Employee retention is HR’s top challenge in 2024

Originally published at HRreview by Amelia Brand

Some of the biggest challenges facing UK organisations right now include retaining skilled talent, meeting pay expectations, providing a good work-life balance, and supporting employees’ wellbeing, according to new research commissioned by HR software provider Ciphr.

According to the findings gleaned from 300 UK HR decision-makers, a multitude of challenges confront employers, with around 11 distinct pain points identified on average.

Notably, over half of the respondents (51%) singled out employee retention as their paramount worry for the upcoming year.

This concern is underscored by the apprehension that organisations may struggle to meet the escalating expectations of their workforce across dimensions such as wages, work-life balance, and mental health and wellbeing support, a sentiment shared by 46 percent of those surveyed.

Recruitment difficulties

In addition to retention woes, a myriad of other hurdles loom large on the HR horizon. Nearly half of the organisations anticipate grappling with recruitment difficulties, employee engagement issues, and the management of remote and hybrid work arrangements, each cited by 45 percent of respondents. Meanwhile, challenges encompassing the provision of a conducive employee experience (42%), bridging skills gaps (42%), curbing absenteeism (41%), and fostering a positive workplace culture (41%) further compound the complexity of HR responsibilities.

Commenting on the survey’s implications, Claire Williams, Chief People and Operations Officer at Ciphr, underscores the imperative for organisations to recognise their workforce as their most invaluable asset. Williams asserts, “Employers need to step up and invest in their people if they want to hire the best talent and then retain them.”

What is causing these issues?

Williams elaborates on the multifaceted nature of contemporary workforce challenges, attributing them to a confluence of factors including economic volatility, unprecedented salary inflation, rapid technological advancements, and the diverse expectations of multi-generational workforces. Despite the financial constraints faced by many organisations, Williams contends that effective people investment hinges more on a shift in mindset than on exorbitant budgets.

Advocating for a strategic focus on employee-centric initiatives, Williams emphasises the pivotal role of leaders in fostering purpose-driven cultures, transparent communication channels, and inclusive workplaces. She highlights the significance of leveraging data insights and benchmarking against industry best practices to refine the employee value proposition and enhance the overall employee experience.

The survey also delineates the top priorities for HR teams in 2024, with retaining skilled employees, recruiting staff, and supporting health and wellbeing emerging as the foremost imperatives. Addressing salary expectations, providing enhanced training opportunities, nurturing workplace diversity, and managing hybrid work arrangements are among the key areas of focus identified by HR professionals.