The employee/employer relationship

The Acas poll, just published, asked workers a series of questions about how their employee/employer relationship was working. The survey revealed that employees are much more aware of their employers’ concerns, identifying three key areas:

  • Employing the right people with the right skills (53%).
  • Changes in technology (36%).
  • Promoting productivity (36%).

For 83% of businesses in the UK, finding the right people with the right skills is their primary concern, and this has the most significant impact on competitiveness, according to a recent CBI survey.

An interesting response from workers with regards to Brexit, currently a headline topic, was that it’s not a major concern for UK employees. Of those who took part in Acas’s poll, two thirds remain confident that businesses will be able to employ the right people with the right skills when the UK has left the European Union.

What employees want from their employer

The poll revealed three principle needs from employees:

  • The work/home life balance (53%).
  • Keeping well and healthy (51%).
  • Job security (44%).

Promoting flexible working within the workplace and improving the mental health and wellbeing of employees is supported by a range of ongoing campaigns, but changing the workplace culture is not going to happen overnight. Acas’s poll showed that six out of ten employees believe that current flexible arrangements will remain more or less the same in 2019. The poll also revealed that employees are split on the matter of whether mental health is considered by employers as seriously as physical health, with 46% agreeing that it is and 43% saying it isn’t.

The government’s Flexible Working Taskforce, of which Acas is a part, have published a new document, ‘Framework for Positive Mental Health at Work’, with a range of steps employers can adopt to help the wellbeing of employees.

The value of ‘job quality’

Matthew Taylor’s ‘Review of Modern Working Practices’ caused many to focus on what makes up ‘good work’, with employers, stakeholders and politicians to look at the balance between job outputs and job quantity in a new light. Acas supports work that is being done by the RSA and Carnegie Trust in defining the right job quality metrics, and the poll results reflected this.

According to the poll, employees value:

  • Fair pay, with women (40%) considering this more important than men (38%).
  • Career progression – 24% of employees believe that this is an important part of their work, and it is one of Carnegie’s recommended measures.
  • Motivational and inspirational leaders – 21% of employees want their leader to motivate and inspire them.

Research gives a principle reason for workers leaving their jobs being down to their line manager. Acas has launched their Framework for Effective Leadership to address the leadership challenge and it is aimed at all management levels.

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