Businesses can overcome barriers to growth by developing a culture of empowerment, continuous learning and innovation, says UKG

As organisations battle skills shortages, shifting employee preferences and constantly evolving regulations around safeguarding and wellbeing, providing staff with the platform to reach their full potential has never been more important for business leaders.

Below, Neil Pickering, Senior Manager of HR Innovation at UKG, outlines the four most pressing pain points facing modern businesses, and identifies the strategies organisations can adopt to overcome these challenges.

  1. Managing employee turnover

Despite a slight decrease in the volume of unfilled jobs last quarter, in the UK there are still almost one million vacancies businesses are unable to find candidates for.

Pickering said: “With skills shortages presenting as an ongoing problem for businesses nationally, it’s time for organisations to recognise the true value of retention. The best way to manage employee turnover is to prevent it altogether and cultivate an environment where employees can see a long-term future with the company.

“This begins by developing a positive business culture, where all employees feel valued and appreciated. Organisations can adopt a range of strategies to achieve this, from financial incentives such as fair pay and bonuses, to progress initiatives that clearly define career paths.

“Work-life balance is now a top priority for employees across sectors, so this should be a key consideration for companies thinking about how best to attract and retain staff. Allowing staff the autonomy to choose when they work and find cover without consulting a manager can deliver the necessary flexibility here.”

  1. Optimising employee performance

Business leaders should find ways to motivate their staff and create a work environment where they genuinely want to succeed.

Pickering: “Poor employee performance can have a severe impact on business growth, limiting productivity and often reducing the overall quality of goods or services the business produces. However, this isn’t an issue business leaders can solve alone – they must work with staff to win their support for company objectives.

“Extensive training programmes, greater flexibility, two-way channels of communication and better knowledge access are all easily actionable measures that will earn employee buy-in. Ultimately, employers that invest in the development of their staff are far more likely to have a motivated and productive workforce.”

  1. Labour and data compliance

Businesses have both a moral and legal duty to go above and beyond when it comes to supporting employees.

Pickering added: “Employers have a responsibility to improve health, safety and wellbeing measures for all staff, which means creating a work environment where employees feel comfortable, both mentally and physically.

“Some organisations may have unintentionally fallen foul of labour scheduling conditions in recent years. Leveraging labour scheduling technology that automates the provision of accurate pay and working time compliance, while managing burnout through safe scheduling, is a reliable safeguarding tool for a business and its staff to prevent such incidents from happening.

“Complying with data protection legislation, such as GDPR, is another hurdle modern businesses must overcome. Storing all records digitally in a secure manner provides the organisational structure needed to remain compliant. Similarly, adhering to National Living Wage legislation should be front of mind for business leaders, which can be achieved with a fair pay structure.”

  1. Adapting to change

A business cannot be flexible without an engaged and responsive workforce.

Pickering concluded: “With a myriad of challenges facing today’s businesses that show little sign of abating, employers must be able to rely on their workforce for continuity and sustained growth. Ensuring any changes are clearly communicated to all staff will help win their trust and support for innovation within the company.

“Building a healthy culture and achieving revenue, compliance or brand-oriented goals don’t have to be mutually exclusive objectives – intuitive and advanced HR technology can drive both if organisations understand its potential and deploy it correctly.”