. It is important to get it right from the beginning.
When reinventing this ‘new normal’ in the workplace it is important that businesses consider that employees differ in the experience and attitude towards returning to work.
So, while we do not expect another lockdown, stay-at-home order or furlough scheme, our advice to clients is to follow some of the good practices they put in place during the height of the pandemic. It might be a suitable time to review employee handbooks and contracts to ensure that these have kept up to date with the changing situation.
Five - Cost of Living
This has been a huge factor driving costs of raw materials, energy costs, pricing of products and in our world the complex decisions around rates of pay for employees. In Jersey particularly inflation will remain a long-term challenge.
What can a responsible employer do during such economic uncertainty?
Some of our clients have been looking at solutions including twice yearly pay reviews, non-consolidated awards – where you increase a worker’s pay for the next year without changing their underlying salary, hardship payments on various terms, and reviewing bonus schemes. All of these can be useful to consider as part of an overall strategy to retain jobs and get everyone – including the business - through the tough times. The important thing with all of this is that communication is far more important than calculation. Even if you think you have worked out the right answer its worth communicating both individually and collectively about pay strategy. If you do, you are much more likely to take everyone with you.
To address the cost-of-living crisis, the Chief Minister’s 100-day plan which was passed unanimously by States Members include proposals like:
a temporary reduction of 2% in Social Security contributions from 1 October to 31 December 2022
Class 1 employee paid contributions decreasing from 6% to 4%
Class 2 self-employed or unemployed paid contributions decreasing from 12.5% to 10.5%