Employee Benefits Live: Creating a positive environment crucial in a downturn

Employers have been warned that the current economic turmoil made it more important than ever to create a positive working environment built on trust otherwise they will risk loosing key talent once the downturn is over.

Speaking at Employee Benefits Live, Judith Leary-Joyce, chief executive of Great Companies Consulting, told delegates to use this period of economic uncertainty wisely and to not take key talent for granted. Although many employees are choosing not to move jobs in the current troubled economic environment, she said staff will “jump ship” as soon as there is a recovery in the economy if they have not been treated well. Without key talent, an organisation will be ill-equipped to take advantage of any bounce back in the economy, the expert in company culture and author of ‘Becoming an employer of choice’  added.

Where organisations have taken the trouble to become employers of choice they can expect to achieve an uplift in their bottom line of 10% to 15%, she said.

“The bottom line rises when people enjoy their work. When people feel valued and are having fun they develop strong relationships and as long as they get a fair deal they will like coming to work,” she added.

Key factors in creating an employer of choice include providing a positive working environment with clear organisational values and inspirational managers, she explained.

Organisations should ensure that staff are given guidance and support by managers who are prepared to give up a significant proportion of their time to their team. Employees are not “ an irritating build on at the end of the day” she said.

Employers also need to “make life easy” for staff so that when they walk into work they can get on with their jobs, she said.

“ You need the best benefits you can give them and the best salary and pension you can give them. People need to be able to come into work and really focus and not worry about their finances. Once you have the standard benefits in place you can be more creative [in creating a positive environment],” she added.

Simple initiatives such as providing cakes for staff who are celebrating their birthdays or exercise classes at lunch time, can be provided at little extra cost, she said and help create that positive environment.