A PwC Global Workforce Hopes and Fear Survey polled over 52 000 workers from 44 countries and found that 35% of people planned to ask their employer for more money in the next 12 months, and planned to quit if they did not get it.

So what can businesses, many of whom are feeling the impact of an economic downturn on their bottom lines, do to attract and retain talent?

The good news is that while the PwC did find that pay was the most important factor when considering a change in working environment, whether an employee found their job fulfilling, and whether they felt they could truly be themselves at work rounded out the top three considerations. A feeling that an employee’s team cared about their wellbeing and the ability to be innovative and creative in their job also scored highly.


Rethinking talent acquisition

The rise of remote work as a result of the pandemic saw many people leave big cities for smaller towns and villages. For some, the move was inspired by the prospect of a better quality of life; for others it was about being closer to family.

Andrew Bourne, regional manager at Zoho, advises that rather than lament the loss of centralised offices in big cities, smart organisations should see this as an opportunity. Instead of fighting over the same pool of talent available in metro cities, they can create opportunities for those living in non-urban centres or rural areas, and invest in skill development.

“At Zoho, for instance, we have always believed that talent is everywhere, though opportunities are not. We have traditionally hired people from all backgrounds, and opened offices away from city centres in order to tap under-utilised talent in smaller towns and rural areas. We expanded this approach during the pandemic by opening smaller, satellite offices wherever we had enough employees residing, instead of prompting them to come back to the office. We have been hiring locally in these satellite offices,” adds Bourne.


Environments where staff can flourish

Looking after your staff is about looking after your business, says Aisha Pandor, CEO of SweepSouth. People who enjoy their jobs are more likely to stay, helping you to retain star employees and decrease turnover. On the flipside, losing employees costs the company money, as hiring, training, and onboarding new employees is a time consuming, expensive process.

“To create the right atmosphere, you should build a team that suits the business in terms of skill and personality, but also keep in mind diversity in terms of age, gender, professional experience, and nationality. Focus on shaping a work environment that promotes trust and a feeling of safety, encourages cooperation and teamwork, that gives support to flourish, and allows responsible freedom. And get people to buy into the fundamental reason that you do what you do. Having buy-in from skilled people on your team who want to be a part of the mission you’re on is invaluable,” she says.

“Fostering the right company culture is another powerful tool in retaining talent. It helps to create focus among your staff and engenders a feeling of identity. A strong culture promotes a feeling of enhanced trust and cooperation between employees and bosses, with staff more likely to enjoy work when their needs and values are consistent with the company’s.”


Happiness from the top down

Many studies have shown that happy employees work smarter and are more productive, states Tshepo Matlou, head of marketing and communications at the online booking platform, Jurni. “A new report from the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick proves that happier workers use the time they have more effectively, an important thing for management in all kinds of organisations to take note of,” he says.

And while it’s tempting to think that certain industries automatically lend themselves to happier environments, such as creative fields, for example, Matlou points out that happiness starts at the top, and works its way down, regardless of what type of industry you’re in.

As a manager, support employees by being aware of what they are going through in their day, says Matlou. “Keep close to them and be available if they need to talk. Hands-on engagement between staff and management is crucial for a company’s progress, and a team’s overall job satisfaction. People will always remember how you treated them and how you handled the moment. I believe the new generation of workers wants to be proud of the company for which they work and to feel as if they are part of its success.”


Get your team passionate about your brand

“Our people are Radisson Hotel Group’s biggest assets and we put significant efforts to implement a robust engagement plan to motivate, develop, and connect our teams with our business purpose. And staff retention is essential in this industry,” says Tim Cordon, area senior vice-president: Middle East & Africa at Radisson Hotel Group.

“Everything we do, every guest encounter and every good experience has to stem from a passion for the brand. And that mainly comes with time. The longer people work for a company such as Radisson Hotel Group, the more they learn about the brand and products and, importantly, the more they are nurtured, the better they feel about working for us long-term.

“We strive to take care of our team, provide them with ample learning and development opportunities and we work on getting them to truly care about the brand. When that happens, their passion, their love for the job and their enthusiasm bubble over and it shines through on the guest experience side, which is, of course, imperative in this industry,” Cordon concludes.