28 December 2018
More than a pay rise: What employees really want from their jobs in 2019

By Mary Hilditch, HR Manager

Not all employees are money-driven, and that one-track approach could be damaging your business.


The new year is looming and with it come new resolutions, new goals and new opportunities. Whilst this can be an exciting time for those looking for their next career move, January can be a nail-biter for HR professionals and business leaders as they wait to see whose resignation letter they might receive.

Whether you’re looking to recruit new team members, or retain and engage your current staff, it’s important to know what employees value in their working life. Salaries increased across by the board by 1.9 per cent this year, meaning that employers need to find other areas to compete in and with a workforce who increasingly ask for more than just monetary rewards, it’s not enough to simply offer a pay rise. So what do employees really want from their jobs in 2019?

Opportunities for Progression

Lack of opportunities for progression in their current roles is the most commonly cited reason for workers looking for a new role, after increase in salary. Employers may read that and think ‘that’s fine, there are plenty of possibilities with us’ – but have you communicated that to your staff effectively? Having regular one-to-ones,training sessions and tailored personal development plans means you can show you are invested in your employees and can stay tuned into their needs.

Perks that work

Perks are a tricky area; while half of your business would love free gym memberships and an extra half an hour at lunch to use it, the other half might resent being overlooked. Take the time to canvass your team and try to find something everyone can benefit from. Why not consider the extra half an hour for the gym goers as a half hour for health benefits – mental or physical? Your workforce will be fitter and they’ll know they are appreciated.

Work-life balance

Flexible working is becoming too common a request to ignore – 30 per cent of employees say they wouldn’t consider a new job that doesn’t offer it. While certain industries find it easier to embrace than others, the underlying request of flexible working is that employers understand that the nine to five doesn’t always work. Trusting your staff to work from home on days where they have been letdown on childcare or to make up the hours taken for a dentist appointment could be all that’s needed to let them know you anticipate their needs and are willing to facilitate them.

A compelling brand

If there’s one thing we can learn from 2018, it’s that employees care about the behaviour of those they work for – just think back to that Google walk-out. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is more important than ever to today’s workforce, which is increasingly made up of millennials, but businesses need to do more than just talk the talk. Having a diversity and inclusion policy is great – but how does it affect the culture of your business? If it’s not implemented properly, it won’t work to maximum effect. In 2019, candidates will be looking for employers who demonstrate that they care enough to act on wider societal issues and will choose to work for the business whose values most align with their own.