Interviews

Focusing on Employees’ needs

Focusing on Employees’ needs

“2022 will see a definite return of the employee market as for another year we will be facing the lack of specialists. Therefore it should be the time to take care of the needs of employees: the ones we have and those who would like to work for us in the future”, says Rafał Glogier-Osiński, Country Manager at LMC Polska.

FOCUS ON Business: What is happening in the labour market in 2022? What are the biggest challenges?

Rafał Glogier-Osiński, LMC Polska: The challenges that recruiters faced before the pandemic have now intensified, they have never actually gone away. There has been a high demand for specialists for several years, and employers are increasingly feeling the lack of people willing to work. The pandemic has only accentuated these problems: there are workforce shortages in all sectors, professions and specialities.

2022 will definitely be an employee market, or to be more precise a labour shortage market. Therefore, it should also be a time to take care of the needs of employees: the ones we have and those who would like to work for us in the future.

How, then, can we find and retain employees when unemployment is at its lowest level ever and all Poles who want to work already have a job – here or abroad?

When we are looking for employees, let us do it effectively. And let us measure effectiveness not by the number of CVs received. Rather, it should be measured by the number of hires and the number of employees who stay with us after the trial period, i.e. for longer than three months. This shows that the recruitment was properly conducted, that we found the right people, that they liked working for us. We must remember that today it is rather the employees – especially in expert and specialist positions – who impose the conditions. If they want to work with us, it is a good sign about the way we recruit and induct them – it is also positive information about our corporate culture.

So the challenge is how to reach with your offer those who want to change jobs?

The challenge is that out of 38 million Poles 16.5 million work. According to the December 2021 Polish Internet Research Mediapanel, there were 14.1 million internet users who use websites from the ‘job’ category. These are the users of all recruitment sites in Poland and other sites that post job ads or write about work-related topics. This is a huge number. Probably not everyone is looking for a job, but almost all working Poles are interested in something related to work.

These can be such questions as How to develop yourself? What are the popular benefits now? How to get a raise? Poles also make online searches for information on specific employers. Today nothing can be hidden. Everything is known about everyone. Most Poles use the internet to look for a job or to find out about job opportunities, to learn what conditions have to be met in order to get the right position. And here I would see an opportunity for companies and employers to present their offer as one that potential employees should take advantage of.

What, then, should employers pay attention to in 2022?

In the era of the employee market, I would take care of the well-being of the team first and foremost. Physical and mental health should be at the top of the list of things companies need to address today. Tired, overworked, isolated and additionally burdened with, for example, the remote schooling of their children, white-collar workers are beginning to deteriorate in health. It is worth supporting them with health programmes that improve physical condition or, for example, subsidising ergonomic chairs and furniture for work at home. I would support production department employees with, for example, an additional health package for the family, facilitating shift work for families, flexible working hours for peripheral production employees, and subsidising meals, which – incidentally – is a major logistical challenge in the reality of health-related security regimes.

Once employers have succeeded in recruiting and retaining staff for the long term, it is necessary to continuously work on their commitment and sense of job satisfaction. I would recommend paying attention to the needs that the team themselves signal. It is also worth asking employees what they need, what is important to them, what benefits they would choose from the available ones.

For example, LMC Polska’s own study [1] shows that Poles value development and training. As many as 65% of the respondents of our survey said that they would change their job if another employer offered them a better development package, e.g. training. We cannot forget about training for managers – direct team leaders also need knowledge and new skills, e.g. how to manage a dispersed team, how to build and maintain commitment when the team works in a hybrid formula, how to motivate and appreciate employees. The line supervisor is the first person whose skills detect problems. It is also the first person who, lacking competence, can seriously harm the employee, themselves and the company.

Work takes place online, and recruitment too. Are there solutions that help all those who meet in the labour market?

Today, the most important thing is to have solutions for employees that support their work. Starting with making joining a daily video conference fast, simple and intuitive, and ending with making the flow of documents smooth and seamless. All employees may have switched to remote work, but it is too bad if they cannot go online efficiently or deliver an important presentation because, for example, their private connection is too weak.

Other departments in companies also need support. It is worth checking whether certain tasks take up too much time – perhaps we could use a solution available on the market? There are many tools that can support e.g. HR departments, which in 2022 will be very important in every company. And they will need good and – I emphasise it yet again – effective solutions.

2022 will indeed be a difficult year in the labour market: not only because of the lack of employees, but also the next waves of the COVID-19 pandemic and tax changes, which are already causing a stir, among employers and employees alike. All the more reason to pay attention to whether what we are doing is effective and good for our company. And for our people.

What about benefits? In line with what you say, we should examine whether they are effective and tailored to employees. Are benefits the way for enterprises to attract people?

We hear today about new needs for benefits, because the existing COVID-19 pandemic has turned them upside down. In fact, it makes sense to start by asking employees what kind of benefits would increase their sense of satisfaction and engagement. From conversations with employers, but also job candidates, I know that employees expect health packages extended to immediate family members, extra days off, meetings with therapists and home-delivered meals when working remotely. I would also stress the need for training and development, which I have already mentioned. Polish employees want to learn and we know what it is that they want to learn. In LMC Polska’s study, employees have indicated that they need language courses (number one), followed by those in the area of personal development and those related to the accelerated digitisation of life and work, e.g. operating computer programs used for professional purposes. From time to time, it is worth verifying the opinion of employees on the benefits offered, to check whether they receive what they need, what gives them pleasure and is necessary. It is important to distinguish between a benefit and a work tool. Are subsidies to electricity bills and unlimited internet and home web connection a benefit or simply a reimbursement of additional expenses of an employee? Will new, different benefits attract employees to companies? What surely will, above all, is a good salary, an empathetic and mature leader, a supportive organisational culture and good opinions about the enterprise or brand found online.

There are many opportunities to achieve this. I encourage you to be sensitive to your employees’ needs in 2022: those you have and those you want to hire.

Thank you for the interview.

[1] LMC Polska’s own study conducted on a sample of 2004 working Poles aged 18 to 64 in July 2021.