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Overburdened employees: Four steps to better morale and business results

As the Canadian economy improves, business activity is picking up, but hiring has not increased at the same pace. Companies are trying to do more with the same number of employees, increasing productivity and business margins while maintaining costs.

More than a quarter of employers are creating new hybrid roles to manage workloads, according to the Hays 2015 Salary Guide. While this is an effective way to improve productivity, it can create a pressure cooker situation for employees. More than a third of employers say increased workloads and employee pressure is driving up stress leave and general inefficiencies, and contributing to lower office morale.

Hays Canada 2015 Recruitment Insights

How can you maintain morale, reduce attrition, and increase engagement while still meeting your payroll budget?

Hays Insights

  1. Effective training and development

You cannot expect employees to take on new tasks and responsibilities without sufficient training. That could be specific training for the role, but it might also include training in time management, people leadership or customer service depending on what an employee needs to succeed.

Not only is it crucial to enabling employees meet business objectives, but workers who do not feel confident in their tasks quickly become demotivated and frustrated. Create an environment where on-going learning is standard, and where people can ask for help and feel supported t to foster morale and engagement.

  1. Strategic use of temporary staff

Temporary or contract staff can be a cost effective way to give targeted support to employees and projects with the most need, which will alleviate stress on a current workforce while helping the business meet its growth and activity targets. By bringing in temporary workers for only as long as needed, you can meet payroll budget constraints while still bringing in the talent needed for specific projects.

Targeting the available resources to the parts of the business that need the most support allows you to make the most of your payroll budget, and prove your ability to align talent and business strategy for better overall results.

  1. Cost effective benefits and recognition to motivate employees

Benefits such as vacation, time off in lieu for overtime and flexible work options are not expensive to offer but are of considerable value to employees. Almost 60% of employees say they would reduce their compensation, other benefits, or seniority level to receive more than two weeks of vacation time.

Don’t overlook the role praise, reward and recognition can play in retaining and motivating people. Feeling appreciated and valued for the work done key for employee engagement. Consider introducing an internal recognition program so both managers and peers can publicly praise or acknowledge extra effort and workers who have gone above and beyond.

  1. Planning for short and long term success

Career progression is consistently rated as one of the main reasons employees change jobs, and Hays’ What People Want survey found that Canadian workers don’t just want to climb a career ladder, they want continuous learning and new challenges. Encourage current staff expand their skill base and experience, and to develop professionally.

Closely tied to career progression is succession planning. A succession plan lets you assess your current workforce and what skills you need to retain or attract, and can an important retention tool, which many employers overlook. Employees who know their potential internal career options are less likely to seek outside opportunities for growth.

As Canadian companies see business activity increase, eventually permanent headcounts will have to increase, but in the meantime strategic use of training, flexible workforce options, effective benefits and long-term planning will ensure your company has the resources to meet business goals without increasing employee stress or burnout.

Hays Canada division manager Rachel Finan has more than 14 years of experience working in HR recruitment, She excels in making the right match and brings expert insight into market trends, employer needs, and candidate requirements.

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